Manchester City might be in the market for a seasoned centre-back in advance of a season that will hopefully include a deep run in Champions League play.
Before we get into the details on that, though, allow me to note how gratifying it was to see The Guardian's Scott Murray address an issue that nobody seems to be talking about with regard to this summer transfer window.
It has been sort of a bust so far.
"Here we are spending whole days, fingers tightly crossed, refreshing Twitter every 10 minutes, desperately wishing the deals go through," wrote Murray. However, "The Rumour Mill's got plenty of nothin'!"
It gets a football fan thinking that maybe some of these stories come from thin air, conjured by journalists who must justify their wages because blank newspapers—and online columns—will not sell.
That is my fervent hope, at least. If you could not already tell, I have absolutely no use or time for Manchester City signing a 30-year-old back who, according to Ian Herbert and Pete Jenson of The Independent, "is already third choice at the Bernabeu."
"For a probable price of £15m," no less!
To borrow—alright, to steal—from ESPN's Bill Simmons, any time you can pay £15 million to acquire another team's aging reserve player and shore up a position that is already strong, you have to do it.
According to The Sun's Martin Blackburn, this move is new manager Manuel Pellegrini's brainchild and he only wants Pepe because "Kolo Toure moved to Liverpool earlier in the close season and Joleon Lescott has just one year left on his contract."
Even better, Blackburn has Real Madrid "looking for around £20 million." How about this, Real: Here's Sheikh Mansour's wallet, take whatever you think is a fair price.
None of this is to suggest that Pepe is a bad player or that he would be a horrible pickup for City. Certainly, he will be much better than Maicon, one of last summer's transfer-window car crashes.
It's just that neither The Sun nor The Independent seems to be doing anything more than speculating about what Pellegrini and Manchester City might want with Pepe.
Neither author had a quote from the manager or even a source supposedly in the know.
And no, The Independent trotting out a years-old quote from Pellegrini talking about how impressed he was with Pepe's ball control in preseason workouts does not count.
Pellegrini was talking about a player in the prime of his career then. That prime is past.
Tossing stories against the proverbial wall to check for stickiness might be the natural result of Manchester City's apparent refusal to acquire a huge name like Edinson Cavani, last rumored by the Daily Express' Charles Perrin to be heading to Paris Saint-Germain.
In related news, Manchester City need a premium striker a whole lot more than they need another centre-back.
So like Scott Murray said, it seems like City fans are back to checking the rumor mill "first thing every single morning, meeting same time, same place, to obsess about millionaires dilly-dallying" over who goes where.
Hopefully, one of these mornings will include a story describing Pellegrini's masterstroke in landing a top-drawer striker. Until then, the long summer days will just keep on churning.
Some business, this.
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