Rumor: Real Madrid to half of Europe. Likelihood: Destination? Nowhere. Higuain has been linked with Chelsea, Juventus and Bayern Munich, to name but a few, over the course of the season, but Jose Mourinho now insists the Argentinean forward is going nowhere. The former River Plate hitman has contributed 22 goals in 34 league appearances this season as Real reclaimed the Primera Division crown from Barcelona. With Mourinho now staying in Madrid, it appears likely the coach wasn’t just trying to push Higuain’s price up. Unless someone puts silly money on Jose’s table, Higuain will stay at the Bernabeau.
Jan Vertonghen, D, Ajax
Rumor: Ajax to Tottenham Likelihood: very low. Vertonghen has long been linked to Arsenal, but the Belgian defender admitted over the last few days that “something is happening” with Tottenham. The 25-year-old also revealed that Spurs are not his only option, but with what appears to be a straight choice between the north London rivals looming, it is likely Vertonghen will wait at least until it is clear which of the Gunners or Spurs will be playing Champions League football next season. Tottenham’s involvement may just spark Arsene Wenger into action, with the Gunners manager keen to learn from his previous mistakes by doing most of his business early during this transfer window.
Andre Schuerrle, F, Bayern Leverkusen
Rumor: Bayer Leverkusen to Chelsea. Likelihood: Too early to tell. Chelsea are understood to be considering a bid of around $25million for the Germany international, who certainly fits the criteria required of a Blues transfer target this summer: Schurrle is young, already a full international and he won’t cost the earth. The 21-year-old, who can play in a number of positions across the forward line, only arrived at Bayer Leverkusen last summer but the temptation to more than double their money within in a year might be too hard for the Bundesliga side to resist.
Park Ji-Sung, MF, Manchester United
Rumor: Manchester United to Real Betis/Schalke. Likelihood: Maybe, we think. The grafter remains a favorite of Ferguson, a fact proved by the South Korean’s selection in the Manchester derby last week. But with at least one midfielder set to arrive at Old Trafford this summer, Park is likely to find himself pushed out. Real Betis were reported to have had a bid accepted by the Red Devils, while Schalke have also been credited with an interest in the 31-year-old, who is highly unlikely to remain in England should he be shown the door at United.
Paul Lambert, Manager, Norwich City
Rumor: Norwich to Aston Villa Likelihood: Writing's on the wall. Villa currently have a manager, but for how long remains to be seen. Due to his Birmingham City history, Alex McLeish hardly started from a position of strength, but as one banner at Villa Park on Sunday read: “It’s not where you came from. It’s where you’re taking us.” How long Randy Lerner will put up with McLeish’s particular brand of football, it’s anyone’s guess. But the Villa faithful have long-since had enough and want the American owner to swing the axe. Roberto Martinez has already snubbed Villa once, last summer, before McLeish arrived. Rumors abound now, though, of an imminent approach for Paul Lambert, who has guided Norwich to two successive promotions and a highly creditable first season in the Premier League. It’s probably time for the former Borussia Dortmund star to showcase his managerial talents on a bigger stage than Carrow Road. It’s up to him whether or not he thinks Villa can really offer him a significantly higher platform than the one he currently enjoys.
Michael Owen, F, Manchester United
Rumor: Manchester United to Shanghai Shenuai. Likelihood: Why not?! The former footballer, sorry, former England international, is on the lookout for one last contract this summer after rehabbing through his final year at Old Trafford. Because of his stunning inability to stay fit and his equally impressive salary, there will not be a long list of Premier League clubs willing to take a chance on the 32-year-old. Owen’s name is much bigger than the contribution he’d likely make to whichever side takes him this summer, so a move East is not an unlikely prospect.
Eden Hazard, F, Lille
Rumor: Lille to Manchester United/Manchester City Likelihood: Coin flip It’s just not a transfer saga unless the subject has been spotted looking at prime real estate – something the Belgian was reported to have been doing in the Manchester area. Hazard will leave Lille this summer and despite not being cheap (the midfielder will cost somewhere in the region of 35-40million euros), he is one of the closest things to a sure-fire hit you will find on the transfer market. While he is exactly the type and caliber of player that United are desperate for, the Red Devils look likely to be blown out of the water by City for the second summer in succession.
Emmanuel Adebayor, F, Tottenham
Rumor: Spurs (via Manchester City) to PSG. Likelihood: Out of City? Yes. To PSG? Unknown. With Manchester City currently paying the majority of Adebayor’s £170,000 wages while he bangs in the goals for Tottenham, the Premier League champions-elect will be keen to get the Togo striker off their books. Adebayor is already one of Spurs’ highest earners, despite most of his salary coming from City’s bank account, so a permanent move looks highly unlikely unless the former Arsenal striker agrees to take a hefty pay cut – an even more unlikely prospect. Juventus and AC Milan are reported to be monitoring the situation, but it is PSG who have emerged as favorites for Adebayor, who could leave City for £12million – half the price they paid Arsenal three years ago.
Clint Dempsey, M, Fulham
Rumor: Fulham to Arsenal/Liverpool. Likelihood: Need to see it to believe it. With the greatest of respect to Fulham, Dempsey finally looks set to be given the stage his considerable talent deserves. Goalscoring midfielders are a precious commodity in European football these days and the United States star is undoubtedly one of the best around. Fulham fans, when applauding their side’s efforts during the team’s lap of honor on Sunday, pleaded with the sheepish Texan to stay, while Martin Jol will be just as keen to keep his main man. Key to Dempsey’s future is the fact that only a year remains on his current deal at Craven Cottage. Fulham will not be prepared to lose their biggest asset for nothing next summer, which means they will have to listen to offers over the next few months. Arsenal are understood to be readying bid, while Liverpool’s American owners are also understood to be keen to bring their countryman to Anfield.
Shinji Kagawa, MF, Borussia Dortmund
Rumor: Borussia Dortmund to Manchester United. Likelihood: Very likely. A Japanese TV station carried quotes over the weekend attributed to Kagawa saying that a move to Old Trafford was imminent – a story quickly denied by the Dortmund midfielder. Kagawa has admitted, though, that he faces a huge decision over his future, with just a year left on his contract with the Bundesliga champions. United are screaming out for an attacking midfielder, and with 21 league goals for Jurgen Klopp’s side from 49 appearances, the Japan international certainly fits the bill. Kagawa’s goalscoring record and his knockdown price tag would certainly appeal to Sir Alex Ferguson and United’s owners, the thrifty Glazer family.