Rumor: Bayern Munich to Real Madrid. // Likelihood: Unlikely. // Talking point: Word has it that Thomas Muller’s agent has been in touch with Real Madrid about a potential $68 million move to the Bernabeu. Oh really? Thanks for letting Bayern know! Apparently, the Germany forward, who was linked with Manchester United in the summer when Louis van Gaal took charge, is open to a change of scenery. We suggest a holiday, Thomas -- and maybe a vacation for the guy who wrote the rumor. We’d be all shook up if Muller leaves the Bundesliga champions -- even if it is for Real -- but stranger things have happened.
AFP/Getty ImagesCHRISTOF STACHE
Rumor: Leaving Manchester United. // Likelihood: Don’t be too hasty. // Talking point: Falcao was strangely left out of the Manchester United squad for tactical reasons in the 1-0 defeat by Southampton, a match in which the Red Devils failed to muster a single shot on target. United paid Monaco $9 million to sign him on loan until the end of the season when they will have the option to buy him for $65.8 million. Many think it will be a case of return to sender, but we’re not so sure. We think Louis van Gaal made a mistake in dropping him and needs Falcao more than ever, especially as Robin van Persie picked up an injury against Saints. However, if he’s not good enough to face Southampton what’s he doing there?
Man Utd via Getty ImagesJohn Peters
Rumor: Leaving Barcelona to Chelsea. // Likelihood: No chance. // Talking point: Last week, Chelsea’s assistant coach Steve Holland ruled out signing any players in the January transfer window and added that a deal for Messi would be “impossible.” The Argentina forward has now blasted the “lies” that he could make a move to the Premier League and insists he wants to stay at Barcelona. In our view, it’s more likely that Luis Enrique will leave Camp Nou than Messi. When it comes to Messi and Chelsea it’s over. However, Messi has since admitted he does not know where he will be next season. This is going to run and run.
Getty ImagesAlex Caparros
David de Gea
Rumor: Manchester United to Real Madrid. // Likelihood: Maybe one day. // Talking point: Louis van Gaal remains confident de Gea will sign a new five-year contract but that hasn’t stopped suspicious minds from connecting the Spain goalkeeper with a move to Real Madrid. De Gea may well sign that deal which would obviously make him a more expensive purchase. I just can’t help believin’ that de Gea, whose girlfriend lives in Madrid, will end up at the Bernabeu one day but the question is when. United had better make sure they finish in the top four this season because if Real Madrid come calling they’ll have little to offer.
Getty ImagesAlex Livesey
Rumor: Manchester City to Juventus. // Likelihood: Think he’ll stay. // Talking point: Some pundits reckon City will need to sell Jovetic in order to comply with Financial Fair Play but looking at the sums we think the Montenegro striker may stay. City have a spending cap of $74 million and the impending $30-35 million capture of Wilfried Bony will effectively bring the Premier League champions up their limit. Jovetic has been linked with Juventus, but with Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko only just coming back from injury, Manuel Pellegrini can’t afford to lose any more strikers.
Getty ImagesAlex Livesey
Rumor: Leaving Liverpool. // Likelihood: Complicated. // Talking point: This is a jigsaw puzzle with lots of pieces missing. It goes something like this: Liverpool need to sell Balotelli to help pay for Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain and Sampdoria goalkeeper Sergio Romero? Can Liverpool tempt Higuain? Word has it that the Reds want Rafa Benitez to return to Anfield at the end of the season as a replacement for Brendan Rodgers, and the Spaniard will insist on bringing Higuain with him. And do PSG really want Balotelli? This one looks to be a never ending saga.
Liverpool FC via Getty ImagesAndrew Powell
Rumor: Leaving Sunderland. // Likelihood: Yes, but where? // Talking points: I don’t want to be too critical, but Altidore simply isn’t good enough for the Premier League. He flopped in his first spell with Hull at a young age and has failed to deliver the goods at Sunderland. Reports over the weekend suggest that a couple of MLS clubs are interested in the USA striker, and it is thought Toronto hold the aces over Portland Timbers. Why? They have something Sunderland want -- namely, Jermain Defoe. Altidore might be interested in the Canadian outfit but we’re not so sure about Defoe’s feelings for the Black Cats.
Getty ImagesMark Runnacles
Rumor: Manchester City to Stoke City. // Likelihood: What? // Talking point: A little less conversation is sometimes a good thing and on this rumor that’s probably for the best. Why Manchester City would want to loan Dzeko to Stoke, who are in the market owing to Liverpool winger Oussama Assaidi’s impending move to the Middle East, is anybody’s guess. City have been without strikers in the last month or so and need them back quickly as they look to keep pace with Chelsea. Unless there’s something we don’t know Stoke’s cheeky bid, if it happens, will come to nothing.
Getty ImagesGiuseppe Bellini
Rumor: Everton to Samdoria// Likelihood: Nothing doing. // Talking point: Roberto Martinez may be right in denying that Everton have not been contacted by anyone regarding Eto’o. That’s all right for some but that didn’t stop one newspaper at the weekend from saying the player’s agent had opened talks with Sampdoria about a $2.57 million-a-year 18-month deal. Let’s wait and see but as things stand, Eto’o is staying at Goodison Park.
Getty ImagesChris Brunskill
Rumor: Tottenham to Parma. // Likelihood: Too pricey. // Talking point: Whenever we read that Adebayor is about to leave White Hart Lane we look to the heavens and take a deep breath because the same issue prevents the Togo striker and Tottenham from going their separate ways: Money. Adebayor is commanding a big salary in north London, reportedly well over $100,000 a week which would be way too much for a club of Parma’s stature. Unless Adebayor is prepared to take a dip in salary then it will be the same outcome.