In need of a quick rumor fix or two? How about five? Welcome to FOX Soccer's Rumor Redux. To get your over the week's hump, we present you the best rumors circulating around the football world on Wednesday. We start today's edition by briefly mentioning Neymar's extended contract with Santos until 2014. As nice a story as they might be, there's absolutely no chance that Neymar stays in a Santos uniform after the end of this season; especially with the alleged offers from European giants Real Madrid and Barcelona. No way, no how, no Neymar at Santos beyond 2012. And with that, we move to the top football rumors, a list distilled from this morning's Paper Chase.
David Villa, F, Barcelona
Rumor: headed to Liverpool. Likelihood: low. According to information provided by Cadena Ser, the English team plans to bet heavily on the Spanish striker for the 2012-2013 campaign. Liverpool aims to take the Spaniard to build a top-level attack with Uruguayan international Luis Suarez. With Dirk Kuyt, Craig Bellamy, and Dirk Kuyt failing to impress, Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish will surely have the financial backing from the Anfield owners to land a big fish for the Reds. A potential move for Villa would certainly be categorized as a high-profile move in the Liverpool ranks and would be seen as a positive move for a team fighting for a top four finish in the Premier League. Before we finish, we must admit that we cannot see Villa in another uniform besides the Barcelona colors. Despite rumors that suggest a falling out between Villa and Lionel Messi, Liverpool will still have a tough time convincing Barca officials to let ‘El Guaje’ leave Camp Nou next season.
Lucho Gonzalez, M, Marseille
Rumor: headed to Arsenal. Likelihood: low. Having confirmed his interest in the Argentine midfielder earlier in the season, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is expected to renew his interest in the Marseille playmaker when the winter transfer window opens in January. After admitting that a move to Emirates Stadium would have been a ‘dream’ come true, the 30-year-old midfielder could still have that chance after his less than stellar start of the season with Marseille, which has made him the center of fierce criticism. With this in mind, the Stade Velodrome side could be ready to submit to Arsenal’s offer should the London club come back to Marseille’s door step in January. With the concern over the club’s lackluster start in Ligue 1, Marseille’s manager Didier Deschamps might be willing to offload Gonzalez to provide space and financial resources for new players in the transfer window. If this holds true, Wenger could see his wish materialize in the winter, but we’re going to have wait for now.
Didier Drogba, F, Chelsea
Rumor: headed to AC Milan. Likelihood: low. Drogba, Drogba, Drogba. As reported in yesterday’s Rumor Redux edition, UAE Football League club Al-Wasl recently entered their name to land the talented striker in 2012. However, according to recent reports from Italy, AC Milan has inserted additional juice to the Drogba sweepstakes by claiming their interest in the player once again. With the shortage of a natural scorer following Antonio Cassoano’s recent illness and Alexandre Pato’s injury battles at the San Siro, the Serie A champions might be best inclined to bid for Drogba than any other club in the world. Still, with new reports surfacing about Drogba’s status almost every day, it’s hard to pinpoint where exactly the 33-year-old will land in January.
Martin Montoya, D, Barcelona
Rumor: headed to Roma. Likelihood: medium. Montoya continues to be one of the most sought after talents in Europe. The 20-year-old defender has yet to crack Barcelona’s regular starting lineup and rumors have picked up steam that the Spaniard will reunited with former Barcelona B manager Luis Enrique at Roma in January. As reported in a previous Rumor Redux edition, clubs like Bayern Munich, Valencia and Malaga have all inquired about the player’s services. Nonetheless, a destination to Roma seems almost certain, as Luis Enrique was recently spotted with Montoya and his agent in Barcelona over the past two days. The truth is, Montoya will probably not get the minutes he needs at the Camp Nou to secure a regular spot in the Spanish national team. Plus, Roma’s injured back line (i.e. Juan, Gabriel Heinze) needs reinforcement and an injection of youthful energy. This rumor makes sense. Will Barca let Montoya leave? We’ll have to sit and wait.
Hamit Altintop, M, Real Madrid
Rumor: headed to Galatasaray. Rumor: medium. Altintop’s arrival at Real Madrid did not raise too many expectations among fans or Jose Mourinho for that matter. Having only appeared in 20 minutes for the Santiago Bernabeu outfit this season, reports for AS suggests that the Turkish international wants to seek an exit from the La Liga squad in January. Having made contact with Galatasaray boss Fatih Terim earlier in the week, Altintop seems to have made up his mind by being recently quoted as saying,” I’m an important player and people have to see me do well. And I must feel it! Unfortunately, it is not perceived here (Madrid).” Not much to argue on this rumor. If Altintop cannot secure regular minutes at the Bernabeu, then we understand why the midfielder wants to move out. The bigger question here is this: if Altintop was not in Mourinho’s long-term plans before the transfer this past summer, then why make a move? It just doesn’t make sense.