Rumor Mill: Premier League sides look to exert financial muscle
Rumor: Schalke to Liverpool // Likelihood: A good chance // The Talk: Liverpool are interested in a January move for Schalke defender Joel Matip, according to reports in Germany. Mamadou Sakho and Dejan Lovren have been injured and unimpressive since the Klopp joined Liverpool in October. Klopp has turned his attentions to Matip in his quest for defensive reinforcements. The Cameroonian has rejected a new contract offer at the German side, according to Bild. Matip can also operate in midfield, which could be another reason Klopp -- a known admirer of the defender -- is set to pursue him.
Rumor: Southampton to Arsenal // Likelihood: Looking good // The Talk: According to the Daily Mirror, Southampton midfielder Victor Wanyama is Arsene Wenger’s top transfer target for January. Wenger has long been accused of not strengthening in central midfield, but the Arsenal boss looks like he could be about to put that right. The Gunners manager is a long-term admirer of the Kenyan and is thought to have tried signing him twice before. The Saints have had a mixed season so far with Wanyama proving to be one of the success stories, but they will want a fee in the region of £15million ($22.3million) for the former Celtic player.
Rumor: Liverpool to Chelsea // Likelihood: Too soon // The Talk: Chelsea have struggled for goals all season, with the normally reliant duo of Eden Hazard and Diego Costa misfiring for the Blues. And, despite a possible return to form with a 3-1 victory over Premier League strugglers Sunderland, the Blues hierarchy will no doubt want to strengthen in January. According to the Sunday People, Chelsea have identified Christian Benteke as a possible answer to their goalscoring problems. Benteke, who only signed for Liverpool in the summer, hasn’t set the world alight at Anfield and there are concerns he may not fit into Jurgen Klopp’s high-pressing style of football. Even so, it would be unlikely that the Reds would give up on such a big investment after just a few months.
Rumor: Chelsea to Real Madrid // Likelihood: For the right price // The Talk: Chelsea’s attacking midfielder Eden Hazard has had a wretched season so far, failing to score in any competition this campaign. In comparison, the Belgian international registered 19 goals and assists galore in 2014-15 and won the PFA Player of the Year award. According to Spanish site Don Balon, Hazard is the subject of strong interest from Real Madrid and could swap James Rodriguez in an attempt to land the winger. There is no suggestion the Blues are open to an offer, but if he carries on in his current form they might entertain a silly offer.
Catherine Ivill - AMA
Rumor: Atletico Madrid to Chelsea // Likelihood: In the summer // The Talk: Chelsea are prepared to accept defeat in the race to acquire Pep Guardiola and instead look set to lure Atletico manager Diego Simeone to Stamford Bridge, according to the Daily Express. The Blues hired Guus Hiddink this week as their interim boss until the end of the season and have reportedly been in talks with Simeone for the past month. The Argentinian has enjoyed a successful spell in charge of La Liga side Atletico, lifting La Liga and Europa League titles, while he also led them to the Champions League final in 2014.
Rumor: Free agent to Manchester United // Likelihood: If Van Gaal gets the sack // The Talk: Jose Mourinho was sacked by Chelsea last week after a terrible run of poor performances and 'The Special One' is once again a free agent. Arguably the greatest manager of his generation, there shouldn’t be a lack of interest for the Portuguese boss. Ever since his departure he has been linked with other clubs, including a return to Real Madrid. However, Spanish news outlet Fichajes has said that Mourinho has agreed a five-year deal to replace Louis van Gaal at Manchester United. The report is vague and doesn’t include a timeframe for the appointment; nevertheless this rumor is gathering momentum.
Rumor: Bayern Munich to Manchester United // Likelihood: No way! // The Talk: Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo have reported that Manchester United are set to break the bank for Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski. PSG and Real Madrid are the other sides thought to have serious interest in landing the Polish international, but the Red Devils are reportedly ‘crazy’ about the striker. Lewandowski has been in amazing form for Bayern this season, scoring 23 goals in 26 games for his club side. His future may be more uncertain with Pep Guardiola’s impending departure, but it’s still unlikely we will see him leave Germany.
James Rodriguez / Isco / Toni Kroos
Rumor: Real Madrid to Premier League. // Likelihood: Maybe one out of three. // The Talk: According to reports in Spain, James Rodriguez, Isco and Toni Kroos are all ready to leave Real Madrid after reportedly falling out with boss Rafa Benitez. Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal are the Premier League sides apparently interested in pursuing the trio. Chelsea are thought to be keen on James, Arsenal are eyeing Isco, while Manchester United are favorites to land Kroos. The odds of all three leaving are low, but you could see at least one of them departing before the end of the campaign.
Rumor: Real Madrid to Manchester City // Likelihood: Makes sense // The Talk: According to reports, Karim Benzema is seeking a move to the Premier League after becoming unhappy with his treatment in Madrid. The Real striker is currently embroiled in a sex tape scandal involving international teammate Mathieu Valbuena and he isn’t happy at the support he has received from the club. The Manchester Evening News report that City have been alerted to the France international’s availability and are keen to bring in a striker. City have often found themselves short in attack this season due to Sergio Aguero’s persistent injury problems.
CURTO DE LA TORRE
Lionel Messi / Neymar
Rumor: Barcelona to Manchester // Likelihood: Unlikely // The Talk: According to The Sun newspaper, Manchester United and Manchester City are at the center of a £1 billion ($1.48 billion) transfer battle to land Barcelona superstars Lionel Messi and Neymar. United are looking to pull off a deal for Neymar, with the Brazil international reportedly interested -- while City are looking to secure a sensational deal for his teammate Messi. Neymar has a release clause of £165 million ($245.5 million) and is likely to ask for wages of around £500k-a-week ($744k-a-week). City’s chief Khaldoon Al Mubarak has the biggest fight on his hands, though, as Messi would reportedly be available for £150 million ($223 million), but would demand wages of £1 million-a-week ($1.48 million-a-week).