Sky Sports are reporting that Aston Villa have come to an agreement with Lyon over a fee for Jean Makoun. Which is awesome and everything, but something we've been aware of for two days now. And according to L'Equipe, things have hit something of a snag after Villa's offer of wages was less than Makoun is currently making with his current club. The confirmation of the fee by numerous sources is a positive development, but it is still nowhere near as positive a development as I think we were all hoping would have come about by this point. In this Q & A, Mat Kendrick states that he believes the chances of the move happening are "7.5/10", which is somehow less encouraging than you'd expect from such a high number.
There's some good stuff in the Q & A with Kendrick, most notably that he thinks Villa will spend in excess of £10M in January (meaning at least another £4M in addition to Makoun should the deal ever be finalized) and his opinion that John Carew is likely to be West Brom bound as soon as Emile Heskey returns from suspension. In addition we get the best guess we've seen so far as to what Fulham paid for Steve Sidwell (around £250,000) and Kendrickk stating that he is "not sure of any other left back targets", casting further doubt on the link to Maynor Figueroa. The whole thing is a good, quick read and well worth your time, much like most of what Kendrick has to say.
Finally we have the Karim Benzema rumors which have somehow gained a sliver of legitimacy over the past few days. While it is true that Benzema has a stated admiration for his former manager Gerard Houllier, he is also currently starting at striker for Real Madrid. While Jose Mourinho has made it public that he is in the market for a new striker, only upon him signing one would this move into the realm of 'theoretically possible' and even then it would be a tremendous stretch. Benzema has struggled at Madrid to be sure but let us keep in mind that between 2007-2009 he scored 37 goals for Lyon, the best club in France. Were Benzema stuck very far down on Real's depth chart it might be a different matter but he is at very worst second choice for Jose Mourinho and given the current state of things the idea is quite frankly laughable (and if reports are to be believed, laugh is exactly what Houllier did when asked to comment on the rumors.) It is true that things change and one can never say never, but the possibility of Benzema coming to Villa seems so remote that it is only worth commenting on in order to point out how sillly this story is.
I get the feeling that some other things might start to leak out today based on some chatter amongst Villa journalists and if that is the case we will of course keep you updated. It is also entirely possible that absolutely nothing of note will take place in which case our scrawlings will likely become paranoid, disjointed and desperate as the day wears on. So in either case it should be entertaining.