Even though the transfer window is firmly shut for the winter programme, rumours over what might happen when it reopens in the New Year have started to sprout.
In the last two weeks or so we’ve been linked with Gareth Bale of Spurs and Antonio Valencia of Wigan. For all the truth there is in these rumours it might as well be Christian Bale and Antonio Banderas!
I suspect the inspiration behind the Valencia rumour was Rafa’s recently thwarted attempts to off load Jermaine Pennant. The assumption is that he will try again in January when the window reopens? Pennant has edged back into the first team fold recently, playing in the Carling Cup and coming on as substitute a few times. However, Rafa seems intent on selling him even though the player has expressed an admirable desire to stay and fight for his place.
The other rumour is that Rafa is looking to offload Fabio Aurelio. This possibly explains the Gareth Bale rumour? Although the Brazilian hasn’t really blown any ones socks off since he arrived in L4, I wasn’t aware that Rafa was irked or vexed by the player’s contribution. That fact he has remained whilst the likes of Riise and Finnan have been shipped out suggests he is still very much in Rafa’s plans? Bale certainly seems to be more adept from set pieces than Aurelio, but then again so am I given the evidence we’ve seen so far! On the negative side Bale seems to have Harry Kewell’s penchant for the treatment table?
From two little white rumours to a whopping great one. According to Marca, a Spanish newspaper, Manchester “Sheikhy” (no it doesn’t work does it?) have put in massive “double your money” offer for Fernando Torres. City have denied this. Said the ubiquitous City “spokesman”
“At no time has any Manchester City official, or anybody representing the club, contacted Fernando Torres, his representatives or Liverpool Football Club.”
When it’s a “spokesmen” doubts immediately arise, I also seem to remember this being news when the transfer window last closed so why is the newspaper reporting it now? They’ll be telling us Kennedy’s been shot next! However, interestingly The Echo, in which the report of the report appears, tells us this…
“Marca has been accused in the past, by Sir Alex Ferguson, of being “a vehicle to unsettle players” on behalf of Real Madrid.”
The irony of Fergie complaining about people or papers using unsettling mind games can be put to one side for now, as one asks is a move to Real Madrid really the attraction it used to be? Would Torres, having already played in Spain, want to return there and to the rivals of his old club Atletico? Rafa’s reply is plain enough
“If you put a price up for someone people will say you are selling so I would not put a price on Torres. Every big player has value but Torres has no value for us. He is unbuyable.”
So there you go, battle lines drawn. Fantasy games, phoney war or real or should that be Real? We shall see, but I know where my money is!
Meanwhile it appears we have been knocked back by Borussia Dortmund in our attempts to sign Jakub Blaszczykowski this January. I seem to remember this deal being mentioned last summer but a combination of the Pole getting injured and Dortmund saying “no” again scuppered this. Blaszczykowski is a winger so perhaps Rafa’s interest brings us back again to the question of Jermaine Pennant’s future?
Finally there appears to be even more reason for not selling Fernando Torres. According to the Daily Telegraph each member of the Euro 2008’s victorious Spanish national team have received their own body weight in beer. So, that’s the club Christmas party sorted the drinks are on Fernando, Pepe, Xabi and Alvaro!
Enjoy your weekend.