January Transfer Deadline Day: 20 Rumoured Deals That Might Happen

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentJanuary 28, 2013

January Transfer Deadline Day: 20 Rumoured Deals That Might Happen

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    Here are the 20 rumoured football deals that still may happen with the January transfer deadline set to close soon.

    This article will break down reported transfers involving La Liga, the English Premier League, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1 clubs. Bear in mind that all 20 players on this list had not yet officially moved at the time this article was published.

    Feel free to comment below with your opinions.  

Beñat, DLP, Real Betis

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    Real Betis management have stressed that Chelsea and Manchester City will have to meet Beñat's €20 million buyout clause, as reported by ESPN FC Spanish correspondent Dermot Corrigan.

    According to Inside Spanish Football, Athletic Bilbao want to bring Beñat—Basque born and bred—home.

    Beñat brings stability to Betis' midfield and has enhanced it to the extent that the club have overachieved by occupying fourth place. Having said that, when you consider how dire his form has been in January, you begin to wonder if the transfer speculation has got to his head. 

    In the 3-0 loss to Rayo Vallecano, he was giving the ball away before Javi Fuego had even rushed in for the challenge. 

    You know what's incomprehensible?

    When high-IQ footballers like Beñat, Daniele Conti and Paul Scholes commit some of the daftest fouls you'll ever see. They have the foresight, the vision and the creativity to control the flow of the offense but they don't have the intelligence on the defensive side to pull out of low-percentage tackles. 

    If the Blues want to spend €20 million on a pivot, they should go sign Lyon's Maxime Gonalons, who is a significantly stronger ball-winner and a more accurate passer. 

    Beñat would probably be a rotation player at City, so why doesn't Roberto Mancini bid for Catania's Francesco Lodi?

    He's cheaper, can communicate fluently with Mancini, and is less turnover-prone.


    League Only P% A SCPG LP% FP%
    Beñat  78.2 5   1.6 67.4 66.3
    Lodi 84  1.9 72 79.4
    Gonalons 87.8  0.2 83 67.4


    P% = passing percentage; A = assist/s; SCPG = shots created per game; LP% = long pass percentage; FP% = forward pass percentage

    League Only TPG TPF T% IPG YC/RC
    Beñat  2.1 1.5 69 1.3 11/0
    Lodi 1.8 2.3 71 1.3 0/1
    Gonalons 4.0 2.0 81 3.2 5/0


    TPG = tackles per game; TPF = tackles per foul; T% = tackling percentage; IPG = interceptions per game; YC/RC = yellow card/red card

Fernando Gago, DM, Valencia

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    (From FIFA.com):

    Velez Sarsfield have agreed a deal to sign Argentinian international Fernando Gago on a six-month loan from Valencia.

    The 26-year-old midfielder joined Valencia last summer from Real Madrid having spent the 2011/12 season on loan at Roma. Gago joined Madrid in 2007 from Boca Juniors in a deal worth €20 million.

    A statement on Velez Sarsfield's official website read: "Velez Sarsfield have reached an agreement with Valencia for the loan of Fernando Gago, who will represent the Argentinian champions for the first six months of 2013."

    Gago is due to arrive in Buenos Aires tomorrow ahead of his presentation. He has 46 caps for Argentina and has been named in manager Walter Montillo's 23-man squad for the friendly against Sweden next week.

    Fernando Gago is still good enough to be playing in Europe. This move tells you that he wants to move back into his comfort zone. It will make him happy but won't help him develop into a better player. 




    Marca's Diego Pico believes Fernando Gago will be sold:

    Valencia is looking to offload Fernando Gago, after the Argentine's below-par performances of the last few months. Gago is unlikely to stay at the club.

    However, the midfielder may make life difficult for Valencia, as the player is only interested in joining a team with a great reputation.

    Pico is referring to Fernando not giving enough effort when the midfielder's former team Real Madrid arrived at Mestalla and put five past Los Che in 45 minutes. Gago didn't make a single tackle, misplaced 27 percent of his passes and gave Mesut Özil acres of space. 

    Manager Ernesto Valverde subbed off Fernando and moved Victor Ruiz from centre-back into the No. 6 role. Valencia didn't concede another goal. 

    The backdrop to the story was Gago's continued unhappiness with the sacking of his compatriot Mauricio Pellegrino a month earlier. 

