Invisible source: Barcelona bidding for Jan Vertonghen

Robert Cianflone

Someone says that someone else is reporting that Barcelona are TOTALLY BIDDING for Jan Vertonghen. It's TRUE! I read about it on Twitter!

Dispatches from #batcountry is a daily series at Cartilage Free Captain where we examine ridiculous transfer rumors found on the internet and tell you why you shouldn't believe them. Why #batcountry? Because our own author The Sleeper's Sleep wrote a brilliant article last summer comparing the Silly Season™ to a scene from Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

You ever have one of those days where the internet just pisses you off on a cosmic scale?  Twitter and various websites, including SBNation's own Barcelona Blaugranes, are absolutely on fire suggesting that Barça have made a €27m bid for Tottenham center-half Jan Vertonghen, whom Spurs signed from Ajax last summer for £11m.

Wait, what?  A Spanish club with more money than God is coming in for one of our best players?  When has THAT ever happened before?  How could he possibly turn down the prestige of moving to one of the biggest clubs in the world? Could happen!

But guys, this is beyond #batcountry.  Almost all of the papers and blogs reporting on this story are referencing Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws as the source, but there's absolutely no record of a Vertonghen-to-Barça story anywhere on the paper's website.  Or on their Facebook.  Or in their Twitter feed.  In short, nobody really knows where this rumor originated.  It appears to be one of those "emerged-fully-formed-from-the-skull-of-Zeus" rumors.  I don't believe it, and neither should you.

Also, Tottenham has virtually zero incentive to sell Jan.  After selling Steven Caulker, the club is down to three senior CBs, with two of them (Vertonghen and Michael Dawson) currently injured and one (Younes Kaboul) coming back from a season-long knee injury.  We saw against Monaco what happens when we run out of center backs.  Jan moved from Ajax last summer and all indications are that he has been extremely happy at the club.  Why Tottenham would even consider selling one of their best players in a position of need not named Gareth Bale is beyond me.  Sure, Barça could offer stupid money, but as we've seen that hasn't exactly worked to Real Madrid's advantage in the Gareth Bale transfer saga, either.

So, sure Barça, you can have Jan Vertonghen.  For, say, £40m.  No, make it £50m.  No, £85m and Christian Tello.  Actually, just go away; surely there's a rake-stepping Brazilian Simpsons character in London that you can try and convince to join your club, right?

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