If you trust sections of the internet, today Manchester United bought Robert Lewandowski from Borussia Dortmund for just £12m. He'll join next summer and fans are already debating on where he'll play and which striker could be leaving the club as a result.
But what has actually happened and what has been reported?
Well, it was first tweeted by an Arsenal fan this morning, who said 'Sky Sports in Germany say Manchester United & Dortmund have reached an agreement for Robert Lewandowski. €15m, 5yr deal from July 1 2013'
That was then picked up by English Sky Sports journalist Tom McDermott who tweeted 'Sky Sports in Germany say Manchester United & Dortmund have reached an agreement for Robert Lewandowski. €15m, 5yr deal from July 1 2013'.
Remarkably similar but when someone who works for Sky tweets it, the rumour spreads. And boy did it spread.
There must be hundreds of tweets out there saying the same or a similar thing, some with a few followers and some with tens of thousands. It spread and spread, even some newspapers have picked it up with The Metro reporting:
The Polish striker will allegedly sign a five-year deal to join the Red Devils in the summer, and will cost just £12million as he is out of contract at Borussia Dortmund the following year.
According to Sky Deutschland, the Bundesliga champions have caved in to the 24-year-old’s desire to leave the club, and despite reported interest from Arsenal, the front-man has chosen to link up with former team-mate Shinji Kagawa at United.
Yet how many of these people had actually spoken to someone who watched the Sky Sports programme? How many had even bothered to check their website?
Let's go back to the original tweet from the Arsenal fan, he linked Mercato 365 as where he got the information from. So even he hadn't seen what had actually been on TV. Mercato 365 said:
Robert Lewandowski could land in England a year later. Indeed, according to the German TV channel Sky Sports , Red Devils leaders would have agreed with their counterparts from Borussia Dortmund to recruit front-central Poland for five seasons from July 1. Compensation of approximately € 15 million was raised.
Mercato 365 are a French outlet, they probably hadn't seen it either. Indeed the only reference to this in Germany is that the channel would have mentioned the Daily Mail story in a gossip round-up.
A reminder of The Daily Mail story:
Striker Robert Lewandowski is heading to Manchester United. The Poland star has indicated to friends he has set his sights on the move from Borussia Dortmund at the end of the season.
After rejecting overtures from United last summer, the German club have reluctantly accepted they are about to lose their leading marksman. With his Dortmund deal running out at the end of next season, United hope the fee will be little more than the initial £12million they paid for his former team-mate Shinji Kagawa last summer.
The only thing being run similar to this by Sky Sports Germany is:
(Sky Sport News HD) - According to the British newspaper "Daily Mail" the Polish striker's friends confirm that in the summer goes to the English giants. The transfer fee will be around 15 million euros.
Lewandowski's agent declined to comment on the rumors at first: "We do not comment more such reports," he told Sky Sport News HD.
If this had been reported by Sky Sports News in Germany as a done deal, rather than highlighting gossip from England, then it would be a huge story over there. As it is there isn't anything on it. Bild, Europe's largest tabloid, has nothing on it. Neither does the reliable Dortmund regional newspaper Ruhr Nachrichten, who were ahead of the game throughout the Shinji Kagawa transfer.
Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp told reporters today, quoted by Fussball 24 and others "I have no fear that we will lose him, and a good feeling that he will continue to play for us."
When asked specifically about the Manchester United reports he said "It's nothing special. Manchester stands in a long line with other European top clubs. In addition, those days are over, in which German clubs caved immediately if offers are from England."
Poland's major tabloid Fakt are also running the news and quoting Sky Sports Germany, something they'll have picked up online. The same newspaper last week said his agent was speaking to Manchester City about a transfer and speaking to Borussia Dortmund about an extension.
We don't know if the original claims from The Daily Mail about Lewandowski's friends saying he wants the move are true or not, that's for you to decide, but we can tell you that today's 'developments' are a prime example of how things spread on the internet regardless of whether they have anything to back them up at all.
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