All about Benzema to Arsenal!?

Arsenal are again being linked with a move for Karim Benzema. After years and years of relentless rumours, this summer, the reports seemed to have died down. How wrong we all were. It’s all aboard the Benzema train once more.

It is common place and on-trend to criticise the media, the tabloid papers and that one rogue Twitter account for conjuring up transfer rumours that have little value or foundation in the truth. However, as someone who works in the industry, I have sympathy for those that are demanded to publish such stories, whether it be about Arsenal or another club.

Given the landscape of modern journalism and news sources, where most organisations make their money through advertising rather than subscriptions, giving away their product to the consumer for free, their income is dependent on the number of views they garner. And our society, rightly or wrongly, has deemed transfer rumours as something that they view.

That is why these ridiculous reports of far-fetched fees, absurd airport sightings and wacky wages exist. Managers at these media companies, who are evaluated by the number of views that their work produces, demand their reporters and journalists to produce something ‘juicy’. Blaming the writers, then, is simply attacking the symptom, not the cause, of the issue.

The cause of the issue is the fans, people like me and you, who can’t help but read about the next Real Madrid star who has fallen out with Florentino Perez, or the next wonderkid set for Manchester United, or the next Chelsea loanee, or the next star that Arsene Wenger has missed out on.

It is in this context that the incessant, undying, relentless rumours linking Karim Benzema with a move to North London again resurface. The reports come to the fore because the news relating to genuine targets — Thomas Lemar, Riyad Mahrez, the possible sale of Alexis Sanchez — has dried up a little.

These journalists are under pressure to conjure up something for fans to bite on, something to gobble up and spit out at the pub. It is a great shame that this is the modern, footballing media world that we live in; we should be searching and consuming incisive interviews, historical biographies, tactical decipherings and analytical pieces that, in great detail, explore the state of the game, the particular approach of a manager or the style of one certain player.

Instead, we are served up rubbish. But simply calling it rubbish and blaming the reporters is not enough. Rather, we must look at our own culture and society to find and uproot the cause of the issue: our obsession with spectacular, scintillating, sparkling, sensational transfer rumours. Until that time, it is all aboard the Karim Benzema train.