Barcelona's Iniesta to Man Utd?
There may be just two windows for transfers, but none for speculation - unless you count the 24/7/365 that such things take place. So it is that Barcelona maestro Andres Iniesta is allegedly unhappy with talks over a new contract and therefore a possible target for Manchester United.
United are, of course, linked with a new midfielder almost daily, while others are tipped for the exit. Shinji Kagawa, for example, has been widely described as being unhappy at Old Trafford, although those who speak Japanese fluently may point out that few things get lost in translation more than the nuances of a non-European language. None of that, however, has stopped him being linked with a return to Dortmund, with Marco Reus supposedly coming the other way.
Anderson is another midfielder linked with the exit, a move that would be rather more pleasing than that of Kagawa, who many observers believe has simply not been used the right way - these including his former coach at Dortmund Jurgen Klopp.
Of course, all this comes about because of the struggles David Moyes had in trying to land a new midfielder or two in the summer - as well as the marginal impact made by the one player who was signed, Marouane Fellaini, since his arrival.
Much of that frustration was centred on attempts to sign midfielders from La Liga, starting with Thiago, who ended up back with Pep Guardiola at Bayern, followed by Cesc Fabregas, who went nowhere. It then ended in farce amid claims that their bid for Athletic Bilbao midfielder Ander Herrera was being conducted by three imposters who had nothing to do with the club.
In view of all this, the speculation about Iniesta must be taken with a pinch of salt.
If he were to sign - and as a cup-tied player he would be ruled out of the Champions League if he moved in January - Iniesta would be a fantasy acquisition, an undoubted world-beater whose passing, dribbling and ability to accelerate an attack with a swift turn or dribble make him the best folically challenged footballer since Zidane retired.
All that, however, may do much to strengthen Barcelona's resolve to keep him. Indeed, the transfer speculation could help Iniesta land a bigger contract, which may be the idea all along. Alternatively, if he does leave, it is by no means certain he will end up at Old Trafford. After all, there is not a team on the planet that would not have a better midfield with Iniesta is in it.
For that reason, while there is every reason David Moyes would want Iniesta, the smart money must be on him signing a very lucrative new contract at Barcelona very soon.