    Football Espana originally reported

    In the aftermath of Pellegrino’s sacking on Saturday night, rumours began to circulate that midfielder Gago stood up in the dressing room and in front of all his teammates told Llorente that he wanted out of the club.

    In reaction to his Coach’s sacking, Gago’s action has drawn indirect criticism from more than one of his teammates, with Ricardo Costa and captain David Albelda, who lost his place in the team to Gago, commenting that anyone can leave the club if they do not want to follow the line.


    Fernando Gago has been left out of Valverde's squad for tonight's game. The only likely scenario now is for him to be sold.

    — Gary Linton (@AlbaEspana) January 26, 2013


    Statistically, Gago has been superb this season: winning back the ball 4.9 times per league game (7.5 in UEFA Champions League), 86 percent tackling percentage and completing 81.8 percent of his passes (86.5 in UCL). 

    Numbers don't lie, but they don't reveal the entire story. 

    Tackles per game gives you an idea how active a player is defensively, but the stat doesn't tell you about his positioning—which can only be determined subjectively, aka the eye test. 

    Take Joe Allen as an example. His defensive numbers are solid but his positional awareness has been nonexistent in recent memory. For someone compared to Fernando Redondo, Gago's inability to track runners is a major concern, and raises questions over his football IQ.

    Though, maybe that's not entirely his fault, given the amount of defensive breakdowns and lapses in concentration by his teammates every game—hence why Valencia's defence is ranked in the bottom half of La Liga. 

    Another reason to give Fernando the benefit of the doubt is that he was at one point of his career considered a world-class midfielder. 

    Also, if Football Espana is right in its account, then Gago's displays inevitably declined because he doesn't feel wanted. 

    Fernando can still do a job for a big club presuming his head is in the right place. 

Juan Quintero, AM, Pescara

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    Kris Voakes, Goal.com's Italian football writer, is adamant that Pescara attacking midfielder Juan Quintero is good enough to be a Juventus or Inter Milan player. 

    According to Football Italia, Pescara president Daniele Sebastiani said Fiorentina were interested in the Colombian.

    When La Gazzetta dello Sport asked Quintero about the possibility of moving to Manchester United, he made it clear where he wanted to be, before giving a more politically correct answer:

    No, I like Inter.

    Obviously I wouldn’t say no to other top teams but I’m aiming high: Manchester United, AC Milan, Juventus.

    I’ll make a decision with my family and Calleri, my agent.

    The Nerazzurri could do with Quintero as a No. 10 because playing Fredy Guarín there is gimmicky. 

    Quintero is also a high-volume shooter, only converting 3.3 percent of his chances, but at least his shooting accuracy (50 percent) is healthy. 

    I have no idea why the Red Devils have been floated as an interested suitor when they have Wayne Rooney and Shinji Kagawa. Juve isn't an option because they're going to back Sebastian Giovinco, plus Quintero doesn't want to sit on the bench. 

    Pescara will price AC Milan out of a move for Quintero. 

    Fiorentina need a No. 9, not a No. 10. 

    What may happen is the Delfini selling Quintero to the highest bidder, perhaps a club from Russia, and the Colombian will be given the final say. 

Kaká, AM, Real Madrid

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    Real Madrid manager José Mourinho hinted at Kaká's future not being with Real Madrid (from Rai via ESPN FC): "At Real Madrid we never saw the real Kaká. He must be happy and Milan could be a good solution, but he is a Real Madrid player."

    Florentino Pérez grits his teeth every time he sees his €65 million benchwarmer.

    Mourinho doesn't care about the career of Kaká, who isn't afforded any leeway to fail unlike the Jorge Mendes-represented Ángel Di María. 

    It would be a nice gesture for Real to let Kaká leave on loan to AC Milan, but José isn't going to deprive himself of squad depth. 

Leandro Damião, CF, Internacional

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    (Reported by David Hytner at The Guardian):

    Tottenham Hotspur failed in a deadline day bid to sign their long-time target Leandro Damião, although they were given hope that a deal for the Brazil and Internacional striker could be struck in the summer.

    Tottenham have a sporting partnership with Internacional—they signed the midfielder Sandro from them in 2010—and talks took place over Damião, with Levy making an offer.

    Sources in Brazil put the bid at £13 million, which was some way short of what Internacional would demand for a player whose official release clause is £42 million and who has third-party ownership issues.




