With the transfer window beginning to kick into gear, the latest rumour to have gained legs surrounds a deal that will bring Real Madrid defender Fabio Coentrao on loan to Manchester United until the end of the season.
Well, actually, if you want to believe what Real Madrid are saying, Coentrao is not leaving and, in fact, there will be no new arrivals or departures at the Santiago Bernabeu this month.
At a meeting with Florentino Perez before Christmas, Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti told his president that he thought he had a good enough squad at his disposal to challenge in all competitions this year, without the need of any tinkering.
The Portugal international joined Madrid in 2011 from Benfica for €30 million, and since then he has made 67 appearances in all competitions for the club.
If he is to be sold, it certainly will not be until the summer—Real Madrid think that the World Cup will elevate Coentrao's profile and, ultimately, help them recoup some of their investment, more so than if he is sold now.
The only exception to that would be if the player himself forces the issue and someone decides to stick £20 million on the table. Nobody expects that, however, so Madrid and Ancelotti are confident he is at the club for the rest of the season.
Ditto Alvaro Morata, the much sought-after 21-year-old Madrid-born striker, who has alternated between the first-team squad and Real Madrid B since 2011 and has been the subject of persistent speculation and admiring glances from clubs all over Europe.
He, too, is going nowhere and Ancelotti confirmed that last week (per Daily Mail).
Likewise at Sevilla where the talk is of a move for Ivan Rakitic, the club’s Croatian captain and midfielder who has made 121 appearances and scored 29 goals for the Andalusian club since his arrival from Schalke in 2011.
It is quite clear that Atletico Madrid, along with a few English clubs, would be keen to sign him. Sevilla will almost certainly sell him in the summer, but they insist he is not available now.
In fact, they are negotiating a renewal of his contract, which, at the moment, finishes in a year and a half. The buy-out clause is €40 million and a new deal would increase his wages and reduce that clause.
Unbeaten in the last seven league games, Sevilla’s current form means they are now knocking on the door for a place in Europe and they will certainly not want to lose Rakitic's contribution to the cause this month.
In any case, the January window is a notoriously bad time for anyone attempting a season-altering quick fix for their clubs.
According to their clubs, Coentrao, Morata and Rakitic are not available. Suitors should look elsewhere.