BLACKBURN, ENGLAND - MARCH 03: Gabriel Agbonlahor of Aston Villa looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Blackburn Rovers and Aston Villa at Ewood park on March 3, 2012 in Blackburn, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
The hot news this morning comes via the Daily Mail, which states that Martin O'Neill has set his sights on Gabby Agbonlahor but that Villa are unwilling to let him go for anything less than £12 million. This is another of those rumors that seems plausible on the face of things, but makes less sense the more you think about it. Also, it's the Daily Mail, so let's try not to think about it too hard, hmm?
This is the kind of story papers like the Mail thrive on; MON managed Villa and Gabby had his best seasons under MON, so of course he'd love to have him back! But with Villa so short on talent and desperate for funds, they'd never dream of letting him go for anything less than a massive haul! The intrigue! The drama! Sunderland legitimately does need a new striker or two, and Gabby is a pretty dangerous player in the counter-attack based system favored by O'Neill. It's not that this rumor isn't believable, because on the face of things it certainly is.
But ask yourself this; when was the last time the Mail was actually right? About, you know, anything? It doesn't happpen much, and when it does they usually aren't the only ones (not counting papers of sub-Mail quality, which, ugh) reporting it. They say that where there's smoke there's fire, but in this case the smoke would be a mention from the Guardian, the Birmingham Mail, the BBC or something of that nature. The Mail is really more the first little wisp from the kindling.
Which is kind of appropriate, when you think about it.