    André Villas-Boas dismissed the idea of buying international forward Leandro Damião, only to then say it remained "unlikely" that the No. 9 would sign with Tottenham Hotspur (from the Press Association via The Guardian).

    Leandro Damião top scored for Brazil at the 2012 Olympics with six goals, where FIFA's Technical Study Group praised him for his "intelligent runs."

    He holds the ball up, is strong in the air and can lead the line like a classic English forward. But, he's not technically deficient like Andy Carroll...far from it—just ask Emiliano Papa. 

    Damião is a complete forward who should score 15-25 goals per season in Europe. 

    Regarding AVB's statement, view it with skepticism. See this recent timeline of events as evidence:

    Dec. 23, 2012 (via Sky Sports): "Tottenham boss André Villas-Boas still does not plan to make any new signings after watching his side being held to a 0-0 draw by Stoke."

    Jan. 3, 2013 (via Tottenhamhotspur.com): "We are delighted to announce that we have reached agreement with Standard Liege for the signing of Zeki Fryers."

    Jan. 4, 2013 (via Paul Kelso at The Telegraph): "Tottenham have moved to reinforce their squad for next season, securing a four-year deal for Germany international Lewis Holtby. The midfielder will move from Schalke to White Hart Lane in July."

Lewis Holtby, AM, Schalke

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    (Per The Guardian): 

    Tottenham Hotspur have agreed a deal with Schalke for the immediate transfer of Lewis Holtby. The midfielder had agreed terms to join the London club in the summer at the end of his contract, however Tottenham were keen to bring the move forward in order to provide cover after the injury to Sandro.

    Holtby was born in Erkelenz to an English father, Christopher, who was in the British Army, and a German mother. 


    BREAKING NEWS --> We have reached agreement with FC Schalke 04 for the immediate transfer of Lewis Holtby: bit.ly/115e2CS #THFC #COYS

    — Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) January 28, 2013


    Greg Stobart at Goal.com believes the transfer fee is £1.5 million. The Guardian have reported it being £1.25 million. 

    Either way, that's a lot more than what I expected from Daniel Levy—maybe he was in a generous mood. 

    If you're confused about the "provide cover after the injury to Sandro" part, Lewis played as a defensive midfielder (he ended up being more box-to-box) for Schalke last season, averaging 2.6 tackles and 3.1 interceptions per Bundesliga game. 




    You know on Deal or No Deal when the contestant has flunked out? What does the bank do? They rub it in by putting in a shameless offer

    That's Daniel Levy for you. 

    Having secured Lewis Holtby on a free transfer in the summer, Levy wants Schalke's No. 10 right now for a few months wages. 

    Matt Law at Mirror Football says Tottenham Hotspur will bid again for Holtby. 

    £500,000 wouldn't mean that much to S04 with the club chasing a top-four finish and still in the UEFA Champions League. 

    It wouldn't be shocking if Schalke parted ways with Lewis right now to give the prodigious Max Meyer a chance, or the club could move Julian Draxler into the central attacking midfield role. 

Maarten Stekelenburg, GK, Roma

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    (By John Percy at The Telegraph):

    Stekelenburg, the Holland international goalkeeper, was set to join Fulham on loan after his club Roma agreed to send him by private jet to London.

    But when Roma failed to find a replacement, Stekelenburg landed at Gatwick Airport to discover that he would have to head back to Italy with his hopes of a move to the Premier League collapsing. The 30-year-old had been targeted as Mark Schwarzer’s long-term replacement after Jol’s bid to sign Jack Butland was ruined by Stoke City.

    This won't endear Maarten to Roma management. 



    Rob Jansen, Maarten Stekelenburg's agent, stated that his client will seek a move away from Roma due to "serious problems" with manager Zdeněk Zeman (per ESPN.co.uk).

    Zeman being the forthright person he is addressed Stekelenburg (via Football Italia): 

    I asked Stekelenburg to be more involved with the team, as he lives in an isolated manner and only speaks English, which not many of his teammates do. 

    I think it was an inopportune interview with many things he got wrong. He is still a Roma player and must be at the disposal of Roma. 

    It is difficult to work at Roma, especially as journalists tend to write about incidents that occur behind closed doors. 

    Fulham would be a good destination because he'll beat out a declining Mark Schwarzer for the No. 1 role. 

