Power Ranking January's 20 Hottest Transfer Rumours: Xavi Destined for MLS?

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentJanuary 17, 2014

Power Ranking January's 20 Hottest Transfer Rumours: Xavi Destined for MLS?

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    Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

    Bleacher Report presents a power ranking of the 20 hottest January transfer rumours.

    So, how will these 20 January transfer window rumours be ranked? The rumours will be ranked according to name recognition.

    The less identifiable the rumoured player is, the lower the rumour will be ranked and vice versa.

20. Tom Rogic

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    Celtic attacking midfielder Tom Rogic, a Socceroo, will not be joining J. League club Vegalta Sendai.
    James Hardy, a representative of Vegalta manager Graham Arnold, who mentored Rogic, explained why the move would not happen (as per Michael Lynch at The Age):

    The financial terms offered, considering Tom's limited availability as FIFA states that all players are to be released by May 17 for the World Cup and the J league doesn't start till March 1, makes this move to Sendai not feasible.

    We are all disappointed however we hope this puts an end to the speculation.

    David Davutovic at The Herald Sun is reporting that A-League club Melbourne Victory will sign Rogic on loan.

    One of Victory's best players this season is James Troisi, who is on loan from Atalanta and part of his playing rights is owned by Juventus, so a step down could serve Rogic well as it has for Troisi.

    Rogic is a rare Australian prospect: 6'2", can dribble, has creativity, world-class technique and if he wasn't a professional footballer, he would be playing futsal in Europe. 

    He has represented the Australian national team in futsal and football.

    Australia need him to succeed.

19. Thorgan Hazard

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    Anderlecht are trying to persuade Chelsea to end Thorgan Hazard's loan spell at Zulte Waregem, as per Kristof Terreur at Sky Sports:

    Zulte are very unhappy with their Brussels-based [Anderlecht] rivals and issued a statement insisting they were keeping Hazard.

    'Thorgan Hazard stays at Zulte Waregem until the end of the season. Chelsea have confirmed again this is the case,' the statement read.

    'Zulte Waregem have been in contact with Anderlecht last week to make clear we won't discuss a deal in this transfer period. We are happy that Anderlecht understand our point of view.'

    Anderlecht, though, issued their own statement confirming they still wanted to sign Hazard.

    'Anderlecht remains interested in Thorgan Hazard. The club also remains open to any form of dialogue with all parties involved.'

    Last week, Francky Dury, the manager of Zulte Waregem, accused Anderlecht and Thorgan Hazard's advisor, John Bico, of trying to destabilise his club.

    In the UEFA Europa League this season, Hazard has been playing centrally and his vision is exceptional.

    Next season, Chelsea should loan him to a Bundesliga club with the aim of being able to attract a £10-15 million bid in the future.

18. Tiago Ilori

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    Granada and Valencia want to take Liverpool centre-back Tiago Ilori on loan, as per Phil Kirkbride at The Liverpool Echo.

    How about loans to Almeria, Rayo Vallecano or Real Betis?

    All three teams rank in the bottom five defences of La Liga, so you would presume they would welcome a player of Ilori's pedigree.

17. Georgios Samaras

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    Celtic's Georgios Samaras seems to be running down his contract as his manager Neil Lennon could not say if the Greek international would commit long-term to the club.

    "We don't know where we are with Georgios," Lennon said, as per a tweet from Celtic's official twitter feed. "[We] still don't have a clear definitive answer."

    If Samaras wants out, sell him now.

    He does not deserve to play a single minute for the club should he attempt to leave Celtic high and dry.

16. Nacer Chadli

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    Nacer Chadli will not force a move away from Tottenham Hotspur after talks with management, according to his agent Daniel Evrard.

    "Nacer has thought about a loan," Evrard said, as per Kristof Terreur at Sky Sports. "But after a good conversation with the club, we have decided to stay."

    Chadli has not scored a Premier League goal, so he needs to up his game if he wants to stay at Spurs.

    He has the ability but if he keeps up his mediocre performances, Spurs will pull the plug on his career at White Hart Lane.

15. Rickie Lambert

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    West Ham United are prepared to submit a £7 million bid for Southampton centre-forward Rickie Lambert, as per Dominic King and Neil Ashton at The Daily Mail.

    £7 million for a Premier League-standard 31-year-old is economically inefficient.

    Yes, he is an all-round forward, who can score and create, but unless he can keep up his standard for the duration of his contract, it will not be worth the fee as West Ham are highly unlikely to recoup what they paid for him.

14. Ravel Morrison

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    Fulham's bid for West Ham United attacking midfielder Ravel Morrison has been rejected, as per Jon West at The Telegraph.

    Why is Morrison thinking of leaving West Ham when they need him to step up?

    If they get relegated and he wants to leave, fair enough.

    But he should have the decency to play out the season and help the club stay in the top-flight.

13. Asamoah Gyan

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    Stoke City want to sign Asamoah Gyan on loan from Al Ain, as per Warren Haughton at talkSPORT.

    Gyan? Amazing to think it is approaching four years since his 2010 FIFA World Cup heroics for Ghana.

    He is the current leading goalscorer of the Arabian Gulf League (16 goals), but Stoke don't need to sign him having secured the loan signing of John Guidetti from Manchester City.

