Power Ranking January's 20 Hottest Transfer Rumours: Toni Kroos, Julian Draxler

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentJanuary 30, 2014

Power Ranking January's 20 Hottest Transfer Rumours: Toni Kroos, Julian Draxler

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    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. Tomas Rincon

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    Cardiff City are open to signing Hamburg defensive midfielder Tomas Rincon, per David Kent at the Daily Mail.

    Hamburg's preferred double-pivot combination is Milan Badelj and Tolgay Arslan.

    Rincon is the backup but has also featured at right-back.

    He is a defensive liability, conceding 20 free-kicks in nine Bundesliga games this season.

19. Thomas Ince

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    Blackpool winger Thomas Ince is in talks with Hull City and Sunderland, per BBC Sport.

    "The (22-year-old) met with Swansea City and Crystal Palace on Monday and held talks with Stoke City on Tuesday," per BBC Sport. "[Ince] has not featured in either of Blackpool's two matches since his father, Paul, was sacked as manager on 21 January."

    Ince, a former Liverpool prospect, has scored seven times and registered six assists in 23 league games this season.

18. Jack Cork

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    Swansea City's £3 million bid for Southampton defensive midfielder Jack Cork has been rejected, per John Cross at the Mirror.

    "The Swans' chairman Huw Jenkins is now weighing up whether to go back with an improved bid to land the former Chelsea midfielder," Cross wrote. "Cork, 24, has forced his way back into the Saints' first team in recent weeks and [Saints manager] Mauricio Pochettino may be unwilling to let him go."

    For extended periods of the season, Cork has been the backup midfielder to the Morgan Schneiderlin-Victor Wanyama partnership, hence why Cork has only started 64.3 percent of Premier League games he has been involved in.

17. Yevhen Konoplyanka

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    Liverpool could sign Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk left-attacking midfielder Yevhen Konoplyanka for £16 million, per Andy Hunter at The Guardian.

    "Liverpool hope to conclude negotiations swiftly for the 24-year-old [Konoplyanka] having been gazumped by Chelsea over Salah," Hunter wrote. "Konoplyanka's father, Oleg, said on Wednesday he hoped that a deal could be finalised."

    Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers did not specifically mention Konoplyanka's name, but he did say "hopefully we can have a major signing in before the window closes," per Phil McNulty at BBC Sport.

    In the UEFA Europa League this season, Konoplyanka has started all his games on the left wing, scoring three times and creating two goals in five games. 

    While Konoplyanka does add firepower to Liverpool, Rodgers should be looking at midfield reinforcement, especially with Lucas Leiva out injured. 

    Though, Lucas tweeted: "I would like to let you know that my injury isn't serious and I will be back in a few weeks. Thanks #relieved #thedreamstillalive" 

    So perhaps that is the reason why Rodgers is targeting Konoplyanka instead of a commanding midfielder.

16. Joseph Yobo

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    Norwich City are trying to sign Fenerbahce centre-back Joseph Yobo on loan, per Canaries.co.uk.

    "[Norwich] City can confirm we are in talks with Turkish club Fenerbahce regarding a deal to bring experienced Nigerian international central defender Joseph Yobo to Carrow Road on loan until the end of the season," per Canaries.co.uk. "Yobo, 33, played for Standard Liege, Marseille, Tenerife and Everton before joining Fenerbahce in August 2010."

    Norwich have mainly played Sebastien Bassong, Michael Turner and Ryan Bennett at centre-back this season.

15. Casemiro

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    Real Madrid backup midfielder Casemiro is a transfer target for Porto, per AS (h/t Football Espana).

    Casemiro has yet to make a start in La Liga this season, so he needs game time.

    Real may be unwilling to sell Casemiro, who signed a four-year contract last July, per ESPN FC, so a loan away could be an option.

14. Konstantinos Mitroglou

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    Fulham are hoping to sign Olympiakos centre-forward Konstantinos Mitroglou, per BBC Sport.

    "Mitroglou has been in prolific form this season, scoring 21 goals in 23 appearances for club and country, including four hat-tricks," per BBC Sport. "The 25-year-old Greece international will cost around £11 million and the Premier League strugglers hope to complete the deal before Friday's transfer deadline."

