20 Hottest Transfer Rumors in European Football Right Now
What better way to start your day than with the latest rumor updates on the biggest transfer target in world football?
Don't answer that.
Since you're already here, you obviously know the importance of getting your fill of football rumors on a Monday to start your week off just right.
So read ahead as the hottest ridiculous and not-so-ridiculous rumors are broken down for you, one by one.
Gareth Bale to Barca
We've known for some time now how keen Barcelona are on Gareth Bale.
But we've never really heard Gareth Bale's side of the story, until now:
"If you are talking about Barcelona or Real Madrid, two of the biggest clubs in the world, then it's a bit like Harry [Redknapp] and England, it's a once-in-a-lifetime dream," he said.
"If you said to any young player that you could play for Barcelona or Real would they turn it down? Probably not.
If a bid was accepted you would obviously have to seriously consider it.
But that has not happened so, at the moment, I'm just concentrating on Tottenham."
Some have blown these comments out of proportion, but they're really as diplomatic as they come.
Any player in this day and age would indeed love to play for Real Madrid or Barcelona, and a summer move for Gareth Bale will ultimately come down to whether Harry Redknapp stays and whether Tottenham finish in the top four of the league.
On top of that, both Barca and Real would have to shell out mega-millions to sign Bale, something which Barca have said they're not interested in doing (but are reportedly willing to offer players in exchange).
We'll see what happens in the summer, but for now, Bale's comments are hardly earth-shattering. Moving along...
Yann M'Vila to Arsenal (or Inter or Real)
I'll leave this one to B/R's Lead Blogger, Michael Cummings:
We already (reportedly) knew that Arsenal want Yann M'Vila.
Apparently, the feeling is mutual.
According to several reports, including this one from The Independent, the 21-year-old French holding midfielder would welcome a move to North London.
He told Canal+: "Inter, Arsenal, Real... I will take the fun everywhere!
These are great clubs. If the coach calls you and tells you he wants you to make you play, especially a French coach, it changes everything.
The important thing for me is getting playing time for the France team."
M'Vila has three years left on his contract with Rennes.
Kevin Strootman to Manchester United
If you ask any Manchester United fan what they think their team is missing, the first answer you're sure to get is a good central midfielder.
It was what they were missing in last year's Champions League final, and it's what's been missing all season long this year.
The continual injuries to Anderson and Tom Cleverley, as well Darren Fletcher's break from football, have only exacerbated this problem for Manchester United, who were forced to recall Paul Scholes to partner Michael Carrick in midfield.
Among the numerous reported targets for United, one name recently gaining popularity is PSV Eindhoven's Kevin Strootman.
According to Mirror Football, Strootman's game is quite reminiscent of Roy Keane, hence why Sir Alex Ferguson thinks he'd be a good fit for the physical nature of the EPL and United's midfield.
Personally, I don't believe Strootman will bring the creativity that United have been lacking in recent years. But at the very least, the Dutchman would be an improvement over a decent number of United's current midfielders, and add much-needed depth in the middle for SAF.
Mario Balotelli to Inter Milan (or Anywhere)
In the aftermath of Mario Balotelli's latest bust-up with Roberto Mancini and his teammates at Manchester City, the rumor mill has gone into overdrive, churning out rumors that Balotelli may be set to leave in the summer because of continued indiscipline.
Here's the problem with the significant majority of these rumors: there's no destination.
The Guardian has reported that Balotelli may leave in the summer, but, again, the question is, where to? Who in world football will take another chance on the young talent who just seems incapable of settling in one spot, even with the best of managers in charge?
Aside from that, the truth is, Mancini has been the perfect father figure for Balotelli, and Balotelli has admitted as much. Even though he may misbehave at times, he's always working hard to impress Mancini, which is what matters most in the end.
And let's not forget that his scoring record is superb. To date, he has 17 goals in 30 games, and his goal efficiency has seen him get more playing time than Edin Dzeko.