Marco Rojas, FWD, Melbourne Victory

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    Marco Rojas, the current leader of Fox Sports' Alex Tobin points tally, has been the A-League's most electrifying player. 

    There's so much promise and potential with Tom Rogić (yes, he's the same Tom Rogić from Nike The Chance), who joined Celtic a few weeks ago, but he didn't produce in Australia like New Zealand international Rojas. 

    His speed, his incisive passing and his dribbling ensures he has a future overseas.

    Ange Postecoglou, Australia's best domestic manager right now, has allowed Marco to disregard positional discipline. Rojas can play out wide, he has drifted centrally, dropped deep to get the ball, and he has ventured forward. 

    So, you can cross a big line through Juventus, because Antonio Conte isn't going to give the Kiwi international the green light to run all over the field. 

    If Marco signs with Juve, he will end up like Marcelo Estigarribia, who had his identity stripped after being forced into a defensive role. 

    How about Liverpool? Rojas will be lost in the shuffle. 

    Postecoglou said (via The New Zealand Herald): 

    That was a pretty big challenge for him with all the focus on him, and apparently there's a couple of thousand scouts out watching him. The fact he could perform like that shows if there were any question marks about him stepping up to a bigger stage, I think he answered them.

    Questioning the standard of the A-League is valid because it's only a fledgling league. 

    Is it comparable to the J.League? Not really, because the quality in Japan is significantly higher. 

    In the coming seasons, there will be extremely gifted diamonds in the rough popping up from A-League clubs that don't have the financial muscle to keep their prospects home. 

    Awer Mabil from Adelaide United is one to watch out for. 

    Hiroshi Kiyotake and Keisuke Honda, who were both on a different level than Marco when they chose to go to Europe, chose Nürnberg and VVV-Venlo respectively. 

    So, a move to modest Bundesliga or Eredivisie club would be the way to go for Rojas. 

    Though, the story of teammate Stefan Marinovic will remind Marco that you can feel like a million bucks one year only to find yourself left on the scrapheap when adversity hits. Marinovic, the only Kiwi identified as an "outstanding player" at the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup, failed to make the grade at Fußball-Liga club Wehen. 

    According to Transfermarkt.de, Marinovic is without a professional club. 

Mario Balotelli, CF, Manchester City

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    (Via BBC Sport):

    AC Milan have agreed a deal to sign Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli on a four-and-a-half-year contract, the Italian club's director Umberto Gandini has confirmed.

    Former Inter Milan striker Balotelli, 22, will have a medical in Milan on Wednesday before signing his contract.

    An initial fee of €22 million euros (£19M) is believed to have been paid, rising to €25 million (£22M) with add-ons.



    Materazzi on Balotelli:"The Rossoneri are his favourite & he once appeared in Inter dressing room wearing #Milan socks. I cut them in half!"

    — Adam Digby (@Adz77) January 29, 2013

    With Balotelli's departure life turns quieter for amateur psychologists, press officers, firework retailers, Mancini and Manchester police.

    — Paul Hayward (@_PaulHayward) January 29, 2013


    What a poker face from Roberto Mancini when he flat-out lied last Friday saying: "We didn't have any requests about Mario."

    Silvio Berlusconi is going to be testing his theory that Mario Balotelli is a "bad apple". I thought the club didn't have €22 million? 

    Such a risky deal for the Rossoneri and it will be Mario's last chance at a big-club.

    From Manchester City's perspective, they won't miss him as much as the tabloids will. 

    Years from now, City supporters will remember Balotelli's best moment for the club—that assist to Sergio Agüero.




    (From Reuters  via The Guardian): 

    Roberto Mancini: The first question, you always... (chuckles)

    Reporter: Always Balotelli.

    Mancini: No, no, it's not true, it's not true. Mario stay here until he finishes.

    Reporter: He's definitely staying here? 

    Mancini: Yeah. We didn't have any requests about Mario or other players. 

    According to Greg Stobart at Goal.com, Manchester City have lowered their asking price on Mario Balotelli to £20 million. 

    Still £20 million too much for AC Milan. 

    Club president Silvio Berlusconi called Mario Balotelli a "bad apple" and said that M'Baye Niang was better than the City forward. 

    Why would Berlusconi make himself eat his own words by signing Balotelli? 

