COMMENT: Weird story of the week has to be David de Gea and these doubts about his Manchester United contract - not that we're questioning the validity of the report...
Indeed, in terms of recent history, you can see this story originating from inside Old Trafford. These stupid, self-destructive leaks. They just can't help themselves, can they? The word now is that United are seriously considering allowing De Gea to come off contract in June.
Just when the place appears back on track. Just when their most experienced and long-serving player has shaken off his early season stutters. Someone inside the boardroom blows it all up. The reason, of course, is finance. But even that makes little sense given the money that would be needed to replace the Spaniard.
That it is even on the table is ridiculous. De Gea doesn't want to go. Nor does Erik ten Hag want to see his goalkeeper leave. And if the budgeting is really so tight, why create a problem which will need cash to fix when there's other priority positions to be strengthened?
Of course, it could be flyer. Or perhaps Jordan Pickford's reps have been putting it about to bring Everton to the table. England's No1 having been mentioned as a potential replacement. But this is the modern day United. Even when things are running as they should, there's always someone, somewhere, inside the place dissatisfied and wanting to let the world know about it.
"Disgusting". "Downright disrespectful". That's how Gary Neville, the former Manchester United captain, described the leaks coming out of Carrington last season. For this column, for this story, as we said, this latest round is simply stupid.
Put a deal in front of De Gea today and he'll sign it. He said as much in preseason. Now 31 and over a decade into his stay, De Gea says he gets homesick for Manchester when visiting family in Madrid. He's United through and through. A stalwart. A cornerstone for this new team Ten Hag is building. And it's a team he is eager to be part of.
"I didn't talk with anyone yet but of course, I would be really happy to be here for as long as they want because I want to be here for more years," he said at the beginning of preseason, before declaring United could be the final club of his career, "Yeah, if it's possible, of course. If they let me stay here I will stay here, for sure. I'm really comfortable, really happy and hopefully, before I leave we can win something."
To a man, those making the decisions at United should be welcoming this. Not only does De Gea's commitment end the danger of a new transfer headache, but it's also an endorsement of Ten Hag's plans and what is now being put in place.
And for the manager, the feeling is mutual. The Dutchman, like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer before him, choosing De Gea over Dean Henderson. A decision, given the outburst of Nottingham Forest's on-loan No1, which has effectively ended the England international's United career.
"It's clear - his experience helps us a lot," said Ten Hag less than a fortnight ago. "He organises and he leads the back four. It's really important to give the team the right mentality and the attitude to win games."
Of course, if it's not someone inside the board room, you can always count on a disgruntled player from United's dressing room letting it all hang out. Preceding De Gea's contract story we had claims of Harry Maguire blaming the goalkeeper for his current form woes. Again, it's the stuff of third parties, but the suggestion is that United's captain has complained about De Gea's communication.
But much like the board threat - which would need a massive outlay to replace the keeper - Maguire has only done himself damage letting this story get out. The form of Lisandro Martinez has made a difference. As has the fitness of Raphael Varane. But it's no coincidence that United have surged up the table with a defensive apex of natural Spanish speakers. If Maguire is unhappy with De Gea's "communication", it all appears fine for Lisandro and the former Real Madrid defender Varane. Indeed, as mentioned, the England defender's moans fly in the face of his manager's impressions of De Gea: "He organises and he leads the back four".
So truthful? Perhaps. Weird? Definitely. Self-destructive? Absolutely. De Gea doesn't deserve these doubts. Ten Hag doesn't need them. And the team will be weaker should these leaks and this story gain traction.
Manchester United has no need - and also no resources - for a new goalkeeper. The decision from within to unsettle De Gea is the height of stupidity. And just another sign of how much more needs to change to get this club back on track.