Premier League Transfer Gossip: 10 Big Rumours with a Real Chance at Happening
With the summer fast approaching, EPL clubs have started preparing for next season by securing some massive deals for their respective squads.
So who's next?
With the rumor mill in full force in the final few weeks before the re-opening of the transfer window, there are numerous faulty rumors out there mixed in with the good ones.
Here, we'll do the hard ones for you and breakdown exactly which ones have a good chance of happening.
Jan Vertonghen to Spurs or Arsenal
We start with one of the more well-known stories that has been circulating the web for months now.
Jan Vertonghen has been linked to both Tottenham and Arsenal for months now, and while he's thrown both teams a bone in various interviews, he's not given us much indication on which team he'd prefer.
Back in March, Vertonghen admitted that Arsenal was one of the teams he'd be interested in joining, but said that it would come down to his agent and Ajax's negotiations with Arsenal.
However, Toby Alderweireld, Vertonghen's partner in the heart of Ajax's defense, was adamant that the highly-rated center-back join Tottenham instead, citing more playing time as a reason to pick Spurs over the Gunners.
Most recently, it seems Tottenham have taken the initiative in signing the player, making a formal approach to Vertonghen's agent. Harry Redknapp has also admitted that the club is interested in signing the player, though he has played down the extent of Tottenham's interest.
What's certain though is that Vertonghen will indeed leave Ajax this summer. He has only one season left on his contract, and Frank de Boer has already given his approval by saying that the time is right for Vertonghen to take the next step in his career.
It'll be interesting to see how the bidding war between the two North London sides pans out.
Honestly, Arsenal don't need him as much as Tottenham, since Thomas Vermaelen, Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker are all quality center-backs, but he'd be a major boost in quality for whatever team he signed up with.
Eden Hazard to Manchester City or Manchester United
Here's the most recent update on Eden Hazard's situation, courtesy of Tom Williams of Agence France-Presse, one of the more respected sources to follow on French football:
L'Equipe says Hazard could be put off by competition for places at City and says he may wait to see which team wins the Premier League.
— Tom Williams (@tomwfootball) May 4, 2012
Since both Manchester clubs made their interest in Hazard clear, the bidding race has very much narrowed to race between the two clubs, with Arsenal and Tottenham being two of the many clubs eliminated in the process.
There's still a chance that Hazard could opt for a London team (Chelsea perhaps?) rather than either side from London, but L'Equipe isn't a source that's often wrong when it comes to French football.
Clint Dempsey to Liverpool
The first two transfers on this list are pretty much guaranteed to happen; it's only a question of where the player in each case will go. That won't apply for the next couple of guys on this list.
Clint Dempsey has been heavily linked with both Liverpool and Arsenal this season, due to his impressive goal-scoring form which has seen him bag 22 goals in 45 appearances.
Asked about Dempsey's future with Fulham though, Fulham manager Martin Jol had this to say:
As you know we talked to him and hopefully he will sign a contract to keep him here for the next three years.
If not, he's still our player because there is no club that has made an approach for him. Of course it's nice if they are positive about him.
Since the confirmation of Arsenal's Lukas Podolski signing, talk of signing Dempsey has rightfully flickered out, since Podolski and Dempsey are capable of playing roughly the same positions.
So that leaves Liverpool, whose ex-director of football Damien Comolli told Soccer Report Extra (h/t Goal.com) that he would've signed Dempsey this summer if he were at a top six club.
Will it happen? Time will tell. Don't forget that Liverpool's owners are Americans, and thus would probably be very welcoming to the idea of the best American footballer in the world right now playing for their club.
But would Kenny Dalglish be welcoming of the idea, and is Dempsey himself open to the idea? Those two factors will determine if this transfer happens or not.
Luuk De Jong to Liverpool
Another transfer rumor for Liverpool, who arguably will be the club most in need of changes this summer after a very disappointing league campaign.
This is a story that has been reported at B/R for some time now, but is finally getting legitimate interviews and evidence to back it up.
Speaking to Voetbal International (h/t ESPN), Luuk de Jong's agent Luis Laros has confirmed that Liverpool are closely monitoring de Jong's situation:
Liverpool are following Luuk closely. But so are 15 other clubs. Three big clubs that have qualified for the Champions League preliminaries have told us that they are ready to open talks with Twente.
We will keep our eyes and ears open in the next few weeks. Luuk is feeling very well at Twente, but if the club fails to qualify for Europe, staying put is a less attractive option.
This interview was given prior to FC Twente's 3-4 loss to Heerenveen, which ended FC Twente's chances of finishing in the top four and leaves the likely needing to fight for a third round playoff spot with the teams that finish seventh to ninth in the Eredivisie.
The truth is that de Jong needs a transfer to Liverpool arguably even more than Liverpool need him. He's reached his peak in the Dutch league, scoring goals for fun, and his team is going nowhere, especially after they sold their best player, Bryan Ruiz, to Fulham.
The one possible stumbling block is that De Jong still has two more years on his contract with Twente, unlike Dempsey, Hazard and Vertonghen. That gives Twente the ability to push his price up considerably in negotiations, and could price Liverpool out of a deal for the young Dutchman.