    Rossoneri loanee Alberto Paloschi, Parma's Ishak Belfodil and Mauro Icardi of Sampdoria are cheaper (key word being cheaper) alternatives to Balotelli. 

Michel Bastos, WAM, Lyon

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    (Per UEFA.com):

    FC Schalke 04 have signed winger Michel Bastos on loan from Ligue 1 outfit Olympique Lyonnais until the summer of 2014.

    Having sold Lewis Holtby to Tottenham Hotspur FC, the German Bundesliga club have moved to strengthen their midfield and the 29-year-old Brazilian international joins fellow loanee, FC Dynamo Kyiv's Raffael, in Gelsenkirchen.

    Economically efficient move from Schalke because Michel can be a valuable contributor. 

    The signing of Raffael is more noteworthy since he was a gifted dribbler, who could thread beautiful through-balls for his teammates at Hertha Berlin—unfortunately, he couldn't save them from relegation. 



    Lyon have accepted Al-Gharafa's bid for Michel Bastos, but the Brazilian wants to move to Schalke, according to Ian Holyman at ESPN FC

    Al-Gharafa have Nenê, Djibril Cissé, Mark Bresciano, Afonso Alves, Diego Tardelli and Alex on the payroll. 

    Schalke may move Julian Draxler from the left to the centre, and start Bastos out wide. 

    What about Barcelona loanee Ibrahim Afellay? He tore his right thigh muscle and will be out for a while. 

    Bastos hasn't been a regular starter for OL this season with the unhappy Lisandro López being played out of position on the left plus Alexandre Lacazette starting on the right. 

Mohamed Diamé, B2B MF, West Ham United

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    Arsenal could trigger West Ham United midfielder Mohamed Diamé's £3.5 million buyout clause, according to Paul Doyle at The Guardian

    Well, Diamé doesn't want to leave West Ham (via BBC Sport): "I know the club want to keep me too so I will continue to give my best for them. I'm very happy at this club."

    Mohamed has been the driving force of the Hammers midfield. 

    He's an elite ball-winner who can surge past most opposing players with ease. 

    If not for a heart defect, he would have been a Barcelona player. 

Paulinho, CM, Corinthians

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    Paulinho has turned down Inter Milan, saying (via ESPN FC): 

    I've made my decision, along with my family, to stay at Corinthians.

    The offer was good but sometimes you have to forget about the money. A good financial proposal doesn't mean you'll get to do a lot of things. There are times when you have to think about your career.

    I lead a very calm life and have all the conditions to do good work here at Corinthians and one of the reasons for me to stay was to return to the national team.




    Sky Sports Italia (via Football Italia) has reported that Inter Milan are looking into the possibility of signing Corinthians FIFA World Club Cup winning midfielder Paulinho for €18 million. 

    The Nerazzurri lodged a bid for the Brazilian, according to ESPN FC's Adam Digby

    Christopher Atkins profiled Paulinho for ESPN FC

    He has indeed played his entire career from deep in midfield, but in a very different tactical role known as a segundo volante in Brazil—effectively a box-to-box midfielder. 

    In Sunday's final in Japan, Paulinho was a more subdued figure in attacking areas than he normally would be—his main responsibility being to aid Ralf in subduing Chelsea's attacking threat. Yet it would have been notable to any Chelsea official tracking his performance that one of his few bursts forward in the entire encounter eventually led to the winning goal. 

    Wantaway Valencia midfielder Fernando Gago has been touted as an alternative to Paulinho for Inter, per Fox Sports Asia (h/t Las Provincias) 

    But, what about Sampdoria's Pedro Mba Obiang or Milan Badelj from Hamburg?  

Peter Odemwingie, RAM, West Bromwich Albion

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    (Per The Telegraph):

    'Unprofessional' Peter Odemwingie told to focus on West Bromwich Albion duties after farcical deadline day drama.

    The 31-year-old striker had been a target of QPR throughout January and had repeatedly voiced his displeasure at not being allowed to leave.

    However, when he drove to London and addressed a media scrum talking about a move to Rangers, it appeared a deal was on the table.

    But West Brom quickly released a statement saying Odemwingie was there without permission and QPR told Press Association Sport the same, saying they had stopped him from getting into their Loftus Road ground.

    Banish Peter Odemwingie to the reserves because his behaviour is deplorable. 




    West Bromwich Albion have refused to accept Queens Park Rangers' bid for the disgruntled Peter Odemwingie, as reported by the Press Association (via The Guardian). 

