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Talk About a Rumor Mill

Rumors are flying now that Villarreal seem to have opened the door to some changes. Villarreal have been linked (along with Atletico Madrid) to Christian Panucci, who is likely on his way out at Roma. The 35-year-old (36 in April) could play central defense, so in that respect, would be a good fit. I would feel sure he would insist on a deal to carry him through at least the end of the 2009-2010 season, if any of this is true.

Nihat has clearly stated that he will not be going to Spartak Moscow on the return flight with his friend Valery Karpin. It seems like the target of the Muscovites is Mati Fernandez. I really have a hard time seeing Mati succeed in Moscow at this point, with his seemingly evident slow cultural transition to Spain. But, the level of play is a little lower there, and he might be able to show more confidence in the league. I would be crushed if he moves on. Perhaps (and this is just me speculating here), if it were to happen, it could be held down to just a loan deal? It wouldn't be a bad idea for him to be loaned out for a year anyway, and this could perhaps be a good move. My suspicion is that if it happens, though, it will be a sale. Of course, we are just at the rumor stage at the moment.

In another outgoing rumor, Xerez (Spanish second division, currently in first place in the league) is seeking a loan deal for Jozy Altidore for the rest of the season. Villarreal have seen how a lack of striker depth have been a problem this year, and if no one comes in, I do not see Jozy heading out. But, if Oliviera or another striker does come into the squad, Jozy could easily be on his way. Villarreal is definitely in for the long haul with the American, but Jozy is just not getting the playing time right now as Villarreal fight for Champions League positioning. And, no matter how much people would love to see him play in the Champions League right now, and it is a realistic possibility that he could be registered for the knockout stages, the chance of him getting any playing time there (or being all that productive) is slim.