Sitting in the charred remains of its King's Cross crawlspace, the Rumour Mill is finding it difficult to concentrate on the peddling of baseless football speculation in the wake of last night's horrors, when we played a lengthy rendition of When the Saints Go Marching In (to the Emirates) on our own trumpet, then treated ourselves to a celebratory brandy and cigar for nailing yesterday's speculation about Southampton tyro Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain going to Arsenal, only to pass out mid-revel and cause our non-fire-resistant, classic double-ended chaise longue in cream regency stripe on mahogany ball and claw legs to ignite.
In Liverpool, it seems Alberto Aquilani's dreams of signing for Milan may also be about to go up in smoke, with the midfielder's agent having declared that the Serie A side have yet to make a concrete offer, despite their vice president Adriano Galliani stating that a bookish-looking Italian international with a touch of the Harry Potters about him is exactly what the club needs.
"The Rossoneri, for now, haven't stepped forward for him," said Franco Zavaglia. "There were the words of Galliano, but no other signal. As a result I can't tell you what kind of offer the club could potentially make for my client – in regards to a loan or a permanent switch. We'll just have to wait."
Sibneft will go head to head with the Qatar Investment Authority in what's likely to be an unseemly cash-soaked scrap, if Daily Mail reports that Chelsea are "facing a battle" with Paris Saint-Germain in the race to sign Porto's Uruguayan wing-back Alvaro Pereira are anything to go by. A first-team staple at the Portuguese club when André Villas-Boas was in charge, Pereira had been valued at £15m, but that's all changed now he's found himself in the enviable position of being coveted by two clubs currently positioning their money-cannons outside the Estádio do Dragão and preparing to fire.
Having made his position at the Bernabéu untenable a couple of weeks ago by telling an ESPN interviewer that Barcelona are not just better than Real Madrid, but one of the best sides in history, Fernando Gago is available to interested parties, despite not having pulled up too many trees during his time in the Spanish capital. The Argentina midfielder did not say anything that isn't true, but Real Madrid fans quickly took to cyberspace to register their disapproval at what they perceived as an outrageous act of treachery by a bitter ingrate, when in fact the interview in question was conducted in a fairly jovial and lighthearted manner.
The upshot is that Senor Gago is now being offered to Manchester City in part exchange for Emmanuel Adebayor, who is diplomacy itself and would obviously never dream of upsetting fans of any club he plays for with disaparaging, ill-advised remarks or, indeed, goal celebrations. Should Gago end up at Eastlands or any other Premier League club, he can at least relax safe in the knowledge that English football fans generally don't take things too seriously and would never waste their time scrutinising the most bland remarks in search of offence where none is intended.
Adebayor is also wanted by Harry Redknapp at Tottenham Hotspur, as is Real Madrid's £20m-rated French international midfielder Lassana Diarra, even if Spurs are reported to be reluctant to shell out that much dosh.
This morning's super soaraway Sun reports that West Bromwich Albion are about to "smash" their transfer record to bring Shane Long to the Hawthorns. One of the Rumour Mill's spies reports that the Reading striker missed training with the Republic of Ireland on Monday to conduct a medical with the Baggies, who are hoping he'll put pen to paper in time for their Premier League opener against Manchester United this Sunday.
And having seen his porous defence ship 15 goals in six admittedly meaningless pre-season friendlies, Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish is concerned enough to line up an £8m bid for Scott Dann, whose current club Birmingham City might still be a Premier League side if their 24-year-old centre-half hadn't missed the second half of last season with a twanged hamstring.
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