“Oh, Manchester, so much to answer for,” moaned Morrissey back in the 1980s when he was both funny and depressing at the same time. What The Smiths’ lead singer would make of this week’s rendition of Rumor Redux is anybody’s guess, but Manchester features heavily in the gallery. City and United hardly go hand in glove, but without them, well heaven knows we’d be miserable. Now, to the top 10 rumors of the week.
Marouane Fellaini, M, Everton
Rumor: Everton to Chelsea. Likelihood: Well, we wonder. Fellaini has been talking about his desire to join an ambitious club, one that can give him his time playing in the Champions League. Obviously, there is no chance of that happening, so he has opened the door to offers coming in for his services. The link that makes sense is Chelsea. There are lots of Belgians at Stamford Bridge, like Hazard, De Bruyne and Lukaku so he’d certainly feel at home. But with Michael Essien on his way back to form, it’s hard to see Fellaini fitting in. He may have to wait for a pay day so that he can get that hair cut.
Kevin Strootman, M, PSV
Rumor:PSV to Manchester United. Likelihood: How soon is now? Interesting. This one certainly makes sense. Darren Fletcher’s future remains unclear as he battles against ulcerative colitis, while Mark van Bommel has returned to PSV which has left Strootman in the dark about his place in the first-team squad. Strootman may not get much game time at Euro 2012 now that Holland is chasing two wins, but Alex Ferguson won’t mind that too much as it means there will be less interest in his target. We like the sounds of Modric pulling the strings and Strootman putting in the hard yards.
Ramires, M, Chelsea
Rumor: Chelsea to Cruzeiro. Likelihood: Please, please, please let me get what I want. Ramires, you’re staying. Ramires is really starting to show why Chelsea splashed the cash and bough him from Benfica two years ago. The Brazilian has reportedly said he would be interested in rejoining the club he left for Benfica, but accepts it would be difficult because he has certainly become an expensive player. Traditionally, Brazilian clubs are selling clubs, feeders for Europe’s elite. Chelsea have just won the Champions League and Ramires played a big part in that triumph. He isn’t going anywhere.
Roberto Mancini, manager, Manchester City
Rumor: Manchester City to Italian national squad Likelihood: This handsome devil will be at City for a few years yet Can you imagine Mancini settling for the easy life with a national squad without the stress of Carlos Tevez or Mario Balotelli? Ah, we forgot. Add to the mix more match-fixing allegations surrounding players in the national set-up and it looks like Mancini would be swapping one headache for another. Mancini is staying, just so he can keep an eye on "Super Mario."
Carlos Tevez, F, Manchester City
Rumor: Manchester City to anywhere. Likelihood: Bigmouth strikes again. Stop me if you think you’ve heard this one before. How strange football is. Tevez took time out during City’s Premier League-winning season to play golf and try to engineer a move to another club which, as we all know, never happened. Tevez came back, kissed and made up with manager Roberto Mancini and the rest is history. Reflecting on the end of the campaign, who would have thought we would have heard these words from the Argentine? “The truth is that I finished the season very happy in England. I am feeling good, I have no desire to be thinking that I want to leave, my family are happy." Me neither.
Roberto Di Matteo, manager, Chelsea
Rumor: Chelsea to Chelsea. Likelihood: This Charming Man has got the job. Pep Guardiola just isn’t budging so Chelsea are bowing to pressure and giving the Italian another year at the helm. Very generous considering he brought the FA Cup and Champions League to Stamford Bridge when they were simply a sinking ship under the uber progressive Andre Villas-Boas. Di Matteo will get a year and Chelsea will turn to Pep again – unless of course Di Matteo wins the Premier League, FA Cup, Carling Cup and Champions League. Even then, the Blues will find an excuse…
Miroslav Klose, F, Lazio
Rumor: Lazio to Barcelona. Likelihood: That joke isn’t funny anymore. Although he had a good season with Lazio last season, scoring 16 goals in 33 appearances, Klose is coming to the end of a career which has lit up the last three World Cups. Barcelona may be looking for a striker for but Klose isn’t the answer. Experienced yes, but full of running? Those days are over.
Alexandre Pato, F, AC MIlan
Rumor: AC Milan to Paris Saint-Germain. Likelihood: They want the one they can’t have. Pato is one of the emerging stars on the world stage and he has been linked with both Paris Saint-Germain and Corinthians. An injury-plagued season meant the Brazilian played just a bit-part in Milan’s battle for the title which has alerted several clubs to a possible loan spell. Although his agent says Corinthians is a possibility, Pato disagrees. “I am at the club I want to be.” Enough said.
Rafael Van der Vaart, M, Tottenham
Rumor: Tottenham to Schalke. Likelihood: What Difference Does it Make? Not likely. Yes, we know. VDV has a Dutch wife who works in Germany but that’s no reason for the Tottenham star to join Schalke even if they are playing in the Champions League next season. We think if he moves he’ll join a bigger club than Schalke but we reckon he’ll stick around in North London – but that might depend on Harry Redknapp's future. Let's keep an eye on this for now.
Luka Modric, M, Tottenham
Rumor: Tottenham to Manchester United. Likelihood: These things take time but momentum is gathering. Only last year it seemed inevitable that Modric would be joining Chelsea until Spurs chairman Daniel Levy dug his heels in and prevented the Croatian playmaker from joining their hated London rivals. Now, without Champions League football, Levy has less firepower to keep Modric at White Hart Lane. He could have got nearly £40million last year but the figure now seems to be £25m rising to £30m. The Rumor Redux gang is confident Modric is turning Red.