Soccer/football transfer rumors: June 18 – June 24
Paolo Maldini, retired
Rumor: Nowhere to Italian national team Likelihood: Slim to none. The former AC Milan and national team legend has enjoyed his retirement since 2009. Prior to his exit, Maldini expressed that he would enter the coaching business, so much so that he rejected lucrative opportunities to join Carlo Ancelotti’s coaching staff at Chelsea and PSG respectively. You would think that would be enough to squash Maldini coaching rumors, right? Well, guess again. Recent reports from Italy suggest that Maldini is being considered as an alternative to Cesare Prandelli in the international level should Italy crash from Euro 2012. Talk about making headlines. As much as we would like to see our old friend Paolo return to the beautiful game, this seems like a very high, high reach, even for someone of Maldini’s stature and limited coaching experience.
Salomon Kalou, F, unemployed
Rumor: nowhere to Liverpool Likelihood: Bad idea. Kalou was released by Chelsea at the end of this season and is looking to take his talents elsewhere in the Premier League. The winger/striker would come at a high price tag for Liverpool, and considering the Reds cannot afford another failed contract, Kalou would make for a risky move when there are other cheap bets out there in the open market. Proceed with caution.
Alan Dzagoev, M, CSKA Moscow
Rumor: CSKA Moscow to Arsenal Likelihood: Hmm… It’s always the same. A big tournament comes around and anyone that scores three goals or more is immediately linked with a move to the Premier League. Beware the Tomas Brolin syndrome we say! Well, Dzagoev fits the bill in terms of goals and certainly looks an impressive figure at Euro 2012. Of course, Arsenal’s last Russian signing – Andrei Arshavin – is currently out on loan at Zenit St Petersburg, where he has hardly set the world alight, but Dzagoev looks the real deal. He wants to test himself in Europe, but we think there will be plenty of twists and turns before the player, who has six months left on his contract, makes a decision.
Andre Villas-Boas, manager, unemployed
Rumor: Nowhere to Tottenham. Likelihood: We simply don’t know. As soon as Harry Redknapp waved goodbye to White Hart Lane, speculation immediately surfaced that Villas-Boas would be interested in the Tottenham job. Now, which unemployed man, albeit a very rich one, would not be tempted by the chance of a job? Add to the mix a return to London and the chance to get one over the club that sacked him, it becomes a very attractive proposition. Chelsea is just 20km away from Spurs and they are renowned hated rivals, so go figure. The AVB camp has been very quiet since Redknapp left and although we think the former Porto coach is a suitable fit for the men in whitem we’re going to play a cautious game with this rumor.
Mario Mandzukic, F, Wolfsburg
Rumor: Wolfsburg to Everton. Likelihood: More with each goal. Mandzukic has been on fire, as anybody who is keeping tabs on this year’s Euros can tell you, and Everton has certainly taken notice. With three goals in two matches, Mario Mandzukic has opened eyes and turned heads and the Premier League beckons. Mandzukic currently plays for middling Bundesliga club Wolfsburg, and perhaps the bright lights of the Euros will leave Mandzukic wanting more. Even a middling Premier League club (sorry, Everton) might be more appealing than the Bundesliga, slightly by a nose.
Thiago Alcantara, M, Barcelona
Rumor: Barcelona to Manchester United. Likelihood: Don’t think so. Thiago is an interesting character. Born in Italy, but raised in Spain, his father Mazinho won the World Cup with Brazil in USA 1994 and was one of the three men involved in the famous Bebeto baby celebration (the other was Romario) following a goal against Holland. All this, of course, is irrelevant to whether Thiago is heading to Manchester United but it’s information you have to know. It’s clear that the central midfielder is highly thought of at the Bernabeu, and Barcelona don’t want to make the same mistake they did with Cesc Fabregas and buy back a player they gave to Arsenal for next to nothing. Alcantara made 45 appearances last season and we expect him to make a few more.
Mathieu Debuchy, D/M, Lille
Rumor: Lille to Chelsea. Likelihood: It makes a lot of sense. The ‘Garden of Eden’ has moved from Lille to Stamford Bridge, and valuable left back Debuchy may want to follow his teammate Eden Hazzard to Chelsea. The Champions League champs would love to bolster their back line, and Debuchy not only seems like an able candidate, but a willing one as well. After gaining Champions League experience with Lille this year and starting on France’s Euro 2012 squad, the Frenchman may feel he is truly ready for the big, big show. Roman Abramovich has opened his checkbook up in order to keep Chelsea's momentum moving forward, and could offer up whatever Debuchy is asking for. We doubt Lille supporters think much of the Blues right now.
Luka Modric, M, Tottenham
Rumor: Tottenham to Real Madrid. Likelihood: Get real! Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and now Real Madrid. What do all of these teams have in common? You guessed it, they’ve all officially entered in the Modric summer sweepstakes. So, what’s the difference with the Real Madrid link with all the others? Well, considering that Modric’s personal friend claims that the Tottenham star is “close to a move” to the Santiago Bernabeu, we’re not buying it. Say what you want, but this seems like bargaining chip to increase Modric’s transfer value in the open market.
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, F, Schalke 04
Rumor: Schalke to Chelsea. Likelihood: All depends. 48 goals in 47 appearances for Schalke last season belatedly confirmed the unheralded talents of this Dutch striker. Stints at Real Madrid and AC Milan just couldn’t match his obvious potential, but was last season his breakthrough? Despite being constantly shunned by Netherlands national team coach Bert van Marwijk, Huntelaar’s stock has never been higher. Now, with Chelsea’s new-found penchant for attacking flair following the signings of Eden Hazard and Marko Marin, could Huntelaar be the final piece in the puzzle? Money is no option as Roman Abramovich will want to further his hold over European football It is the task of newly-installed coach Roberto Di Matteo to decide, but we feel that Fernando Torres’ happiness is not worth the sacrifice here. Stay off for now.
David Silva, M, Manchester City
Rumor: Manchester City to Real Madrid. Likelihood: Could happen, but not likely. After terrorizing defenders and tantalizing football lovers upon his arrival at Manchester City in 2010, Silva has become a lynchpin of their title-winning attack. Add to that an impressive stint so far at the European Championships in Poland-Ukraine, and you have a football superstar. And where do stars usually end up? The home of the ‘Galacticos’ of Real Madrid. Silva wouldn’t look out of place alongside the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Mezut Ozil and Karim Benzema, that’s for sure. But why would he move? He’s sure to be on mega-bucks at City, the new Premier League champions, who are sure to begin their tilt for European domination. So despite the temptation, we think that Silva is set to be a key component for Roberto Mancini’s men. So we think…