There hasn’t been a great deal of movement on the transfer front as clubs jockey for position to land their targets. Luis Suarez is still wanted by Arsenal; Gareth Bale remains a target for Real Madrid; Wayne Rooney is pushing for a move to Chelsea. Plus, Cesc Fabregas and Cristiano Ronaldo remain in the news as possible targets for Manchester United. We just wonder when these clubs will raise the white flag of surrender and finally give up on their pursuits. Talking of flags, one band has been in the news this week for their exploits in Russia. Bloodhound Gang were banned from a music festival after bass player Jared Hasselhoff stuffed the Russian flag into his underpants while on stage. Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky described the band as "idiots" and said they were “packing their suitcases” instead of playing at the Kubana festival. Maybe they had a lucky escape? Here are ten tracks by the men from the wonderfully named King of Prussia are in this week’s mix: --Warren Barner
Aleksandar Kolarov, Manchester City
Rumor: Manchester City to Juventus. Likelihood: All depends on Manuel Pellegrini. Kolarov, once touted as the best left back in the world, has spent his three seasons at City fighting for a place in the starting lineup with Gael Clichy. Juventus are apparently plotting a move for the Serbia international, who says he would prefer to stay at the Etihad but accepts he could move on if he doesn’t get enough game time. Will Kolarov go down the Turin route? The defender will have gone a long way to impressing new coach Manuel Pellegrini with his goal against AC Milan so we think he’ll be staying for the time being as the squad is assessed.
Ashley Williams, Swansea City
Rumor: Swansea to Arsenal. Likelihood: Possible and that's it. Williams was linked with a move to Arsenal last season and the rumor resurfaced again at the weekend as Arsene Wenger contemplates the start of the season without any major signings, something diabolical to Gunners fans desperate to challenge for the title. Williams would undoubtedly add steel and good positional sense to Arsenal’s back line but Wenger seems to be focusing all of his energy in a seemingly doomed attempt to Luis Suarez. We’ll wait and see on this one.
Diego Costa, Atletico Madrid
Rumor: Atletico Madrid to Liverpool. Likelihood: Good chance. Many assume that Costa is a replacement for the outgoing Luis Suarez, but is he really? The Reds are lacking in the striker department and want to lighten Suarez’s heavy workload, while Costa looks surplus to requirements at Atletico following the double capture of David Villa (Barcelona) and Leo Baptistao (Rayo Vallecano). The Reds are supposed to have offered £20 million ($30.67 million) for the Brazilian, which seems quite a lot for someone playing second fiddle to Radamel Falcao, but Costa scored 20 goals in 44 appearances last season. It’s tricky for Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, who is looking to improve his squad with the threat of Suarez’s departure hanging over his head. Will Costa be the first-choice striker this season? Liverpool fans will be praying he isn’t.
Bastian Schweinsteiger, Bayern Munich
Rumor: Bayern Munich to Manchester United. Likelihood: Nonsense. Just as we are getting used to the fact that Cesc Fabregas won’t be signing for United a potential alternative emerged over the weekend: Bastian Schweinsteiger. Shut up! This move doesn’t make sense on any level to the elders of the Rumor Mill. The Germany international helped his club achieve the treble of Champions League, Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal last season and now that Pep Guardiola is in charge expectations are even higher. It’s exciting times at the Allianz Arena and we expect Schweinsteiger to play a big part in making Bayern the undisputed best team in the world.
Cesc Fabregas, Barcelona
Rumor: Barcelona to Manchester United. Likelihood: Dead in the water – or is it? Arsene Wenger seems to have had the final word on one of the transfer sagas of the summer when he said that Fabregas would stay at Barcelona for at least one more season which would hit Manchester United’s hopes of signing the Spain midfielder. Furthermore, Barcelona sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta has told a Spanish newspaper that United have finally given up in their chase. However, one source claims United are refusing to give up and going to make a third bid despite having no luck. This is stupid. Give up United, and go find someone that actually wants to play for you.
Gareth Bale, Tottenham Hotspur
Rumor: Tottenham to Real Madrid. Likelihood: Situation a movable feast. This hardly belongs to the world of rumor but we now have a warfare situation in which both clubs are preparing for a month-long battle by digging deep trenches. Bale has not publicly said he wants to leave Spurs, who obviously want to keep the Wales international. Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has heightened the tension by saying the clubs are in transfer talks over a potentially record offer, something denied by Andre Villas-Boas, who says the clubs are merely talking because they have mutual respect for each other. Hats off to Spurs, traditionally a selling club, for refusing to be bullied. This one will rumble on for the whole of August – and possibly beyond.
Luis Suarez, Liverpool
Rumor: Liverpool to Arsenal. Likelihood: We think he’ll stay – under duress. Liverpool fans gave Arsenal target Suarez a rapturous reception when he came on as a sub during Steven Gerrard’s testimonial against Olympiacos at the weekend although the Uruguayan didn’t seem to be in the mood to reciprocate the adulation in an open training session on Monday. There are those at Liverpool that think Suarez is a jackass for his behavior over the last couple of seasons and those who believe he is much maligned, but whatever your theory there is no doubting the man’s talent - so much so that Brendan Rodgers claimed that the former Ajax striker is worth a figure close to that being touted for Gareth Bale. Keep trying, Brendan! Suarez still has three years left to run on his contract and that gives Liverpool the upper hand.
Marouane Fellaini, Everton
Rumor: Everton to Manchester United. Likelihood: Pretty much in the bag. It’s all gone quiet on the Fellaini front but that doesn’t mean things are going on behind the scenes. In our view this is only going to end one way and that’s with the Belgium international finally getting his wish to play for a Champions League club. Whether this will satisfy United fans’ hopes for a big-name signing is open to question but in our view Fellaini is a quality player and would being much-needed energy, tenacity and threat at set-pieces which has been lacking in recent seasons.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid
Rumor: Real Madrid to Manchester United. Likelihood: Not impossible, but it’s dragging on. Will Ronaldo take the long way home by returning to Old Trafford for another spell? The idea isn’t too far fetched although we accept that the Portugal international is more likely to stay at Real Madrid. Should United sell Wayne Rooney for, say, £40 million ($61 million) it would probably cost an extra £30 million to lure Ronaldo back to Manchester (both players have two years left on their contracts). The difference would be the amount United are willing to spend on Cesc Fabregas but it all depends on whether Ronaldo wants to return and whether Real wants to sell. At the moment, Ronaldo has refused to say whether he has agreed a five-year deal. We’re just talking here!
Wayne Rooney, Manchester United
Rumor: Manchester United to Chelsea. Likelihood: Something’s gotta give. Chelsea is turning up the heat in its determined battle to bring Rooney to Stamford Bridge. United has turned down a second bid from the Blues for the unhappy England international, who is expected to hand in an official transfer request so that he can force a move from Old Trafford. So could it happen? Hell yeah! Rooney apparently has a shoulder injury which forced him to miss the friendly with AIK Stockholm. Coincidence? Suspicious minds at the Rumor Mill think there’s something else going on. United won’t want to get rid of Rooney without having a replacement in mind – even if it’s not Cesc Fabregas – so this story isn’t done yet, even if United say their man is not for sale.