12. Michel Bastos

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    Napoli are pursuing Al Ain's Michel Bastos, as per Fabrizio Romano at GianLucaDiMarzio.com.

    This rumour is corroborated by Sky Sports (h/t Stewart Rickerd at ForzaItalianFootball.com).

    Bastos' ability to create something out of nothing with lethal long-range shots makes him an asset for any team.

    Given his lucrative contract at Al Ain, you would expect this move to be a loan deal.

11. Kurt Zouma

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    Saint-Etienne centre-back Kurt Zouma revealed he and Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho have spoken.

    "When a great man like Jose Mourinho calls a little player like Kurt Zouma, it's nice," Zouma said, as per L'Equipe (h/t ESPN). "At the start I thought it was a joke but afterwards I quickly took his call seriously."

    Tapping up aside, Zouma is a centre-back with world-class potential.

    This call by Mourinho should galvanise Zouma to play the best football of his career which will put him in good stead should Chelsea target him in the summer transfer window.

10. Anderson

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    Manchester United midfielder Anderson will be loaned out to Fiorentina, as per Ian Ladyman at The Daily Mail.

    United ruined Anderson by inexplicably trying to change him from a lethal No. 10 to a box-to-box midfielder.

    He struggled with injuries and had weight issues.

    Hopefully for him, the loan at Fiorentina revives his career.

9. Julian Draxler

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    Arsenal could sign Julian Draxler, as per Jeremy Wilson at The Telegraph.

    "Draxler, 20, is a long-term transfer target of Arsenal and has already openly expressed his interest in a move to the Emirates this summer," Wilson wrote. "He has a buy-out clause of £37.8 million and, although that will not be active until the end of the season, there is a growing sense that Schalke would be open to offers this month."

    Instead of playing Draxler as a winger, Arsenal should convert him into a centre-forward, a la Thierry Henry.

8. Kevin De Bruyne

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    Kevin De Bruyne is undergoing his medical at Wolfsburg, as per Sky Deutschland (h/t a tweet via Het Laatste Nieuws writer Kristof Terreur).

    Provided that De Bruyne does not fail his medical, Chelsea are expected to receive £18 million for a player who had been on the outside looking in.

    This is excellent business from Chelsea.

7. Lucas Moura

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    Manchester United will make a £30 million bid for Paris Saint-Germain attacking midfielder Lucas Moura, as per Charles Reynolds at The Independent.

    Lucas, who has created five goals in Ligue 1 this season, offers more creativity than Antonio Valencia, who is a one-dimensional winger.

    But Lucas does not track back which could be an issue for United manager David Moyes.

6. Paul Pogba

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    Paris Saint-Germain could throw money at Juventus for Paul Pogba, as per Football Italia.

    While PSG are a possible destination, he continues to be linked to Manchester United (as per Ian Herbert at The Independent) yet the psychological wounds are so deep that it seems impossible that he would ever come back to United.

    Pogba has played with a chip on his shoulder after his United experience which has been a factor in his rise to prominence.

5. Marek Hamsik

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    Manchester United are in the running to sign Napoli's Marek Hamsik, as per Colin Harvey at The Daily Star.

    No point signing Hamsik if Manchester United manager David Moyes does not sell Shinji Kagawa.

    Also, Moyes is more likely to give Adnan Januzaj a run as the No. 10 than spend big on Hamsik.

4. Ilkay Gundogan

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    Borussia Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc remains uncertain about Ilkay Gundogan's future at the club.

    "Nothing is decided," Zorc said, as per Bild (h/t ESPN). "I will make a well-considered decision soon. Like I've said, everything is still open."

    You can interpret open as being open to bids from Manchester United and Real Madrid, as per Bild (h/t ITV).

3. Dante

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    Manchester City transfer target Dante will not leave Bayern Munich, according to his representative Leo Scheinkman.

    "Reports of Dante heading to Manchester are just rumours," Scheinkman said, as per talkSPORT. "He is happy at Bayern working with Pep [Guardiola]."

    Dante and Jerome Boateng are the primary Bayern centre-back partnership for Guardiola, so letting Dante leave would be a surprise. 

2. Michael Essien

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    Michael Essien is interested in a move to AC Milan, according to his agent Fabien Piveteau.

    "Milan have to first speak with Chelsea and they have to decide what they want to do with Essien," Piveteau said, as per Spazio Milan (h/t Simon Johnson at The London Evening Standard). "We have not yet opened any direct talks with AC Milan but this does not mean he cannot move to Italy. Clearly this is a great opportunity for my player."

    Essien has been a great player for Chelsea but he is past his expiry date.

1. Xavi

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    Major League Soccer club New York City FC, a club that are owned by Manchester City, are doing their due diligence and looking into making Barcelona centre midfielder Xavi their marquee signing when New York are active in the MLS, as per Matt Law at The Telegraph.

    "City director of football Txiki Begiristain and chief executive Ferran Soriano both know Xavi well from their days at Barcelona, and see the Spaniard as the perfect face of their new team," Law wrote."[Manchester] City have invested more than £300 million into their MLS franchise and New York City will have the biggest budget in the American game."

    New York are expected to compete in 2015, as per MLSsoccer.com.

    Xavi is one of the greatest midfielders ever, so he will deserve every dollar of what is effectively a retirement package should he opt for one last hurrah in the MLS. 



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