We should be used to it by now, but this summer has once again delivered in its bid to make the most unrealistic of transfers seem credible.
Thousands of words everyday are dedicated to columns and reports claiming to be in the know about the next big transfer.
But in reality, most carry about as much reliability as a Manchester United back-four under David Moyes, or Roberto Soldado’s shooting boots last season.
Had this season’s transfer gossip columns all turned out to be correct, here’s what an all-star Premier League imports team could have looked like.
Iker Casillas – Supposedly on the way to Arsenal on a whopping £6million per-year contract. Not ridiculous considering Arsenal needed cover, but he was never going to leave Real Madrid at this stage of his career.
Serge Aurier – Another Arsenal-linked player. In truth the right-back gossip was in short supply, but Arsene Wenger was reportedly ready to splash £7million on the Ivorian who spent last season on loan at Paris Saint-Germain.
Mats Hummels – A reported target for Manchester United all summer, who is also wanted by Barcelona. But Borussia Dortmund, as seen with boss Jurgen Klopp, seem to thrive on creating a loyalty that cannot be broken by cash. Not unless you are Bayern Munich anyway.
Raphael Varane – Supposedly Chelsea-bound under old boss Jose Mourinho, but Madrid won’t sell the 21-year-old unless serious cash is offered. Sure to be one of the best defenders in the world in years to come, the Spanish giants would be silly to offload him.
Dani Alves – Linked with Liverpool in recent weeks after Barcelona supposedly consider his surplus to requirements. That may be, but top Premier League clubs will surely pursue the next generation of full-backs, not the 31-year-old, out of favour Alves.
Sami Khedira – If Arsene Wenger had a pound for every article written about his club and Khedira, he’d be able to buy the German ten times over. A realistic move considering he only has one-year left on his deal with Madird, but there was never any concrete evidence Arsenal were in the hunt for him.
Kevin Strootman – Again, it could have happened. That was until the point where Roma wanted United to break the transfer record to secure the 24-year-old. United seem to have been put off by the request, and rightly so.
Angel Di Maria – Another subject of a lengthy transfer saga. Now not moving to PSG, but seemingly no closer to a move to Manchester United either. His reported unhappiness in Madrid could all be fictional, but nevertheless, he could still be the one shock that puts this article to shame.
Lionel Messi – This piece is dedicated to the plain ridiculous that has been speculated this summer, but Lionel Messi’s alleged ‘talks’ with Arsenal reach another level. Few words required for this one. No chance.
Cristiano Ronaldo – It happens every transfer window. Someone out there should switch to writing Hollywood movie scripts rather than push Ronaldo back to United, it’d probably be more realistic. Not out of the question that he may return for a swansong one day, but the white-hot Ronaldo will remain exactly that colour for at least another few seasons.
Karim Benzema – While the press speculated about Benzema to Liverpool and Chelsea, the Frenchman was working in private to secure himself a new five-year deal at the Bernabéu. Too valuable to lose, he was never going anywhere.
So there we have it. Not out of the question that we could see some of these in the Premier League one day, but it’d be a shock to say the least were anyone to arrive this summer.