It’s been a quite week on the transfer rumor front, but one name seems to stand head and shoulders above all the rest. He is of course Juan Mata, who has indescribably plummeted from being Chelsea’s best player for the last two seasons to a man that could not even command a place on the bench for Saturday’s 2-0 win against Fulham. Of course, there are plenty of clubs lining up to take the Spaniard off Chelsea’s hands, should Roman Abramovich wish to sell. Although this week’s Rumor Mill edition has a distinctly Italian flavor, we have gone for a slice of Welsh rarebit to help spice up the gossip. Formed in the mid 1980s, they released their 11th studio album week – Rewind the Film. We’re going to do just that by picking out ten tracks by the Manic Street Preachers, whose best days are probably behind them … but that hasn’t stopped Fernando Torres still managing to carve out a career! -- Warren Barner
Anderson (Manchester United)
Rumor: Manchester United to Juventus Likelihood: Could happen in January Why anyone would want to buy the under-achieving Anderson is a mystery to all at the Rumor Mill, but word has it that Juventus have turned their attention to the Brazilian ever since Nani signed a new deal with United. You heard it right. Anderson has done nothing to endear himself to the United faithful but could he enjoy an Indian summer in Turin? Rumor has it that Juve want to sign him on loan in January and then make the move permanent for the start of next season. It’s a mystery to us why they would want him, but maybe the Italian champions have spotted something we’ve missed.
Terrence Boyd, Rapid Vienna
Rumor: Rapid Vienna to West Ham Likelihood: Stiff competition United States international Boyd has been banging in the goals since joining Rapid Vienna from Borussia Dortmund last year and the talents of the German-born striker, who sports a tattoo of the US flag on his arm, have not gone unnoticed. Boyd could be natural for West Ham, who need cover for injured striker Andy Carroll, but Udinese and Lazio are also thought to be preparing to make their moves. It’s early days on the Boyd front, so let’s see how he plays until Christmas and then we’ll talk.
Ciprian Marica, Schalke
Rumor: Free agent to Tottenham Likelihood: Looks likely The Romanian striker has been without a club since he was released by Schalke at the end of last season, but he recently revealed that he has been in talks with three clubs, thought to be Arsenal, West Ham and Spurs. Current thinking is that Villas-Boas is close to signing the former Shakhtar Donetsk and Stuttgart forward which would allow the London club to get rid of some of their removables – namely Emmanuel Adebayor and Harry Kane. There is talk that he could sign a three-year deal in the next few days.
Angel di Maria, Real Madrid
Rumor: Real Madrid to Manchester United Likelihood: No chance Yes, the Argentina winger was linked with a move from the Bernabeu, owing to Gareth Bale’s protracted move to the club and the arrival of Isco in the summer. However, as it transpired, Mesut Ozil turned out to be the one to make way as he completed a shock move to Arsenal. But the furor about a potential move to Man United, Tottenham or Arsenal has since died down and now looks to have been put to rest by the man himself. He said: “I wanted to stay from the start, because being here is the best possible thing that could have happened to me."
Cesar Azpilicueta, Chelsea
Rumor: Chelsea to Barcelona Likelihood: Possible Azpilicueta got plenty of game time at Chelsea under then-boss Rafa Benitez, but ever since the arrival of Mourinho the Spaniard’s run in the team has been so dead, with gritty and hard-tackling defender Branislav Ivanovic preferred in the right-back role. One story kicking around is that Barcelona would be interested in signing the Spaniard should Martin Montoya leave Camp Nou. Montoya has been linked with Liverpool, Arsenal, Inter Milan and Marseille, so there would be no shortage of options. We’ll see how this one pans out, but Mourinho would be foolish to discard him.
Xabi Alonso, Real Madrid
Rumor: Real Madrid to Liverpool Likelihood: Plenty of clubs interested They say you should never go back to an old flame but love’s sweet exile could about to come to an end at Liverpool, judging by some of the stories emanating from the UK press. Alonso, whose contract runs out at the end of the season, was linked with a return to Anfield throughout the summer and is free to talk to other clubs in January. However, let’s not get ahead of ourselves and assume Alonso will automatically return to the Reds, the club he left in 2009. There is likely to be plenty of interest in the 32-year-old midfielder, especially from Juventus, AC Milan and Inter.
Fernando Llorente, Juventus
Rumor: Juventus to Tottenham Likelihood: Still think he’ll give it a go in Turin This rumor is a repeat of last week’s, but it’s one that just won’t go away. Llorente is reportedly unhappy with the amount of game time he is getting in Turin where he seems to be behind Carlos Tevez and Mirko Vucinic in the pecking order. Arsenal were long linked with the Spain international last season, and Spurs are the latest club to be casting admiring glances in his direction. However, Llorente started ahead of Vucinic against Verona on Sunday and scored what turned out to be the winner just before half-time. Sure, he was replaced by Vucinic 20 minutes from time, but it looks like Llorente’s time is coming at the Old Lady.
Robert Lewandowski, Borussia Dortmund
Rumor: Borussa Dortmund to Napoli Likelihood: Interesting, but we don’t buy it. Bayern Munich spent much of last season chasing the signature of Lewandowski and although the European champion finally gave up the ghost, most pundits expect the Pole to end up at the Allianz Arena next season. However, Lewandowski’s future has been thrown into doubt by the revelation that his agent has spoken to Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis about a potential move. That news will have sent the pulses racing that bit faster throughout Europe, especially at Chelsea where the need for a striker is greatest. Maybe Lewandowski’s agent is trying to bump up his client’s salary when he eventually ends up at Bayern Munich.
Andres Iniesta, Barcelona
Rumor: Barcelona to Premier League Likelihood: Don’t believe it. The Neymar effect seems to have caused a stir at Camp Nou, judging by the unsubstantiated report that Iniesta has turned down the first offer of a new contract. The arrival of Neymar, who has not scored any of Barca’s 18 goals in La Liga and is still awaiting his first goal, heralded the departures of Thiago Alcantara, David Villa and Eric Abidal to help pay for the Brazilian’s wages. Iniesta, however, is thought to believe that only Lionel Messi should be paid more than him. Manchester United and City, plus a host of other Premier League clubs and European teams, will be monitoring developments closely, but we think this story is born to end one way with Iniesta signing an improved deal.
Juan Mata, Chelsea
Rumor: Chelsea to Tottenham Likelihood: More likely to sign for a club in Europe There are many, including the Rumor Mill elders, that cannot believe a man of Mata’s talent has been frozen out of Chelsea’s starting line-up and told to adapt to the way Jose Mourinho wants him to play, yet John Obi Mikel is strangely enjoying a new lease of life at Stamford Bridge. Resurgent Tottenham have been strongly linked with a move for the Spain international, as have Manchester United and Premier League leaders Arsenal, but should Mata end up leaving we think he’ll be moving further away from England. Napoli has made a perfect start to the Serie A season and Rafa Benitez is thought to be interested in the midfielder. Mourinho and Abramovich are unlikely to sell to one of their rivals, even though they’d probably get twice the fee for him, but we’d like to think there’s still time to patch things up.