Rumor Mill: Clubs list their needs as summer window creeps closer
Rumor: Premier League bound. // Likelihood: Just talk. // Talking points: Icardi has been tearing it up in Serie A this season -- so much so that apparently Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City had scouts watching the Argentine fail to "fire it up" during Inter Milan’s 1-0 defeat by Sampdoria at the weekend. Why the sudden rush? Is it because contract talks are reportedly on hold because of a stand-off over image rights? Possibly. These things usually get resolved -- and we expect Icardi to stay at San Siro.
Getty ImagesMarco Luzzani
Rumor: Back in the Bundesliga. // Likelihood: Interesting. // Talking points: Since it became obvious that Khedira would be leaving Real Madrid the usual Premier League candidates were mentioned as possible destinations. However, it seems the likes of Chelsea, United and Arsenal may have "missed the boat." Schalke chairman Clemens Tonnies thinks Khedira wants to return to the Bundesliga and believes his club are in the running. Tonnies also reckon the midfielder is affordable unlike Toni Kroos or Andre Schurrle. We’ll see.
Getty ImagesDavid Ramos
Rumor: Joining Manchester City. // Likelihood: Nein. // Talking points: If only City could play against average teams with 10 men for 85 minutes every week they’d look like world beaters and Manuel Pellegrini would be hailed as a genius. Alas, City generally struggle to break down most teams and look "out of gas" in their bid to retain the Premier League title. City would love to have Guardiola at the Etihad but it isn’t going to happen. And nor will Diego Simeone join City either. Carlo Ancelotti is a possibility -- but only if he is sacked by Real Madrid.
AFP/Getty ImagesODD ANDERSEN
Rumor: Lazio to Manchester United. // Likelihood: Off the radar. // Talking points: Manchester United’s chief scout Jim Lawlor reportedly watched Felipe Anderson score for Lazio in Sunday’s 2-0 win against Verona which had the media getting over-excited about Van Gaal’s intentions for the summer. Er…except that the Brazilian signed a new contract last week and has declared that he and his family are happy in Rome. An "exit does not exist" in Felipe’s mind. Could it be that Lawlor’s real interest was in centerback Stefan de Vrij? We'll see.
Getty ImagesGiuseppe Bellini
Rumor: Leaving Liverpool. // Likelihood: He’ll stay. // Talking points: Sterling, courtesy of his agent Aidy Ward, has now told the club’s board he will put contract negotiation on hold until the summer after reportedly rejecting a £100,000 a week offer, leaving Liverpool in limbo again. "Of course we know" this is all a ruse to maximize the England international’s earning potential. The way he played against United, admittedly not in his ideal position, he’d be lucky to be offered a pay rise at all but we think the Reds will probably cave in to some extravagant demands.
Getty ImagesAthena Pictures
Rumor: PSG to Atletico Madrid. // Likelihood: So many possibilities. // Talking points: Cavani seems to have so many suitors these days it would probably be quicker to mention those clubs that aren’t interested in signing the Uruguay international. The latest speculation is that Angel Di Maria "might" join PSG in a swap deal with Cavani in the summer, but Oscar Ortega, a member of Diego Simeone’s coaching staff at Atletico Madrid, has revealed the Spanish champions are interested in signing the striker. Although it’s likely Cavani will stay in Paris, Atletico are now second favorites behind Juventus to become Cavani’s next club.
AFP/Getty ImagesKENZO TRIBOUILLARD
Rumor: Arsenal to Liverpool. // Likelihood: Hmm. // Talking points: Let’s get this straight. Walcott wants more than £100,000 a week to sit on the bench? Why not try to become an established first-team player and then make those sort of demands. There’s no way Wenger will give in to requests like that, so is Walcott about to "float on" to a new venture? There has been the odd murmur that Brendan Rodgers would like to sign Walcott but we’ve been there before. Our view is that Walcott will lower his demands and stay at Arsenal but his lack of game time is certainly a concern.
Arsenal FC via Getty ImagesStuart MacFarlane
Rumor: Palermo to Arsenal. // Likelihood: This rumor is hot…air. // Talking points: So what’s going on with Dybala? "The view" from one Italian media source is that Arsenal are rushing over for talks with Palermo officials this week to sign the Argentine striker -- except hold on! Last week it was reported by the Metro in the UK that Manchester United had effectively won the race -- by the same ‘reporter who now claims the Gunners are in pole position. If we had to take a punt we’d say he’ll end up at Juventus which will no doubt appear in the Metro this week!
Rumor: Zenit to Juventus. // Likelihood: Possibility. // Talking points: With Paul Pogba’s future far from clear, Juventus are taking no chances by looking around for a potential replacement. Italian daily Tuttosport reckon Juve’s sporting director Fabio Paratici checked out the Belgium international during the Europa League clash between Zenit and Torino. Manchester United have also been linked with Witsel, a club the 26-year-old midfielder claims to have liked when he was younger, but you would have to "be brave" to suggest he is going anywhere but Juventus -- if Pogba is sold.
VI-Images via Getty ImagesVI-Images
Rumor: Everton to Wolfsburg. // Likelihood: Why not? // Talking points: Wolfsburg are almost certain to be playing Champions League football next season -- a competition of which Lukaku has a keen interest and for which Everton are a million miles away from qualifying. Lukaku did enough during the Europa League group stages to convince the Wolves that the Belgian is the man to lead their attack next season -- but not if Everton boss Roberto Martinez has his way. The Spaniard wants to keep Lukaku in the long run. Will he "head south?" The smart money suggest he’ll stay but if Lukaku kicks up a fuss he may get his way -- for the right price.