Perusing the gossip columns yesterday, or possibly Thursday, Villa fans likely noticed the rumors linking captain Stiliyan Petrov to Liverpool. Earlier in the transfer window it seemed as though every player was getting a link with Manchester City, and if not City Chelsea. Now that Roy Hodgson has taken over at Liverpool, the tabloids are a-twitter with news of the players he's trying to bring in.
And so they landed on Petrov, whom Hodgson could bring in to replace Javier Mascherano, who wants to run back to the comforting arms of Rafa Benitez at Inter Milan. Obviously clubs would be interested in the midfielder, who is a steady defensive presence with Villa, but according to Martin O'Neill, the teams has received no offers from Liverpool. MON then goes on to say:
... if you look at the source I wouldn't hold phenomenal store by it.
He's right, of course. In fact, the Mail reports today that Hodgson is trying to swipe Standard Liege midfielder Steven Defour to replace Mascherano. How fickle the tabloids! This is why we don't report every little rumor--most of them are made up, which is what O'Neill is saying, with slightly more grace, of course. I'd love to see a study evaluating how many of the rumors in the Mail, Daily Express, Daily Mirror, Sun, etc actually become a transfer.
On the OS, O'Neill also re-iterated that he's got no new news on James Milner. Randy Lerner, et al are handling the talks, but it appears that Manchester City haven't met the Villa valuation of the international midfielder. I guess the club really is holding out for £30m, which seems insane to me, but I'd be just fine with it.
And finally, it seems the deal with Luke Young has fallen through. MON states, ""I don't actually know exactly but I think the news is that the move has not materialised. I'm not sure what the reasons are." Some say L Young didn't want to go to Liverpool, some say the Reds weren't meeting his high demands for wages. So instead we continue to pay a ridiculously high wage to Luke Young, in return for him sitting on the bench.
But apparently he'll be playing tonight in the Guadiana Cup, with Aston Villa set to face off against Dutch team Feyenoord at 9:15PM GMT. For more fun photos of the team training, or to ponder how on earth Downing is still glowingly pale, or even to see Ash Young hiding from photographers, click here.