Sentinel Playerwatch - Transfer Window Day Three
THE professional rumourmongers do not seem to be putting much thought into the dark art of transfer predictions these days.
When the winter transfer window opens on the eighth day of Christmas every 12 months, the gossips take one look at Stoke City's squad and whisper ... "full-backs".
Any big defender who can play out wide who is known to be on the market is usually soon said to be on his way to the Potters and 2013 is proving true to form.
The Sun have been first to throw a dart at a list of names and come up with left-back Faouzi Ghoulam, from Saint Etienne, who we are told is "6ft 1in-tall and valued at £2.2m".
Visiting the Home & Garden show this Sunday?
We will have some exclusive deals for you so make sure you visit our stand and say hello
Terms: With free entry just visit the show at the Moat House hotel Festival Park between 11am and 4pm and pick up a leaflet
Contact: 01782 342609
Valid until: Sunday, June 23 2013
City are "locked in a three-way battle for the 21-year-old with Fulham and Udinese" but if Tony Pulis is thinking solely about getting cover for Marc Wilson, this is probably not the man.
Ghoulam has played for France under-21s but he has switched allegiances to Algeria and will be jetting off smartish later this month to play in the African Nations.
Martin Olsson has been linked before. The Sentinel reported Stoke had made an inquiry to Blackburn Rovers about the left-back's availability back in July.
ESPN have brought the 24-year-old's name to the top of the pile, saying, "Pulis was put off by the Championship club's £8m demands before but would like to bring two new players to the Britannia Stadium, with a specialist left-back the priority".
"A source close to Olsson" is quoted: "Sunderland have an interest and have watched him a few times recently and Stoke are also interested.
"It depends what Blackburn want to do. He is in the team at the moment and there has been another change of manager. Stoke were put off in the summer by the high valuation."
A source close to Sentinel Playerwatch said: "Anyone can just make up a quote from an anonymous source."
Meanwhile, the Honduran newspaper Diario Deportivo Diez's weekly Wilson Palacios-watch column has not been great of late and the the Reading Chronicle has the midfielder listed as a target for Reading
A bizarrely-fascinating 15-minute long "tunnel cam" Manchester City film pre and post match before sticking on YouTube showed Pulis with his arm around Palacios before Stoke lost 3-0 at the Etihad on New Year's Day.
Pretty much the only audible moment has Pulis telling him in hushed tones, "you know what he's like, always on the phone", which could be referring to either Harry Redknapp or Ryan Shotton.
Meanwhile, CREWE ALEXANDRA and PORT VALE have been busy actually conducting deals, and both will prove pretty popular.
Crewe have extended the loan of goal-scoring central midfielder Brad Inman from Newcastle United until February 11.
The Vale have brought back Trinidad international Chris Birchall until the end of the season, subject to international clearance.