B/R World Football Gossip Roundup: Breaking Down This Week's Biggest Rumours

BR-UK StaffFeatured Columnist IVNovember 10, 2013

B/R World Football Gossip Roundup: Breaking Down This Week's Biggest Rumours

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    With all of the world football speculation that flows in the papers through the course of each week, it can leave the head a little fuzzy.

    We have thumbed through the gossip over the past seven days and picked out the highlights.

    Some are believable, others less so, and in the following slides we'll put our own spin on things by giving them a rating.

Javier Hernandez to Leave Manchester United for Arsenal or Tottenham?

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    This week has seen persistent speculation over Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez, sparked by a tweet he sent at the start of the week.

    Hernandez retweeted a Sky Sports article in which Mexico national team pal Carlos Vela had suggested the poacher would soon have to leave Old Trafford in search of first-team football, a move interpreted as an endorsement of that opinion by many in the media.

    Soon enough came the speculation. On Thursday, the Daily Mail reported that Arsenal had identified Hernandez as a January target—believing him to be the perfect player to take some of the pressure off Olivier Giroud.

    Sami Mokbel wrote:

    Liverpool striker Luis Suarez remains Wenger's dream signing, but Hernandez is high on the list of alternatives. The Gunners have compiled an extensive dossier on the Mexico striker following numerous scouting missions.

    Arsenal will try to sign a new striker in January, and a move for Hernandez is viewed as a realistic option by the north London club given the 25-year-old's lack of game time at Old Trafford.

    Wenger - who is also interested in a loan switch for Juventus striker Fernando Llorente - is worried Giroud is approaching the "red-zone" and made a new striker a January priority.

    Then, on Sunday, Tottenham joined the race—with Jason Burt of the Daily Telegraph reporting a move was likely as long as manager Andre Villas-Boas managed to remove Emmanuel Adebayor from the wage bill.

    Both clubs could clearly do with another striker, but it is difficult to see whether Hernandez would get any more starting opportunities. Might a move abroad be more likely?


    Believability Meter: Medium

    It would seem highly possible that Hernandez will not be a Manchester United player for too much longer. Struggling for playing time—and, in midweek against Real Sociedad at least, failing to make the most of opportunities he does get—Hernandez seems less willing to be a modern-day Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, as evidenced by his recent tweets.

    Whether United will sell to Spurs or Arsenal is hard to predict, but presumably neither club would be seeing their interest splashed across the papers if they had not received hints from somewhere—either club or player—that the move could happen.

Luis Suarez Happy, but Real Madrid Rumours Persist

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    Luis Suarez is the centre of attention for all the right reasons once again, soaring to the top of the Premier League goalscoring charts despite missing the start of the season due to an ongoing suspension.

    The Uruguayan has also recently insisted he is exceedingly happy at Anfield, despite ongoing links with Arsenal and Real Madrid.

    On Tuesday, the Daily Mirror reported Suarez saying:

    I know nothing of any interest from Real Madrid, and I am happy with Liverpool.

    In the team we are all really excited, and looking forward to a good season. ...

    The Premier League is the best league there is. The stadiums, the atmosphere and the fans make football here so entertaining.

    That all sounded great to Liverpool fans, but links with an eventual move away have ceased to disappear. Suarez is still often referred to in transfer pieces as Arsenal's "favoured target," although there is an acceptance he is unlikely to move to the Emirates.

    Real, meanwhile, are still believed to be hunting the striker, and Karim Benzema is apparently likely to be let go if they get their man—Arsenal are interested in the Frenchman according to the Mirror's Paul Smith. It all sounds a little ominous.


    Believability Meter: Medium

    Big players tend to get the move they want—in his recent autobiography, even Sir Alex Ferguson admits as much when discussing Cristiano Ronaldo—and it seems beyond doubt that Suarez would love to move to Real Madrid eventually. If he continues his current form and Liverpool don't qualify for the Champions League, it is difficult to believe he will stay for another campaign.

    Then again, Benzema is currently in fine form for Real; if he continues that, will they really want to let him leave?

Asmir Begovic Claims He Was the Man for City—Might He Still Be?

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    On Wednesday, Asmir Begovic was quoted as saying that he had agreed a deal in the summer to become Manchester City's new goalkeeper—before Roberto Mancini was dismissed and replaced by Manuel Pellegrini.

