Written By Justin on Tuesday, December 7, 2010 | 1:12:00 AM
The onset of winter doesn't just mean nasty cold rain and short dark days, though it definitely does mean that, at least here in New York. It also means the approach of the January transfer window. Some credible rumors are gaining strength, but keep in mind, these are still just rumors.
Brad Friedel is said to be leaving the sinking ship that is the increasingly pathetic Aston Villa for a return to MLS and his former team, Columbus Crew. It's no secret that Brad's academy in the US is struggling. His presence back in the States could make a significant difference in its fortunes. Both his contract and his 39th year will come to an end in May (that means he'll turn 40, not die), so at least on the face of it, this rumor makes a lot of sense. The Crew's Will Hesmer would likely have to find new employers, or perhaps he might be willing to wait a season to see if it's just a one-year cameo Brad wants to make before calling time on his career.
Arsenal and Manchester United remain popular sources of goalkeeper rumors. Lukasz Fabianksi has, for now at least, displaced Manuel Almunia, and has turned in some credible performances. Doubters remain, however, but Fulham's Mark Schwarzer is no longer a target, having signed an extension. Manchester United's signing of Anders Lindegaard is seen as a replacement for number two Tomasz Kuszczak, thought to be not good enough to follow Edwin Van der Sar. Kuszczak could be a ready-made replacement for the departing Friedel at Villa. Either Manuel Neuer of Schalke or David DeGea of Atletico Madrid are thought to be the prime target of Sir Alex Ferguson to eventually take over from his reliable Dutchman.
Shay Given has made his displeasure about a lack of first-team opportunities at Manchester City known, and Rangers' keeper Allan MacGregor is a target of several clubs south of the border. More names, more rumors, and more fun to come.