Wayne Rooney wants to quit Manchester United, according to their former assistant manager Mike Phelan. Wayne Rooney doesn't want to quit Manchester United, according to Wayne Rooney and Manchester United. Like cats in a bag, this lot. Here's hoping this gets settled at some point, especially as it's just keeping Arsenal, Chelsea, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain hanging about, but when the truth's finally uncovered, don't bother rushing here with the news, because Jimmy crack corn and the Rumour Mill don't care. Accuse us of being jaded all you like, but United reportedly have 659,000,000 fans worldwide, and at least 659,000,000 of them, we'll be bound, will also have better things to do.
Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur are both sniffing around Gareth Barry, who has only one year left on his deal at Manchester City. Arsène Wenger reportedly tried to sign Barry from Aston Villa a few years ago, but nobody noticed because everyone was too busy critisising Rafael Benítez for trying to do exactly the same thing.
Tottenham, for whom Barry and indeed David Villa will not be enough, also want the Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke. (Darren Bent's still not getting a game, incidentally. Paul Lambert's got him cleaning the traffic cones alongside Stephen Irel… actually, no, that's not Stephen Ireland, that's one of the cones.)
West Ham United, who have just spent £15m on Andy Carroll, but they've checked the terms and conditions and there's no going back now, are hoping they can get Romelu Lukaku on loan from Chelsea for a season. The Belgian international is not guaranteed to enjoy a great deal of football if he stays at Stamford Bridge, and this season's all about the World Cup, which is a tournament West Ham excel at. Their fans may have even mentioned it to you.
Salomon Kalou is the old Lukaku: unloved at Chelsea, he's currently rattling them in elsewhere. Now scoring for fun at Lille, he could soon become the new Lukaku: West Bromwich Albion want a go.
A landmark occasion in Wigan, where the club chairman Dave Whelan has been talking to the press about something which is actually his business. Arouna Koné is definitely leaving, he says. "Three clubs have made offers for him. Everton is definitely one." Roberto Martínez's buy-what-you-know policy continues apace with a £5m bid for his former Swansea charge Nathan Dyer.
Chelsea will come back at Norwich City with an improved £10m bid for keeper John Ruddy. Roman Abramovich is sure to be excited at the prospect of this one, functional rather than fancy. It's almost as though José Mourinho is spoiling for a fight already, but of course that could never be the case.
Confederations Cup fallout dept: Bayern Munich will spend £35m on David Luiz; Manchester City are interested in Spain-slaying hero Fred; and Galatasaray are prepared to spend £16m on Mikel John Obi, who did a goal.
Finally, Cardiff City will see off a late challenge from Liverpool for the Celtic midfielder Victor Wanyama, but they'll make up for it by also spending £8m on Blackpool winger Tom Ince, with the Anfield club trousering nearly half the cash. There's nice.