Monday's football transfer rumours - Benjani and Saviola to Portsmouth?

Turn on your speakers and crank the volume up to 11. You have thirty seconds to read today's Rumours and your time starts ... now

Consonant please, Rachel ... and a vowel ... and another vowel ... and a consonant ... and a consonant ... and another consonant ... consonant ... vowel ... and a consonant please.

It may be Des O'Connor's 77th birthday, but today all eyes will be on Jeff Stelling, the perma-tanned entertainer's tikka-tinged replacement as the host of Countdown. This proud son of Hartlepool, walking Rothmans Yearbook, unflappable Sky Sports Saturday presenter, three times broadcaster of the year, honorary Doctor of Professional Studies at the University of Teesside, renowned over-user of the phrase "to all intents and purposes", purveyor of bon mots, weak puns and strident rants in defence of Middlesbrough makes his debut at the helm of the cult Channel 4 quiz show this afternoon, where he will be ably assisted by Vorderman 2.0: the lesser spotted Oxford graduate and maths whizz Rachel Riley.

Regular viewers of Sky Sports Saturday will be aware that Stelling is no stranger to spending studio time in the company of bookish intellectual heavyweights such as Paul Merson, Matt LeTissier and Chris Kamara, but the success or failure of his new role will almost certainly hinge on his ability to conduct a comparatively dim-witted orchestra of dullards - Riley, deceptively prim (at least in the Rumour Mill's fantasies) Dictionary Corner fixturette Susie Dent and the procession of the socially lame and halt that comprise Countdown's often precocious contestants - without appearing patronising. What's more, while jokes about Rushden & Diamonds left-back Gareth Jelleyman getting sent off "for throwing a wobbly" are all well and good, they'll be of little use to anyone when the first nine letters on the board spell "R-S-E-H-O-L-E-S" and some sniggering 12-year-old prodigy has just asked for another vowel.

Anyway, to mark the occasion of Sir Jeff of Stelling's maiden voyage on the good ship Countdown (which we will be covering in a minute-by-minute report at 3.25pm), it's fingers-on-buzzers time as we present today's football transfer speculation in conundrun form ...

AHARVARDSINEIN is going to Arsenal at some point before the end of January, even though Zenit St Petersburg have turned down a £10m bid.

The Mr 15% of Boca Juniors' £4m-rated midfielder Sebastian Battaglia, 28, has said RENALAS manager Arsène Wenger has been sniffing around his client, but will have to fight off interest from Lazio to get him.

Expect to hear loud sizzling noises when JANEBIN jumps out of the Manchester City frying pan, back into the Pompey fire. The fee? £6m and Michael Johnson.

AMADSTONY is also interested in bringing Newcastle midfielder Joey Barton and Real Madrid forward Javier Saviola to Fratton Park.

If A MINNIE TROLL wants to bring Sunderland striker Kenwyne Jones to Aston Villa, he'll have to shell out £12m for the privilege.

As if they didn't have enough problems already, Newcastle United have expressed an interest in bringing Manchester City's troublemaking Brazilian striker OJ to St James' Park on loan.

Joe Kinnear is also giving a trial to Danish winger ADENVERLENTPORKS. The former Rangers player is a free agent after being released by Schalke.

Wigan striker MELEESKYEHI will stay at Wigan for the rest of the season before joining his old club Liverpool, with whom he has signed a pre-contract agreement.

If James Beattie doesn't swap the red and white stripes of FEDFLESHINUTIED for Stoke City in a £3m deal by stumps this evening, Tony Pulis will take his business elsewhere.

Expect CAFEBIN defender Marco Zoro to make his mark now that he's on trial with Blackburn Rovers.

Jermaine Jenas looks surplus to requirements at White Hart Lane now that HADNAPKERRPRY has stripped him of the club's vice-captaincy.

Everton and HAMFLU are both interested in signing Bodo Glimt (that's an actual team, not an anagram) winger Trond Olsen.

This morning, Manchester City manager Mark Hughes is mostly interested in signing Chelsea reserve goalkeeper ACIDICCLIORUN for £3m.

And Birmingham manager ACELLHEMSIX likes the cut of Doncaster defender Matthew Mills's jib.

If you've transfer speculation or decent Jeff Stelling anecdotes worth sharing with the class, feel free to post your musings below. We'd also like to hear from anyone who knows what Professional Studies are.


Barry Glendenning

The GuardianTramp

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