The season has only just ended, so you know what that means: Transfer season is upon us once again!
Yes, with no actual football to occupy ourselves with over the long summer, we must desperately speculate about any potential arrivals and departures around the world of football.
Of course, about 98 percent of the stories that flood the Internet every day (that's an unscientific estimate) are complete and total rubbish, concocted by a frothing sports media that is desperate for reads and attention.
Before you get your hopes up prematurely, allow me to debunk some of the more, shall we say "wishful" transfer rumors that are floating around at the moment.
ESPN recently reported that Fabregas is at the top of David Moyes' wishlist as he begins his first summer as Manchester United's manager.
Regardless of whether he is on that list at all, he's not getting Fabregas.
Unless something has radically changed since December 2011, here are the Spaniard's feelings about being at any club except the two he's played for:
Apart from Arsenal and Barcelona, I don't see myself playing anywhere else.
Also, Arsenal have a buy-back clause that was inserted into Fabregas' contract when he left. Thus, the Gunners will have the right of first refusal if Barcelona do decide to sell (which is very unlikely), and it is hard to believe that Arsene Wenger will let him slip to Manchester United, of all clubs.
Wayne Rooney certainly does appear to be on his way out of Manchester United this summer.
But if you ask any right-thinking Arsenal fan what the chances are that the club will shell out tens of millions of pounds in a single transfer fee and then dole out a quarter of a million more in wages every single week, you will be met with laughs and shrugs.
This transfer is as likely as Arsenal giving me a spot in their Premier League squad next season.
This just seems like a case of linking a random star with a club that happens to have deep pockets. It doesn't mean the rich team will sign him.
If Chelsea sign Edinson Cavani, as the Mirror claim they sorely want to, the Blues would likely have to discard of Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and/or Romelu Lukaku, who is a rising star. Any plans to get Andre Schurrle would also likely have to be put on ice.
While few would argue against getting rid of Torres, moving these vast amounts of money in both directions is so difficult (and thus so unlikely) that it reduces this rumor to sensationalism.
The Daily Mail is claiming that David Villa could be on his way to Tottenham, as Spurs line up a £10 million bid.
Everything about that sounds likely except the club being linked with him.
Villa was likely going to be sold this summer anyway, but Barcelona's acquisition of Neymar effectively forces him out of the Camp Nou. Expect to see Spain's all-time leading scorer being called offside somewhere else next season.
Why would Villa move to a side that is not playing Champions League football when he clearly has the ability to hack it at Europe's top level?
While Spurs are certainly one of the better clubs in England, this rumor would make a lot more sense if they had qualified for the continent's preeminent club competition.
Manchester City will probably discard many players this summer, but there is no warped universe in which Vincent Kompany is one of those who walk through the door.
Nevertheless, Express sacrificed a bit of their credibility by linking the titanic Belgian defender with a £20 million transfer to Barcelona.
Among the many reasons why Kompany will be seen at the Etihad Stadium in August: He is City's captain and an archetypal leader; he is one of the few class acts in the game who is extremely well-respected by his fellow players; and, most importantly, he is an absolute hulk and one of the best center-backs in the game.
Even when City were in their prime wheeling and dealing days, there was no way that Kompany was being let go.
With the imminent departure of Lukasz Fabianski, Arsenal are sure to be in the market for a goalkeeper this summer. An established professional who can challenge Wojciech Szczesny would be preferable.
But it is unlikely that Arsene Wenger will bring in someone who would be itching to start every single game, and thus prevent Szczesny from getting the invaluable game time that he needs to properly develop.
Thus, we can discard Goal.com's link of Victor Valdes to Arsenal, despite the fact that Barcelona's long-time No. 1 has decided to leave the club. Look for a goalkeeper with either less talent or less lofty ambitions.
When you hear about a player "demanding talks" with his manager, you should immediately be suspicious of the story. Especially when the player is eager to talk with a man who is not even his manager.
Sure, Jose Mourinho will probably take over the job at Chelsea shortly, but there is no way that David Luiz would be bellyaching about speaking with him already.
And certainly not because he's pondering interest from Barcelona.
Besides, why would Chelsea sell him? He was such a good defender that he kept John Terry out of the side, and he was a crucial part of the Blues' third-place finish.
"I wanna go home!"
Sorry to disappoint.
Despite the hopes of countless Manchester United fans and a remarkable online donation initiative called "Bring Ronaldo Home" that has been the subject of much commentary, Cristiano Ronaldo is staying right where he is.
Because he is at a club that builds its team and its game around him, and which can raise his already astronomical wages without stressing its accountants.
And Manchester United are not going to pay the ludicrous fee to buy back a player whom they sold for £80 million a few years ago.
Perhaps Ronaldo will come "home" in a few years, and maybe the likely acquisition of Gareth Bale will force the Portuguese star out, in time. For now, though, this transfer rumor is simply too sensational to be true.