As the year comes to a close, the awards have all been handed out and the approaching January transfer window, now less than a week away, looms, ready to swing open and waft a big gust of hot air in your face.
If the all-consuming miasma of rumours, half truths and fatuous inventions is anything to go by, then Arsenal boss Arsène Wenger has already set up in his tent in front of the window, and camped out overnight like an idiot waiting for the iPhone 7.
Most transfer signings have fairly little overall effect on a club's fortunes in isolation, and yet gain so much wider and more impassioned coverage than core footballing issues such as player development and training methods. Spending truly is the new measure of success in football, success earned at a hot fax machine, not through hard work in training and disciplined application in matches.
Insider transfer information is thin on the ground, so what you read will have been pieced together from hints dropped by the club or player, made up by agents, or simply surmised from perceived gaps in a team's squad. As such, Wenger will reportedly be hitting the post-Christmas sales, with a shopping list scrawled in spidery cursive on a ripped-off piece of wrapping paper containing no less than one defender, one defensive midfielder, several attacking midfielders, a striker, and the latest version of Call of Duty.
Wenger has previously been critical of the mid-season window, and his January buys to date have been minimal, stop-gaps to plug a gaping hole in a crisis, so don't feel let down when the papers don't unwrap that shiny new player you were hoping for. That said, I know as little as the next guy you will be reading, the only difference is that I'm telling you as much.
It's starting to look like the transfer story for at least the start of the window will be the status of Arsenal's German striker Lukas Podolski. Wenger has already, in a French television interview, denied any interest in letting the World Cup winner leave in January, and has today moved to deny this once again in the face of heightened rumours of a loan move to Inter Milan.
Podolski's possible departure is one of the aforementioned moves that has been surmised by the press by piecing together a number of evident factors. He reportedly has 18 months left on his contract, and previous history seems to suggest that Arsenal prefer to sell players in similar situations rather than let them leave for nothing when their contracts expire. As Wenger said this morning, from Arsenal's perspective, a loan move for a 29-year-old player makes little sense.
Kicking his heels
Podolski has spent the vast majority of this season watching on from the sidelines, and has at times mentioned his frustration at not getting more chances to play. Arsenal have plenty of options in attack, with Giroud, Alexis, Welbeck, Campbell and even Sanogo seemingly preferred by Wenger, with Walcott also set to return from injury soon.
The German international is an experienced and highly paid player, and so the assumption is that he will leave. Will he? Very few people have any clue at this point, but Wenger was unequivocal in his denial of interest from Inter this morning, saying "That is a joke. Inter Milan is not serious. It is nothing serious. They talk, there is only talk".
Podolski has never really found his top form at Arsenal, but has scored some crucial goals for the club, and with 31 goals from 81 appearances, his scoring record is decent. In the 2012/13 season, his first at Arsenal, Podolski made 33 league appearances. However this declined to 20 appearances last season, and the German has made only six league appearances this time round.
The problem for Podolski is that, despite his wonderful left foot, he no longer puts in enough work defensively for Wenger's liking, and no longer fits into the manager's plans for a team that is much changed since the World Cup winner arrived. Wenger has in fact hinted at a lack of application and motivation from the German since he won football's biggest prize in the summer.
Whatever happens to Podolski, his spell in London will be remembered by fans for his great work in his first season at the club, some memorable goals - and for the sense of humour which has made him the joker in the pack.
An Arsenal fan who now lives in Spain, John can be found tweeting under the Proven Quality account @provenquality.