Barcelona's part of the day's biggest rumor, something we'll get to in a bit (a bit equals five clicks on the Rumor Redux). Before we do, it may bare remembering the last time Barcelona took a chance in the transfer market. The European champions have brought in the likes of David Villa and Alexis Sanchez over the last two summers, players that fit perfectly with what Pep Guardiola's trying to do. The last time the Catalan Kings tried to expand their portfolio was the summer of 2009. Then, Barcelona went out and signed defenderDmytro Chygrynskiy from Shakhtar Donetsk and, famously, goal machine Zlatan Ibrahimovic from Internazionale, a deal that cost them recent kajillionaire Samuel Eto'o. The results were, well, memorable. Chygrynskiy got off to a slow start, had injury concerns, and was sold back to Shakhtar a year later as Barcelona feverishly tried to balance their books. Ibrahimovic scored goals but butted heads with Pep Guardiola and was offloaded at a cut rate to Milan. Today comes word that Barcelona is again targeting a high profile player who doesn't exactly fit their style, something to remember as we assess the veracity of today's top rumors. Here's the list, a group distilled from the morning's Paper Chase.
Ryad Boudebouz, M, Sochaux
Rumor: To Liverpool. Likelihood: Low. Clearly the rumor mongers are having trouble coming to grips with new ownership at Liverpool. The number of players being linked to Anfield begs incredulity. Boudebouz is a fine player, and as a value buy might be a good depth acquisition for the Reds. But man is it hard to take any Liverpool rumor seriously these days. There are just way too many of them. Sorry - we're punting on this one.
Nedum Onuoha, D, Manchester City
Rumor: To Blackburn or West Ham on loan in January. Likelihood: Somewhat. Please let this happen. One loan to Sunderland last year, Onuoha showed he should be somebody's regular right back. Just not Manchester City's, now that Micah Richards is fulfilling his potential. While you can barely blame Manchester City to holding onto Onuoha to see how their right back position would settle, those questions have now been answered. If you love somebody, set them free, and all that? As far as the destinations, you'd hate to see any player thrown into the black hole that is this seasons' Blackburn team. West Ham, while in the second tier, is a club with a culture for developing players. Sam Allardyce is a proven if cartoonish manager, and the Hammers will be playing meaningful (and positive) games through May. If he comes back, it was meant to be.
Romelu Lukaku, F, Chelsea
Rumor: Will go on loan to Villarreal in January. Likelihood: Somewhat One week ago, the rumor was Lukaku on loan to Sevilla, a move that didn't make much sense if playing time was Chelsea's goal in loaning out their Belgian prospect. The move to Villarreal makes much more sense not only because Guiseppe Rossi has suffered a long term injury but also because Lukaku gives Juan Carlos Garrido a target man that will provide some tactical versatility. But you know the Redux is taking itself far too seriously when "tactical versatility" is evoked. Moving on.
Leandro Damaio, F, Internacional
Rumor: To Juventus. Or Milan. Or Internazionale. Likelihood: Uhhh ... La Gazzetta in Italy has focused on Brazilian prospects over the last couple of days, bringing one of our favorites back into the Redux. Leandro Damiao has had prices as high as £40 million placed on his boot. That's the Real Madrid rate, but with the Merengues seemingly focusing elsewhere, Damaio to an Italian giant could make sense, should his price extend beyond Tottenham's reach. There are too many links here to assign one likelihood, but the Juventus link begs another conversation. With the Old Lady undefeated in Italy and on the verge of reassuming some of their bravado, could they again become a major player for elite prospects. While Juve has spent tons recently, they've spent on parts, not centerpieces. Are they now really to start swaying the market for the Damaio's of the world?
Gareth Bale, LW, Tottenham
Rumor: To Barcelona for £35 million in June. Likelihood: Very low. Thing about all the major clubs in the world. Now, think about how many of them would pay £35,000,001 for Bale. Then consider whether Bale actually want to move and, oh yeah, whether he actually fits with how Barcelona wants to play (or, whether Bale wants to be Barcelona's left back) and it's hard to make sense to this one. How you kept your quid in your pocket. Need more snark and rumors? Hey, don't we all. Check out yesterday's Rumor Redux for you second helping of each.