Will that man above finally be putting on a Real Madrid kit this week?
Will we ever stop talking about Wayne Rooney? Will Arsenal actually make a big-name signing? What will Chelsea do with all of those midfielders? How will Tottenham replace Gareth Bale once he is inevitably sold?
All those questions and more will be addressed in this week's version of the Premier League rumour roundup. Enjoy.
Say that 10 times fast.
In this week's version of the Wayne Rooney roundup, we have managers pointing the finger at other managers, Samuel Eto'o and Juan Mata getting thrown into the mix and so, so much more.
Take a deep breath, and let's begin.
We start with some pretty incendiary comments from Jose Mourinho, who basically came out and said, "Hey, can you blame me for chasing Rooney? David Moyes made him a second-choice player!"
When it was put to Mourinho that he will be given a hot reception at Old Trafford on Monday, he reacted with bemusement. "They are against me?" Mourinho said. "But I didn't say [to Rooney] you will be a second-choice for me. And they are against me?
"We are trying to get a player that a manager told 'You will be a second option' for him. We are not going for [Robin] van Persie. They don't have to be against me. If I say Ramires is a second option for me and he plays when [Frank] Lampard is tired or injured, if someone comes here to get Ramires, nobody is upset."
When Mourinho was asked if Moyes should shoulder the blame, his reply was unequivocal: "Of course." In that moment, questioning Moyes's managerial style, it felt as if battle lines had been drawn, though Mourinho then tried to distance himself from appearing too critical. "In every big team, I am not criticising, you have first options and second options, and those second options must be very good players," he said. "Of course big teams must have second choices. Big players too. The point is if the players are happy to accept that situation."
And yes, the Blues are still in for Rooney, though they are keeping Eto'o as a backup option, according to Darren Lewis of the Mirror.
That backup plan seems pretty far advanced, as Tancredi Palmeri of CNN tweets:
The latest Chelsea offer to Eto'o is 6m€ per one year.Eto'o asking 2 years contract.All in all,only Rooney or Inter can hijack deal— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) August 26, 2013
Eto'o agent to meet Chelsea tonight in Manchester before the game— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) August 26, 2013
Of course, Chelsea may not be the only team that has eyes for Rooney, as Adrian Kajumba of the Daily Star reports that Arsenal will attempt to make a final push to land Rooney ahead of Chelsea.
It's pretty hard to envision Rooney being sold to Arsenal a summer after the Gunners sold van Persie to the Red Devils. That would seem to be counterintuitive, no?
Finally, Massimo Marioni of the Metro reports that Chelsea aren't ruling out a Rooney-for-Juan Mata swap. Essentially, Mourinho was asked if he would consider sending Mata to United in any transfer deal, and he basically said that was never put on the table by United, with the Red Devils simply rejecting Chelsea's bids and saying they weren't interested in selling.
Still, with enough midfielders at Stamford Bridge to field an entire starting 11, Mata's departure wouldn't be shocking.
What would be pretty surprising at this point, however, is Rooney actually being sold. With Eto'o close to being signed, it looks as though the Blues are slowly accepting the fact that United won't budge on Rooney.
Who is ready for some conflicting Gareth Bale reports?
Depending on whom you believe, Gareth Bale is either to be unveiled at Real Madrid this week or could be headed elsewhere, as other bids are coming in for the player.
We start with Neil Ashton of the Daily Mail, who reports Bale to Real Madrid will be finalized shortly:
Gareth Bale is free to join Real Madrid after Tottenham agreed a world record £86million deal with the Spanish giants on Sunday night.
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy signed off the staggering move for the PFA Player of the Year following talks with directors in the boardroom at White Hart Lane. Bale’s transfer to Real beats the previous world record of £80m which Real paid to Manchester United for Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009.
Levy returned from talks in Madrid with Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett and Tottenham director of football Franco Baldini to watch his club’s 1-0 victory over Swansea City after agreeing the deal.
Hooray—this saga is finally over!
Or is it?
According to Pete O'Rourke of Sky Sports, other teams are entering the fray:
However, it has now emerged that no deal has been agreed between Tottenham and Real and that the White Hart Lane club are weighing up offers from other clubs.
Sky sources say enquiries were made a few weeks ago from an English club and two from Europe—but it's unknown whether those clubs made a formal offer for Bale. Manchester United have been credited with an interest in Bale, but it remains to be seen if David Moyes' side are the ones who have entered the race for the 24-year-old.
It's hard to imagine Bale ending up on a different team at this point. After all of the links to Real Madrid, would Bale really accept a transfer elsewhere?
More than likely, this is probably a last-ditch effort from Levy to squeeze every last penny out of Los Blancos. Nothing gives a team more leverage than a vibrant market for a player, something that seemingly has existed for Bale given Tottenham's expensive requirements to sell the player.
It would be a huge shock if Bale went anywhere other than Real Madrid at this point. Levy is putting together a last-ditch effort at sweetening the deal a bit, but a deal will go down, and likely this week.
Who aren't the Gunners being linked to?
