Welcome to the transfer nonsense filter, where we lament the possibility of really fun transfer rumors coming to fruition.
Surprise! Manchester United missed out on Barcelona starlet Thiago, who chose to join Bayern Munich, so they're going after the other famous second-choice Barcelona midfielder. Fabregas hasn't exactly established himself as a star in his two years at Camp Nou, and it wouldn't be surprising if he was open to a move back to the Premier League.
However, Barcelona will almost certainly be reluctant to sell. The loss of Thiago and Cesc would leave them thin in the midfield ranks, as good as their B team and youth academy are. Sergio Roberto and Jonathan dos Santos are nice players, but they're probably not good enough to play regularly for Barcelona, while Rafinha Alcantara has been loaned to Celta Vigo. Arsenal are also rumored to have right of first refusal on Fabregas, meaning they should have an opportunity to match any bid United make. At that point, it would be up to Fabregas to decide where he goes.
Odds: Unlikely. This feels like a PR move after United's failure to sign Thiago. Don't take it seriously unless Barca start sniffing around Ilkay Gündogan or a similar player.
Stevan Jovetic to Manchester City
Juventus already have Carlos Tevez, so Jovetic's preferred destination appears to be an unlikely one. Fiorentina have ownership with some fairly deep pockets, but they probably bought Mario Gomez in anticipation of Jovetic leaving. Enter Manchester City, who need to replace Tevez.
On the surface, this move looks like a fitting one. Jovetic isn't the exact same player as Tevez, but he is a technically skilled second striker/attacking midfielder who could partner either Sergio Aguero or a true target forward. He can operate in multiple positions and in multiple formations. He's going to fit whatever City wants to do. Also, Fiorentina are obviously willing to sell, and City's capacity to offer huge wages should placate any desire Jovetic has to play elsewhere.
Odds: Very likely. Arsenal, Juventus, Napoli and perhaps even Madrid are all possibilities, but City look the most likely to land him.
Gonzalo Higuain to someone in the Premier League. Or Juventus. Or Napoli. No one knows.
Gonzalo Higuain probably won't be playing for Real Madrid next season, but where he lands is literally anyone's guess at this point. Arsenal have pursued him the most aggressively, but they're not the only team in the running. Juventus and Napoli have shown interest as well, while Chelsea could look to him now that Edinson Cavani is close to completing a move to PSG.
There's also the matter of Real Madrid's interest in Luis Suarez. High profile player swap deals rarely happen, but a swap of Higuain plus cash to Liverpool for Suarez makes a lot of sense for both players and both teams. Higuain might prefer Champions League football, but following his spell at Madrid and his stated desire to leave, it seems like he values playing time more. At Juventus or Chelsea, he'd just be a rotation player. He'd probably have to fight Olivier Giroud to start at Arsenal as well. At Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers would probably build around him.
Odds: Don't count anyone out yet, but if you put a gun to my head, I'm blurting out 'Chelsea.'
Raul Albiol to Napoli
Everyone's favorite dead weight Real Madrid central defender probably isn't long for the Bernabeu now that Carlo Ancelotti is in charge and Raphael Varane has established himself as the best young defender on the planet. Unsurprisingly, he's being linked to Napoli, who employ his former manager Rafael Benitez.
Rafa's likely to switch away from a back three to a back four and could certainly use some bigger, stronger defenders. Albiol has also lost a step and would probably fare better in slower-paced Serie A than any of the other top four leagues in Europe. He gives them the bit of size and strength they need in the center and he's played in systems similar to Rafa's usual setup for his entire career.
Still, Serie A or not, Albiol is slow. He might not have it anymore. Napoli might end up with buyer's remorse quickly, much like Schalke did with Christoph Metzelder.
Odds: Excellent, but it's certainly not a done deal. The rumored €8m price tag seems steep, but Napoli's about to get €63m for Cavani, so they probably can't be arsed to haggle.
Lukas Podolski to Bayer Leverkusen or Borussia Dortmund
Podolski was in and out of the Arsenal first team in his first season with the club. With a striker likely arriving, Jack Wilshere likely to spend an entire season healthy and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain likely to play a bigger role next season, he might find playing time even harder to come by next year. He was effective, but hardly spectacular, and only went 90 minutes on two occasions in the league.
With the World Cup coming up, Podolski probably wants to play as often as possible and has been linked to a move back to the Bundesliga. However, it's certainly not like Wenger to give up on players after one season, and Arsenal could still use him as depth.
Odds: Slim, unless Bayer or Dortmund is silly enough to overpay significantly and help Arsenal turn a profit on the move. Both have the money, but they've both been run like shrewd businesses in recent years, flipping talented young players for a profit. It would be a seriously out of character move for both sides.