WOLFSBURG, GERMANY - APRIL 03: Diego of Wolfsburg gestures during the Bundesliga match between VfL Wolfsburg and Eintracht Frankfurt at Volkswagen Arena on April 3, 2011 in Wolfsburg, Germany. (Photo by Joern Pollex/Bongarts/Getty Images)
In general, I think I do fairly well in tempering my reactions to transfer rumors. 99% of them I filter out completely; there are literally thousands of websites from all corners of the globe "reporting" on Premier League transfer rumors and the vast majority of them are quite frankly just making things up. Of those that do report claims of some veracity, the odds are weighed heavily in favor of the rumor being overstated. In short, I ignore the vast majority of silly season talk and that which I pay attention to is taken with a grain of salt. Sometimes, however, a rumor emerges that fits so perfectly with the direction that I want to see the club take that I tend to hyperventilate for a half an hour or so before I'm able to look at things rationally. The link between Aston Villa and Wolfsburg playmaker Diego falls very firmly into the latter category.
The Express And Star has quotes from Diego about his desire to play in the Premier League and asserts that Villa are interested in acquiring the 26-year-old Brazilian international. Diego has had a falling out with Wolfsburg management and is almost certain to move in this window, while Alex McLeish has shown a fondness for players of his ilk in years past. He most definitely fills a need for Villa, as he'd slot into the behind-the-striker role most often played by Ashley Young last season, and likely be an upgrade over the newest Red Devil. The odds are good that Villa would need to make another move in order to find room for his wage in the budget, but he's certainly not the level of player that's at all out of reach. It's difficult to say whether Stewart Downing's rumored move to Liverpool would make such a signing more or less likely, as the transfer fee and removal of his contract from the wage bill would free up funds but would also make signing another winger a priority, but this rumor at least passes the sniff test.
Realistically though, it's still a fairly massive long shot. While it's reasonable to think that Villa are indeed interested in Diego, it's unreasonable to think they're anywhere close to being the only ones. Villa also have more pressing needs to fill than their likely competition-goalkeeper and winger chief among them-and would likely shy away from any sort of bidding war. What's more, Diego is something of a risk; a big money player with some history of personality clashes and fallings-out with management. I'm personally of the opinion that if there was ever time to take risks it's this summer, but whether the board shares that opinion is another matter.
This is worth keeping an eye on given the sources reporting it, but not worth getting your hopes up about. I'm a fan of Diego's and think he'd be a fantastic signing, but I'm not blind to the hurdles and risks involved, nor am I convinced that there's any real meat to Villa's rumored interest aside from the obvious interest of any club in a player of his caliber. Still, with all of the rumors surrounding the club so far in this transfer window of seemingly negative in nature, it's fun to dream just a little bit.