Nobody expects the international break! Its chief weapon is boredom. Boredom and injuries. Injuries and boredom. Its two weapons are boredom and injuries. And most silly rumors. Its three weapons are boredom, injuries, and silly rumors ... and contrived references! Its four...
And when I say silly rumors, I do mean silly rumors.
We had a random Spanish source no one’s ever heard of claim that Real Madrid and Chelsea have a “verbal agreement” for a first-option bid-matching arrangement over N’Golo Kanté. That is, if Chelsea ever decide to sell Kanté (which isn’t happening) or if Kanté wants to leave (which hopefully isn’t happening either), then we’ll do the courtesy of letting Real Madrid match any bid received.
Then we had someone resurrect the Youcef Atal rumors from the spring. We’ll have more of that undoubtedly if and when the transfer ban is either lifted or expired, in January or next summer. OGC Nice’s Atal is “rated” at £35m, which is practically base-model pricing these days.
A similar scenario played out with Krzysztof Piątek, who’s regressed to the mean in terms of goalscoring since joining AC Milan from Genoa (“only” 1-in-2), but still will attract bidders if and when Milan decide to cash in. Those rumors were subsequently debunked by other rumors, in classic rumor mill tradition.
And then last but not least, we had another highly dubious re-run with José Luis Gaya, who’s featured in Chelsea rumor mills since 2015, this time to the tune of €100m, which is the buyout clause in his Valencia contract. With two left backs in or near their primes on the Chelsea books, it seems quite unlikely that we’d spent that much on another one, especially one who apparently doesn’t want to even hear about Chelsea, let alone leave Valencia.
And this concludes the rumor mill inquisition. Nobody expected it.
Now back to actual football.