With the transfer window still over two months from opening and no competition anywhere near its conclusion, times are understandably tough for sports news generators to fill their allotted column inches.
Site visits are down in this notoriously barren period, but the gossip peddlers are still playing with transfer yarns, desperately trying to spin them into full-blown rumours.
Their latest efforts speak of an unlikely reunion between an outcast midfielder and a former manager.
Said midfielder is Chelsea’s Cesc Fabregas, who has unexpectedly found himself on the periphery this season following the arrival of N’Golo Kante, a midfielder whose hustle and bustle approach could not be more removed from the Spaniard’s refined style.
The manager who reportedly wants to free Fabregas from the Stamford Bridge fringes is Pep Guardiola, who allegedly sees his countryman as a replacement for none other than Fernandinho.
Guardiola, it is reported, is growing increasingly frustrated with the Brazilian, despite him, along with Raheem Sterling, being the only player to play in all of the Citizens league and Champions League games this season.
Without lamenting the unlikelihood of Chelsea selling such a skilled practitioner to a direct competitor, only those with the most obscure of ideas would aim to achieve success by sacrificing an all-action, tireless midfielder who is clearly integral for a playmaker to play alongside Ilkay Gundogan, whose style is very similar, at the base of City’s midfield.
If they were to sign Fabregas, a false nine role is the one in which he’d most likely find himself.
Guardiola was the first to deploy him in such a capacity at Barcelona, when cracking the midfield triumvirate of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets proved impossible for the former Arsenal star.
Instead of anchoring the midfield, it’s more likely Fabregas would provide an experienced alternative to Kelechi Iheanacho as Sergio Aguero’s understudy in games where keeping possession was paramount.
It was a role the 29-year-old clearly didn’t enjoy too much, prompting him to leave Barcelona for Chelsea in 2014.
Given his age, the Spaniard probably has one more big-club contract left in him if he is to leave west London; a move to the Etihad would be squandering this opportunity.