Balotelli's not going anywhere, and rumor producers are just wasting their readers' time with this one.
Eden Dzeko to Borussia Dortmund
Speaking of Edin Dzeko, it seems all is not well for the Bosnian striker. B/R's Thomas Atzenhoffer breaks it down for us:
Dzeko was a phenomenal goal scorer in the German Bundesliga with 85 goals in 142 appearances for VfL Wolfsburg before his move the Manchester.
It took him time to settle in England but with 18 goals in 31 appearances this season he has proven that his ability is still there.
However, a limited amount of time it the starting line up has the player once again unsettled, and he is believed to be looking at a possible transfer to Borussia Dortmund in the summer.
Abel Hernandez to Arsenal
Palermo are notorious for off-loading future world-class strikers. Anyone remember a certain Edinson Cavani?
If TalkSPORT is to be believed, they are on the verge of off-loading a second future world-beater—21-year-old Abel Hernandez—to Arsenal for £15 million.
This transfer rumor sounds a bit out of left field to me, as Arsenal's interest in Hernandez is certainly news to me. But who can blame Arsenal if the rumors are indeed true?
Like Cavani, Hernandez is another Uruguayan striker who left his domestic league for Italy. Having arrived at Palermo at such a young age, Hernandez saw limited playing time at first, but the sale of Cavani and other strikers has finally opened up playing time for Hernandez.
This season, Hernandez has been hurt by an injury, which kept him out of commission for almost 15 games. Still, he's shown many glimpses of brilliance, such as this past weekend's when one-goal, one-assist performance, helping Palermo to a 3-1 win over Bologna in Serie A action.
It's not a certainty that he could be reliable as Lukas Podolski and some of the other names that have been linked with Arsenal, but he's a striker that I'd take a gamble on.
Edinson Cavani to Chelsea
Speaking of Cavani, it seems Napoli's star striker has been linked with Chelsea for ages now.
The latest rumors don't really tell us anything we don't know already. Basically, he's expensive, he might want to leave after this season, and Chelsea are willing to spend big if needed.
Like Bale's possible move, this is a transfer that is dependent on a number of factors.
On Napoli's end, tying up third place and qualifying for the Champions League for next season would really help their chances of retaining Cavani's services. A Coppa Italia win over Juventus would be a huge step to achieving that goal as well.
On Chelsea's end, if Fernando Torres continues he resurgence, it probably doesn't make much sense to buy a new striker. Even if Didier Drogba leaves, Daniel Sturridge has been dying to play in a central striker role for Chelsea, while Romelu Lukaku really needs to start getting some playing time.
Finally, Cavani's transfer may depend on whether Roberto Di Matteo is signed to a long-term contract. If he is, I don't think he'll want to bring Cavani in, and will instead use the money made available to him by Abramovich to invest in other parts of the pitch (i.e the wings and center midfield).
But if Di Matteo isn't, I can very easily see the new manager try to put his stamp on the squad with a big-money signing like Cavani.
So for now, there's too many unknowns to make a very accurate prediction on what's likely to go down with Cavani. Stay tuned as we get closer to the summer.
Didier Drogba to Shanghai Shenhua
It's interesting how transfer rumors seem to all tie together, isn't it?
If Cavani is to make the move to Chelsea, one striker who must go is Didier Drogba. Three veteran center forwards fighting for one spot in the starting lineup is a recipe for disaster.
For Drogba, his options still appear to be limited. At 34 years old, Drogba is looking to prolong his career by two years before retiring. It appears, however, Chelsea still won't budge from their position of offering him a single-year extension.
Additionally, with RDM finally giving Torres his faith and playing time, it is evident Drogba isn't very pleased with the prospect of spending more time on the bench.
The one option that's been available to Drogba for some time now is to join up with ex-teammate Nicolas Anelka in China.
