How a slow news day sold Manchester United's Anderson to Benfica in exchange for Gaitan

It's been a remarkably slow news day in football and when that happens people make more effort to go looking for stories. If it's transfer rumours you're after then no stone is left unturned and media outlets big and small try and find a new line.

But sometimes it can turn into a huge game of Chinese Whispers, with each news outlet adding their own bit and the story completely changing from what it was originally meant to be.

Caught Offside last night published an article titled 'Man United Boss Ready to Swing the Axe to Offload Nine During Summer Clear-Out', which said that Sir Alex Ferguson would consider selling Nani, Anderson, Berbatov, Park, Fabio, Bebe and Macheda. It was taken taken to nine players by including Pogba and Fryers.

The section which covered Anderson is this, and this only:

Anderson cost Man United a whopping £27m in the summer of 2007 but has on the whole failed to deliver and the Brazilian is a player that Ferguson is keen on selling to recoup funds. A move to Portugal is a possibility with Benfica and Sporting Lisbon both said to have registered their interest in the midfielder.

Clearly an opinion piece designed to generate interest and debate. Quite how that ended up around Europe as Manchester United using Anderson as bait to get Rodriguez or Gaitan is bizarre. But this is how it happened:

A Bola in Portugal picked up the story, and stated Caught Offside was the source. But they said it would be a loan move or that Manchester United would use him to get Porto to sell them James Rodriguez. They also added, seemingly from nowhere, that Anderson has a release clause in his contract of 40m.

Record, another Portuguese newspaper, have it as the main story on their website. They also reference Caught Offside as the source and their addition to the Chinese Whispers is that he could be used as part of a deal for Benfica's Gaitan. 

Then France's leading sport newspaper, L'Equipe, ran the story but they referenced the A Bola article as their source. With L'Equipe being a respectable name in European sport reporting and A Bola being in Portgual, the news from that source quickly made it's way around social networks and into other news.

From a Caught Offside article which was clearly just an opinion piece about possible transfers, Anderson was involved in a Rodriguez deal, a move for Gaitan, and given a buy-out clause of 40m.

Don't be surprised if this returns to UK shores tomorrow as 'Breaking news from Portugal', but if it does at least you'll know where it came from.

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