Eden Hazard is back in the tabloids today, and surprise surprise, it's the Arsenal link. Apparently somebody stuck a recorder in front of former Lille teammate Gervinho's mouth and asked for his thoughts on the Belgian attacker. No shock, Gervinho pwas full of praise, which (apparently) is sufficient to print with the suggestion that the Ivorian is trying to influence his new club into signing Hazard. All of this makes us wish somebody would trick Harry Redknapp into saying the word "Messi" so we could see how the London papers react (perhaps not a fair test, as Harry would be more than willing to oblige). Presumedly there would be some kind of common sense filter that would prevent Messi-to-Tottenham from being portrayed as anything but ironic. The same logic needs to be applied to this Hazard business. Particularly with Real Madrid possibly confirming Neymar in January, Hazard to the Bernabéu in July is starting to line up. Since Hazard is not going to Arsenal, the Rumor Redux moves on to the day's top five rumors - a list distilled from the morning's Paper Chase.
Sean Johnson, G, Chicago Fire
Rumor: To Manchester United. Likelihood: Very low. Sean Johnson is reportedly set for a trial with Manchester United, and it's easy to see the attraction. Johnson has world class athleticism for a goalkeeper, though he's still extremely raw, part of the reason you won't see him on many lists of top Major League Soccer goalkeepers. On the United States national team front, he is being obscured by DC United's Bill Hamid, a perpetual Jurgen Klinsmann call up as Tim Howard's understudy. Manchester United's scouts have somehow sifted through all that obstruction and have taken a liking to the lanky 22-year-old, and with three or four good goalkeepers in the fold (David de Gea, Anders Lindegaard, Tomasz Kuszczak, Ben Amos) and money to burn, United can afford the affluent's fancy of a project `keeper. They also can afford to throw money down a hole. Even if Johnson impresses, he'll be back at Chicago in spring, with United ready to pull the trigger should any of their current `keepers (Kuszcak) should leave the fold.
Junior Hoilett, F, Blackburn
Rumor: To Newcastle Likelihood: Good Hoilett is not going to be at Blackburn much longer. He's too good for where that club's at (right now). Hiss contract's about to expire, and he's unwilling to ink a new one. Rovers have to put their pride aside and cash in. Else, he's gone in June. What makes Newcastle such a great fit is combination of need, playing time, and willingness to pay. Bigger clubs would want Hoilett, but their offer to Blackburn might reflect the fact that the Canadian international may or may not play (somewhat like what happened with Steven Pienaar a year ago). Newcastle won't break the bank for Hoilett, but their offer could reflect the Toon's need. Hoilett would have a bigger impact for them than for a bigger club. Their offer might get closer to eight digits.
Jermain Defoe, F, Tottenham
Rumor: To Queens Park Rangers in January for £8 to £10 million. Likelihood: Somewhat. For that price? Take it, Levy. Take it, giggle, move on. This is a 29-year-old striker who's been good for 1 goal-in-4 over the last two seasons, and while Defoe doesn't look quite as helpless as he did last season, he certainly looks like somebody you should cash in on now. QPR is the perfect buyer - a team that's willing to overpay to get a name like Defoe to a relegation-battler. With Rangers based in London, Defoe might be willing to do it. When Jermain moves and enjoys a hot start at QPR there'll be wincing that Spurs sold too soon for too low. But Spurs need to take that chance, and even if Defoe does start strong, he'll fade.
Robert Lewandowski, F, Borussia Dortmund
Rumor: To Chelsea. Likelihood: Very low. Three days ago, we scoffed at the idea of Athletic Bilbao's Fernando Llorente moving to Chelsea. The same logic applies here. Chelsea loves Fernando Torres. They've already brought in Romelu Lukaku as their long-term solution. Even if they wanted Lewandowski, they wouldn't want him as much as other clubs, clubs who would be willing to pay in proportion to their need for a striker. So if Lewandowski's unlikely to move to Stamford Bridge, is there anything we can learn from this rumor? Yes. We can infer that any young player who's making a name for himself will be linked with Chelsea. That rash generalization probably carries more value than "Lewandowski to Chelsea."
David Beckham, M, LA Galaxy
Rumor: Will stay with LA Galaxy Likelihood: Somewhat For a while we've been working under the assumption that David Beckham's choosing between Paris and Los Angeles, but for somebody so focus on representing Great Britain at the 2012 London Olympics, Beckham could be looking for a winter/spring home before coming back to Los Angeles to finish his career. His family is settled, he likes the town, and the team wants him. We may see Beckham resign with LA on the condition that he is loaned out from January through the summer, allowing him to play in Paris, stay in the frame for London, and return to his family after yet another European sojourn. While such a deal may see eyerolls from Galaxy fans, it would be the ideal situation from all involved (save possibly Tottenham). Need more rumors? Yes, you do. Check out yesterday's Rumor Redux - with 100 pecent less Beckham.