With Mario Balotelli on his way back to Italy, Manchester City have a hole in their attack. Conveniently enough, Barcelona employ a forward whose name has been all over the gossip pages lately.
Would David Villa really head to Manchester City? That story leads this Wednesday edition of the B/R World Football Gossip Roundup. Inside, we also have updates on Paulinho, Marco Verratti, Jozy Altidore and Didier Drogba.
Keep reading for all the details.
Manchester City have targeted Barcelona forward David Villa after agreeing to sell Mario Balotelli to AC Milan, according to the Daily Mirror.
City and Milan on Tuesday agreed on a deal to send Balotelli, a 22-year-old Italian international forward, back to Italy. Villa, 31, has seen limited playing time this season after returning from a long-term injury.
Villa is rated around £15 million, though Barcelona are thought to be unwilling to sell. Arsenal are also thought to be interested.
According to Sky Sports, however, City are not chasing Villa.
Brazilian midfielder Paulinho will remain with Corinthians despite reported interest from Inter Milan (via Goal.com).
Paulinho, 24, has earned eight senior caps with Brazil. He confirmed he received an offer from Inter but said he will remain with Corinthians, citing proximity to his family as a reason.
"The offer was good but sometimes you have to forget about the money," Paulinho said in a press conference. "A good financial proposal doesn't mean you'll get to do a lot of things. There are times when you have to think about your career."
The agent of Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti says Verratti is not set for a transfer to Roma (via Sky Sports).
Verratti, 20, joined PSG from Pescara in 2012 but has been linked with a swap deal involving Roma's Italian international midfielder Daniele De Rossi.
Agent Donato Di Campli denied the reports. "There is no truth. Marco stays in Paris. He is untouchable," he said.
United States international forward Jozy Altidore will "pray for" Den Bosch fans who abused him racially during a match on Tuesday in Holland (via The Guardian).
Altidore, 23, scored a goal as AZ Alkmaar defeated Den Bosch 5-0 in the Dutch Cup. Officials stopped the match twice after Den Bosch supporters racially abused Altidore and threw snowballs at a linesman.
"It's a bit disappointing," Altidore said. "You would hope that we as humanity can grow from these kind of times but it's still alive, racism. All we can do is try to educate ourselves, and try to raise young kids to be better than that."
Shanghai Shenhua are challenging Didier Drogba's move to Galatasaray, saying Drogba is still a Shenhua player (via ESPN FC).
Drogba, 34, joined Shenhua in 2012 after leading Chelsea to the UEFA Champions League crown. On Monday, Turkish club Galatasaray announced the Ivorian striker had signed in a £6 million deal.
Shanghai Shenhua released a statement on its official website. ESPN FC translated it thus:
The club is deeply shocked. Drogba is still a Shanghai Shenhua Football Club member as the contract between the two parties is still within its period of validity.
The Shanghai Shenhua Football Club is ready to gather evidence and submit the findings to FIFA in order to protect its interests.
Drogba is currently on international duty with the Ivory Coast at the Africa Cup of Nations.