The awkward stage of the year is currently underway — a new season is around the corner in a couple of weeks, preseason training is in full swing, and transfer rumors are varying between reliable news and complete garbage. This has become a common occurrence now and it’s made fans such as myself long for simpler times. The main culprit for the flooding of transfer rumors is Twitter, a platform that blends fact and fiction like no other and the summer mercato provides a perfect sample of the negative aspects that the social media platform possesses.
Today, the summer mercato is followed by both the casual and die-hard fans like vultures stalking prey, the first inkling of truth and they pounce faster than you can say, “send tweet.” But this is a good thing, of course, having every tidbit of “news” at our fingertips is a good thing, right? It certainly occupies an (undisclosed) amount of my day, and probably anyone who’s reading this can say the same or be as embarrassed as myself to admit it. It’s an interesting thought to imagine a world where fans just have to wait until official team news is released to discover new signings, perhaps allowing for more relaxing summers and prevention of wild speculation and intense opinions ... or maybe not.
Nonetheless, here we are — and I’m tired.
It seems as though the rumors of recent summers have gradually snowballed into a comically large boulder closing in on Juve Twitter faster than even Indiana Jones could escape. This excess of “breaking news” and “insider reports” have been on full display this summer between the “confirmation” of Matthijs de Ligt to Barcelona, and then Paris Saint-Germain, and then back to Barca, and finally landing at Juventus. Now perhaps the most puzzling rumor of all, the Paulo Dybala/Mauro Icardi/Romelu Lukaku swap nonsense. I’m not sure anyone can make sense of why Fabio Paratici would want to make a deal such as this one, especially after the great things he’s done earlier in the transfer window. It’s hard to not praise the man for the success he’s had through the mercato, and then a transfer like Moise Kean to Everton is all but official and it baffles those who were praising him moments earlier. Can you tell I’m tired?
There have been moves similar to the ones I just mentioned every year for as long as I’ve been a fan of the club and we always manage to get through them, even with the ensuing panic from Juve Twitter that always follows a divisive transfer. There’s discussion, contemplation, and the eventual acceptance, the reason it’s become so tiring today is because of the drawn-out, and nearly impossible process of deciphering the news on Twitter, deciding what’s fact and fiction. This wasn’t always something that had to be done, but absurd transfer rumors have taken the summer mercato by storm and it’s impossible to ignore them even if one is remotely engaged with football Twitter.
A few years ago the seemingly outlandish reports would’ve been dismissed immediately. However, thanks to the most outlandish and unexpected signing Juventus have ever made, the Portuguese forward that everyone has an opinion on, taking place last summer, all rumors must now at least be considered. Now, this is part of what being a fan is, considering everything, taking everything with a grain of salt, it’s what pulls people to the game and sucks them in forever. It’s how fandom spreads and festers in people to the point of no return, which isn’t a bad thing in the traditional sense of fandom, but in this case of mass ingestion of rumors and obsession, it is.
As I’ve observed and compulsively scrolled through Juve Twitter over the past few months, there’s been a noticeable dip in morale and lack of patience among Juventini. And all about things that may not even happen, rumors containing mere slivers of truth or just plain fabrication. Here it’s important to make the distinction between speculation and whatever this has become.
Speculation is healthy as long as it’s understood by all as simple guesswork, not legitimate expectations or theorizing based on potential Twitter fiction. This epidemic, as I might as well call it, is the culmination of a misunderstanding of speculation, paranoia, and the obsession with consuming information in the Twitter age. These things cause problems on their own but all together they create a whole new beast and it’s been overwhelming, to say the least.
It’s hard to fault anyone for attaching themselves to their Twitter feeds as football fans around the world do. As mentioned, it takes up a significant part of my day, it fills the gap that’s left from actually watching Juventus during the summer months. Checking for the newest rumors or news, finding similar reports, reading other’s opinions, and then deciding whether one agrees or not. This is the process that I’ve adopted and it absolutely succeeds in fulfilling my required intake of Juventus content. But I find myself doubting the significance of all the summer hype, regardless of whether I do or don’t have the complete inside scoop, nothing will actually change until the Juventus account with the blue checkmark gives their confirmation.
This doesn’t change the fact that most people today are motivated to be the first to know — especially when it comes to sports in their respective offseasons, and Twitter is the best tool for it. Since news and information have become so easily accessible through social media, it might as well be used. I, for one, could never constrain myself from Twitter or any of the other outlets so I won’t try to tell anyone else to do so. But I can recommend some rest from the wild west of Curva Twitter because I sure could use some time away and what better time than these last few weeks before the season starts.
I greatly enjoy the beginning of every season and I’m intrigued to see what Maurizio Sarri’s team will look like but I prefer to not feel as if I’ve endured a whole season of ups and downs over the course of the summer mercato. Because whether it’s being watched religiously or not, the moves that might or could be made won’t matter and all will be forgotten or in the past when the official roster gets released and the season begins.
So join me in taking a deep breath, logging off and maybe soaking in the summer sun because the new season will arrive faster than you can say “send tweet.”