    Odemwingie issued his reasoning for handing a transfer request

    West Bromwich Albion may argue that I am too vital a member of the team to allow me to leave now but I could argue that team selection so far this season has not reflected that and there is more than adequate cover for my position currently in the squad, culminating in me playing out of position.

    Strikers being played out wide thus leading to breakdowns in relations has been a common theme in recent memory: Daniel Sturridge at Chelsea, Theo Walcott at Arsenal and Lisandro López at Lyon. 

    Sturridge moved to Liverpool. 

    Walcott was made the Gunners' highest-paid player. 

    López is set to move in the summer. 

    WBA resuscitated Peter's career but the way he is handling this situation shows no sense of propriety. Odemwingie recently tweeted:

    Loyalty left 70 percent . the rest they stole out of my pocket thinking I was keeping money in there. Good night.

    — Peter Odemwingie (@OdemwingieP) January 26, 2013

    What is Odemwingie talking about? The guy has gone bonkers

    Is there a viable replacement on the transfer market? Yes, why not put in a bid for Real Valladolid's Patrick Ebert?

Rolando, CB, Porto

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    (Via UEFA.com):

    Rolando has joined Serie A title chasers SSC Napoli on loan from FC Porto until the summer, with the Portugal central defender saying: "I'm delighted to be at such a great club."




    According to ESPN.co.uk, Queens Park Rangers are close to signing Porto centre-back Rolando. 

    Simon Jones at the Daily Mail is speculating that Porto have requested £7 million for the error-prone defender.

    Yep, £7 million—not £700,000—for Portugal's answer to Jean-Alain Boumsong. 

    It would be a heist if Porto get £7 million for their fifth-choice centre-back (he's behind Nicolás Otamendi, Eliaquim Mangala, Maicon and Abdoulaye Ba). 

    If Deportivo La Coruña add Rolando to their growing Portuguese contingent, Porto certainly won't be receiving £7 million, because Domingos Paciencia isn't a fool. 

Sebastian Jung, RB, Eintracht Frankfurt

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    Corriere dello Sport (via Football Italia) believes Eintracht Frankfurt defender Sebastian Jung will join Inter Milan. 

    Andrea Stramaccioni plays with wing-backs, and whilst Jung is solid in the tackle, he isn't Daniel Carvajal from an attacking perspective. 

    If anything, the Eintracht defender who would be perfect for the Nerazzurri is Bastian Oczipka, who charges forward from left-back with reckless abandon. 

Tom Ince, WF, Blackpool

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    Reading have joined Swansea City and Liverpool in the race for Blackpool's wide forward Tom Ince, according to Sky Sports.

    Joining his former club Liverpool would lock him into a battle with Raheem Sterling, Coutinho, Stewart Downing, Suso and Fabio Borini for one of the wide roles. 

    Reading could get relegated, so Ince would be playing in the Championship next season. 

    The Swans would be a good destination for him where he'd get to compete with Nathan Dyer and Wayne Routledge for a wide role—obviously, Pablo Hernández has dibs on a starting role. 

Wilfried Bony, CF, Vitesse

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    Wilfried Bony's strong upper body gives him the ability to shrug off challenges and attack the open space. 

    He leads the Eredivisie with 16 goals

    Vitesse's technical director Ted van Leeuwen has said the club haven't received an offer from Newcastle United regarding Bony, according to Sky Sports"As far as we know, nothing has happened so far. Or it would have had to have been outside the club. I haven't seen a fax."

    There's a reason for that, because why would Le Toon buy Wilfried, having signed Yoan Gouffran, who has played as a No. 9 for Bordeaux this season? 

Willian, LAM, Shakhtar Donetsk

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    (From ESPN.co.uk):

    Shakhtar Donetsk boss Mircea Lucescu has confirmed midfielder Willian has left the club, with the Brazilian likely to join Anzhi Makachkala immediately.

    Willian, 24, was strongly targeted by Premier League clubs Tottenham and Chelsea, but it seems a deadline day swoop from the big spending Russian side has triggered Shakhtar's hefty release clause.

    Reports suggest Anzhi offered £35 million for Willian, making it the most lucrative deal of the January transfer window.

    £35 million? Talk about inflating a transfer fee. Rinat Akhmetov wins again. 