    As relayed by the Daily Star, Begovic told a Bosnian newspaper:

    As players we are the last to find out things. Probably our agents and club officials find out first without talking to us, then at the latter stage of negotiations they will tell us.

    As for Manchester City, when Mancini was on the bench, we were very close to an agreement.

    The transfer was not realised due to several reasons, but the main one was the departure of the Italian manager.

    This should not have come as a huge surprise to Man City or Stoke fans, as Mancini's former assistant David Platt had previously revealed something similar. Speaking as a pundit on Al Jazeera at the start of the season, he said, "If Mancini and I were still at Man City this year Joe Hart wouldn't be there. We made a decision to sign Asmir Begovic."

    Of course, Hart's place is once again under extreme pressure—with Pellegrini expected in many quarters to pursue another shot-stopper in the January transfer window.

    However, it seems Begovic is not top of his wish list, with Real Madrid's Iker Casillas, Barcelona's Victor Valdes and Malaga's Willy Caballero more commonly linked.

    That may just be misdirection, however. Begovic has continued to be an impressive Premier League goalkeeper this season, so it seems unlikely that City would rule out a deal for him entirely.


    Believability Meter: Medium

    It is not a leap of faith to imagine that Mancini had identified Begovic as his next goalkeeper, so in that regard the claims are quite likely to be based in some truth. But it seems Pellegrini is looking elsewhere for his next No. 1.

Will Ashley Young Be Ditched by Manchester United over Continued Diving?

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    Ashley Young found himself the centre of a furore in the middle part of the week, as he dived once again to win a penalty against Real Sociedad in the Champions League.

    Robin van Persie failed to convert the opportunity, as the game eventually finished 0-0, but Young was once again the focus of attention for diving antics he has become identified with.

    Having been criticised by manager David Moyes for similar antics earlier in the season, many expected the former Aston Villa winger to be in for another rollicking. But the United boss this time defended his player, saying there was "no issue" according to BBC Sport's Ben Smith.

    Nevertheless, that did not stop media speculating that Young could be discarded for his unsporting habit. "Ashley Young now has a reputation as a serial diver—and that could leave his Man United days numbered," the Daily Mirror's Manchester reporter David McDonnell noted.


    Believability Meter: Low

    There's two issues in play here. Could Ashley Young leave United in the summer? Yes. Will it be because of his diving problem? No.

    If Young leaves Old Trafford, it will be because David Moyes deems him not up to the required standard—or that the likes of Wilfried Zaha and Adnan Januzaj leave him better served elsewhere. The diving is a problem, but ultimately it is more a fixation of the media than the manager.

Could Edinson Cavani Go to Arsenal? Is He Really Unsettled at PSG Already?

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    There was a stir in some quarters this week when French outlet Le10Sport reported that Edinson Cavani was already unsettled at Paris St Germain.

    Picked up by the Daily Express, the newspaper suggested that Arsenal and Manchester City would be among the clubs keeping tab on the Uruguayan—if reports that he had grown unhappy at the level of attention strike partner Zlatan Ibrahimovic was receiving proved to be true.

    Cavani has been at the Ligue 1 club only a matter of months, however, so it remains to be seen whether he already wants to depart.


    Believability Meter: Low

    Cavani is unlikely to have decided he needs to end his time in Paris already, although it's not impossible his nose has been put out of joint by the attention lavished on Ibrahimovic. But even if he were to leave, you would have thought that the wages demanded—along with likely interest from Spain and Italy—would give Arsenal little chance of capturing another Uruguayan.

Quick Hits: Other Rumours Analysed

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    Steven Gerrard to retire from England after World Cup? (Daily Mail)

    Believability: High

    He might not be the only one, but it makes sense for his club career.


    Saido Berahino to join Monaco? (Daily Mirror)

    Believability: Very Low

    Speculation of the worst kind.


    Arsenal and Manchester United still chase Ilkay Gundogan (Daily Star)

    Believability: Medium

    May well be true, but they will struggle to get a deal done.


    Joe Hart to be offloaded by Manchester City (Metro)

    Believability: Medium

    Expect Hart to get at least one more chance to salvage his City career.