“More chance of Arsenal signing (Cristiano) Ronaldo from Juventus in a swap deal from (Aaron) Ramsey”. So went one tweet after reports emerged in January claiming that Tottenham Hotspur were interested in signing Tanguy Ndombele from Lyon this summer.
Now, after reports emerged that Spurs have agreed a £55m deal to sign the France international, that tweet looks all the sillier.
But it is a symptom of a diseased cycle that follows every single transfer story that emerges from any outlet across the globe.
Indeed, whenever a player is linked – particularly one with a big reputation, like Ndombele – fans rush to their keyboards to share their hottest takes. Some will base their take on statistics, others just a gut reaction, maybe some have actually seen him play. Really, though, it doesn’t matter. Twitter is about tweets sent in an instant and then forgotten about.
In November, one fan claimed that Ndombele was “not good enough”. There was no basis to this claim, just the claim. The supporter has a Twitter account and all must hear him.
With the transfer window open, the tweets have grown tiresome at best and genuinely nausea-inducing at worst.
Click on any official Spurs tweet. Seriously, just pick one. It can be about a new sponsorship, whatever. Click it. One of the replies will be “ANNOUNCE NDOMBELE”. It will be capitalised. There may be a hashtag.
It is poison.
And it ensures that there is precious little desire to actually seek out the real news, the real truth, behind the deal. Now, there are genuinely excellent journalists out there – Football.London’s Alasdair Gold covers Spurs with distinction, as does Dan Kilpatrick at the London Evening Standard – who are doing their best to keep fans clued up on the comings and goings at Hotspur Way.
They did not get into this profession to be meme’d at on Twitter, or to have hashtags thrown at them. Think of Neil Jones, the superb Liverpool reporter formerly at the Liverpool Echo. He posted on Twitter that he had been the victim of a house fire. A Liverpool fan replied asking what he thought of the latest quotes from striker Luis Suarez.
This is what Twitter has become. As a Tottenham fan, it is disheartening to see so many so-called supporters simply desperate for the latest morsel of information.
Sure, transfers are exciting, and for Spurs, we’ve waited a fair old while for a new player to come through the doors. Lucas Moura, in 2018, was the last.
But the entitlement is staggering. The demands placed on the club and on journalists are ridiculous.
Perhaps it is generational. Well, it has to be, because Twitter wasn’t about when Spurs were a mid-table side in the 1990s – imagine the Jurgen Klinsmann saga unfolding on social media – but maybe it stems from those kids who have grown up playing FIFA and Football Manager and view transfers as the simplest thing in the world.
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This isn’t a case of typing in “Ndombele”, putting a bid together on your laptop, submitting it, hitting the space bar and receiving an answer; the sooner that the majority of the “Announce Ndombele” crowd realise that the better because, as it is, Twitter is a nightmare platform to delve into during the transfer window.
Why search any player’s name when all you’re going to get is a bunch of keyboard warriors attempting to convince the club – by the club, it’s obvious that we mean an admin guy who is sat at his laptop scheduling tweets – to buy this player instead of that player?
And if Ndombele does come through the door, as looks likely, then it will simply move on.
Spurs have been linked with Jack Clarke, Ryan Sessegnon and Giovani Lo Celso too. If the club do eventually announce the signing of the coveted Frenchman, don’t be surprised to see an “announce Lo Celso” tweet.
That is what Twitter is.
But with it being the primary news source for so many fans, one has to wonder if the pollution of the website has genuinely ruined Spurs’ transfer window.
Certainly, it has ensured that every single deal becomes a saga, and it has also proved that most fans will never be happy with what they have.