Following a frantic close to the summer transfer window in Europe, players and managers are already plotting their next moves around the globe to eager clubs – just like the artist in this week’s edition of Rumor Mill. After releasing his North America dates for his Magna Carter world tour recently, Jay-Z certainly is used to living the jet-setting high life. However questions have emerged surrounding the timing of his US tour being announced on the same day as Kanye West’s tour. Hopefully no beef will come of it and the two are back working together in the future, but until then here’s a rundown of Jay’s finest ten tracks alongside the week’s finest rumors. --Matthew Stead
David Luiz, D/M, Chelsea
Rumor: Chelsea to Barcelona. Likelihood: Keep your eyes on this one. We really saw this rumor lift off late in the window. Barcelona need a true, strong defender with doubts remaining over Carles Puyol, and David Luiz fits the bill. He’s even got the crazy hair! The only question is would Chelsea be willing to sell? Jose Mourinho certainly seems keen on the Brazilian, but you never know with Jose. Plus, when Barca want their man they usually get him. This could be a transfer rumor for the long run.
Eliaquim Mangala, D, FC Porto
Rumor: FC Porto to Manchester City. Likelihood: Definite no go. Manuel Pellegrini certainly has a headache over at the Etihad Stadium. Not only is Vincent Kompany on the treatment table, his replacement – who was only bought on the last day of the transfer window – has now been ruled out for six weeks. Martin Demichelis is a seasoned veteran and would have plugged the large, Belgian sized gap left by Kompany, but his injury leaves another problem for City. On to the next one then, and it’s highly-rated Porto centerback Eliaquim Mangala. Unfortunately for City however, the player himself isn’t too keen: "I will not leave FC Porto." Seems pretty definitive.
Ilkay Gundogan, M, Borussia Dortmund
Rumor: Arsenal to Borussia Dortmund. Likelihood: Not a chance, right? Arsenal’s €50 million swoop for Germany star Mesut Ozil left the soccer world shocked at the beginning of the month. Arsene Wenger seemed happy to let the transfer window fly by with no money signings coming in, but Ozil changes everything. There’s a feel-good factor around the Emirates Stadium again, and Wenger has been given the green light for another mega-money move in January. It’s another German at the top of the shopping list, with the brilliant Ilkay Gundogan acting as Wenger’s preferred marquee signing. Surely he wouldn’t leave Dortmund though? Let’s wait and see.
Xabi Alonso, M, Real Madrid
Rumor: Real Madrid to Juventus. Likelihood: You never know. After Gareth Bale’s long-awaited astronomical 100million euro switch from Spurs to the Bernabeu, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Madrid don’t have money to scrape together from nowadays. A record-breaking annual revenue of €500 million does attest otherwise, but some penny-pinching might be in order for Carlo Ancelotti. Moving some big earners off the wage bill could be a start, and Alonso might be at the front of line in that respect. Juventus may also be looking for a midfielder in the mold of Andrea Pirlo for a potential retirement in the near future. Although Alonso is hardly a youngster, he has a couple of years on Pirlo and would be the perfect replacement.
Wesley Sneijder, M, Galatasaray
Rumor: Galatasaray to the Premier League. Likelihood: We can’t see it. Dutch maestro Sneijder is one of a handful of players who have impressed throughout their career in Europe and been constantly linked with a move to the Premier League, yet it’s never materialized. United are long-term admirers of the midfielder, and their name has again cropped up after it was revealed they attempted to snare him in the transfer window. Liverpool and Arsenal also want the Galatasaray main man, but there’s just one thing. All the aforementioned clubs have about 99 problems altogether, but none of them need a Sneijder-style midfielder. For that reason, this looks like a dead link.
Pepe Reina, GK, Napoli
Rumor: Liverpool to Barcelona. Likelihood: Put your money on it. Having spent over 10 years over at the Camp Nou, Barcelona have long been yearning for an encore from Spanish goalie Pepe Reina. Currently on loan at Napoli, his Liverpool days certainly seem numbered with replacement Simon Mignolet already impressing at Anfield. The links to Barcelona have been regular throughout his career and only Victor Valdes’ decision to stay stopped him moving there this summer. Surely Valdes’ departure will leave the door open for Reina however, unless the aforementioned Courtois wants a say?
Thibaut Courtois, GK, Atletico Madrid
Rumor: Chelsea to Barcelona. Likelihood: Maybe, just maybe. Another of Chelsea’s stars struggling for game-time, the supremely talented Belgian has impressed in the last two seasons on loan for Atletico. Many saw this season as a potential one to break through, but another season in Madrid beckons. Could this spell trouble for the keeper? Certainly if Barcelona are involved. Courtois has caught Barca – and everyone else’s – attention with some sterling performances in the country, and with Victor Valdes headed out, they’ve earmarked him as the long-term replacement. It could certainly happen. After all, if Barcelona come knocking, how do you say no?
Samir Nasri, M, Manchester City
Rumor: Manchester City to the MLS. Likelihood: Would be great for all parties. Nasri himself has fuelled the fire for this one. The Frenchman, when asked about his future, responded: “In the future, I don't know yet. I would like to discover the MLS. I love American culture." What a coup that would be for the MLS. They’re in need of another European superstar who is in their pomp, and Nasri could well represent that holy grail for the big league. Nasri knows he won’t be a starter at City, the former Premier League champs could do with him off the wage bill and the MLS would benefit massively from such a talent. It’s a win-win situation.
Juan Mata, M, Chelsea
Rumor: Chelsea to anywhere. Likelihood: Off the table. A million and one questions were asked of the future of Chelsea’s superstar during the summer’s annual rumor mill that is the transfer window. Jose Mourinho has seemed to snub Mata in the first few fixtures of Chelsea’s season as the new Blues boss, and so many linked him with a move to Manchester United. Bur perhaps the Spaniard wanted to stay in London, would Arsenal or Tottenham be more suitable? Even Liverpool waded in late on before the deadline, with Atletico Madrid also a mooted suitor. Mata himself has moved to quell any speculation surrounding his future however, pledging his allegiance to the Chelsea blue and disappointing plenty of Europe’s hopeful elite.
Ander Herrera, M, Athletic Bilbao
Rumor: Manchester United to Athletic Bilbao. Likelihood: It’s gotta happen. United’s underwhelming transfer window saw the introduction of just Marouane Fellaini from Everton. No offense intended to the giant midfielder, but it’s hardly the cause for celebration over in Manchester. However, that doesn’t even cover the debacle that engulfed United’s final day dealings. A botched move for Bilbao’s midfield metronome Ander Herrera still leaves plenty confused, with United trying to negotiate the release clause of the Spaniard’s contract and the emergence of "three mystery lawyers," who all parties have dismissed knowledge of. Still, United will want their man in January, and by then they should have learnt from their mistakes.