This week’s Rumor Redux is full of flip-floppers. Not necessarily on the pitch, but inside their own heads. Plenty of big names originally rumored to do one thing, have now gone a complete 180. And since this isn’t the X Games, we at Rumor Redux have done all the hard work for you (as usual), to figure out who’s staying and who’s leaving. From Germany to England, and Italy to Iceland, here are your Top 10 rumors of the week, distilled Rumor Redux style:
Martin Skrtel, D, Liverpool
Rumor: Liverpool to Manchester City. Likelihood: Nuh-uh. All sorts of nonsense seem to have been said about the Slovakian center-back in the last week or so. He’s supposedly joining Manchester City as a stand-in for Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott rather than first choice at Liverpool. We don’t buy that one. His oily agent has come out with the line that Skrtel is keen to discuss his future with Brendan Rodgers to find out his thoughts. Oh, and while we’re at it he might just have a chat about a new contract for the man voted Liverpool’s player of the season. Get the picture? He’s staying.
Javi Martinez, M, Athletic Bilbao
Rumor: Athletic Bilbao to Bayern Munich. Likelihood: Almost a done deal, until… There have been several reports that all but confirmed Javi Martinez’s transfer from Bilbao to Bayern Munich, and we were convinced until his agent told us “There is no deal between Javi Martinez and Bayern Munich.” Ok, fair enough. But we have seen this all before, an agent doesn’t want to show his hand until all the cards are on the table and the deal is done. It makes too much sense for Bayern to go after Martinez considering the swirling rumors about Schweinsteiger bolting for Chelsea. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, so don’t be surprised if Martinez’s agent revises his statement in the near future.
Gylfi Sigurdsson, MF, Hoffenheim
Rumor: Hoffenheim to Tottenham. Likelihood: We still think he’ll join Liverpool. OK, so there isn’t a manager at Tottenham yet but that still hasn’t stopped tongues from wagging about Iceland star Sigurdsson. Spurs are hoping to muscle in on Sigurdsson’s apparent move to Liverpool, who in turn are doing the dirty on Swansea by scuppering their bid. This is an interesting one. The Rumor Redux gang are convinced Luka Modric will be leaving the Lane so chairman Daniel Levy and his cohorts are looking around for a suitable replacement and they’ll obviously have cash to spend. By all accounts Tottenham have offered a better package than the Reds so they seem to be in the box seat but we reckon Brendan Rodgers’ relationship with the player – and a bit more cash - could convince him to make a move to Anfield.
Salomon Rondon, W, Malaga
Rumor: Malaga to the Premier League. Likelihood: Quite possible. Malaga striker Salomon Rondon has garnered a lot of attention in this offseason, as the young scorer is reportedly being courted by three Premier League clubs in Liverpool, Chelsea, and Tottenham, as well as some unnamed German squads. It would serve Liverpool well to ante up for the 22-year old, as he has netted 24 goals in his last two seasons, and would give the Reds some much needed youth and offense up front. Rondon will be an expensive acquisition, with Malaga reportedly demanding £20 million for his services. But that is an investment Liverpool needs to make… or risk being tortured for years to come by Rondon wearing a Spurs or Blues rags.
Fabio Borini, F, Roma
Rumor: Roma to Liverpool. Likelihood: Signs point to ‘yes.’ Similar to the rumors that Liverpool is after Malaga’s Salomon Rondon, they are also in the hunt for Roma striker Fabio Borini. With a much cheaper pricetag than Rondon, Borini also would provide a young, fresh face that Liverpool can hope to build around. The 21-year-old scored 9 goals in 24 games this season with Roma and has twice played under new Liverpool coach Brendan Rodgers (with Chelsea and on loan at Swansea). He’s quick, has great vision, and plays unselfish football. This seems like just the guy that Liverpool could rest their hopes on for the future. Look for them to make a strong push for the Italian.
Hatem Ben Arfa, W, Newcastle
Rumor: Newcastle to Chelsea or Arsenal. Likelihood: 51/49. It’s always fun when two rivals are interested in the same player, and the only reason seems to be that both teams just want to prevent the other from making the acquisition. That seems to be the case with the Hatem Ben Arfa rumors with Chelsea and Arsenal. Neither club really has a strong need for Ben Arfa, and there are seemingly better options out there. But neither club wants to let the other win the Ben Arfa “sweepstakes,” if for any other reason than bragging rights. In the end, if we had to make a prediction (which we do), we would say the Blues will probably nab the Frenchman, just to keep Arsenal from improving ever so slightly.
Andre- Villas Boas, manager, unemployed
Rumor: Unemployed to Tottenham Likelihood: It’s still on AVB spat his dummy out last week when he discovered that Spurs had the audacity to be holding talks with candidates other than him. He reportedly threatened to end negotiations and claimed that all the speculation surrounding him and the vacancy were “lies”. Quite what he meant by that is anyone’s guess, but speculation is also rife that France coach Laurent Blanc is also in the frame, Fabio Capello too by all accounts. Villas-Boas is still odds-on with the bookmakers to become Harry Redknapp’s replacement and while that’s not a guarantee we think the Portuguese is likely to be back in London for the start of the season.
Gareth Bale, MF, Tottenham
Rumor: Tottenham to Barcelona/Manchester City Likelihood: He’s staying…for now There’s no doubt that Gareth Bale deserves to be seen on the Champions League stage, something cruelly denied the Wales winger by Chelsea’s penalty shootout victory against Bayern Munich in May. Stories have been emerging that Bale has gone on holiday to decide his future (note, he hasn’t JUST gone on holiday for a break after a long season he’s gone away to think about life away from WHL). No sooner has Bale been considering a move then another story materialises from a ‘source’ to say he will stay at Tottenham for another season. Bale is under contract until 2015 so Spurs will command a sizeable fee even if he doesn’t extend his deal. We think he’ll hang around for a bit to see if he can propel Spurs back into Europe’s elite competition.
Edinson Cavani, F, Napoli
Rumor: Napoli to Juventus. Likelihood: Nope. There’s no doubting the special talent of the Uruguay international which has prompted the usual links with all and sundry, including (surprise, surprise) Manchester City. Latest to emerge from the pack is Serie A champion Juventus, who are obviously in a position to offer Cavani Champions League football next season, unlike Napoli, whose fifth-placed finish guarantees them nothing more than the Europa League group stage. No matter, Cavani is unequivocal about his desire to stay at Napoli and that’s good enough for us. Let’s hope Hamsik and Lavezzi make the same decision.
Carlos Tevez, F, Manchester City
Rumor: Manchester City to Real Madrid. Likelihood: Yeah, we've heard of this one before. It seems like only a few minutes ago that Carlos Tevez was saying how settled he is in England and that he wants to stay at Premier League champion Manchester City. Now, a story has emerged that Real Madrid is preparing to make a ‘shock’ £25 million move for the moody Argentine (why is that a shock exactly?). Let’s face it, Roberto Mancini might fool us into thinking he’s kissed and made up with Carlos... we all know better than that. If he could swap Tevez for Van Persie (ie pay the same amount of cash for RVP that he receives for Tevez) he’d do it tomorrow. That would leave Wenger looking a bit short but with Podolski and Giroud (nearly) on board he might just get over it. Maybe not…