We don't like to talk about transfer rumours. We especially don't like to talk about transfer rumours between windows. Mostly because none of the information floating around is true, accurate, or otherwise factual. And mostly because it's all crap that's been rehashed using stuff that was floating around six months ago that even back then wasn't true, accurate, or otherwise factual. And also mostly because it gets our hopes up, which almost always ends in pain and tears and problem drinking.
Still, it's been a good two months since the summer window closed, and with everybody ramping up for some January insanity it's hard to escape the growing shouts of the rumour mongers. Plus it's another interminable international break and we'd rather not talk about Suarezgate any more than we have to, which for once makes looking at Liverpool rumours the lesser of two evils...
Liverpool, it's where rumoured to maybe be unhappy Barcelona players get linked to when they're rumoured to maybe be unhappy at Barcelona. But then they usually just stay at Barcelona. Or at least they don't come to Liverpool.
First Ibrahim Afellay was moving to Liverpool after only playing in five of the first seven matches after he arrived at the Camp Nou last January. Then Seydou Keita was moving to Liverpool because Barcelona wanted Cesc Fabregas and Keita was supposedly unhappy with becoming Barcelona's midfield supersub even though he'd been Barcelona's midfield supsersub pretty much since day one. Then Pedro was coming to Liverpool because David Villa and Ibrahim Afellay were going to get all the starting minutes on the wing and Barcelona's easy-to-overlook attacker was sick and tired of being stuck somewhere he was easy to overlook. Then Jeffren Suarez was coming to Liverpool because he was constantly injured and Catalonian cuisine made his tummy rumbly. Oh, and there was some stuff about Bojan Kirkic. He was coming to Liverpool, too.
So now David Villa is coming to Liverpool because Lionel Messi stole his Legos or Pep Guardiola made him shave his soul patch. Or something. Plus he's 29, Barcelona paid €40M for him in 2010, and it's hard to imagine that he'd be all that much cheaper now—and that's without even getting into his wage demands, which would easily top 100k per week. But hey: David Villa might finally be coming to Liverpool! But probably not.
Oh, and Keita's being linked again, too.
Oh, and after being linked in the spring, Wolfsburg's pricy playmaker—who's currently on loan at Atletico Madrid—has been linked again, too.
Eden Hazard has not been seriously linked since the summer. Yet. But give it time. Because once you've been linked to Liverpool you're going to be linked to the club over and over again until you retire.
Moving on to a name that hasn't been mentioned a million times before, there have been rumours that Liverpool could seek to sign 29-year-old Portuguese and Zenit center back Alves as a medium-term solution. He wouldn't come cheap, having just moved to Russia last year from FC Porto for €22M, and it would seem to go against FSG's preference for youth, but he would give the club one of Europe's best defenders in their prime while the likes of Keita and Villa are hardly spring chickens, either. Of course, the likes of Keita and Villa are almost certainly not coming anywhere near Anfield—not unless Liverpool makes it back into the Champions League and faces off against them and Barcelona next season, that is—and neither is Alves. Still, given Liverpool's needs, Alves at least would seem a more sensible target than the countless, flashier attackers being linked.
The 19-year-old Brazilian winger who's been capped once at the senior level arrived at Inter Milan in the summer of 2010 and managed six starts and fourteen total appearances in his first six months in Europe. That was while Rafa Benitez was Inter's manager, with the Spaniard showing a surprising amount of faith in the young player, though in the year since his dismissal Coutinho has only made a total of eight further appearances across all competitions at club level. Despite his struggles to find playing time under Leonardo or Claudio Ranieri, his first six months in Milan for a short time established him as one of the brightest prospects in Europe, and with the player's disappointment growing while Inter's past two managers have often not even included him in the matchday squad, it's rumoured Coutinho is seeking a move that could get his career back on track.
Originally purchased for €4M as a 16-year-old, with the deal structured so that he would remain at his boyhood club Vasco Da Gama until he turned 18, it would be easy to speculate that with the player currently out of favour his current price wouldn't be far off that original number after spiking a year ago. All of which would make him seem a reasonable fall-back option should fellow Brazilian starlet Lucas Moura prove too pricy or have his heart set on a continental side—assuming Liverpool is determined to acquire Lucas Moura or some kind of Lucas Moura-like substance, of course. Either that or he's being linked to Liverpool because Rafa was fond of him.
Speaking of Other Lucas, his club Sao Paolo have stated that they will under no circumstances sell the young attacker in January. Unless maybe if somebody offers them crazy money. Given that Lucas has a £67M buyout in his contract, chances are Sao Paolo would consider the £25M or so clubs like Liverpool, Manchester United, and Inter Milan are rumoured to be willing to pay for him to be somewhat short of crazy money territory. It also has to be remembered that while he is undeniably one of the brightest prospects in world football, a 19-year-old Brazilian wunderkind making the move to Europe mid-season isn't the kind of reinforcement most clubs would be looking to make in order to push on for a Champions League spot. Especially not for the kind of money it would almost certainly take to get him. And as much as Liverpool fans might like to see him in red, the club splashing upwards of £50M in January on a player who likely wouldn't factor into their ability to finish in the top four simply isn't going to happen, full stop.
When it comes to outgoing rumours, the most frequently mentioned name in recent weeks has been Dirk Kuyt, with speculation that he could be headed back to the Eredivisie. Ajax in particular is rumoured to be interested in acquiring the attacker who has fallen out of favour with Kenny Dalglish after leading the team in goals last season. To date, Kuyt has been nothing but professional, and all of the rumours linking him to a move home have so far come from the Dutch media, but if one were a gambling man then at the moment a bet on Kuyt leaving would seem safer money than a bet on any one of Lucas Moura, Coutinho, Keita, Diego, or Villa arriving at Anfield in January. Now remind me again why we don't like to talk about transfers between, during, before, after, or around transfer windows?