    Mitroglou extended his contract last December until 2017, per UEFA.com, so Olympiakos have the upper hand in negotiation with Fulham, a club desperate to stay in the Premier League.

13. Fernando Reges

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    Manchester City are front-runners to sign Porto defensive midfielder Fernando Reges, per a tweet via Sky Sports journalist Pete O'Rourke.

    City's first-choice midfield pairing is Yaya Toure and Fernandinho, both of whom are first and second for most Premier League starts at City.

    By signing Fernando, what happens to backup midfielder Jack Rodwell?

    If Fernando wants to warm the benches at City, it would suggest his decision is purely financial.

12. Adel Taarabt

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    Fulham manager Rene Meulensteen revealed that AC Milan want to sign Queens Park Rangers loanee Adel Taarabt, per BBC Sport.

    Taarabt, on loan at Fulham, is goalless from 52 shots, has one assist from 290 passes and has mishit 84.6 percent of his crosses in Premier League play this season.

    Not only is Taarabt out of form, but he is a difficult character to coach, as his former manager Neil Warnock will attest to, per Sean Gallagher at WestLondonSport.com:

    For me it's my biggest achievement as a manager—no-one else could manage him [Taarabt].

    It's very difficult to manage Adel and to get the best out of him.

    That's probably why [QPR manager] Harry [Redknapp] is glad he's [Taarabt is] gone to Fulham, so then there's no chance of a problem.

    People talk about the trouble he caused and all this, but he repaid me and gave me the best year of my career.

    To quote football commentator Janusz Michallik: "Taarabt to Milan is so random."


11. Clement Grenier

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    Newcastle United transfer target Clement Grenier is unlikely to move away from Lyon in this window.

    "I'm not aware of Newcastle negotiations," Grenier said, per Lee Ryder at Chronicle Live. "I have lots of objectives and I need to achieve them with Lyon this year. I can nearly say I'm not going to Newcastle."

    Grenier is a free-kick specialist, he has played in the No. 10 role or in centre midfield and he has elite upside.

    The departure of Yohan Cabaye to Paris Saint-Germain means there is a void to fill, and Grenier is a logical replacement.

10. Luke Shaw

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    Southampton left-back Luke Shaw will reject a chance to sign with Manchester United because he wants to play for Chelsea in the future, per Charles Reynolds at The Independent:

    However it is understood that Shaw is prepared to turn down United safe in the knowledge that Chelsea, his boyhood club, are also interested in him in the summer. 

    Chelsea are extremely keen to sign the youngster who they see as the long-term successor to Ashley Cole.

    Shaw signed a five-year contract last January, per The Guardian.

    He should stay at Southampton, play 100 Premier League games from now and then if he is the best left-back in the league, accept the big-money move.

9. Mauro Icardi

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    Monaco will be signing Inter Milan centre-forward Mauro Icardi on loan as cover for the injured Radamel Falcao, per Sky Sport Italia (h/t Football Italia).

    This report seems unfeasible as Monaco have Emmanuel Riviere and Anthony Martial as centre-forwards who have the potential to step up in Falcao's absense.

    On the subject of Riviere, he has scored the same amount of Ligue 1 goals as Falcao (nine) despite making four less starts this season.

    Also, if Monaco wanted cover up front, they would not have loaned out Lacina Traore to Everton.

8. Dani Osvaldo

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    Juventus want to take advantage of Dani Osvaldo's suspension at Southampton.

    "Osvaldo is an Italy international and there are a lot of clubs who like him, not only me," Juve general manager Beppe Marotta said, per La Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t ESPN). "But before we can buy, we've got to sell."

    Osvaldo was suspended by the Saints for assaulting his teammate Jose Fonte, per BBC Sport.

    Osvaldo's way of letting the world know he was sorry was retweeting several pictures of Fonte.

7. Mirko Vucinic

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    An unsettled Mirko Vucinic will not be training with the Juventus first team until his future is resolved, according to his agent Alessandro Lucci.

    "Vucinic spoke with [Juve manager Antonio] Conte and they have agreed he will train apart in these last days of the transfer market because he is involved in some possible negotiations," Lucci said, per Sky Sport Italia (h/t Simone Bargellini at Sky Sports). "But I want to say that Mirko has never asked to be sold."

