Regardless of how busy the football calendar gets, the rumor mill never sleeps, never takes a break. Neither snow nor rain nor dark of night nor common sense can ever stop the silliness, regardless of whether it's in-season or not.
Here are a few random rumors from the weekend, plus one familiar face in-line for familiar treatment.
We can thank backup-backup goalkeeper Marco Amelia for this one, after his interview with AC Milan's in-house media channel last week. I'm not sure why or under what circumstances he ended up doing this interview, but he's clearly a fan of the 16-year-old goalkeeper (16!) who has cemented his first-team starting spot already at the famous Italian club.
"Perhaps he's spoken about more abroad. I'm here in London, and he's talked about so much by our scouts here in London and by our goalkeeping coaches. Donnarumma is being followed by many clubs, but I'm sure Milan will keep him because they need players who will stay in the Rossoneri shirt for many years."
-Marco Amelia; source: Milan Channel via Football Italia
In the full interview Amelia's mostly providing an opinion on what he's seeing from the young man, but that one minor point about Chelsea scouts talking about him was enough to get the rumors going. Some have slapped a price tag upwards of £30m on the New Buffon, "the future of Italian football". Alas, Milan would be ridiculously stupid to sell, even at those prices, if there's a chance he does in fact turn out to be the next great Italian goalkeeper.
After the New Buffon, here we have the New Hazard, 22-year-old Sofiane Boufal. The French-Moroccan attacking midfielder is catching the eye at struggling Lille, with many Premier League heavyweights already linked since the fall (for roughly £40m). Chelsea are the latest, supposedly, though it's only talkSport, without even a proper byline. So make of that what you will.
Slightly better sourced, though only slightly, is the Bazoer-to-Chelsea rumor, straight outta Spain. (Because that makes sense, right, for a Dutch player to be linked to an English team by a Spanish source?). Bazoer, a defensive midfielder, has already made his Dutch national team debut at just 19, and many think he's not long for Ajax. His price is only £15m, apparently.
Last but certainly not least, we come to Mata, who's become a big star in the rumor mill once again ... unsurprising, given that Jose Mourinho has been all but installed as Manchester United manager already. The story goes that having once already deemed Mata surplus to requirements at Chelsea, Mourinho will do it again as soon as he takes charge at United (sometimes between next week and the summer).
With Chinese clubs supposedly offering a £30m transfer fee and a significant wage rise on his already massive £170k per-week salary, Chelsea are probably priced out of the market already. But maybe we can appeal to his "Once a Blue, Always a Blue" predisposition? Homecoming for Mata would be a fun move.