I spent a part of Sunday evening emailing folk in China.
It was largely unsuccessful.
I started off in the UK with an academic who has a published interest in professional football in China.
He was very helpful and promptly replied to each of my emails.
Finally, he put me in touch with a well-connected British journalist who is based in Shanghai.
Is sent him the following email:
I am researching a story about a Colombian player (currently in Scotland) possibly being the target of a transfer bid by the Chinese club Beijing Renhe.
I have sources that doubt the veracity of this reportage and I wanted to verify this piece.
Do Chinese clubs have media relations people as they do in Europe?
His reply was prompt and unambiguous.
Here it is:
They’re not going to have media people who speak English. To be honest, the vast majority of these rumours are total bollocks, mostly made up by agents and/or bored journos, since it is almost impossible to check the stories and there is enough buzz about Chinese money to make literally any rumour at least somewhat believable.
Additionally, Renhe already has their full quote of foreign players so they would have to get rid of someone at this stage to make way for any new player. In other words, I think you’re right to be extremely skeptical!
I related this attempt to stand up the Morelos China story to a Scottish journalist today.
For the avoidance of doubt, he is certainly not among the ranks of the Stenography Corps.
He told me that he had recently occasioned upon young Master Murts himself and that he had asked him about the Morelos story.
Like your humble correspondent the chap in Scotland was not able to elicit anything that resembled solid proof.
I am left with the worrying possibility that if you wanted to fabricate a story that a club was interested in your player then setting the fable in China is probably a smart move.