A football transfer saga: The highs and lows of doing a deal, in GIF form
It's the heart of the transfer season with tens of millions of pounds changing hands every day. We asked Iain Macintosh to talk us through a transfer via the medium of the GIF.
When the football season ends, there isn't much to do except gossip about football. Or watch tennis. So let's gossip. Who needs what? Who wants to leave? Who's ready for a big move? Who's got money to spend? Keep throwing combinations of players and clubs together and, by the law of averages, you're bound to get one right sooner or later.
In the old days, the first news that a transfer was about to happen came from well connected journalists, painstakingly following up leads. Now we just have to sign up to Instasnapps and see if Dave Thumper's account gets liked by Paolo Trequartista.
Sometimes a footballer might choose to press the issue a little more by tweeting a photograph of himself looking pensive with the caption, "The lion stalks his cage. Captivity is the cruellest of fates." And that's when things go viral.
It used to be possible to quietly arrive at an airport and slip through the terminal without anyone knowing. But everyone has a camera phone now and it's far harder to pass through unnoticed.
Besides, the ladies and gentlemen of the British press corps are still excelling themselves in the discipline of professional Hide & Seek.
But it won't be long before the player in question is stripped down and coughing for the medical staff. And with these young men in the prime of their lives, that means more fodder for the social media grind.
Contract negotiations can be long, protracted affairs. There are just so many issues to cover and so many people to satisfy. Fortunately, most players have golden-hearted agents now who dedicate their lives to putting the wellbeing of the footballer first.
If that doesn't work, you take a hard line to negotiations and refuse to pander to any demands to get the deal done.
When the paperwork is complete, it's time to unveil the player in front of the world's media. And it's important to approach the occasion with the requisite amount of dignity and style.
Sometimes, however, that news conference might be the first time that you get a chance to stop and think about stuff. Stuff like, should I really just have spent £55 million on an injury-prone midfielder with a penchant for pink sports cars and unicorn blood smoothies?
In England, it's traditional for the new signing to pose for a photograph in the stadium, holding a club scarf in the air. In Europe, a certain amount of ball juggling is required in front of the fans. England definitely takes the safer option.
And with the transfer complete, all that remains is to throw the lad on the pitch and have faith that you've invested your money wisely. After all, how bad can he be?
Iain Macintosh covers the Premier League and Champions League for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @IainMacintosh.