Anelka is fairly confident and optimistic about the chances of Drogba joining him in China at the end of the season, but so far we've heard nothing from Drogba and his agent (or media outlets).
I won't lie...the prospect of Anelka and Drogba lining up together—even at the very end of their careers—to decimate Chinese defenses may just be enough to convince me to try and tune in to at least a few of their games with Shanghai Shenhua.
Marouane Chamakh to Paris Saint-Germain
Marouane Chamakh has undergone a tremendous fall from grace this season with Arsenal.
It began last year, when fatigue took away the excellent goal-scoring form he showed at the start of the season, which convinced Wenger to stick with him.
Now, Chamakh has been limited to little more than late-game substitute appearances, and even then most Arsenal fans cringe whenever they see that he is the player being brought on.
As such, the only solution for Chamakh to revive his career and avoid ending it at its lowest point is a move from away from Arsenal. Fortunately, the Daily Mail is reporting that PSG wants Chamakh, and is willing to spend £6 million on the striker.
Honestly, why anyone would want to spend a single cent on a striker that's looked completely lost this season is quite baffling, but maybe Carlo Ancelotti knows something we don't.
Either way, if there's any substance to this rumor, Arsenal and Wenger should capitalize on Ancelotti's interest immediately and agree a deal to rid themselves of one of the most out-of-form players in the EPL.
Jan Vertonghen to Arsenal or Tottenham
Lately, it seems that whatever player Spurs targets, so does Arsenal, and vice-versa.
This has been the case with Jan Vertonghen, who has had his name heavily featured in the media over the last few months due to being repeatedly linked with Arsenal and Tottenham.
Once again, the Guardian's latest rumor update on Vertonghen hardly tells us anything new, but it does introduce a proposed transfer fee: £22 million
Where did this figure come from? I have no clue, and honestly, I can't see either of these frugal North London sides spending that kind of money. Even £12 million would be a bit of a stretch, as neither club is particularly weak at the back anymore.
Once again, this is a rumor that will likely be re-reported over a thousand times before season's end, but it's unlikely we'll learn anything new about it until then.
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar to Bayern Munich or Manchester United
Once again, handing this one off to B/R's Thomas Atzenhoffer:
Schalke 04 and Netherlands international striker, Klaas Jan Huntelaar is a believed transfer target of both Manchester United and Bayern Munich as his contract talk over an extension at the Rhineland based club are stalling.
Goal.com reported earlier this week that Bayern were closely watching the situation in regards to Huntelaar as s future strike partner of Mario Gomez.
Manchester United have also been linked with a move for the player by Givemefootball.com, and it is looking like he will be a strongly chased attacking come the opening of the window.
Eden Hazard to Chelsea
We've heard plenty of Arsenal and Tottenham's interest in Eden Hazard, but finally, it seems Chelsea have jumped into the mix as well.
Metro is reporting that Roman Abramovich has given the go-ahead to bid for Hazard, who would provide a huge boost to a Chelsea offense currently in desperate need of real wingers.
Diego Ribas to Liverpool
After two unsuccessful spells with Juventus and Wolfsburg, it seems Diego Ribas has finally started to recover some of his Werder Bremen form with Atletico Madrid.
Though he only has four goals in 29 appearances for his new club, he's also recorded six assists and, more importantly, has adjusted to fitting in with his teammates rather than being the star of the show.
Diego's success with Atletico has piqued the interest of Liverpool, who will reportedly attempt to sign the Brazilian if Atletico do not sign him on a permanent basis.
Diego's creativity could really boost the Reds, as none of Liverpool's midfielders have been able to get their strikers scoring on a regular basis.
However, Liverpool will first have to hope that Atletico Madrid do not match Wolfsburg's demands before they can snatch up Diego.
Dede to Liverpool
Courtesy of BR's Liverpool Featured Columnist Peter Webster:
Liverpool are the latest club rumoured to be interested in signing Vasco De Gama and Brazil central defender Dede.
