The strangest Aston Villa transfer rumour to surface so far this window

Scott Heavey

Courtesy of the Daily Mail, Aston Villa are apparently quite keen to help out two of the clubs they'll presumably be battling to avoid relegation down the stretch.

If you've been paying attention to Premier League football during the internet age you've doubtlessly seen some incredibly far-fetched transfer rumors, but the Daily Mail has given us quite the gift this morning; according to their "Football Grapevine", West Ham midfielder Ravel Morrison is hoping for a move across town to Fulham. Morrison is looking to break free of his restricted contract after becoming one of the Hammers' most productive players this season while appearing to have done a lot of growing up in recent years, while West Ham are reluctant to risk his contract running out without cashing in on such a valuable asset. Fulham are clearly in need of help if they hope to pull themselves out of the relegation battle, and Morrison is the kind of player it's not hard to see holding a whole lot of appeal to a club that could use an infusion of youth as they struggle to avoid a downward spiral.

So far so good, right? It's reasonable to think that Morrison wants to leave, that West Ham would be willing to sell, and that Fulham would be willing to buy. But where does Aston Villa come into all of this? According to "the Football Grapevine", Fulham are seeking to sweeten the deal by offering West Ham the services of one Darren Bent. You know, former England striker and subject of Aston Villa's all-time record transfer fee. That guy. One problem: Bent's still under contract with Villa through the end of next season.

Now, is it possible that there's some subtext here suggesting that Villa would be a third-party in some kind of deal that saw an as-yet unnamed asset coming their way? Sure. I mean, with God, all things are possible. But it certainly seems likely that anyone with enough knowledge of the deal to speak of it would at least consider the possibility before putting it in writing.

The internet is full of a lot of dumb transfer speculation, much of it woven from whole cloth. The Mail is by no means the only (or most egregious) perpetrator where this kind of thing is concerned. But this is just such a blatant pulling-back of the curtain only barely obscuring the sausage-making process that it's worth drawing attention to.

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