There are a few unhappy faces at some of the world’s biggest clubs, according to this week’s Rumor Mill. Maybe it’s because the nights are drawing in and the weather is getting chillier, although the likelier explanation is that that’s the cold wind of being frozen out of a coach’s first-team plans. That’s certainly the case for one of the stars at Real Madrid in this week’s top 10. And which band do we have to help us flesh out all this wild speculation? They were up for best world stage performance at the MTV Europe Music Awards but were pipped by Linkin Park. They may not be brothers but they do have a magic potion. They're the pride of Akron, Ohio. They are The Black Keys.
RUMOR: NEWCASTLE TO ROMA LIKELIHOOD: He’ll leave eventually Cabaye may have been unhappy with the failure to secure a move to Arsenal over the summer – so much so that he effectively went on strike – but the whole merry-go-round could start all over again in January. These days Cabaye is back in favor with management and the fans, but that hasn’t stopped the French midfielder being linked with a move to Roma, who are coached by his former manager at Lille, Rudi Garcia. There are other clubs in the mix too. Liverpool are thought to be interested, while Arsenal have not given up hope of signing him. He may not go in January but expect another battle in the summer.
Lucas Leiva/Cesar Azpilicueta
RUMOR: JOINING NAPOLI LIKELIHOOD: Fat chance One rumor doing the rounds last week was that Napoli boss Rafa Benitez was planning to raid two of his former clubs to boost his squad. The countdown is on before January’s transfer window arrives, and the talk is that Benitez is looking at Liverpool midfielder Lucas and Chelsea left-back Cesar Azpilicueta. Lucas doesn’t look the force he was before his anterior cruciate ligament injury but he remains a regular starter under Brendan Rodgers. Azpilicueta has gone from strength to strength and has replaced Ashley Cole at left-back in the last two games. Rafa may have to look elsewhere.
RUMOR: CHELSEA TO TORONTO FC LIKELIHOOD: Could join MLS one day Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe was linked with a move to Toronto in last week’s Rumor Mill column, and this week it is the turn of Chelsea forward Samuel Eto’o. The MLS side are making ambitious noises in their bid to bring quality Designated Players to Canada but can they achieve their ambitions? We can remember when Eto’o set the world alight at Barcelona and Inter Milan but the same can’t quite be said about his time at Stamford Bridge. Eto’o’s career is clearly coming to an end, and we can see him seeing out his career at MLS, maybe next year, but it depends on Mourinho’s transfer dealings over the next 10 months.
RUMOR: ZENIT ST PETERSBURG TO TOTTENHAM LIKELIHOOD: Hmmm… Liverpool played Fulham at the weekend. Result? 23 shots, four goals. Tottenham hosted Newcastle. Result? 24 shots, no goals. Sure, Dutch goalkeeper Tim Krul had a blinder, but there is no mistaking that Andre Villas-Boas is the desperate man that needs another forward. One man on the lips of the UK speculators is Hulk, simply because he told a magazine that he would like to be reunited with AVB one day. The pair spent a very successful spell at Porto, and one paper suggests the pair could be together again in January. Spurs need to get their skates on if the deal is to become a reality, and we don’t think the desire is there.
RUMOR: BARCELONA TO MANCHESTER CITY LIKELIHOOD: Has other fish to fry Strange times, indeed, at Manchester City. England’s number one goalkeeper Joe Hart has been relegated to the bench following a string of high-profile mistakes, and his return to the starting line-up does not look like materializing any time soon. His demotion has led to inevitable speculation about a potential replacement. One name doing the rounds is Victor Valdes, who is out of contract at Camp Nou at the end of the season. However, it is thought that the Spain keeper has already agreed a deal with big-spending Monaco.
RUMOR: REAL MADRID TO MANCHESTER CITY LIKELIHOOD: Still has time to prove himself Isco started life at Real Madrid like a house on fire. But ever since the world-record arrival of Gareth Bale, the former Malaga forward’s star has started to wane. Carlo Ancelotti clearly prefers Luka Modric to Isco, who has played just 13 minutes in Real Madrid’s last three games. We haven’t heard anything to suggest Isco is unhappy and that he wants to be reunited with Manuel Pellegrini at the Etihad. Although we’re not saying the rumors are lies, we prefer to hold our collective tongues before saying this is a potential deal.
RUMOR: BORUSSIA DORTMUND TO MANCHESTER UNITED LIKELIHOOD: Real Madrid also in the mix This is less of a rumor and more of a piece of advice from a former employee. Former Manchester United first-team coach Rene Meulensteen was asked which midfielder the Red Devils should sign and his answer was unequivocal. It’s just got to be Ilkay Gundogan, was his reply. The Germany international has been out of action since August with a back injury that is expected to keep him out until the end of the year. Despite the lay-off, Irfan Gundogan, the player’s father and agent, has had to deny a report that Real Madrid have a preferential option on his son. Dortmund won’t want to let another of their prized assets go so they will be keen to tie him down to a new deal.
RUMOR: REAL MADRID TO ARSENAL LIKELIHOOD: Momentum gathering When your number two striker is Nicklas Bendtner you know it’s time to get busy in the transfer market. Hernandez may be out of reach at Old Trafford, but the talk of the town is that Arsenal have reignited their interest in summer target Benzema, whose agent has met twice with Galatasaray to discuss a deal. However, the $44 million asking price is thought to be out of reach for the Turkish side. We wonder whether Real Madrid’s willingness to offload Benzema is linked to their pursuit of Liverpool striker Luis Suarez. However, Benzema is not the only one on Wenger’s radar. Fernando Llorente has also been cited as a possible candidate to help out Giroud in the forward department, but that deal seems unlikely judging by Juventus’ stance.
RUMOR: MANCHESTER UNITED TO ARSENAL LIKELIHOOD: Unlikely Last week the Rumor Mill gang had its say on the future of Chicharito but the speculation hasn’t stopped. Arsenal’s search for a striker to ease the burden on Olivier Giroud is well known and they have now turned their attention to the Mexican – a classic penalty area poacher. Hernandez may be yearnin’ for a move, but would United be prepared to sell to their title rivals? Sure, United finally managed to sign Robin Van Persie from the Gunners, but the chances of it happening the other way round are slim.
RUMOR: PSG TO PREMIER LEAGUE LIKELIHOOD: We don’t buy it Uruguay striker Cavani is apparently unhappy with playing second fiddle to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has been unplayable this season. A quick look at Cavani’s goal-scoring record of 11 goals from 16 games this season doesn’t suggest he has a heavy soul in the French capital. PSG are flying in Ligue 1 and the Champions League so why would he want to move? Unless we hear differently this one is a non-starter, so the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City can hold on to their cash for now.