In need of a quick rumor fix or two? How about five? Welcome to FOX Soccer’s Rumor Redux. With a quiet Sunday schedule in the world, we take this time to offer you the best football rumors that will surely pick up steam for the next couple of months. We start off by scratching one team off of David Beckham’s potential destinations come January, as QPR manager Neil Warnock has given up hopes of signing the 36-year-old in January. Having admitted that there’s ‘other priorities’ at his club, Warnock will look to his current squad of players to make a strong finish towards the second half of the season. Fortunately for Beckham, teams like PSG, Fulham , and Tottenham are still possible landing points for the Galaxy midfielder. We’re just going to have to wait and see how this soap opera will end. And with that, we move to the day’s top transfer rumors, a list distilled from today’s Paper Chase edition.
Lucas Ocampos, W/F, River Plate
Rumor: headed to Real Madrid. Likelihood: low. Considered by many pundits as the next big thing in Argentine football, Ocampos has helped River reach the top of the Primera B table and has become one of the reasons why River fans can look to the future with great optimism. Unfortunately for those same aficionados, clubs across Europe have also taken notice, with La Liga giants Real Madrid leading the charge for the 17-year-old’s services. Given the fact that the Argentine striker has only appeared in 11 games, it’s too soon to judge how sincere Real Madrid’s interests are at this point. Nonetheless, Jose Mourinho’s scouts have frequently visited the Monumental this season and were left ‘extremely impressed’ by Ocampo’s performances. Even with Madrid’s heavy wallet in the picture, we’re categorizing this rumor ‘low’ for now. We’re going to track this rumor for you all and make sure to report any developments that come through the rumor grapevine.
Julio Baptista, M/F, Malaga
Rumor: headed to Lazio. Likelihood: low. After an uneventful three-year stint at Roma, ‘The Beast’ has finally resurfaced in the football stage with big-spending Malaga to thank. Now, Roma’s fiercest rival, Lazio, has entered the picture and are plotting a surprise move for the Brazilian striker according to reports from Itasportpress. Lazio’s early successful run in Serie A has led many to believe that the Rome based club will look to add depth to their attacking options at forward. With the 30-year-old in impressive form for Manuel Pellegrini’s side, Baptista might be the man that Lazio might need to make a strong push to the second-half of the season. Baptista’s familiarity with Italian football and generous price tag (€7 milliion) could be reason enough for Lazio to make a competitive run for the Brazilian international. However, given that Malaga has high hopes for the season, we doubt that Pelligrini and his staff will allow Baptista to walk-away from La Rosaleda in January.
Robin van Persie, F, Arsenal
Rumor: headed to Chelsea. Likelihood: low. Having not yet renewed his contract with Arsenal, van Persie is continually exposed under the glare of the rumor mill, which has been currently linked to the lights stemming from Stamford Bridge. The suitors for RVP have been named in continuum here at the Rumor Redux, as Real Madrid, Inter, and Manchester City, were designated possible destination spots for the Dutch striker. Yet, what makes Chelsea’s role in this drama so interesting is the Blues’ willingness to throw in €29 million, plus Nicolas Anelka and Salomon Kalou, to the mix. Though we’re hesitant to believe this juicy rumor at first glance, it’s not too often that you have packaged transfer deals in the world of football, which is why the Gunners should at least entertain the offer if it’s truly genuine.
Kaka, M, Real Madrid
Rumor: headed to Manchester United on loan. Likelihood: very, low. Despite his latest injury preventing him from returning to the Brazilian national team, Kaka’s recent return to form has impressed Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho and helped ‘Los Merengues ‘ back to the top of the La Liga standings. According to sources within the Madrid camp, Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United officials have also taken notice of the former Milan playmaker and have inquired about a possible loan move for January. Having suffered injuries in the midfield position this season (i.e. Michael Carrick, Anderson, Tom Cleverly, Darren Fletcher), United would seem inclined to add Kaka to their ranks, as striker Wayne Rooney has been used recently as the team’s playmaker in midfield. That might be fine and all, but whether Real Madrid will allow Kaka to leave Santiago Bernabeu is another thing. Officials from Madrid have denied reports that Kaka will leave the La Liga outfit anytime soon and we doubt that United will change the Spaniards minds in the winter.
Philippe Coutinho, M, Internazionale
Rumor: headed to PSG. Likelihood: medium. According to various sources from Italy, PSG chief Leonardo has continued to persuade Serie A giants Inter Milan to part ways with their Brazilian midfielder during the January transfer window, in an effort to add depth to his Ligue 1 squad. The former Vasco de Gama playmaker has barely featured for the Nerazzurri this season and has been in Leonardo’s transfer plans since this past summer. Being the person who helped sign Coutinho to Inter last year, Leonardo is ‘self-assured’ that he can settle an agreement for the player in the winter. Like all young players, the 19-year-old needs minutes from a team willing to foster his development as a footballer. With constant speculation that Inter will add reinforcements in the transfer window instead of looking for options within their own ranks, leads us to believe that a move to PSG could happen for Coutinho.