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Unread 26-11-2009, 10:50 AM
fred tissue
Default Football transfer rumours: Manchester City's Micah Richards to Tottenham?

Today's rumours have a sprig of tinsel in their hair

For the Mill it's that time of year again. An air of plastic and tawdry materialism has begun to percolate about the place. Junkie beggar pickpockets at major transport interchanges now sport jaunty sprigs of festive tinsel. Fat, red-faced, sherry-stinking men have begun to appear on street corners, the back pages of tabloid newspapers and that spot on Sky Sports News when a beautiful, smiling, futuristic, blond woman listens politely as they talk in a coarse drawl about swoops, pleas, r**** and cash-plus-player swaps.

Yes, the transfer window is approaching and with it all the tass kissings of the season. Including, in the Sun this morning, news of a jowly white-haired man who could soon be leaving his chilly northern hinterland and disembarking somewhere in west London. Guus Hiddink is in trouble in Russia for earning 9m a year and not going into the office much before the World Cup play-off defeat to Slovenia. Hiddink has been branded "a kind granddad", which doesn't sound so bad, and is certainly better than being a manipulative and disapproving great aunt, or an uncle who drinks and has to be driven home shortly after the Queen's speech because of something he said to Mrs Thornley from next door. Hiddink could wash up at Chelsea where he can pretend to be "technical director".

Chelsea are also in the race for "new Italy star Antonio Candreva", along with West Ham. Candreva is 22 and is described as "versatile". He's on loan at Livorno from Udinese. He also, from the sound of things, has a really good agent.

West Ham want Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor, with Robert Green off to Sunderland to step in for Craig Gordon, who is still suffering with broken arm-knack. And Manchester United disappointment Rodrigo Possebon, who plays in Portugal, was born in Brazil and represents Italy, could be on his way to Middlesbrough in another interminable and strangely deflating loan move.

Everton and Birmingham are the latest clubs to be persistently accosted by Nikola Zigic's agent. The two clubs "will battle it out" for the gangling but somehow-not-quite-there hitman. Blackburn and Burnley both want a piece of Lincoln keeper Rob Burch, whose name sounds like a crime and a punishment in one, like being called Wayne Corporatemanslaughter-Openprison.

Steve Bruce longs for Athletic Bilbao midfielder Fran Yeste, perhaps in the style of Joan Collins or William Shatner wearing evening dress and looking sombre accompanied by a full-strength orchestra.

Phil Brown is "eyeing up" Antolin Alcaraz of Club Brugge. He's also buying Ghana midfielder Haminu Draman an expensive drink and preparing to walk him slowly around the dancefloor while putting on his cool and aloof and mysterious face.

In the Mirror Ruud van Nistelrooy is preparing to "rescue Liverpool's season" using a time machine built over many months in the garden sauna complex of his exclusive Madrid home using brown string and a rejigged washing machine engine, which requires him to wander around looking wild-eyed and tousle-haired and wearing a lead sun visor and saying things like "We've GOT to get back to June 2009 or the future time-continuum will be ruined for ever".

Tottenham want to sign Micah Richards in January because some more money and extended exposure to the central London night-club scene is what he really needs to make him knuckle down and stop running about like an extremely athletic confused man trying to find the right night-bus stop at 3.30am in an unknown provincial town.

Walter Zenga is for some reason being lined up as a replacement for Bolton manager Gary Megson. "Zenga has been approached by Bolton," lied his agent yesterday. "He speaks seven languages, including English." Zenga has just been fired by Palermo.

Watford want to buy Plymouth striker Jason Puncheon. Darren Ferguson is ready to "answer an SOS from Sheffield United". And Arsenal have "put youngster Kerrea Gilbert up for sale", which sounds like the kind of thing you might be more likely to do with a damp-smelling two bedroom flat above a kebab and pizza restaurant in Tooting, rather than a scampering 22-year-old right-back.

In the Daily Mail Manchester United want to sign Denmark defender Simon Kjaer, who the Mill imagines is pronounced a bit like Harry Enfield doing a sketch in 1987 about a red-braces-wearing advertising executive saying "OK, yah", but very quickly, like "Simon K'yah". He's meant to be a replacement for Nemanja Vidic, who still says he isn't going anywhere. Kjaer will cost 11m and is owned by Palermo. Edin Dzeko is still being divvied up between Manchesters United and City, even though he says he wants to stay at Wolfsburg.

In the Times pouchy-faced strangely ageless touchline grouch Alan Curbishley is "the man to save Portsmouth".

According to Laroma24.it via Goal.com Cicinho and his music factory want to stay at Roma. "I have spoken to him and he is tranquil," said his agent, sitting very quietly next to Cicinho on a bench near a small moonlit lake for what seems like a really long time and occasionally trying to start a conversation but being gently hushed and eventually giving up and going inside to sit at the hotel bar where at least you can get a drink. And Milan are reported to be "chasing Real Madrid wing-back Royston Drenthe". Run, Royston, run.

Barney Ronay

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