Rumour Mongering: If Barca Jumped Off a Bridge...? Edition

Chris Brunskill

Barcelona has a history of buying back former youth players. Which might make buying back former youth players seem a good idea. Of course, it helps when your former youth players are named Cesc Fabregas or Jordi Alba.

Liverpool may not actually be in for any exciting names come January, but that doesn't mean the club won't be linked to them between then and now. And so before we get to the cheap and almost entirely dubious options rumoured to be appearing on the club's radar this week, it's only fair to mention the one shining beacon to impossible hope and foolish dreams: Edinson Cavani.

Cavani's agent claims he has received interest from Arsenal and Liverpool for his client, that the player will listen to offers, and that a deal to move the 25-year-old Uruguayan striker to England in January isn't outside the realm of possibility. "Liverpool and Arsenal are the first clubs Cavani has agreed to talk to" according to agent Claudio Annelucci, and "It is no secret that Cavani wants to play in England." Which means it's probably time for everyone to get unreasonably excited just so they can be crushed that little bit more when he doesn't come to Liverpool.

Moving quickly away from the world of exciting if unlikely and into the realm of plausibly pedestrian turns up rather less glamourous rumours suggesting Aston Villa's Darren Bent could arrive on loan with Paul Lambert desperate to get the ex-England poacher's bloated wages off the books by any means necessary. Bent moved to Villa in 2011 for a club record £18M plus an additional £6M in add-ons, but after a promising start to his career at the West Midlands club his impact has declined steadily under Alex McLeish and now Lambert.

Along with a poor recent injury record and increasingly ineffective play, Bent would seem a player not especially suited to Brendan Rodgers' system. In short, it's hard to imagine him being any kind of answer for Liverpool. On the other hand, as it stands today he's something like Aston Villa's Joe Cole—someone they want gone so badly they might even pay some of his wages if it gets him out the door. Which on the surface makes him sound even less like somebody Liverpool would want to bring in. Except for the part where he might be really cheap.

Elsewhere in English head-scratchers, reputable journalists have suggested that Tom Ince returning to Liverpool for £5M eighteen months after heading to Blackpool on the cheap could be an actual thing that could actually happen. Ince would seem to fit the basic mould of Daniel Sturridge, just at a lower cost, though few who didn't obsessively watch the youth and reserves will have seen him play while he was still at Liverpool—and the few who did obsessively watch the youth and reserves while he was at Liverpool didn't generally consider him to be especially promising at the time.

However, regular playing time at Blackpool has convinced some that he might have a future in the top flight after all—at least when he's not putting his head down and firing shots into the stands while his teammates stand around wondering if he'll ever look up and pass the ball. Ince is a decent runner who will take on the fullback, though, even if he can often appear immensely selfish and has an ego that at times seems to have outpaced his talent.

But between running into blind alleys and turning the ball over, he will occasionally pop up with a goal or two. Which could mean Liverpool really is about to do their best cut-rate impression of Barcelona by bringing back a former youth player. In related news, some days one really has to wonder if extreme body modification without anaesthesia might make for a less painful obsession to get caught up in than Liverpool Football Club

It's not all Englishmen who get to leave Liverpool fans somewhat puzzled by being linked to the club this week, though, as Mauro Zarate—aka the man who used the "I didn't know who Hitler or Mussolini were" defense after acknowledging Lazio ultras with a Nazi salute—has been linked with a move to England. At least according to one of the player's advisers, who has suggested that Liverpool and Arsenal are competing with Stoke City for the attacker's services.

The 25-year-old Argentinean, who had a successful loan spell with Birmingham in 2008, has fallen out of favour at the Italian club, making only one appearance in Serie A this season while remaining on the bench as an unused substitute in nine other matches. He has yet to make a senior appearance for his country, though back in 2008 with the player considered a promising prospect he was marked as a future star for Argentina by then-manager Diego Maradona.

Three or four years ago, and Sieg Heils aside, he might have seemed an interesting option. Now, at least he'd probably be cheap. As for outgoings, a week after Middlesbrough showed interest in bringing back Stewart Downing, for some strange reason there are people who exist on the planet who think a move to Arsenal for the former-winger/not-quite-fullback could be an actual thing that actually happens in January. This seems about as likely as Liverpool landing Edinson Cavani.

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