Damian Comolli has already reportedly been to watch the highly rated 23-year-old player in action, but there's no mention of how much the player might cost.
Dede has just two international caps to his name but looks set to be a long-term selection for the Brazilian national side.
Willian to Chelsea
The Willian rumors have gone quiet lately, but the Brazilian remains a target for Chelsea, who will be looking to beef up in the winger department this summer.
"Shakhtar are believed to have rejected one offer in the region of £20million for Willian with the Ukrainians holding out for £29million for the playmaker," Fox Soccer reported back in January.
Crunchsports is reporting that AC Milan could potentially join the race for the 23-year-old winger, but this is a transfer Chelsea shouldn't have much trouble wrapping up if they take care their business with Shakhtar early.
Radamel Falcao to Chelsea or Manchester City
Radamel Falcao has made Atletico Madrid fans forget all about Sergio Aguero with 27 goals in 38 appearances this season.
He has made a seamless transition to his new club and La Liga, and could win the UEFA Europa League for the second season in a row.
Falcao's performances have understandably interested some of the world's biggest clubs, but if any of them think they're getting him to leave Atletico, they're dreaming.
Falcao cost Atletico €40 million, making him the club's most expensive signing in history. Considering his importance to the team and how well he's transitioned over from the Primeira, Atletico are sure to add an extra €10 million on top of that price tag this summer.
Even with their billionaire owners, neither Chelsea nor Manchester City will be looking to shell out that kind of cash this summer, especially with financial fair play playing a bigger role in the market.
For now, Falcao remains focused on the task at hand, and rightly so.
Lucas Ocampos to Barcelona
Many have prematurely hyped up Lucas Ocampos as the "next Cristiano Ronaldo," but there's no doubt the kid's got potential.
According to various reports, Ocampos is headed to FC Barcelona this summer, where he'll be groomed in Barcelona's youth system until he's ready to take the world by storm,
B/R's Xoel Cardenas breaks down Ocampos, his transfer's implications, and more here.
Hulk to Chelsea
This is one of those transfers that needs to hurry up and happen so we can stop talking about it.
Chelsea have been pursuing Hulk for ages, but Porto have continued to demand sums of money for their Brazilian striker.
Porto need to realize that Hulk is worth £20-30 million at most, and realize that his value only stands to drop with time if that they continue to insist they receive £80 million for him. If they don't want to sell him, then just say so—and leave it at that.
That way, we no longer have to read rumors quoting ridiculous figures like this one from the Guardian.
Lukas Podolski to Arsenal
Lukas Podolski will be one of two Arsenal transfer targets we close this list out with.
Podolski has been on the Arsenal radar for months, but Gunners fans have gotten conflicting reports on whether the German international is soon to be an Arsenal player or if negotiations will be delayed until the end of the season.
The Daily Mirror claims that there has not been a medical for the player, but according to Arsene Wenger, a deal could soon be in place to secure the transfer.
Metro likewise has Wenger claiming that there has been no medical for the German who has scored 16 goals in the Bundesliga for FC Koln this campaign.
Nevertheless, other sources claim that there is definitely a deal in place, and just that the transfer will not be announced until much later so as to avoid angering FC Koln supporters in the midst of its relegation battle.
Olivier Giroud to Stay at Montpellier
Olivier Giroud has been a name mentioned in Arsenal rumor articles for some time now, but now it appears that he might end up staying at Montpellier past the end of this season.
Montpellier chairman Louis Nicollin told ESPN about how optimistic he was about holding onto Giroud this summer in light of the club's success in the Ligue 1 title race.
With PSG's recent slip-ups, Montpellier hold a slender goal difference advantage in the title race, and also have a game in hand.
Additionally, Arsenal's successful pursuit of Lukas Podolski looks to have eliminated their need for another striker. Therefore, it is unlikely they will still be interested in Giroud's services this summer transfer window.