With the January transfer window looming on the horizon for the next soccer fair, when players, managers and agents enter a multi-million-dollar frenzy of activity buying and selling players, reinforcing attacks, midfields and defences, the gossip columns burst into activity.
One club with a long shopping list is the English Premier League's Manchester United Football Club, ably managed by Sir Alex Ferguson since 1986. He is said to be following several Portuguese players, namely Nico Gaitan of SL Benfica (Lisbon), a winger, and also a player from the rival Lisbon club Sporting Clube de Portugal (wrongly labelled "Sporting Lisbon" by the European sports press) - the 22-year-old Dutch striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel, who cost 11 million GBP from Utrecht in the close season period - and who has since scored six goals in seven matches under the guidance of team coach ex-FC Porto and SC Portugal star Domingos Paciência (who led SC Braga to the UEFA final last year against FC Porto).
Outwardly bound from Manchester United Football Club, maybe when his contract ends in 2013, could be the 32-year-old England defender Rio Ferdinand, linked to the USA side Chicago Fire and Qatari clubs Lekhwiya and Al Sadd.
Russia has been deprived of the right to hold international competitions and apply for them for four years