We’ve heard so far that Steve Bruce still isn’t convinced by Craig Gordon, which would handily explain our supposed interest in keepers most of those who saw Gordon last season would consider inferior. Then we’re told one or two of the Big Four (or is that Five, Six or Seven now?) have their eyes on Scotland’s and our No 1. Mmm.
What else? All those people we’re allegedly in for: Luke Young, Mauro Boselli, Landry N’Guemo, Marcus Pedersen, Marcos Angeleri (close to signing, says the Evening Chronicle). Plus a few of those goalies. And even some bloke called Alan Hutton, for whom ‘Arry is demanding crazy money but in whom we are, or are not, still interested according to which report is believed.
Then there’s the list of men on their way out: George McCartney, Daryl Murphy, Teemu Tainio, David Healy, Nyron Nosworthy and Marton Fulop heading the procession, with Phil Bardsley and Anton Ferdinand likely to follow. Always assuming someone else wants ’em.
Fulop has had a reasonable time with us, and the others have generally tried to do their bit with varying success, but few of us would feel the need to ring up the Samaritans if they went.
All you really need to know is that – reassuringly – we’re active looking around, both for people to bring in and for managers who might take those for whom there should really be no future at a club with Top 10 aspirations or better.
There’s the small matter of the World Cup between now and the new season. There’ll be injuries, approaches, second thoughts about men on whom Bruce may already have formed thoughts one way or the other.
Yes, there is often at least a grain of truth in stories linking us with this or that player. But players’ and agents’ interests also come into play, as do the needs of sports hacks to fill their pages or airtime, and their efforts are in turn regurgitated by football websites. It’s called kite flying, and they’re all at it in their own ways.
Never forget what has been mentioned here more than once: in a recent pre-season (and therefore, no doubt in others too), only a handful of the scores of players with whom we had been confidently linked had ever actually crossed our radar. And nearly as many other players had been targets without the rumour mill getting so much as a sniff.
But don’t sell Craig, Brucey!
* With thanks to Tocs for his red and white kite photo