Dear Neymar, There was a time, not so long ago, that you would regularly visit us. We'd talk of Barcelona, dwell on Real Madrid, and scoff at Chelsea and Manchester City. It was the best of times, but after you signed your contract extension with Santos, you forgot about us. No more dreaming of Spain after a trip to England. No more leading commentary from your coach and president. We have to more on and give the site today's top five rumors, but it's not the same without you. Sincerely, Rumor Redux PS, Here is today's list of top rumors, a group distilled from the morning's Paper Chase.
Jan Vertonghen, D, Ajax
Jan Vertonghen insists that his dream move is still Spurs, despite the sacking of Harry Redknapp.
Aly Cissokho, LB, Lyon
Rumor: To Liverpool Likelihood: Yeah ... we guess? Remember when Jose Enrique was considered this great value buy? Liverpool still has him in addition to Glen Johnson (who played some left back last year) and Fabio Aurelio and ... and how many people are going to be linked to Liverpool? It's almost as if they're putting disinformation into the world to try to obscure their pursuits of the Sebastien Coates' of the world and their signings of the best 17-year-olds in the US. Still, if you combine this with rumors that Lyon is considering bringing Tayo Taiwo back to France (from Milan) then things start to ... No. These Liverpool rumors absolutely do not make sense.
Gary Cahill, D, Bolton Wanderers
Rumor: Owen Coyle's willing to sell in January Likelihood: Duh Cahill's out of contract at the end of the season, and at one time early this fall, Bolton was pretending he could be resigned. Now they've come to the same conclusion the rest of the world realized months earlier: Cahill is gone. The only question is whether Bolton take the seven-figure price of hold on to stave off relegation. The worst case scenario: They hold on to Cahill for six months, still get relegated, and their biggest prize walks. Given Bolton is not playing that well with Cahill, selling may be the right move.
Leandro Damiao, F, Internacional
Rumor: Being pursued by both Tottenham and Arsenal Likelihood: That he's being pursued by them? Pretty damn good. If Damiao's future comes down to Arsenal versus Tottenham, bet Tottenham. Spurs' working relationship with Internacional gives them an inside track, but their ability to pull the trigger on a big buy is what truly distinguishes them from Arsenal. No, Spurs aren't a rich club. They're one of the more financial prudent ones in England (a distinction that merely makes them the least-crappy Pinto), but they pulled the trigger on Luka Modric a few years back, and given the incentive of an arch-rival swooping to make their relationship with Inter insignificant, Spurs could buy big once more.
Dimitar Berbatov,F, Manchester United
Rumor: to Azkhi Makhachkala in January for £15 million Likelihood: Somewhat For that price, Berbatov's unlikely to move. It's not that he's worth more. It's just Manchester United's unlikely to see for such a low fraction of their buy-in. For 50 pence on the pound, why not just hold onto him? He's clearly still decent. Right? Enter Anzhi. Anzhi is one of the few (two) clubs in the world willing to approach United's price for prestige reasons alone. While even they are unlikely to meet the £30.75 million number United initially spent, Anzhi could easily justify at £24 million buy. Right?