    Tom Collomosse of The Independent says Shakhtar Donetsk value Willian at £20 million.

    Willian has done a "Peter Odemwingie" by attempting to force Shakhtar's hand with comments like (via Goal.com):

    I was quite upset about what happened at the time, because big clubs like Chelsea and Tottenham were interested in securing my services. I don't feel any pressure as I have met with the Shakhtar board and they are aware of my desire to move to a big club in Italy, Spain or England. Every player dreams of playing in the Premier League.

    Too bad for him club owner Rinat Akhmetov is richer than Roman Abramovich, so the Ukrainian won't be rolling over. 

    Though, Akhmetov has covered his base should Willian leave by signing Taison from Metalist Kharkiv. 

    Signing Willian would be a luxury buy for Chelsea, who should give Marko Marin a run in the team. 

    Also, what happens when Lucas Piazón, Kevin De Bruyne, Amin Affane, Gaël Kakuta and Thorgan Hazard return from their loan spells? 

    Gareth Bale or Willian? Bale all the way; so, unless the Brazilian wants to warm the benches, Tottenham Hotspur isn't an ideal option either. 

Yoann Gourcuff, AM, Lyon

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    Atlético Madrid sporting director José Luis Caminero has said the club haven't made a move for Yoann Gourcuff (via Dermot Corrigan at ESPN FC):

    Gourcuff is more something from the media than the club. We are looking at players, but we have not decided on anyone. We will wait for January 31 to see if there is a chance. There are no definitive names on the table.

    It is going well, there is an understanding between Atlético and Gourcuff, that is no problem. But there are some financial issues to sort out. Until then we cannot go any further.

    He has spoken with Zidane to ask his advice.

    Zidane told him not to think twice, because Atlético is a good place for him at this moment.

    From incurring the wrath of Paolo Maldini at AC Milan, to being bullied at the 2010 FIFA World Cup to injuries and loss of confidence at Lyon—a fresh start makes sense for Yoann. 

    But, do Atléti need Gourcuff? Nope.

    Just play Koke, who creates 2.5 shots per La Liga game for his teammates (better than Lionel Messi, Andrés Iniesta and Xavi), as the No. 10. 

Younès Belhanda, AM, Montpellier

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    As I extensively detailed in a scouting report of Younès Belhanda last week (via B/R):

    Turkish giants Fenerbahçe, who signed former Ligue 1 star Moussa Sow, are negotiating with Montpellier over the possibility of buying Younès (per Turkisk-football.com). 

    MHSC outspoken president Louis Nicollin will only sell Belhanda to an English or German club.

    His gripe with Fenerbahçe seems to be monetary-based (from L'Equipe via Sky Sports): "They wanted to pay us in three installments. They can keep their money."

    Tottenham Hotspur are still in contention to sign Younès, according to talkSPORT. Why would Spurs want him?

    The London club would have crossed out the Moroccan's name when Daniel Levy sealed the deal for Lewis Holtby, who plays in the same position as Belhanda, and is a way better ball-winner (wins back possession 8.7 times in league/UCL play compared to Younès' 2.3). 

    The Liverpool Echo are reporting that Everton are interested in Belhanda.

    This will only happen if Marouane Fellaini leaves on a big-money transfer to a club like Chelsea. 

    Should Eintracht Frankfurt fail to qualify for Europe whilst the Toffees get a UEFA Champions League spot, going for Alexander Meier is a logical move.

    He plays the same role as Fellaini for Frankfurt, not to mention the German is stronger and technically better than the Belgian. 

    Also, Everton don't exactly hold Montpellier in the highest regard, after Ibrahima Bakayoko flopped badly coupled with Olivier Giroud's struggles [1] at Arsenal this season. 

    To add to the transfer merry-go-round, Inter Milan director Marco Branca called out Nicollin for fabricating claims that the club lodged a €14 million bid for Younès (via ESPN FC): "We don't like to contradict Montpellier's president, but Inter have never presented him with an offer for Younès Belhanda."

    It's an underhanded tactic in transfer negotiations to bump up the transfer fee of a player. 

    Younès posed in front of a Fenerbahçe shirt, so that implies he is fine with a move to the Turkish giants (h/t @Turkish_Futbol). 


    [1] Amazing how things can change so quickly in football. Olivier scored back-to-back braces in wins over West Ham United and Brighton.


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