Rumor: Barcelona to Manchester City. // Likelihood: No chance. // Talking points: This story caused a few waves last week but it was the headlines that caused more of a stir than what Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini actually said which went something along the lines of, “it is natural that we are linked with the best players.” The fact remains City must work, like everyone else, within Financial Fair Play constraints and they simply do not generate the income to be able to afford a player of Messi’s stature.
Getty ImagesGonzalo Arroyo Moreno
Rumor: Monaco to Arsenal. // Likelihood: Hot air. // Talking points: Both Arsenal and Liverpool were linked with the Colombian at the weekend. Arsene Wenger has expressed his “love” for Falcao, as well as Edinson Cavani, which set tongues wagging. And of course Liverpool just don’t know what to do with Mario Balotelli. If, like me, you take most rumors with a sackful of salt then you won’t be surprised to learn we’re giving this one the cold shoulder. United would rather keep him for the season and try to renegotiate the asking price with Monaco in the summer rather than see him become a success at a UEFA Champions League rival.
Man Utd via Getty ImagesTom Purslow
Rumor: Paris St. Germain to Arsenal. // Likelihood: We don’t buy it. // Talking points: We suspect that this rumor belongs under the wishful thinking headline. The story goes that Real Madrid are prepared to sell Karim Benzema to Liverpool in order to beat Arsenal to the signing of Cavani, who isn’t the happiest at PSG. If Cavani leaves the French capital, it won’t be in this window and think there are a few clubs ahead of Arsenal in the queue to sign the Uruguyan. Real Madrid are up there and Juventus as well.
Getty ImagesJean Catuffe
Gareth Bale and David de Gea
Rumor: Trading places. // Likelihood: Not the worst rumor we’ve ever heard. // Talking points: Manchester United’s quest for world domination now includes bringing Bale to Old Trafford but at a price. The story goes that Real Madrid are prepared to part with the former Tottenham winger in exchange for $60.6 million and United's de Gea. This one depends on who’s driving the bus. We think Real Madrid are more determined to land de Gea than United are to get Bale. Yet with Valdes now at Old Trafford, we think United would not be too despondent to let de Gea go if it meant landing Bale.
Real Madrid via Getty ImagesAngel Martinez/John Peters/Man U
Rumor: Leaving Juventus. // Likelihood: Will still be at Juve in January. // Talking points: Pogba is one of those players the papers can’t help talking about. Long linked with a return to Manchester United, the France midfielder is enjoying a stellar season at Serie A champions and current leaders Juventus. Carlo Ancelotti says Real Madrid are not interested in him but Juve’s general director Giuseppe Marotta reckons the Italian is not being totally honest. He will reign supreme at Juve for a bit longer but make no mistake -- Real Madrid are circling.
VI-Images via Getty ImagesVI-Images
Rumor: Valencia to Arsenal. // Likelihood: Competition will delay this move. // Talking points: With Gabriel Paulista’s future up in the air, Arsene Wenger is thought to have turned to his second-choice defender Otamendi. Paulista’s buyout clause is thought to be $23 million which is probably why Wenger likes the look of him. Otamendi is more expensive, though. How do we know? Because Manchester United have just had cornered a $40.68m offer for the central defender which was recently rejected by Los Che. That’s where it’$ at.
Getty ImagesManuel Queimadelos Alonso
Rumor: Villarreal to Arsenal. // Likelihood: Obstacles. // Talking points: On first viewing, it seems we have unearthed the answer to which defender Arsenal will be buying in the January transfer window but as ever with Arsene Wenger nothing is that simple. Paulista says his agent is in talks with the Gunners and admits that such a move would be “excellent” to his career. So what’s the problem? Well, his sweet dreams could be scuppered by the fact he’s Brazilian, hasn’t yet played for Brazil and does not hold a EU passport. Yikes! The signs don’t look good.
Getty ImagesTom Dulat
Rumor: Leaving Everton to Tottenham. // Likelihood: Toffees should do their best to keep him. // Talking points: We’ve been impressed by Mirallas this season but right on time, just as Everton are starting to struggle, talks over a new deal have been put on hold. The reason? The Belgium winger wants to play UEFA Champions League football and the chances of that happening at Goodison Park are close to zero. Mirallas has been linked with two clubs -- Borussia Dortmund and Atletico Madrid, but the former will be glad just to be in the Bundesliga next season never mind Europe’s elite. Tottenham have also been linked with an exchange deal which would see Aaron Lennon head the other way. Keep a close eye on this one.
Getty ImagesIan Walton
Rumor: Moving to Borussia Dortmund this winter. // Likelihood: They need something. // Talking points: Diarra, who eight months ago had to make the unorthodox denial that he had become a jihadist in the Syria war, has reportedly been in talks about something less controversial: Joining Dortmund. The former Chelsea and Real Madrid midfielder, now 29, has been without a club since being released by Lokomotiv Moscow in August. We can’t back up this story but if he’s fit, he could prove a useful addition to Jurgen Klopp’s squad.
Rumor: Chelsea to Roma. // Likelihood: Mourinho says not. // Talking points: Salah, linked with Besiktas and Hull City, is thought to be heading for a loan move to Roma -- his agent confirmed as much -- but Mourinho has played down talk of the Egyptian leaving this month because he is struggling for numbers owing to Didier Drogba’s illness and Cesar Azpilicueta’s injury. It would be a hardknock for the winger, who deserves a chance and isn’t getting one at Stamford Bridge. But when Mourinho says he needs everybody, we listen.