The Thanksgiving holiday here in the States gives the impression it's been much more than a week since our last league match day. Perhaps it was the international break before that which lends to the feeling there hasn't been much action in November, but with some scattered Friday matches across Europe appetizing a full league weekend, our long international crisis is about to end. We're about to get back to work. Off the pitch, the rumor mill hasn't stopped, with the density (and reliability) of gossip seeing sharp increases since the last international break. One week before pulling the penultimate page off our calendars, the flood gates on speculation are soon to open. This may be our last set of semi-rational, somewhat-level-headed gossip mongering until the end of January … If you believe those qualities can exist in the gossip world. Here are today's top five rumors, a list distilled from the morning's Paper Chase.
Carlos Tevez, F, Manchester City
Rumor: To AC Milan Likelihood: Very low Tevez's manager flew to Milan Thursday to meet with the Rossoneri. Funny how it was huge news, as normally - with representatives flying around incessantly - trips are mostly ignored. What could ever be the motivation for putting this story out in the open? Consider Inter Milan has been linked to Tevez for some time, but with the Argentine pushed out of Manchester City's plans, the player (and his manager) have little leverage to demand the type of lucrative terms to which Tevez has become accustomed. If only Inter's rivals would come in and raise the stakes. Maybe then Tevez could get the deal he wants. We don't believe for a second that Milan wants Tevez, but if they can make life harder for Inter, we're sure they're more than happy to help. More: Mancini silent on Tevez future Milan stays mum over Tevez reports
Adel Taarabt, M, Queens Park Rangers
Rumor: To Napoli or PSG for … (wait for it) … £20 million! Likelihood: Very low and very low If Adel Taarabt were a £20 million player, he wouldn't be at QPR. Now you point out that it was a unique set of circumstances that sent Taarabt to Loftus Road, and he has since re-established his value. Still, the idea that anybody could establish £20 million worth of value in the Championship is a curious one, particularly when we're talking about a player who has not performed to expectations in this season's Premier League - a player who has a history of discontent. Taarabt is a fine player, but he isn't worth half this price.
Gary Cahill, D, Bolton
Rumor: To Chelsea in January Likelihood: Somewhat Chelsea isn't the only team in the running for the soon-to-be ex-Trotter. With Owen Coyle now (finally) coming to grips with the eventuality of Cahill's departure, the big London trio that's always been linked with the England international are all sure to turn out. As long as Arsenal, Chelsea, and Tottenham have interest, the likes of Inter Milan may be pushed out. Chelsea is going to dictate this race. If they decide they want Cahill, they won't be outbid, particularly since the price is likely to be low for a player who's out of contract in six months. Given the struggles of David Luiz and John Terry, Cahill could be a ship-righting type of upgrade. But if Chelsea feels its answers are already under contract, Tottenham would become the favorite, with Spurs having a more pressing need (and, it would be assumed, a greater willingness to pay) than Arsenal. Yet with Chelsea out of the picture, a move to Inter or - it rumors are to be believed - Barcelona becomes more probable. More: Cahill wanted to bolster Blues defense Cahill may be sold in January
David Beckham, M, LA Galaxy
Rumor: To PSG in January in a 18-month, €11.6 million deal Likelihood: Very good While Beckham has said multiple clubs are in for him, it's becoming obvious his future lies in one of two places: Los Angeles or Paris. Given the ridiculous pay (roughly $10 million per season), a break from Los Angeles becomes much easier to justify. But beyond the ongoing Beckham situation, this rumor is starting to become a textbook example of speculation you can trust (as much as you can trust something speculative). You have a move that works for both sides, with clear, ascribable motives for each party. You have details and timelines, quotes confirming the possible move. With these details, the Beckham story is coming dangerously close to transcending rumor and becoming ... legitimate news. More: Leonardo: PSG has started Beckham talks Pastore would welcome Beckham to PSG
Eden Hazard, W/M, Lille
Rumor: Has been talking to Chelsea and Arsenal ahead of a summer move. Likelihood: That he's talking? OK, sure. That he'll move to these clubs? That's different. Hazard to not going to Arsenal. Moving on … The Chelsea connection is more difficult to flesh out, though given how the Blues are currently playing (style-wise), Hazard would be a good fit. There are, however, two contingencies to consider. First, Hazard only moves to Chelsea if Real Madrid's interest wanes. The Spanish giants are still big favorites to obtain the Belgian's services. Second, who knows who'll be coaching Chelsea come June (or, how the team will be playing). While nobody wants to toss dirt on Andre Villas-Boas yet, the last time Chelsea dipped this low this early, Luiz Felipe Scolari was nearing the end of a half-season spell. Is AVB going to suffer the same fate? Probably not, but in with the same breath, let's not waste time talking about moves as if Villas-Boas has established himself at Stamford Bridge.