It’s been an interesting week in the transfer rumor world as we move ever closer to January. Mario Balotelli is back in the spotlight and the future of Javier Hernandez is becoming increasingly uncertain. We’ve covered all the bases this week and to help us flesh out the gossip we’ve gone for one very pink lady. Ten tracks by the self-styled king and queen of New York -- it’s rapid rapper Nicki Minaj. --Warren Barner
Pepe Reina, GK, Liverpool
Rumor: Liverpool to Barcelona. Likelihood: Seems like it. Reina may be on loan at Napoli but it looks like his next move could be a permanent switch to Barcelona. The Liverpool goalkeeper says he has a contract until 2016 but Spanish newspaper El Mundo Deportivo reports that Reina could be made available for a cut-price $6.7 move to Camp Nou in the summer. No matter what Reina says, his days are numbered at Anfield following the arrival of Simon Mignolet from Sunderland, and the likelihood of him replacing Victor Valdes and becoming automatic first-choice keeper at Barca is growing by the day.
Ilkay Gundogan, M, Borussia Dortmund
Rumor: Dortmund to Arsenal. Likelihood: Fat chance. We’re going to keep this one brief as there doesn’t seem to be much basis for it! The boys from north London, currently atop the Premier League, have been linked with the Germany international but there’s a list of clubs as long as your arm that would snap up the 23-year-old midfielder at the drop of a hat. Sure, Arsenal have a strong German contingent at the Emirates but Real Madrid are in the driving seat should Dortmund decide to sell -- and we don’t think they will.
Sami Khedira, M, Real Madrid
Rumor: Real Madrid to the Premier League. Likelihood: We think he'll stay. Khedira is out of contract the season after next and Manchester City are reportedly ready to take advantage by launching a $48 million bid in summer. How does Carlo Ancelotti feel about this? Not too happy by all accounts. Khedira has been a regular in Real’s starting lineup since Ancelotti took charge and he wants Florentino Perez to secure the Germany midfielder on a long-term contract. Should Real Madrid do nothing then Khedira will have the freedom to speak to other clubs in just over a year’s time. Real would be insane to let him leave but they need to act before the season’s finished.
Demba Ba, F, Chelsea
Rumor: Chelsea to West Ham. Likelihood: Depends on Chelsea's winter activity. There was a time when the world was at the feet of Demba Ba but those halcyon days at Newcastle seem to be a distant memory. Ba joined the Blues in January on a three-and-a-half-year contract but has found game time difficult to come by following the arrival of Jose Mourinho in the summer, starting just two games in his five appearances and is yet to score. West Ham seem to have massive attack problems to and they were linked with a move for the Senegal international on Monday. Mourinho has apparently been given the green light to splash the cash in January but he’ll probably have to offload a player before that happens.
Leighton Baines, LB, Everton
Rumor: Everton to Manchester United. Likelihood: What's new? Everton, it seems, hold all the aces when it comes to the future of Leighton Baines. Manchester United’s latest ploy to land the England left back is to offer Wilfried Zaha plus $11.25 million to finally land their man. Moyes’ fire burns deeply for Baines, who is seen as like-for-like replacement for unsettled Frenchman Patrice Evra. Everton are prepared to dig their heels in once again in January and are negotiating a new deal behind the scenes. Let’s see if Baines signs it.
Jermain Defoe, F, Tottenham
Rumor: Tottenham to Toronto FC. Likelihood: Doubtful. Toronto coach Ryan Nelsen, the former Tottenham defender, last week said he would like to be reunited with Defoe, who has struggled to hold down a place in the starting lineup at White Hart Lane despite being the club’s top scorer this season. None of this makes sense for any of the parties -- except Toronto. Andre Villas-Boas said “the player is committed to the club and the club is committed to the player." Defoe is unlikely to jeopardize his last chance of being part of England’s World Cup squad by joining an inferior league.
Alexandre Pato, F, Corinthians
Rumor: Corinthians to Tottenham. Likelihood: A possibility. Last week Pato revealed that he turned down a summer move to Tottenham in order to stay at Corinthians but could that become a reality in January? Club director Roberto de Andrade said the club “don’t rule out selling him in the winter transfer market,” words which came after a remark from manager Tite, who branded the Brazilian a “spoiled child” following a training-ground row. Could Pato fly the nest and make a move to White Hart Lane? Arsenal are also looking for a new striker and might have something to say about that.
Mario Balotelli, F, AC Milan
Rumor: AC Milan to Chelsea. Likelihood: Who knows? One of the more surprising rumors to surface last week was Balotelli being linked with a move to Chelsea. Why is this a shock? Blues boss Mourinho famously branded the eccentric Italian forward “unmanageable” when the pair were both at Inter Milan but Balotelli’s agent last week said that the pair could be reunited and that they stay in touch after parting on good terms at the San Siro. Mourinho is desperate for a blazin’ striker (we won’t remind him about Lukaku -- oh, go on then we will) and Balotelli could be the man to fit the bill. However, what does Milan coach Massimilino Allegri have to say on the matter? "He will not leave in January, absolutely not," he said. Someone needs to tell that to Balotelli’s agent!
Javier Hernandez, F, Manchester United
Rumor: Leaving Manchester United. Likelihood: Certainly seems like it. One click was all it took for tongues to start wagging about the future of Chicharito. The Manchester United striker apparently issued a "save me" plea by retweeting the link to a story in which Mexico teammate Carlos Vela encouraged him to leave Old Trafford if he wasn’t playing regularly. That’s a big ‘if’ of course and there have been signs recently that David Moyes is starting to trust Hernandez more although it’s difficult to see where he would fit in a team playing both Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney. The ball is in Moyes’ court.
Sergio Aguero, F, Manchester City
Rumor: Manchester City to Bayern Munich. Likelihood: Unlikely. Pep Guardiola is a big admirer of the Argentine hot shot -- and is reportedly even prepared to exchange him for Robert Lewandowski should Bayern sign the Borussia Dortmund striker in the summer. We’re not sure City need a target man like Lewandowski as they already have Edin Dzeko in their ranks and would be without much-needed va va voom if Aguero were to be sold. We can’t see what’s in this for City.