As the year comes to an end and we prepare to jump-start the Eurobot for a month of transfer whisperings, we take a look at some of the extraordinary stories which appeared in the press during the course of the year.
Some strange rumours do come to pass. Take a look at David Trezeguet joining second-tier River Plate, or Joe Cole heading to Lille, or even Jens Lehmann returning to Arsenal (yes, that really was this year).
But some start out far-fetched and stay that way. Here are our favourite stories of 2011 that we're still waiting to happen...
Ronaldinho to Blackburn (January 2011)
Anuradha Desai, chairwoman of the chicken meat-processing company, told BBC Radio Lancashire: "He is keen to play in the EPL (Premier League) and I think that goes in our favour.
"To be precise [our offer] is 7.6m euros (£6.5m) for first year and about 8.5m euros (£7.2m) for the second and third years."
The end result: Ronaldinho went back to Brazil, where he has enjoyed a productive first year with Flamengo.
Gary Cahill to Barcelona (September 2011)
Having stayed at Bolton but not extended his contract, which is due to expire in the summer, Cahill was always going to be linked with bigger clubs. But the champions of Europe was surely a rumour too far.
The end result: Cahill remains at Bolton, but the club have confirmed that Chelsea have made an approach for the defender.
Carlos Tevez to West Ham (October 2011)
One rather hopeful former club of the Argentine's, West Ham United, chirped up that they would be quite happy to offer him some Championship football.
The end result: Five days after registering their interest, the club admitted it was all a bit unlikely (laid in glorious relief by the simultaneous interest that the club were eyeing El-Hadji Diouf instead).
Tevez, meanwhile, has been working hard on his golf handicap, and may even play a spot of football in 2012 if Manchester City can thrash out a deal with AC Milan or cash-rich Paris St-Germain.
David Beckham to QPR (September 2011)
Beckham's career, which has included glamorous stops in the likes of Madrid and Milan, was never likely to end up in this corner of West London.
The end result: QPR have cooled their interest in the former England midfielder, and the world's press is unanimously tipping a move to big-spenders PSG.
David Villa to Aston Villa (December 2011)
The choices Spanish newspaper Marca reported him as having were Chelsea (just about), Liverpool (hmmm) and Aston Villa (eh?)
The end result: We'll never know if David Villa would have got his dream move to the club he shares a name with — he broke his leg in an unfortunate challenge playing against Al Sadd in the Club World Cup semi-final, and faces five months on the sidelines.
Cristiano Ronaldo to somewhere for £150m (May 2011)
Ronaldo could leave Real, claimed reports, provided someone was willing to stump up a £150m transfer fee and pay some fairly hefty wages.
The end result: Last time we checked, Ronaldo remains in Madrid, still banging in the goals and getting on well with his Portuguese compatriot Mourinho. Gun jumped a bit on that story, then.
Accrington's Jimmy Ryan to Real Zaragoza (May 2011)
The story: The Accrington player said he knew nothing of reports linking him with a switch to the Liga side. The club said they wanted to hold on to their player, but couldn't stand in the way of a big enough offer.
The end result: Ryan ended up switching clubs - but not to Spain's top flight, rather the third tier of English football. Zaragoza failed to cement their 'interest' as the slightly more likely Scunthorpe swooped.
Guus Hiddink's £66m offer to manage Anzhi Makhachkala (September 2011)
The end result: Hiddink quit his job towards the end of the year having been unable to steer Turkey through their Euro 2012 play-off, while Anzhi player Roberto Carlos has been promoted to manager.
- Sports & Recreation
- Sports & Recreation/Soccer