Dirk Kuyt to Hamburg
With all the players coming in at Liverpool, some players have to leave right?
It seems Dirk Kuyt's six-year stay with Liverpool could be coming to an end, after Hamburg's manager Thorsten Fink admitted his interest in the forward:
He has class, and he is also a fighter. There is nothing more that needs to be said about the quality of this player. Whether this is something we feel we want to commit to, we will see.
Fink isn't the only one at Hamburg interested in Kuyt. The team's technical director Frank Arnesen also was positive in his evaluation of the 31-year-old:
A player like Kuyt, who is still in good shape, can add something to any team. He is a real team player with an excellent attitude.
Kuyt will almost surely be remembered fondly as a Liverpool legend by the Reds supporters, but his time at Liverpool is surely drawing to a close. He's become a rotation player under Dalglish this season, and the goals have dried up from him as well.
With only a year to go on his contract, Liverpool likely won't ask for much from Hamburg in terms of a transfer fee. And Kuyt will be happy to end his career getting regular playing time in a highly respectable league.
Sounds like a win for all involved.
Shinji Kagawa to Manchester United
This past April, Shinji Kagawa decided that he would not be renewing his contract with Borussia Dortmund, despite the team winning the Bundesliga for the second consecutive time.
This sent the rumor mill into a frenzy, trying to identify potential destinations for the Japanese playmaker. However, it seems we won't have to wait long to hear where he's headed, as Kagawa said that he would reveal his next destination after the German Cup final.
So far, the only major team that seems interested in Kagawa in the big four leagues of Europe (England, Spain, Germany, Italy) is Manchester United.
However, there are numerous reason why such a move would not be a good fit, reasons which B/R writer Allan Jiang explains here.
He's a classy player with bags of ability, but I can't help but feel that, like Nuri Sahin, Kagawa will come to regret his move shortly after making it, wherever he decides to go. It really doesn't get better than Dortmund for a player like Kagawa, a realization he'll probably come to far too late.
Gareth Bale to Barcelona or Manchester City
As a Tottenham supporter, I've unfortunately had to report the rumors of Gareth Bale's potential departure from White Hart Lane on multiple occasions. Here's my latest report.
Since then (April 30th, 2012), not too much has changed. Barcelona's name is still mentioned here and there, but there aren't substantial quotes to add any fuel to the fire of a move to Spain.
However, Roberto Mancini has recently thrown Manchester City's name into the ring of teams interested in Bale by opining that Bale is a "fantastic player."
Though Mancini would go on to say that he didn't think Bale would leave a "big team like Tottenham," football blog Soccerlens of the opinion that it's just a case of Mancini being Mancini.
Mancini's new trick is to say the opposite of what's he's thinking. 8 points behind - we can still win the title. ahead on GD - Utd are fav.— Soccerlens (@soccerlens) May 4, 2012
So when he says that Bale won't leave a 'big team' like Tottenham, he's sniggering inside and planning a bid this summer.— Soccerlens (@soccerlens) May 4, 2012
Very possible. We'll see what unfolds in the coming weeks. As I've always said, I believe it'll simply come down to whether Tottenham qualify for the Champions League or not.
Seydou Keita to Liverpool, AC Milan or Malaga
Just yesterday, it seemed as though Keita was definitely set to move to either Liverpool or AC Milan this summer.
But Malaga recently threw their names into the hat for Keita's signature, and are favorites for it if he decides to leave, according to Goal.com.
Really, I don't think Keita can go wrong here. He's got a contract with Barcelona until 2014, when he'll be 34 years old and probably ready to retire.
If Malaga can offer him a longer contract, regular playing time and maybe even a wage increase, it's a move that makes sense for Keita.
As for Malaga, Keita isn't the young player that I'd like to see them going for, but at 32 years old he's still a quality midfielder and a great leader.
Luka Modric to Manchester United
Luka Modric's future at Tottenham is just about as uncertain as Gareth Bale's considering his stay at Tottenham was based to some degree on the hope that Tottenham would be in the Champions League next season.
If Tottenham fail to meet that end-of-the-season objective, I can see Modric forgoing a contract extension and forcing through a move to a Champions League team.
One club sure to be interested in Modric is Manchester United. Modric has arguably been the missing piece at United for at least a season now, and with Modric Manchester United would have to be considered serious contenders for the Champions League title next season.
B/R's Kyle Driller explains further here.
Junior Hoilett to Tottenham or Arsenal
Junior Hoilett is another player set to be the center of attention in a North London transfer duel.
Remarkably, Hoilett will be out-of-contract this summer, and free to be signed up by whoever can tempt him with the best wages and most playing time.
Truthfully, Hoilett is going to spend a lot of time on the bench whether he goes to Arsenal or Spurs. But if Redkapp can ever learn the art of rotation, there is plenty of opportunity for Hoilett to grow at Tottenham and battle Aaron Lennon for playing time.
Either way, with Blackburn set for relegation, there's no way he's staying with the club. He'll be a bargain for whoever manages to get his signature.