Every year, there are buckets of virtual ink poured onto computer screens and then the Internet by writers suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome and wishful minds.
During transfer season—that perennial speculative period—much of this effort is simply wasted on the most prominent players in the world. Unfortunately, read counts are sometimes prioritized over clear-headedness.
However, these devilishly attractive stories do occasionally materialize and sometimes come close to fruition.
Let's examine seven of the highest-profile players on the market—or at least those who we assume are on the market—and predict where they might end up on September 2.
Sorry to disappoint from the outset, but there is little to no evidence that Wayne Rooney is moving anywhere this summer.
As Manchester United blogger Musa Okwonga stated a month ago for ESPN FC, Rooney has very few options unless he is willing to take a massive pay cut and play on a considerably smaller stage in his prime.
Okwonga claims that Chelsea would be his ideal destination, but the Blues seem to be more interested in Edinson Cavani (more on that in a bit), according to The Telegraph. Arsenal have also been linked, but there is no chance of Arsene Wenger paying Rooney's transfer fee or wages.
When The Guardian begins mocking stories that mention the possibility of Barcelona being interested, you know that nothing is going to happen.
I'm quite hesitant about this prediction, but Marouane Fellaini has to go somewhere, doesn't he?
Everton have stalled in just-below-the-Europa-League mediocrity, and the manager who brought Fellaini to the club is now wearing a tie of a different color. Fellaini is also coming off his most productive season ever, scoring 11 goals and providing five assists in 31 Premier League games.
It is eminently understandable for such a prolific player to wish to move to a more significant club as the 25-year-old enters his prime playing years.
Though the £50 million asking price that was reported by Daily Mail is preposterous, Arsenal will have to shell out considerably more per week than the £75,000 that Fellaini currently earns.
Really, when is it enough with this guy? Every match is a new and unique escapade, as Rogers risks having the focal point of his attack sent off or becoming embroiled in another one of his innumerable scandals.
Suarez's sublime technical ability has allowed him to succeed in the physical Premier League and would be wonderfully suited for Spain's more precise style.
A week ago, he told El Pais, per Sky Sports, that he has a strong desire to join either Real Madrid or Barcelona and, moreover, that Liverpool's inability to qualify for the Champions League is disturbing.
Barcelona already have a guy named Lionel Messi, but Madrid possess both the resources and the space (if Gonzalo Higuain leaves) to sign Suarez.
It just makes too much sense.
Gareth Bale has only just completed the best season of his life—and potentially the best he will ever have. He dissected every defence unfortunate enough to face him with the flair and swagger of an accustomed superstar. And we already know he looks good in white.
So what are Real Madrid waiting for?
Not much, apparently. The club's president, Florentino Perez, recently said that Los Blancos are very strongly interested but must wait to appoint a new manager before making a declaration of intent or concrete offer.
Now that Carlo Ancelotti has been installed, it is only a matter of time before Bale is presented to adoring throngs in the Santiago Bernabeu. The only question, then, is what Real Madrid will do with Cristiano Ronaldo.
This deal is not quite done yet, but a massive £49.3 million transfer is nearly done, according to Radio Marte, Napoli's official radio station, per The Telegraph.
Napoli have had a lethal cadre of forwards in recent seasons, and Cavani looks to follow the path out of Italy that Ezequiel Lavezzi blazed last year.
Jose Mourinho is thus set to have a tremendous amount of firepower at his disposal during his first season back at Stamford Bridge, as he arms himself for an all-out assault on the Manchester giants.
The pre-eminent Arsenal-related story of the short summer has been Gonzalo Higuain's potential big-money move to North London.
According to Higuain's father, a deal could materialize very soon. But Arsenal will have to fend off interest from Juventus, one of the most desirable destinations in the world.
In his words, as he told The Mail on Sunday, per Sky Sports:
Nothing has been signed yet but I can assure you there are advanced talks between the clubs.
We wouldn't arrange any personal contract before the clubs agree for the transfer. I'm aware Arsenal has made a strong offer, as well as Juventus.
Higuain would shatter Arsenal's transfer record and almost certainly top their wage bill, as he will probably be unwilling to accept a reduction of the hefty wage he earns at Real Madrid.
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.
So says aforementioned Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, who, according to The Sun, recently stated, "I have no doubt that Cristiano is going to retire at Real Madrid. I am convinced that he will renew."
By the way, why would Manchester United pay the ludicrous fee to buy back a player whom they sold for £80 million just a few years ago and is currently in his prime?
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.