It’s a spicy edition of Rumor Redux this week as we trawl the gossip columns for the best speculation nuggets from around the world. This week we heard the red-hot rumor that Brendan Rodgers is planning a clear-out at Liverpool and of course Roberto Mancini is still looking to freshen up his squad as Manchester City’s grip on the Premier League title continues to slip. We’ve got managerial speculation and one former Premier League player potentially heading to MLS, so who can come to our aid to bring a bit of color to the gossip? They’re red hot...they are of course the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Ten songs by LA’s finest brings flavor to the melting pot.
Pascal Chimbonda, Unattached
RUMOR: Joining Chicago Fire LIKELIHOOD: On the cards It’s been a while since Chimbonda was gracing the Premier League at Tottenham but it seems likely the French defender will be swapping the glamor of Doncaster Rovers (his last club) for MLS. Chimbonda has had his injury problems, but he won’t need to look around for much longer as long as his trial goes to plan.
Christain Benteke, Aston Villa
RUMOR: Aston Villa to Tottenham LIKELIHOOD: He’ll probably go if Villa go down or stay up Universally speaking, Benteke has been a revelation in his debut season in a poor Aston Villa side that will do well to avoid relegation at the end of the season. The former Genk striker has scored 11 Premier League goals and his form has been such that Darren Bent has been warming the bench for most of the campaign. Spurs have been linked with the Belgian, but then so have Chelsea and Arsenal. We don’t think he’s quite the finished article yet and will see how he handles the pressure of a relegation run-in. Keep Villa up and he’ll be a wanted man.
Ashley Williams, Swansea
RUMOR: Swansea to Liverpool LIKELIHOOD: It’s possible Brendan Rodgers has the greatest admiration for the players he left behind in south Wales and one player we can easily see slipping into a ragged defense is Ashley Williams. The Wales skipper is a rock at the back and with doubts surrounding the future of Martin Skrtel and Jamie Carragher retiring at the end of the season it’s feasible that Williams could join Joe Allen at Anfield. Swans boss Michael Laudrup is relaxed about the Reds making a move so we’ll see whether the Merseysiders come up with the cash in the summer.
Rafael Benitez, Chelsea
RUMOR: Leaving Chelsea LIKELIHOOD: Very likely It seems a day doesn’t go by without speculation surrounding the future of poor Rafael Benitez. At the weekend both he and John Terry were forced to deny the two had fallen out earlier in the month. It’s just water under the bridge, according to the Chelsea manager and defender. Benitez hasn’t spoken to club owner Roman Abramovich for at least a month so we expect Benitez’s job title to change from interim coach to unemployed in May.
David Luiz, Chelsea
RUMOR: Chelsea to Barcelona LIKELIHOOD: Is he good enough? We simply can’t stop laughing at the thought of David Luiz joining Barcelona judging by some of his performances in defense. One bit of light about the Brazilian has been his displays in midfield where he has less chance to cause the kind of chaos that characterized his time in the backline. Unless Barca is in need of a defensive midfielder we don’t think there’s much mileage in this rumor.
Mauro Icardi, Sampdoria
RUMOR: Sampdoria to Manchester City LIKELIHOOD: A long way to go Last week City boss Roberto Mancini admitted he is a big fan of Icardi after watching the Sampdoria striker score against Roma. Icardi was thought to have already agreed a move to Inter Milan, but one of Samp’s directors claimed this was far from the case. By the way, before we start getting ahead of ourselves, did we mention that Tottenham and Liverpool are also thought to be interested in the Argentine? We expect plenty of twists and turns before his future is resolved.
Victor Valdes, Barcelona
RUMOR: Barcelona to Arsenal LIKELIHOOD: Expensive All the talk in Monday’s papers centers around Arsene Wenger being handed a £70million war chest for the summer, but we all know that the Frenchman hates spending the club’s money so the likelihood is he will only end up parting with less than half that figure. Arsenal lost to Blackburn at the weekend, so how can we make you feel better Gunners fans? One name to have cropped up is Barcelona keeper Victor Valdes who is likely to be sold in the summer after telling the club he wants to leave. £10m should do the trick, but we expect a lot of movement on the keeper front at the end of the season so we’ll keep our counsel until then.
Nani, Manchester United
RUMOR: Leaving Manchester United LIKELIHOOD: Almost certain Things can’t get much worse for Nani right now. Not only is he out of the Man United team, but his Bentley was involved in a collision with an unmarked police car last week. The Portuguese winger had been hoping to send out a message to prospective clubs against Real Madrid but was left out of the squad by Alex Ferguson. With Wilfried Zaha set to join up with his new teammates in summer, it’s not really a case of if but when Nani leaves Old Trafford, probably in summer.
Gareth Bale, Tottenham
RUMOR: Tottenham to Bayern Munich LIKELIHOOD: Same answer as last week It’s a few months to go before Pep Guardiola takes the reins at Bayern Munich and already tongues are wagging about the players who will be joining him at the Allianz Arena. One name that has been linked with the Bavarian giant is Gareth Bale, who has also been touted as a target for Real Madrid. Of course this is just another version of the Real-Barca rivalry, but everything hinges on where Spurs finish at the end of the season. If they make the top four then Villas-Boas has a realistic chance of keeping the Welsh wizard. If they don’t, there’s no reason why Bale wouldn’t see higher ground and join one of the most exciting teams in the world right now.
Jose Mourinho, Real Madrid
RUMOR: Real Madrid to Paris Saint-Germain. LIKELIHOOD: Why not? This rumor stems from two words from the man himself. When asked whether he would be interested in managing in France, the Real Madrid coach replied: “Why not?” Will the ‘Special One’ move to the home of revolution? (and there is surely only one club that can afford him). We believe Mourinho was just being polite with his answer and still think his next destination is the Premier League.