Let’s deal with it, with the ridiculous stories doing the rounds that Ibrox has found not just one mug but two willing to pay big money for a guy who’s had six good months in the game.
If this deal goes through and the numbers are in eight figures, then football really has gone mad.
That is the kind of signing that gets people sacked later on.
It’s hard to know what to make of all this noise over the talks.
Do I believe any club is going to pay Ibrox’s whopping transfer fee? Absolutely not.
Do I believe they’ll get close to it? What does close mean? You still see papers talking about how Aribo has gone for £10 million, but the fee is six plus add-ons which might never be realised.
The thing here is not to ignore the media’s penchant for hype, or the possibility that one or both of the clubs involved will walk away from the table because Ibrox’s demands are too ridiculous.
But I don’t think that’ll happen if the bid is more than £12 million … because that’s funny money for a guy like this and that’s Christmas for their board of directors.
As long as they don’t lose their minds and hold out for a sum they’re never going to get, they should turn a tidy little profit and they should get the guy off the books.
The more I think about this, the more I have to take my hat off to them, in much the same way as I’d drink a toast to those scam artists you see flogging their wares in cities up and down the country.
The trick is to bamboozle the mark, blind him to what he’s actually buying, get his money in your pocket and be off with it before he realises what he’s bought.
This is like what’s known as the Black Money Scam.
You’ll have seen that, or a variation of it, if you’ve hung around enough market stalls.
It’s the one where the con-artist sells people worthless black paper and a “roller kit” and some “solution” on the proviso that the “black money” is real cash, stained by the government because the notes are being taken out of circulation.
All you have to do is buy the “kit” and a box of “black money” and profits can be yours.
I’ve not only seen this on TV, but I’ve seen it up close, for real, and I never cease to be amazed that there are people who will “take a chance” and hand these people actual cash for what amounts to nothing at all.
The trick is all about finding the right people in the audience; desperate, pliable, gullible … people who want to believe.
It also helps to have a few undercover “civilians” in the crowd, willing to back your story up.
Our media plays that role here. It has helped flog this guy. They are in on this scam.
Never forget that.
I have never seen such a hype machine devoted to the sale of a football player.
It is quite incredible.
Ignore every single story about how Ibrox is determined to hang onto him; they will have him on the plane before his bags are packed if they can get their “acceptable offer”.
I’ve always said that clubs do not buy players on the basis of hype.
Most clubs don’t.
Just as most people would never buy a roller and a box of black paper on the expectation that they will make their fortune.
But there are always a handful who fall for it, and as any professional scam artist will tell you – and to go over some ground I’ve already covered, as anyone selling crypto or NFT’s will tell you – one of the things that drives a good sale is called Fear Of Missing Out.
That’s one of the reasons why shops will put “On Sale For Just Seven Days!” signs in the windows! People worry that next week the goods will be more expensive, and they want to get in there, right away, and snap up the bargains.
Even if there are no bargains.
Is that what this is? Are these two clubs simply the ones who want to jump first before this “superstar of the future” gets away?
Remember, it’s the nature of any good con; you only need one … one mark, one person daft enough to fall for it.
Now let’s bear in mind that none of this has actually happened yet.
We have no way of knowing whether this is serious interest or Ibrox playing its usual game of trying to drum some up and using discreet inquiries by clubs to do it.
But let’s do a little imagining for a moment. Let’s imagine that these stories are real. Let’s further imagine that the offer they end up getting is is on the crazier side of £15 million.
Doesn’t Brendan Rodgers have some serious questions to answer for allowing the sale of a major asset for a pittance?
Isn’t the Leicester City board entitled to wonder just what in God’s name happened here?
Do we recall Rodgers giving youth a chance at Celtic?
He was good at making players better – we’ve seen that for ourselves – but he let this guy slip away?
He’s not the only one; no club south of the border took the punt at the time.
So unless the Ibrox scouting team are the smartest guys in the room, a whole lot of people missed the boat here, and it’s only now that a handful of clubs are catching up.
But only at Ajax and Brighton.
What seems likely to you?
That these guys are also smarter than everyone else around them … or have they simply fallen for a good confidence trick?
Either way, the Ibrox board will be laughing if they pull off this case of daylight robbery.
Whoever gets this player, if they do pay crazy money for him – and anything over seven figures is crazy for a guy with six good months under his belt, and only then if you exclude some major errors, – they’re going to have one Hell of a case of buyer’s remorse.
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