Football transfer rumours: Cesc Fábregas to Real Madrid?

Everybody knows New Year's Eve is a time for reflection – when we stop to consider the best and worst of the 12 months gone by.

Football transfer rumours: Cesc Fábregas to Real Madrid? We know this mainly, of course, because the newspapers are full of tedious list pieces commemorating everything from JLS-branded condoms to agony aunt success stories. So why not indulge ourselves here this morning, too, by looking back over the very best transfer tattle of 2010 – from Kris Boyd being tracked by Juventus (or was it Milan?) to Real Madrid's swoop for Carlton Cole?

You probably assumed that was a rhetorical question, but in reality it was anything but. The answer is, in fact, "because we're going to need those stories again in 2011". Indeed, some newspapers have already jumped the gun – with the Sun picking up on the Mill's hot lead from May (most likely cribbed from the Sun at the time, naturally) to claim that Real Madrid want to hijack Barcelona's move for Cesc Fábregas.

But if old rumours die hard then the good news is that it's not only the vaguely plausible ones that refuse to go away. Today's Daily Mirror reckons West Ham really are serious about signing Michael Owen this time, even if Avram Grant would have preferred to get his mitts on Everton's Yakubu Ayegbeni. The same paper also reports that the Hammers are also "enquiring" about David Beckham. Presumably via 118118.

The people of Iceland may be happy to see the back of 2010, with its volcanic ash clouds and rubbish Jason Donovan adverts, but none more so than Eidur Gudjohnsen. The forward looks set to reprise his role as a Mill favourite after failing to start a single game in four months for Stoke City, with Fulham the side currently being linked with his signature. Mark Hughes's team are also said to be weighing up an offer for Cardiff City's Jay Bothroyd.

There's no such indecision at Sunderland, where the manager Steve Bruce has said: "If there was a certain amount of money available, I'd spend it on one player." Stewart Downing is believed to be the man in question, though Aston Villa want £10m for him. Should they get it, Ged Houllier will rush straight out and blow most of that sum on Blackburn's Christopher Samba.

Elsewhere, Chievo Verona want Carlos Vela, Everton want the Sparta Prague midfielder Juraj Kucka and Roque Santa Cruz has turned down a loan move to Lazio. Liverpool, on the other hand, have high hopes of landing the Hamburg forward Eljero Elia.

Powered by article was written by Paolo Bandini, for on Friday 31st December 2010 09.32 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

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