We start with Yohan Cabaye, who, according to Mike Walters of the Mirror, will cost Arsenal £20 million, the price Newcastle has settled on. Needing cover in the midfield with Mikel Arteta and Abou Diaby out with injuries, it could be a price Arsenal meet.
According to Walters' report—and several others—the Gunners are also in the hunt for Real Madrid's Karim Benzema, Mesut Ozil and Angel Di Maria, reportedly offering £26 million for Di Maria.
Benzema seems unlikely to go anywhere, however, as his agent has already said the player doesn't intend to leave Real Madrid and wants to sign an extension with Los Blancos, per Toby Moses of The Guardian.
According to Adrian Kajumba of the Daily Star, the Gunners have refreshed their interest in QPR keeper Julio Cesar. It remains to be seen, however, why the Gunners didn't make that move a month ago if they indeed wanted to add the player.
Just remember, folks—Arsene Wenger will only bring in "special players," as he said in his press conference on Monday, via BBC Sport.
Apparently, special is now a synonym for affordable. Who knew?
Be afraid, Premier League—be very afraid.
In an effort to replace the production of soon-to-be-gone Gareth Bale—and to recover from the sting of Chelsea stealing Willian at the last moment—Tottenham have reportedly hit the market hard.
According to reports, the club now has eyes for Roma's Erik Lamela and Zenit St. Petersburg's Hulk, a pair of goal-scoring forwards that would add a real bite to Spurs' attack.
Tottenham are preparing a monster £30 million bid for Brazilian striker Hulk to get over Gareth Bale’s imminent world record move to Real Madrid. Boss Andre Villas-Boas refused to confirm his move for the Zenit St Petersburg forward after Spurs completed their second consecutive 1-0 win from the penalty spot.
Smarting after he was gazumped by former mentor Jose Mourinho in the chase for another box-office Brazilian, Willian, AVB wants to sign two more forwards before the transfer window shuts on September 2. A £26m deal is in place to sign forward Erik Lamela who missed Roma’s Serie A match with Livorno last night to travel to London.
The pair of wingers, if added, should combine to score anywhere from 25 to 35 goals between them, more than replacing Bale's 21 league goals from a season ago. Both could play as wingers, inverted wingers or more centrally—Lamela as a No. 10 and Hulk as a No. 9—and would combine with newcomers like Roberto Soldado, Paulinho and Nacer Chadli to really make Tottenham's attack frightening.
It remains to be seen if Hulk will make the move, but according to Tancredi Palmeri of CNN, Lamela's switch to North London is perhaps already in the works:
As anticipated yesterday, Tottenham meeting in this moment Lamela's agent, confirmed by Sky Italy— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) August 26, 2013
Spurs could be on their way to replacing Bale...and then some.
Manchester United's interest in Marouane Fellaini is nothing new, but it has long been combined with an interest in Leighton Baines, as David Moyes looks to his former club, Everton, for a double swoop.
But now, it appears he could be narrowing his focus to Fellaini alone.
Manchester United boss David Moyes will focus on Marouane Fellaini—and drop his bid for Leighton Baines—if his double bid fails.
Moyes thinks it will be easier to land Belgian midfielder Fellaini than England left back Baines and plans to go down that line. The United chief is going to up his offer for the pair to £35million, but if that is snubbed he will try to get Fellaini on his own.
Frankly, it makes sense. United's biggest need is in the midfield, and Fellaini would give the club a versatile option who could play as a No. 10, box-to-box player or even play deeper in a holding role.
Meanwhile, Baines is no doubt an excellent player, but the Red Devils still have Patrice Evra at left-back, making the prospect of overpaying for Baines unappealing. And it has always seemed unlikely that Everton would willingly sell their two best players in one fell swoop.
Especially this late in the window. Thus, don't be surprised if Fellaini alone dons the red shirt this season, while Baines remains a Toffee.
With all of the attacking midfielders now available for Jose Mourinho at Chelsea—Eden Hazard, Juan Mata, Oscar, Willian, Kevin De Bruyne, Andre Schurrle and Victor Moses—it's no surprise that one of those players could potentially be sold or sent away on loan for a season.
And the logical player to be moved has always been Moses. Now, it seems Liverpool have drummed up an interest in the speedy winger.
From Neil Ashton of the Daily Mail:
Brendan Rodgers wants Chelsea winger Victor Moses on a season-long loan at Liverpool.
Moses, who travelled with the Chelsea squad to Manchester and may make the bench on Monday night for the game against Man United, can leave Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea want a £2million loan fee for the 22-year-old, but Liverpool will try to secure his release on reduced terms. Moses earns £55,000 a week at Chelsea and Liverpool are reluctant to match that.
It's going to be very, very hard for Moses to crack Chelsea's starting 11 with so many talented players at Mourinho's disposal, so a loan spell might be just what the doctor ordered.
At Liverpool, he'll receive plenty of chances to play and could be the perfect addition for a Liverpool side eyeing up a top-four finish. And for all of Liverpool's ambition, the club probably won't threaten Chelsea's title chances at any point this season, and thus may not shy away from loaning Moses the Anfield side.
This potential move makes sense. Don't be surprised if this one goes down.