The story about Theo Walcott leaving Arsenal is getting so old that even football journalists, never the quickest out of the blocks, are getting bored of it. So they've tried to spice up the usual mix - Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea - with the addition of Manchester United, who have been very happy with the purchase of Robin van Persie and want some more of that hot Arsenal 2006-2012 action. It can't be long before Spurs are mentioned in dispatches too, and then we'll pretty much have the full house. Try waiting patiently for that, eh. Three weeks before the transfer window opens, there's plenty of time.
Manchester United are also interested in Stoke City goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, presumably because Sir Alex Ferguson has worked out a trick involving three big upturned metal cups, David de Gea and Anders Lindegaard. Liverpool and Arsenal are also interested, as it seems that – and forgive us for only just noticing this, but we're football journalists, never the quickest out of the blocks – each modern football rumour has to involve at least two or three clubs now. One player to one club is never enough these days, each transfer tale has to be a baroque maze of innuendo and obfuscation. Oh for a nice, crisply designed story with clean lines.
Liverpool are kidding on they don't care that Walcott is off to United, and are ostentatiously making eyes at Barcelona forward Alexis Sánchez instead. They're also looking at Chelsea's Daniel Sturridge, Blackpool's Tom Ince and West Brom's Shane Long – the latter also having caught the attention of Bayern Munich – though Brendan Rodgers appears more preoccupied with getting shot of Joe Cole. A couple of papers insist he'll be leaving Anfield in January, though poignantly neither mentions a destination club. Whether or not this has anything to do with Rodgers's recent purchase of several house bricks, a hessian sack, some strong twist ties, and two tickets for the Mersey ferry, one return, one single, has yet to be verified.
Manchester City are keeping a beady eye on Paris St-Germain defender Mamadou Sakho. Sure thing, one's never enough: Arsenal, Milan and Lille are also interested, though Arsène Wenger has to get shot of Sébastien Squillaci to make room in his squad, and good luck with that.
Chelsea will run the rule over Corinthians midfielder Paulinho (English: Mr Paul) this week, otherwise this world club business in Japan is going to be a complete waste of time and effort. It almost goes without saying that Manchester City and Internazionale are also interested, so much so that Chelsea may switch their attention to Manchester United target Cheick Tioté instead.
Southampton want Barnsley defender Scott Wiseman. Obligatory meddling: Reading.
Newcastle United will soon be saying goodbye to Demba Ba – a striker on the radars of Wenger, André Villas-Boas, Rafa Benítez, Rodgers, Roberto Mancini and Tom Cobley – and replacing him with Dynamo Kiev hitman Artem Milevskiy, who is available for a couple of million quid. It may or may not give Alan Pardew pause that Roy Hodgson, when his head was spinning through several axes at once while at Anfield, tried to sign Milevskiy for £14m, a deal that would have registered a full 11 points on Christian Purslow's Carroll Index and sent the needle on the face of Mr Roy's Patented Poulsen-o-meter(TM) shearing clean off.
And Swansea City will spend £3m on Bristol City winger Albert Adomah. Nobody else is interested, the exception that proves the rule. At least for the next 24 hours, until the scouts at City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and United get wind.