Exclusive: Joe Cole has signed a deal with Arsenal

Joe ColeIT’S not that I’m bitter or anything, no no noooo, no, not that at all, no. And we all know soccerball journalism has to be taken with a pinch of salt, especially when it comes to the transfer market.

But just look at former undercover Evening Standard reporter Wayne Veysey’s confidence in his tale about Joe Cole (HAVERSTOCK, Haverstock, Haverstock..) signing for Arsenal. Writing now for Goal.com, he scooped the world on June 10, 2010 with this:

‘Revealed: Joe Cole has signed a contract to join Arsenal after World Cup 2010

* Deal agreed in principle before player flew out to the World Cup.
* England midfielder’s move will be completed if he passes full medical.
* Three-year, £80,000-a-week contract laden with incentives.’

The sensational free transfer has been kept under wraps by both parties because the agreement is dependent on Cole being able to prove his fitness when he returns from the World Cup.

Goal.com UK understands that Cole was put through his paces in a basic medical on Monday of last week, which was enough to convince manager Arsene Wenger to tie him to a deal that wards off other clubs.’

You can see the rest of it HERE.

One slight hitch. As we all know Cole signed for Arsenal Liverpool this week after a summer of tarting about negotiations. So cue, a long explanation about how it was perfectly reasonable to report that Cole might be soon wearing an Arsenal shirt. In journalism law, is that what’s known as a Reynolds defence…?

The practice of breaking football stories online and sometimes a spot of spectacular tittle-tattle too  is, however, interesting and ultimately important on a local level too. Those tales consistently top the most read pages on local newspaper websites. There can be a breaking story about a political scandal at a local authority, really important stuff but, nah, the website hits will normally always be dwarfed by a story about Arsenal or Spurs. Every second somebody is punching the clubs’ names into Google, a gloriously expanded version of the transfer gossip you used to get out of Teletext, in olden days before the internet.

Of course, I haven’t seen the web figures for other local newspapers in north London but I’ll betcha they get more hits for numb stories like Arsene Wenger: I think we can do well and Harry: We can win cup than anything that mentions council, parliament, etc. It shows how hard the transfer for local news from print to web will be.

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