Ukrainian winger Yehven Konoplyanka is out of contract this summer. He nearly transferred to Liverpool for £15m last year, and now he should be available on a free. Tottenham have been vaguely linked to him as silly season has begun, along with other Premier League clubs including Liverpool, Stoke, Everton and West Ham. Today comes a report in the Metro that the deal is basically done with terms agreed, and the only delay will be waiting for Konoplyanka's club FC Dnipro to compete in the Europa League final.
And now reports in Ukraine say an agreement has been reached for Konoplyanka to move to White Hart Lane this summer.
The terms haven’t been fully disclosed, but it’s claimed an announcement will be made in the coming days.
While obviously no one trusts the Metro's original reporting, a story coming from Ukraine sounds like real news! It would be, that is, if the Metro article weren't dishonest in its framing of the story.
The link goes to what appears to be a major FC Dnipro fan site. The story in question, run through the google machine, cites multiple times "the British press" without any links. So this is not new reporting from Ukraine which the Metro has uncovered.
I tried to find whatever the original report in "the British press" might be and I have three possibilities, none of which actually report an agreement.
1) It could be this report from the Daily Mail which merely said that Konoplyanka is believed to favor Tottenham. It's not that long a walk to "agreed in principle" from "believed to favor" if you're the right kind of fan site.
2) There was also a story in the Sun that Spurs were hopeful of signing the Dnipro winger. So that could be part of it, too.
3) This is my favorite. I found out about the story in the Sun from a report... in the Metro. The Metro told me that Spurs were "desperate to sign" Konoplyanka and hopeful they could get a pre-contract hashed out. Since the fan site is specifically talking about a new contract and the Metro article is also insinuating a new contract will be worked out, this seems like the strongest possibility.
So the etymology of this rumor would be as follows. The Sun says some stuff about Spurs and Kono, likely with minimal sourcing. The Metro runs with it and probably exaggerates the links. A Ukrainian fan site picks up the story from the Metro and cites the British press as its source while significantly exaggerating the progress of contract talks. The Metro then takes this story, obfuscates its sourcing and claims to be sharing original Ukrainian reporting with its readers.
It's not impossible that this is all somewhere in the region of true. Konoplyanka has enough of a pedigree it's not crazy that Paul Mitchell might rate him. Certainly a good player on a free transfer is a Spurs-y target. But the sourcing of this story goes beyond hazy into the realm of the objectively dishonest. Don't trust the Metro.