Balotelli to Chelsea?

Give or take 39 hours, we’re now halfway through the latest closure of the transfer window. So what have we learned since the shutters went down on deadline day? What have we learned from two whole months of hot trading chat in the Rumour Mill? Apart from the fact that this intro would work better tomorrow? Well, nothing, of course. Absolutely nothing.

That said, we’ve got space to fill, and you’ve got time to kill, so we might as well plough on. With only two months and 39 hours until the window opens again, it’s clearly the time to start cranking up the old Luis Suárez rumours. It’ll be Arsenal tomorrow, and every other day for the next eight weeks, but for now he’s off to Real Madrid. They’ll offer Liverpool £20m plus Karim Benzema, a player they’re presumably valuing at £20,000,001, and on current form is definitely worth the £1.

The last transfer window caused Crystal Palace much emotional tumult. They panic-splurged on so many new players willy-nilly that stressed-out manager Ian Holloway’s well of endearing non-sequiturs ran completely dry. His USP gone, he had no option but to resign. Palace have taken heed of this sorry narrative, and are refusing to rush the appointment of Holloway’s replacement. They’re mulling over the possibility of employing Martin O’Neill, though Tony Pulis remains the favourite for the job, with Neil Warnock an outside bet to oversee a young coach in an advisory capacity. There are also the beginnings of rumblings regarding Chris Coleman, so while Palace don’t want to rush things, they probably don’t want to take too long just in case those get any louder.

Barcelona are in the market for a new goalkeeper, as anyone who’s been following Pepe Reina’s agent’s career for the last four years will know. Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Marc-André ter Stegen may replace the outgoing Victor Valdes in an £8m deal, while Barca midfielder Xavi clearly knows something Roy Hodgson doesn’t, and has been making a case for Celtic’s Fraser Forster: “When we have played Celtic he has shown that he is a world-class goalkeeper. From what I have seen he has everything to succeed at a club like Barcelona.” He’s not been saying that about Joe Hart, has he, Roy? Eh, Roy?

Chelsea are after a couple of Premier League old boys in Xabi Alonso and Mario Balotelli. So does José Mourinho really want or need the Real Madrid and Milan stars, or is he simply trying to annoy employees/supporters of Liverpool and Manchester City? It’s hard to say for sure.

Liverpool will try to ease the hurt by landing Basel winger Mohamed Salah, but Tottenham are also interested and we know how things usually pan out when they get involved.

Spartak Moscow are after getting rid of Aiden McGeady, who Martin O’Neill once compared to Ronaldinho, which may or may not give Crystal Palace pause. Celtic and Everton are keeping tabs on it.

And a trio of transfer titbits to end today’s lesson. Jermain Defoe could be the latest Premier League star to decamp to Major League Soccer; Toronto, managed by his former Spurs team-mate Ryan Nelsen, are interested. Southampton want Internazionale midfielder McDonald Mariga. And Pepe Reina would like to move to Barcelona.

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