This week's rumour mongering comes with a heavy dose of things that pretty much everyone knows won't happen, but with January fast approaching there are page inches to fill and eyeballs to capture for those more concerned by the transfers than the football. So with that in mind, come scrape the bottom of the barrel with us as we look at some of this week's latest and (not so) greatest transfer talk from a Liverpool point of view.
We kick things off with news that Demba Ba's release clause is back in the news—and with it whispers that Liverpool could end up a potential suitor. The player is reported to have turned down a new deal worth £70k with Newcastle that would remove that pesky out of his, with Ba's representatives leaking the status of his contract negotiations to the press. And at the £7M it would take to trigger his release clause, it's hard to argue that Ba's fee wouldn't be a bargain.
On the other hand, it would likely take wages in the £90-100k range to secure his services after triggering it and despite a fairly healthy run at Newcastle, injury concerns do linger for the Senegalese striker. One also has to wonder if a player who can only likely be effective in the middle would be Brendan Rodgers' ideal target given that's kind of where Luis Suarez plays and that those who point to his time on the wings in the Eredivisie to argue he could be effective there in England are overlooking one important factor—nobody in the Eredivisie, from left wingers to centre backs, actually bothers with playing defence and there's a reason why Suarez has been a fixture centrally at Anfield and with the Uruguayan national team.
Then there's Michu, the 26-year-old Spanish attacker who arrived at Swansea over the summer for £2M when it turned out the Welsh club was the only side in England with a television tuned to La Liga matches that didn't involve Barcelona or Madrid. Whatever the reason for Michu being overlooked by everyone else, the end result was Swansea picking up Spain's leading midfield scorer in 2011-12 for an absolute bargain. And of course, now that he's had a few months in England he's every media outlet's favourite overnight sensation—and that means he must be heading elsewhere, and fast.
Along with talk of a possible return to Spain, with both Atletico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao linked in large part thanks to the expected departures of Rademel Falcao and Fernando Llorente to pastures richer, Liverpool has inevitably been entered into the picture due to the club's lack of goals beyond Suarez and because of manager Rodgers' obvious Swansea connections. Of course, Michu would now likely cost upwards of £20M and he's more second striker—or, at times, striker striker—than the wide attacker Liverpool needs. Add in that he only just arrived at Swansea and it might not be a good time to bet your house on him arriving at Anfield, though certainly he's a player who could help fill the gap in attack left by an increasingly ineffective Steven Gerrard.
Moving from attack to the back, rumours that Pepe Reina could be on the outs at Liverpool have settled down since his return to fitness coincided with a welcome bump in form, but suggestions Liverpool could be after Birmingham's Jack Butland would seem to be less about looking to replace Reina now than to secure the services of the best English goalkeeping prospect since Joe Hart came up through the ranks at Shrewsbury. As was the case with rumours linking Dutch defender Stefan De Vrij to Anfield, then, the club going after Butland wouldn't impact their prospects this season but might provide a solid building block for the future, and so long as his acquisition didn't impact Rodgers' ability to get the players he needs to compete in the second half of the season it would be hard to argue against it.
Elsewhere, a favourite rumour of Liverpool fans over the past few months may have passed its expiration date with reports that Klaas-Jan Huntelaar's move to Arsenal has been all but finalised. Of course, the rumours of the Dutch striker who play's for a German side's impending move to an English club began in the French press and so perhaps should be taken with a truckload of salt, but still it would only seem to confirm what most have come to suspect for the past month or so: Huntelaar was never a realistic target for Liverpool both because of his age, likely wage demands, and his positional inflexibility. However, that Arsenal could be a legitimate destination for such a player might be something for FSG's money men to spend a bit of time thinking on.
And finally we have this week's most unlikely tidbits of rumour mongery, arriving via Spain, with the unlikely suggestion that Xabi Alonso could make an emotional return to Anfield just in time for snood season joined by the even less likely suggestion that Barcelona's Chilean attacker Alexis Sanchez could arrive with him. Neither move is going to happen—or is even being considered in all likelihood. But you already knew that, even if such links inevitably leave one thinking of the days when they might have been realistic targets and make the prospect of Daniel Sturridge or Tom Ince arriving in January even less palatable.
So. Merry Christmas?