Rumor: Real Madrid to Manchester City// Likelihood: Stop it…please. // Talking points: Sometimes it pays to look beyond the headlines, especially during the transfer window. Manchester City preparing a world-record bid for CR7 is a real head turner but this story has more holes in it than an unlucky soul in an episode of "The Sopranos." City are bothering to prepare a bid if Ronaldo decides to return to England? And would he join the rivals of his former club United? Sure, there would be fireworks if it happened but this match isn’t going to ignite.
AFP/Getty ImagesJOSE JORDAN
Rumor: Real Madrid to Manchester United. // Likelihood: Real fans should pipe down. // Talking points: Some Real Madrid supporters are starting to show restlessness with Bale ever since the Wales international dared to shoot instead of pass to Cristiano Ronaldo during last month’s 3-0 win against Espanyol. Bale then "failed" his audition for the part of starring against Sociedad in the absence of the suspended Ballon d’Or winner. He did not score with any of his 10 shots but his goal rate and assists have been exemplary this season. Be careful what you wish for Madridistas, Bale might just start thinking about Manchester United.
Getty ImagesDenis Doyle
Rumor: Leaving Sampdoria. // Likelihood: Say what?// Talking points: We have a strange encounter to report about Eto’o, whose brief tenure at Sampdoria is already looking uncertain. The former Cameroon international joined Samp from Everton during the transfer window and made his debut at the weekend as a second-half substitute at Torino. Coach Sinisa Mihajlovic is a renowned disciplinarian and wasn’t too impressed by the 5-1 defeat and hauled everyone in for a double dose of training -- except Eto’o didn’t fancy that. Uh oh, we sense trouble.
AFP/Getty ImagesMARCO BERTORELLO
Rumor: Real Madrid to Manchester City. // Likelihood: Non-sense. // Talking points: The first instinct of the Rumor Mill elders is to read transfer gossip cited by the Daily Express and simply turn the page -- and our natural instinct on this rumor is to carry on with this policy. The paper cites "Spanish sources" saying that the Portuguese, whose contract expires in 2016, is prepared to leave the Bernabeu in the summer which has apparently given Manchester City encouragement. It might be a hit play for the Express but it’s a flop with us.
Getty ImagesDenis Doyle
Rumor: Southampton to Arsenal. // Likelihood: Interesting. // Talking points: Schneiderlin has been one of the best midfielders in the Premier League this season and he was widely expected to be one of Southampton’s exit casualties in the summer. However, after much sulking he stayed and helped Saints contend for one of the four available Champions League places. But, L’Equipe is reporting that the France midfielder has agreed a deal to join Arsenal in the summer for reportedly $22 million. Sounds plausible to us.
Action ImagesLee Smith
Rumor: Real Madrid to Chelsea. // Likelihood: Would be tough to get him. // Talking points: Jose Mourinho has made it his one task to find a solid centerback in the summer. Gary Cahill has been temporarily (or not) replaced by Kurt Zouma at the back, and although John Terry is almost certain to be offered another one-year contract, Mourinho is determined to find a long-term solution to his defensive problems. That search has led him to Real Madrid’s door and France defender Varane. There was talk the Blues could make a deadline-day move for Varane but the summer seems more likely. However, we expect Real Madrid to resist any offers.
Real Madrid via Getty ImagesVictor Carretero
Rumor: Hannover to Liverpool. // Likelihood: Not now. // Talking points: Stindl is not a man we know much about but when we read he is being tipped as a potential replacement for Steven Gerrard our eyebrows raised in true Roger Moore style. So would he be a fine suit for the Reds? A quick look at the stats suggests not. 11 goals in 114 appearances, admittedly for a side that has finished mid-table in the Bundesliga over the last few seasons, doesn’t hit us with a sledgehammer. Maybe he’s good enough to play for Liverpool but not as Gerrard’s replacement.
Bongarts/Getty ImagesStuart Franklin
Rumor: Burnley to Manchester City. // Likelihood: Hilarious. // Talking points: We’ve read all sorts of non-sense about Ings, who was said to be the man to replace Edin Dzeko at Manchester City. Holy s***! Dzeko’s scoring record at City, Wolfsburg and Bosnia-Herzegovina is impressive, but Ings isn’t even a full international. Elsewhere, Liverpool were also ready to buy Ings in January and loan him back to the Clarets which it turned out would have been a breach of Premier League rules. In any case, we’re leaning towards a different challenge for Ings. BBC reporter Ian Dennis has been tipped off that Ings has signed a pre-contract agreement with Real Sociedad and will join David Moyes’ men in the summer.
Getty ImagesMichael Steele
Rumor: Roma to Manchester United. // Likelihood: Forget it. // Talking points: Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal clearly has a true affection for the Holland international but the time to talk about a potential move to Old Trafford is now over. The Roma midfielder is out for the season with a knee injury and is starting to develop a reputation for spending more time on the treatment table than on the pitch. A risky investment.
AFP/Getty ImagesMARCELLO PATERNOSTRO
Rumor: West Ham to Tottenham. // Likelihood: Good chance. // Talking points: Now that Arsenal have finally signed a defender they desperately needed the question is this: What’s going to happen to Winston Reid, the West Ham centerback linked with a move to the Emirates? Liverpool and Manchester United were also thought to be interested in the New Zealand international, but Tottenham have apparently moved ahead in offering Reid a seat at the table.