A profile page for Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette appears on the official Barcelona website, sparking fears of an impending transfer away from the Emirates.
The Frenchman has enjoyed a successful season with the Gunners and according to reports, attracted the interest of the Catalan giants.
Confused fans stumbled across a profile displaying a generic silhouette with Lacazette’s name and details, which only fuelled suspicions of a potential transfer.
Many recalled how last season, during January, kit sponsors Nike prematurely announced the signing of Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool by mistake.
For people who are confused. Every player that plays against barca gets own page. If change url number. e.g. ttps://www.fcbarcelona.com/en/football/first-team/players/6898 you get player who also played for lyon and so on…
— AFC_Cawley (@AfcCawley) May 15, 2019
However, the reason Lacazette his own statistical profile on Barcelona’s website appears far more innocent.
It is widely suggested that the explanation is that Barcelona have access to a database of players, which in turn feeds through to their official website to create individual stat profiles.
Some suggested this database, presumably powered by an independent data provider, contains names and information on all the players in teams who have faced Barcelona. However, Alexandre Lacazette has himself never gone up against the Blaugrana.
Rather, it appears that by simply altering the four numbers in the URL, users are taken to profiles for the player associated with the four-digit sequence. Stockport County midfielder Jake Kirby, for example, shows up if 9900 is inserted.
These codes correspond to profiles that can be found on the Premier League’s official website – for example, 6899 is the sequence associated with Lacazette’s profile on both websites – suggesting the two sites share the same Application Programming Interface (API) to process the information or a data source.
Lacazette has performed well for Arsenal this season, with his second full campaign in England resulting in the 27-year-old scoring 19 goals in 48 matches across all competitions. This has earned him the club’s Player of the Season award for 2018/19.
The forward has previously told French broadcaster Telefoot that “it’s flattering” to be linked with a club like Barcelona. However, the Arsenal man knows he needs to concentrate all his efforts on the north London club, who are one game away from Champions League qualification despite finishing fifth in the Premier League.
The Gunners face Chelsea in the Europa League final later this month.
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Lacazette joining Arsenal legend Steve Bould in La Liga?
Understandably, the ‘Twitterverse’ went into meltdown as the images seemingly confirmed Lacazette’s departure from English football.
— Mert (@mertalbz) May 15, 2019
— Nak (@Nak__RM) May 15, 2019
However, as news broke that Barcelona tend to upload profiles of a variety of oppositional players onto their website, some saw the funny side.
Wow – Barcelona have uploaded a page on their website for Kevin Roberts. The right-back was recently released from Wrexham. Roberts and Arsenal striker Alexander Lacazette are said to be undergoing a medical together in the stupid world of football twitter. pic.twitter.com/eGTsjKNEj4
— George Elek (@GeorgeElek) May 15, 2019
GFFN highlighting that Barcelona have a page for Alexandre Lacazette, sending everyone into panic mode.
Looks like they have one for Arsenal defender Steve Bould too, evidently opting for experience by adding the 56-year-old to their back line. pic.twitter.com/AkhTSo3SoR
— Dan Critchlow (@afcDW) May 15, 2019