Rumor Mill: Midfielders dominate this week’s gossip
Ordinarily, strikers are the hottest property in soccer with their ability to be able to decide matches in the blink of an eye. However, in this week’s Rumor Mill the focus turns to the center of the field, with no less than seven top midfielders linked with moves to pastures new. Enjoy!
Rumor: Sassuolo to Juventus. // Likelihood: Makes sense. // The Talk: Juventus look set to beat Tottenham to the signing of Sassuolo forward Domenico Berardi, according to reports. Italian newspaper Gazzetta Dello Sport claims Juventus have activated their £20million ($28.5million) option to sign the Italian under-21 international. The striker has scored 37 goals in 84 Serie A appearances and provided an impressive 30 assists in the process. After being impressed with the 21-year-old, Juve’s hierarchy are thought to be ready to give the deal the green light.
Rumor: Borussia Dortmund to Manchester City. // Likelihood: Nailed on. // The Talk: Manchester City are set to make Borussia Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan their first signing of the summer, according to reports. Sky Sports sources claim that City are in advanced talks with Dortmund over the German international. Incoming manager Pep Guardiola sees Gundogan as his top target and City are thought to be prepared to pay £28.3million ($40.3million). However, both parties remain some way off an agreement, with the Dortmund hierarchy holding out for £36.4million ($51.9million) for one of their prized assets.
Rumor: Roma to Chelsea. // Likelihood: For the right price. // The Talk: According to the Daily Mail, Chelsea are in talks with Roma over midfielder Radja Nainggolan although no deal has been agreed. Incoming Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has targeted the Belgium international as the key to help reshape the Blues midfield. Roma are thought to be holding out for £40million ($57million) for the 27-year-old, who has made over 100 appearances in three seasons with the Serie A side. Nainggolan’s home was burgled last week and the incident could help push him towards the exit door.
Rumor: Bayern Munich to Chelsea. // Likelihood: If Bayern let him go. // The Talk: Chelsea are set to swoop for Bayern Munich star Arturo Vidal, according to the Daily Mail. Antonio Conte, who was officially announced last week as the Blues’ new manager from the start of next season, enjoyed success with Vidal in their time together at Juventus. It is thought the Chilean midfielder would be keen on reuniting with his former boss at Chelsea and Conte has made the 28-year-old one of his main targets. With Chelsea’s new appointment looking to strengthen his midfield, Vidal would tick all the boxes.
Rumor: Everton to PSG. // Likelihood: To the highest bidder. // The Talk: French giants PSG will make a £45million ($64.1million) bid for Everton’s star striker Romelu Lukaku this summer, according to the Daily Mirror. The French side’s manager Laurent Blanc has apparently made Lukaku his top summer target after watching the 22-year-old against Manchester United at Old Trafford last Sunday. Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Manchester United will all provide competition for the player’s signature. It is thought PSG may have to go over £50million ($71.3million) to land the in-demand striker as Everton are unlikely to sell without a fight. The Toffees demonstrated their resolve last summer by holding onto John Stones, despite heavy interest.
Rumor: Real Madrid to Chelsea or Manchester United. // Likelihood: Only if Real drop the price. // The Talk: Real Madrid have reportedly placed a £60million ($85.5million) price tag on James Rodriguez. According to the Daily Mirror, Chelsea and Manchester United are both keen to bring the Colombian to England. However, the Spanish giants want to recoup all of the money they paid for the 24-year-old when they bought him off Monaco two years ago. James has endured a disappointing season which has led to speculation of his departure.
Rumor: Gladbach to Arsenal. // Likelihood: Positive signs. // The Talk: According to the Daily Mirror, Arsenal have stepped up their interest in Gladbach midfielder Granit Xhaka. The newspaper claims the Gunners have made an opening offer of around £24million ($34.2million) for the Swiss international. With Mathieu Flamini, Tomas Rosicky and Mikel Arteta set to leave in the summer, Wenger is looking to show intent by getting the Xhaka deal tied up as soon as possible. Arsenal are understood to be confident of sealing a deal but the Bundesliga side are likely to hold out for a fee nearer £32million ($45.6million).
Rumor: Tottenham to Bayern Munich. // Likelihood: Not at the moment. // The Talk: Bild claim that Eric Dier is a shock target for Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich. The German side are thought to want Dier as a long-term replacement for Xabi Alonso when he eventually moves on. After starting off as a defender, Dier has thrived in the anchor midfield role for Premier League title-contenders Tottenham. His winning goal for England in Germany last month catapulted him into the limelight. The 22-year-old has a contract until 2020 and it would no doubt take a huge offer for Spurs to be tempted to sell.
Rumor: Roma to Arsenal. // Likelihood: A good fit. // The Talk: Arsenal are set to ruin Chelsea’s transfer window plans with a move for Roma defender Kostas Manolas, according to reports. The reports suggest that Wenger wanted the Greek defender in 2014, but didn’t want to pay the £12million ($17.1million) asking price demanded by his former club Olympiacos. However, after proving himself as a regular in the Roma side, the Gunners are thought to be showing interest again. Although they are likely to have to pay a lot more than £12million ($17.1million) this time around, Wenger is set have a big transfer budget this summer to spend on several targets.
Rumor: Borussia Dortmund to Liverpool. // Likelihood: Too soon. // The Talk: Jurgen Klopp is hoping to lure Borussia Dortmund wonderkid Christian Pulisic to Liverpool, according to Bleacher Report. Since being called up to the first-team at the Westfalenstadion, the 17-year-old USMNT midfielder has been attracting the attention of other clubs despite only making six Bundesliga appearances. And Pulisic’s progress – including a first cap for the USA national side — hasn’t gone unnoticed in Liverpool, where manager Jurgen Klopp is reportedly planning on pulling out all the stops to land the youngster.