In need of a quick rumor fix or two? How about five? Welcome to FOX Soccer’s Rumor Redux. Today, we’ll examine the best rumors circulating across the globe to prepare you for the ‘ever-so-much-fun’ month of January. We kick-start today’s edition by addressing Chelsea’s latest debacle, as Andre Villas-Boas’ side continued their plummet this season after being defeated by Liverpool in their Carling Cup quarterfinal match Tuesday night. Though Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has publically backed Villas-Boas, one can only wonder how long AVB will remain at Stamford Bridge if Chelsea remains in this state of flux. Time will tell, we think… And with that, we to the day’s top rumors, a list distilled from this morning’s Paper Chase.
James Milner, M, Manchester City
Rumor: headed to Juventus. Likelihood: low. The England international has emerged as a surprising starter in Roberto Mancini’s starting eleven this season. Juventus boss Antonio Conte has taken notice on the midfielder’s form and has shortlisted the former Newcastle United player for a possible winter transfer. Reports from Italy suggest that Juve could bid €24 million for the 25-year-old, which is just about what Man City paid Aston Villa back in 2010. In addition, the report hints that the potential move for Milner is expected to ‘enhance’ Juventus’ chances of returning to the Champions League next season. We understand why Milner’s tenacious style and versatility may attract suitors like Juventus. Yet, we’re not sure how much more the playmaker can augment the Old Lady’s chances of returning to the Champions League. As we see it, they’re doing pretty well at the moment and might be best inclined to leave their roster intact.
Roberto Soldado, F, Valencia
Rumor: headed to PSG. Likelihood: low. According to reports from L’Equipe, Ligue 1 giants PSG are monitoring the Valencia striker and could offer an enormous bid on the former Real Madrid player come during the January transfer window. As his amazing goal tally (13 goals) would suggest, the 26-year-old has been Valencia’s most valuable player this season. With the lack of a true’ number 9,’ PSG’s sporting director Leonardo has hinted that his club will open their wallets should a ‘natural forward’ become available in the winter transfer market. And that’s the big question. Considering that Valencia’s battling for a spot in the CL’s knockout stage and a top four finish in La Liga, we doubt that Los Che will allow their talisman to bolt the Mestalla, regardless of the €20 million offer that could be presented to the Spanish club’s table. We expect Soldado to remain at Valencia for the remainder of the season for now.
Ezequiel Lavezzi, F, Napoli
Rumor: headed to Manchester City. Likelihood: low. After his ‘better half’ was mugged by two armed robbers in Naples over the weekend, Lavezzi’s been pressured by friends and family to move away from the Serie A club. A possible destination point for the Argentine international could be with Premier League club Manchester City in 2012. Lavezzi’s girlfriend, Yanini Secepante, went on a Twitter rampage this week, claiming that she’s pressuring ‘El Pocho’ to leave Napoli ‘as soon as possible.’ Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis has played down the transfer talks involving striker, and went so far to suggest that Secepante’s attack was a random act of violence and caused by her decision to wear a Rolex in public. Regardless of the situation, Man City has scouted the 26-year-old in the past and could offer a competitive bid for the striker. Despite the unfortunate incident and his contract expiring at the end of the season, we expect Lavezzi to stay with Napoli until the summer. We just don’t see Napoli agreeing to any deal for their player during the middle of domestic and European run.
Loic Remy, F, Marseille
Rumor: headed to Arsenal. Likelihood: low. Stop us if you’ve heard of this one before. Yes, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is refreshing his interest in the Marseille striker and is considered as a ‘dependable’ substitute for club captain Robin van Persie in attack. Remy’s rise to form and consistent playing time has resulted from the clash between Marseille’s talisman Andre-Pierre Gignac and club boss Didier Deschamps. Wenger has taken notice of the 24-year-old’s form and could offer his young compatriot an opportunity to shine in the EPL if Marseille’s to accept the €20 million offer from the North London club. It’s a bit too early to go berserk over this potential deal. Although we believe that Remy’s abilities will translate well in the English game, we just don’t see it happening. Marseille has too much riding on this season and would find it best to keep the French international until the summer.
Didier Drogba, F, Chelsea
Rumor: headed to Los Angeles Galaxy. Likelihood: a big maybe. You probably heard about the Galaxy’s plans to land the powerful striker to Los Angeles if David Beckham decides to jam to Paris in January. On paper, the move makes sense, right? Well, not exactly. The word from the Ivorian footballer’s camp is that Drogba’s considering a move to a club that will offer him the most money. Interesting indeed, especially considering that the 33-year-old has a lot left in the tank. Can the LA Galaxy, or Major League Soccer for that matter, compete against clubs from Russia and Qatar for Drogba? It’s too soon to tell. But one thing is for certain though: the answer will cost big, big, big money.