    Vucinic is a mooted loan target for Arsenal, per Tuttosport (h/t Eurosport).

    He has only started 50 percent of Serie A games this season.

6. Etienne Capoue

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    Tottenham Hotspur have rejected a £8.25 million bid from Napoli for Etienne Capoue, per David Hytner at The Guardian.

    "Tottenham Hotspur are holding out for €14 [£11.5] million," Hytner wrote. "[Capoue] has slipped to the bottom of the pecking order under Tim Sherwood and is open to a transfer to help his hopes of World Cup selection."

    Is Capoue aware that Napoli recently signed Jorginho?

    Jorginho and Gokhan Inler will be Napoli manager Rafa Benitez's first-choice double-pivot partnership, so Capoue is not guaranteed playing time.

5. Eliaquim Mangala

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    Manchester City are set to sign Porto centre-back Eliaquim Mangala for £38 million, per Mark Ogden and Jason Burt at The Telegraph.

    "Manchester City are attempting to thwart Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain by agreeing a £38 million deal for Porto defender Eliaquim Mangala before Friday's transfer deadline," per The Telegraph. "At 22, Mangala is regarded as a long-term partner at City for Vincent Kompany."

    £38 million? That is crazy money for a world-class prospect—Key word being prospect.

    Should this deal go through, this would be a vote of no confidence to the long-term future of Matija Nastasic.

    If Mangala is signed, then City would be OK with sending Joleon Lescott to West Ham United, per Goal.com.

4. Lewis Holtby

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    Tottenham Hotspur backup midfielder Lewis Holtby is intrigued by a move to Fulham, per Matt Law at The Telegraph.

    "Fulham are willing to let on-loan Adel Taarabt make a surprise switch to AC Milan, which would allow the club to take another domestic loan before this transfer window shuts," Law wrote. "Holtby, the Tottenham midfielder, is high on Fulham’s list of midfield targets and the German international has not ruled out the possibility of making a temporary move across London."

    Borussia Dortmund have distanced themselves from signing Holtby, per ESPN, so staying in the Premier League would be a plus for Holtby if he has aspirations to win back a starting position next season at Spurs.

3. Nani

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    Nani is expected to leave Manchester United and play out the season on loan at Inter Milan, per Dave Filmer at Metro.

    Inter manager Walter Mazzarri plays a system with wing-backs, so unless Nani will be converted into a deep-lying forward, it is bizarre for him to choose Inter.

    Nani has not scored or created a goal in the Premier League this season.

2. Julian Draxler

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    Arsenal are close to finalising a £30 million deal to sign Schalke left-attacking midfielder Julian Draxler, per John Cross at the Mirror.

    "Despite Schalke's public denials, they are eager to do business this month," Cross wrote. "We can also reveal that Draxler has been cleared to return to play again in just seven days' time after seeing German specialist Hans Muller Wohlfahrt about a ruptured ankle tendon."

    Draxler has the tools—6'1", world-class technique, quick feet and long-range shooting ability—to transition into a No. 9.

    Arsenal's German contingent (Per Mertesacker, Mesut Ozil, Lukas Podolski, Serge Gnabry, Gedion Zelalem and Thomas Eisfeld) will speed up Draxler's adaptation to life in London.

1. Toni Kroos

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    Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola did not handle media questions well when asked about Toni Kroos' future.

    If Guardiola's intent was to spread more rumours about Kroos leaving, then that was achieved.

    "He [Kroos] is an important player," Guardiola said, per ESPN. "But it can go fast in football. Here today, there tomorrow."

    Kroos is a transfer target for Manchester United, per John Drayton at the Daily Mail.

    Money aside, why would Kroos ditch Bayern, a team with dynastic potential, for United, a team in rebuilding mode?

    It would be a quizzical footballing decision from him but a coupe for United chief executive Ed Woodward.

    He signed Juan Mata from Chelsea and if Kroos comes to United, then Woodward deserves immense praise after being fodder for criticism in his first transfer window.

    With Mata, Kroos, Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie in the same side, manager David Moyes better have United playing football like City, a team that have won 5-1, 4-2, 3-0, 4-2 and 5-0 in their last five games.


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