Rumor Mill: Premier League teams looking for help to chase down Chelsea
Rumor: Athletic Bilbao to Manchester United // Likelihood: Not so fast // Word on the street: He may only be 20 years of age but Laporte has been doing a lot of growing up in La Liga. The young Frenchman has been at the heart of an Athletic defense that has not conceded a goal in the last three games. Van Gaal desperately needs cover at the back as his patchwork defense continues to ship goals, but is Laporte the answer? We feel LVG will want a more experienced head – a healer - to soothe the wounds.
Getty ImagesDenis Doyle
Rumor: Stoke to Liverpool // Likelihood: Interesting // Word on the street: Simon Mignolet does not seem to have a friend in the world as every mistake is highlighted frame by frame by pundits with nothing better to do than talk post-match for an hour or so. Even his saves are criticized! It’s a dangerous game having a keeper that does not have the confidence of his defense, so are Liverpool about to do something about it and find a replacement? Begovic is the latest player to be linked with a move to Anfield although interestingly he is not enjoying one of his best seasons at Stoke – and remember, the Potters have Jack Butland up their sleeves if they decide to cash in.
Getty ImagesGareth Copley
Rumor: Liverpool to Inter Milan // Likelihood: Possible // Word on the street: Let’s face it, Mario Balotelli isn’t working out and Liverpool’s season is going from bad to worse with every weekend that passes. Borini is talented, but is he good enough to be first-choice striker for a team with Champions League aspirations? There is talk that Inter Milan want Borini – and Fiorentina have also been linked with the former Chelsea forward. Could Liverpool put the reported £14 million transfer fee, plus whatever they can get for Balotelli, toward a January move for someone else? This could be a case of ‘on my way home’ for Borini.
Getty ImagesGonzalo Arroyo Moreno
Rumor: PSG to Manchester United // Likelihood: Probably leaving PSG // Less than a year after his dream move to Paris, it looks like the game is up for Yohan Cabaye, who has hardly had a look-in under Laurent Blanc following his January move from Newcastle. The France midfielder is looking for a quick route back to the Premier League and there is no shortage of suitors. Manchester United seem to head the queue, and of course Arsenal would love to buy another crafty midfielder instead of splashing out on what they really need. Possibly Liverpool? Take me as I am, seems to be Cabaye’s message.
AFP/Getty ImagesFRANCK FIFE
Rumor: Barcelona to Chelsea // Likelihood: Future in doubt // Word on the street: What is going on with Pique? The Spain center-back isn’t getting a look-in under Luis Enrique, who bizarrely asked him to warm up from the bench during the 2-1 win at Almeria despite having used all three substitutes! Not only that, Pique was spotted with his arm round Bayern Munich boss and former Barca coach Pep Guardiola after returning for the informal vote on Catalonia Independence. His saving grace is that he still seems to be in demand. Chelsea are thought to want him, but Manchester United need him back!
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Rumor: Porto to Liverpool // Likelihood: A lot of dough // Word on the street: As an add to the Borini story, it emerged last week that Liverpool are looking to make a €35 million ($43.4 million) bid for Porto striker Jackson Martinez, who has proved to be a goal machine in the Portuguese league. Brendan Rodgers must be thankful he still has the trust of the Liverpool board to spend big lumps of cash, but whether they’ll sanction Martinez, who this year signed a new three-year contract, is another matter.
Getty ImagesJuan Manuel Serrano Arce
Rumor: Borussia Dortmund to Arsenal // Likelihood: Lots of talking, but little action // Word on the street: So, Hummels has said he would prefer to join Arsenal rather than Manchester United? Says who? If you find someone, let us know. It’s easy to assume that a German would like to mix with other Germans like Per Mertesacker, Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski, but you just don’t know people and maybe, just maybe, Hummels is prepared to ignore the riches that the Premier League has to offer and stay at Dortmund. A pipe dream? Perhaps.
Bongarts/Getty ImagesAdam Pretty
Rumor: Chelsea to Real Madrid // Likelihood: No chance // Word on the street: It must have been a slow news week last week because one of the weirdest stories to come out of Spain was that Real Madrid were prepared to offload Gareth Bale in a bid to raise the funds to sign Hazard. Raise the funds? Err … right. In any case, Hazard has put to bed any stories of a move to the Bernabeu by saying “The only team that makes me dream is Chelsea. I made the choice to join Chelsea because I knew I was going to play.” Let’s move on.
Getty ImagesClive Rose
Rumor: Borussia Dortmund to Chelsea // Likelihood: Confusion still reigns // Word on the street: The future of Reus remains firmly in the minds of the biggest clubs in Europe. We all know the Dortmund star has a sensationally low buy-out clause of €25m euros ($31m) which makes him extremely affordable. The latest is that Chelsea, in a bid to beat Bayern Munich to the punch, are prepared to offer Andre Schurrle in part-exchange. However, Germany’s team manager wonders whether Reus can actually find a better place than Dortmund. Strangely, Liverpool are favorites to land him next season. We don’t buy that.
Getty ImagesBoris Streubel
Rumor: Inter Milan to Manchester United // Likelihood: What? // Word on the street: We know managers come and go, and come and go ad infinitum in Italy, but do players leave a major club to sign for another and then return six months later? Sure, Shinji Kagawa went back to Dortmund, but he’s in the prime of his career and he spent two years at Old Trafford. Vidic has been under fire amongst fans and the press for failing to shore up the defense. A caterpillar becomes a butterfly just once, but at 33 years old he’s likely to be as fast as a caterpillar should he return to United.