James Forrest the next target for the media transfer games

If you are to believe the Scottish mainstream media this morning, Russian Premier League side Zenit St. Petersburg are preparing a £12 million bid for Celtic midfielder James Forrest, just days after the departure of Kieran Tierney to Arsenal for £25 million.

But all is not what it seems.

The link has been doing the rounds in the Scottish press all day thanks to an EXCLUSIVE from Sun Sport reporter Robert Grieve - the man who tipped Rangers to win both domestic cups this season - with a potential £70,000 per week on offer for last season’s Player of the Year.

The Murdoch rag journo claimed that Zenit were looking to sign the winger AFTER the club signed Barcelona’s Malcolm for £40 million and with the club already having THREE other right wingers/midfielders in their squad - including Emiliano Rigoni, Robert Mak and Aleksey Sutormin [the latter signed in July from Rubin Kazan].

It seems that given the Chinese and English markets are now closed that Scottish journos now turn to Russia for their ludicrous transfer stories without doing any proper research or contacting the clubs in question. But I guess that would be too much to ask from the supposed leading football journalists in this country?

When one paper picks up a story they all run with it soon after and they no longer approach the clubs for comment in the hope of verifying such claims. They run with it knowing that if it is a big enough headline then the story will be read. Just like so-called fan websites [run by commercial entities] who produce clickbait articles so that the fans read the articles - even if it is a load of pish - so that they can receive the hits and more importantly the ad revenue from the plethora of ads infesting their clickbait websites.

So just a few weeks after Forrest saying that he would like to stay at the club, we had numerous pundits on BBC, Radio Clyde and in the papers commenting on why no one has came in for James Forrest - in the wake of Kieran Tierney’s transfer to Arsenal.

Abracadabra, just days after these discussions, Zenit’s £12 million potential bid hits one of the worst newspapers in this country for clickbait shite - given that their numbers are dropping dramatically and are even falling behind some fan websites in numbers now.

You can argue that these journalists are trying to keep their jobs by peddling such rumours in the hope that come the next lot of staff cuts, the big bosses will see that their numbers are better than the next hack who concocts factually inept articles.

Others would argue that the hacks have been given orders from Herr Jabba to unsettle the Celtic squad in the hope that the constant talk of ‘big clubs’ coming in for the players would unsettle the squad - but more importantly unsettle the player who would thereafter demand a move away.

And then there is the hint that the player’s agents themselves are in cahoots with certain hacks to drum up interest to secure a nice tidy bonus for themselves when the player renegotiates their contract or secures a move away from the club with a tidy pay off into the bargain.

Or it could be that their editors don’t care about the facts, about the truth or about what is fantasy - given that the papers circulation is dropping like a stone year in year out. So the more column inches they fill, the better. Even at the expense of journalistic integrity as they produce articles that would resemble the tripe that is published by HITC and 67 Hail Hail - two websites run by the same company GRV Media and not actually fan websites.

Two websites that pay their contributors a basic wage with bonuses based on the number of hits their articles receive. How do I know this? Well one of their contributors let slip about how he was paid as he boasted that he laughably got £30k a year writing for one of their newly created websites.

As well as that Fansided and even Snackmedia editorial employees both gave contributors little tips on how to attract more visitors AND receive more revenue - by writing as many articles as possible especially transfer stores - as that is where the money is. Even if the transfer stories were less than accurate.

I am speaking from experience. And that is why I wouldn’t work with either company as they put money before accuracy and the integrity of the sites.

Even Football Scotland was launched in a cloak and dagger kind of way - with some of their contributors trying to pass it off initially as a fan blog before it was highlighted that it was just another arm of Reach PLC- the renamed Trinity Mirror Group that published the Record and the Mirror newspapers - in the hope of soaking up fans to reach their content and to further enhance the ad revenue of the commercial entity.

We all discuss the comings and goings at clubs - but invariably when someone claims to be ‘in the know’ then either they are 99% of the time talking a load of shite simply to secure hits and revenue or they are the 1% who actually know what’s going on.

Either way it is safer to wait until the club(s) involved to announce the transfers.