In the middle of an international break, the rumors become foggy. Beat reporters who help fuel the rumor mill have been away from their sources for almost a week. What was fueled by the spurious is temporarily run by the outright unreliable. Whereas rumors during a strong week would have destination, cost, timing, and motive, today we're left with wishy-washy, "well, he might move in January" type of gossip. And that's where we start, by talking about departures. Not departures with coupled destinations, mind you. Just the mere possibility a player might leave a club. Here are the day's top five rumors, a list distilled from the morning's Paper Chase.
Hugo Rodallega, F, Wigan Athletic
Rumor: To leave Wigan in January. Likelihood: Somewhat. Last summer, Rodallega was linked with Liverpool. That's pre-John W. Henry Liverpool, back in the days where the club was still crafting a plan to climb out of their Rafa Benitez-induced downturn. Now, that type of move seems a pipe dream, which isn't to say Rodallega couldn't move on (and up) from Wigan. Whether he does depends on the contract negotiations set to happen over the next two months. Today's rumor has Wigan wanting a resolution by January. Between the lines, that reads very clear: Sign, or you'll be sold, a resolution Rodallega may not mind. The 26-year-old Colombian is always linked with second-tier teams in La Liga, through with his skillset, he shouldn't have trouble adapting to almost any league, a versatility that only increases the likelihood he'll move on.
Sebastien Squillaci, D, Arsenal
Rumor: To leave Arsenal in January. Likelihood: Somewhat. Normally when you hear rumors surrounding Arsenal you have to scoff, but this one makes a lot of sense. Squillaci's been pushed down the depth chart at the Emirates, and 31 years old, he's about to leave his best days behind him. At this point, there are still a number of clubs in his home country of France who would be improved for having Toto, and where Squillaci's main problem in England has been being beaten for speed, you could still see him being a valuable contributor for some of Italy's Europe contenders. The question is whether Arsenal will let him go. Squillaci's value isn't high, and for Arsenal, there should be value in getting his wages off the books. But if Arsenal wants to coup some of the money they threw to Sevilla, Squillaci may be still be in London come February.
Scott Sinclair, W, Swansea
Rumor: To Fulham. Likelihood: Low. In the middle of a fight to stay up, Swansea's unlikely to let Sinclair go without the player forcing a move (which, in this sport, could always happen). If they stay up, they'll look to consolidate around players like Sinclair, and if they don't (or, if Sinclair wants to move up in the world), there are likely to be a number of suitors for a player who banged in 27 goals last season. As we saw in September when Fulham was able to acquire Bryan Ruiz, the Cottagers are capable of winning an occasional race. But with the likes of Bryan Ruiz still being integrated, is there room for Sinclair? Particularly at a club with very modest resources.
Seydou Keita, M, Barcelona
Rumor: To Liverpool. Likelihood: Low. Keita is exactly the type of midfielder Kenny Dalglish needs right now, though given how Raul Meireles was being used before he forced a move to Chelsea (barely being used at all), it's doubtful Liverpool's manager sees what we do. Liverpool's slow in midfield. They lack athleticism. Or, if you prefer, they lack dynamism. They have a handful of guys who are skilled when given time on the ball, but at the levels to which the Reds aspire, players never get time on the ball in the middle of the park. Keita solves a number of those problems. While Barcelona has evolved beyond the usefulness he had three years ago, he is still a quality player who, if he moved to Liverpool, should be a starter. But back to the rumor: Keita to Liverpool's surfaced this week, but after a few days of being kicked around the mill, the consensus is this move couldn't happen until June, by which time a number of other clubs will have the budget to compete. Where it's unclear Liverpool's manager would even play him if he was bought, Keita seems more likely to move to Italy.
Javi Martinez, M/D, Athletic Bilbao
Rumor: To Manchester City. Likelihood: Low. Javi Martinez to Manchester United was the rumor in the days before Athletic nearly upset Barcelona. In the interest of balance, he's now being linked to Manchester City, a club with a slew of players who occupy the area's Martinez calls home. But since when has a glut of options dissuaded City from shopping? Still, we rate this one as low based, as all these Manchester City rumors can't come good; however, if City does show and interest in Martinez, that could start a process in Bilbao that finally sees the club cash in on one of their prized assets.