Craven Cottage on a Premier League Saturday echoed to the aftermath of a vibrant Fulham v Arsenal match but there are still murmurs in the distance and the atmosphere is not quite clear, or even wholesome.
There are two tales that hummed in the background of Arsenal's comfortable victory in south London and both dominate the English football world, though they have a particular resonance north of the river. They concern the likely whereabouts in the immediate future of Gareth Bale, the extraordinary talent at Tottenham Hotspur, and the travails and possibly travels of Arsene Wenger, manager of Arsenal.
The Bale case is the easier to discuss with some certainty. The 24-year-old is likely to sign for Real Madrid this week with only the fee and the payment method to be decided. It was thus instructive to be in Stratford on a London morning and at Craven Cottage in the afternoon. Both spots were marked by having players who had left the Premier League for Real Madrid.
At the BT studios in the Olympic Park, Steve McManaman, the former Liverpool player, was enthusiastic about Bale's proposed move, while Michael Owen, also an Anfield name, emerged from a truck bristling with satellite equipment to advise the young Welshman to take the opportunity of a lifetime. Both were more cautious over Wenger's prospects despite Arsenal recovering from a dispiriting defeat by Aston Villa at home by winning at Fenerbahce, then against Fulham.
However, Bale was first on the agenda, with a move to Real Madrid the stroke of a pen away. The economics will be left to others, as McManaman and Owen were more concerned with the individual and the experience he will face.
But it may be worth noting that Spanish sources insist the deal will be worth in the region of €200m once agent fees and the player's wages are factored in. In a Spain where banks are failing, where the economy is flatlining and where unemployment remains doggedly high, the Bale bill seems obscene but it stands as an unnecessary reminder of how planet football revolves to rules beyond the comprehension of most.
Gerardo Martino, the Barcelona coach, has said the deal shows a "lack of respect to the world" in the wake of the financial meltdown. Cynics will point out that Barcelona are prepared to pay a similar sum, admittedly on two players rather than one, with David Luiz of Chelsea sought to join Neymar.
McManaman, padding around on the pitch installed in BT's studios, turned his mind to the Welshman.
"They are a Champions League team and he is playing the best football of his career," said the former wide man. "If he goes, it should be a great move for him. It is a wonderful place to live. I still have a house in Spain."
Indeed, in the heart of east London, McManaman was contemplating a dinner reservation that night back in Spain, a country he described as "an opportunity to go and explore," and a place where he won two European Cups with Real, after joining them in 1999.
"It enabled me to learn a different language and experience a different culture, and I was desperate to do that. It was hard for me to make the decision to leave Liverpool because I was a local boy but I was driven by the desire to go to a foreign country and learn different things, and that was exactly what I did.
"The fact that I still spend a lot of time in Spain shows what an impact it made. It is a wonderful country with a marvellous way of life, particularly if you have children."
Bale will be joined on his adventure by his partner, Emma Rhys-Jones, and their 10-month-old daughter, Alba Violet. "Hopefully, he will thoroughly enjoy himself. I have no problem about what he will do on the pitch because he's a great player," said McManaman, before showing a decent turn of pace and rushing to his seat in time to preview the Fulham-Arsenal match.
Owen, his co-commentator, was similarly positive on what Bale could expect and how he will perform for Real. "I was the same age when I went to Spain," said the striker, who played 36 times for Madrid in 2004 and 2005. "It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and if I was advising him I would tell him to take it. I decided to leave Liverpool because of the temptation of that stadium, that badge, that history. I just felt I wanted to do it."
He did warn Bale, though, to sort out a home quickly so that off-field life is stable.
The former Liverpool players' predictions of a bright future for Bale contrasted with their more cautious assessments for Arsenal and Wenger. McManaman believes that criticism of Wenger was partially addressed by the wins over Fenerbahce and Fulham. Arsenal, too, should complete qualification to the group stages of the Champions League tomorrow with the home leg against the Turks.
However, McManaman believes tougher tasks lie ahead for the north London team. Owen, too, was particularly astute in analysing the Arsenal performance on Saturday.
"Arsenal played well today but I thought Fulham made it pretty easy for them," said Owen, seemingly oblivious to the rain as we chatted in a south London side street. "I thought Arsenal could sit back and hit them on the counter attack. Arsenal scored early and that enables you to do that."
However, Owen pinpointed an area that still rankles with Arsenal fans who believe a major move has to be made in the transfer market.
"I am not sure they have the absolute quality going forward that they need when they have to open a team up at home," he said, pointing out both competitive victories this season had been made on the road. "You need lots of different ways to find a way through defences who sit in and I am not sure Arsenal have that at the moment. It was a comfortable day at the office for them but sterner tests lie ahead."
The first of these will consume both Wenger and his support this week as Arsenal seek to recruit a top-class forward and defender. The second of these lies on-field at the Emirates on Sunday when Tottenham Hotspur, infused with Paulinho and Roberto Soldado, visit.
Bale will surely not be there. Wenger, though, will be - but his credentials as a coach and recruiter will be under merciless scrutiny.