From one paragraph in the Mirror to an entire piece in the Sutton Coldfield Observer. This is how transfer rumours begin. The latest is that Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur have apparently considered a swap of Mousa Dembele for England international Fabian Delph. Is it a rumour that makes much sense? Eh, kind of. Do I put much stock in it? No.
There's been plenty of talk that Delph would be leaving in the January window. His injury and the subsequent nice run of form the Villa midfield had without him provided a valuable trial period that set a few minds at ease. Would losing Delph be bad? Certainly. But it wouldn't be quite as crippling as previously thought.
The big issue would be depth. Without Ashley Westwood, Kieran Richardson, and Tom Cleverley next weekend, Paul Lambert would be absolutely screwed if it weren't for the fact that Delph is back to being ready to play. So any move that sees Delph leave would almost surely have to have a corresponding move with another midfielder coming in. And that's why a Delph for Dembele swap would make some sense.
But why would Villa make that move? The past 18 months have seen Delph become one of the brightest English midfield stars. Even with only a few months left on his contract, Villa would have to think that they can get better value than Dembele from the inflated prices of the January window. The one way I could see this working is a situation akin to the Ireland+cash for Milner swap a few years ago. But given how poorly that worked, I'd be surprised to see Villa do that again.
So this isn't the most absurd rumour I've ever seen, but I wouldn't count on it happening. In addition to none of the reports being sourced, it's just not a move that makes a ton of sense for Aston Villa. Regardless, allow me to use this as our official welcome to silly season. January is just around the corner, so get used to seeing a lot of stuff like this.