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Power Ranking the Week's 20 Hottest Transfer Rumours: Neymar Contract Problems

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentFebruary 20, 2014

Power Ranking the Week's 20 Hottest Transfer Rumours: Neymar Contract Problems

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    David Ramos/Getty Images

    Bleacher Report presents a power ranking of the 20 hottest transfer rumours, news and signings.

    How will these 20 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. Andy Najar

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    Brandon Wade/Associated Press

    Andy Najar's agent, Chris Megaloudis, revealed his client would not be leaving Anderlecht in the summer transfer window.

    "It is out of the question to make him [Najar] a globetrotter," Megaloudis said, per L'Equipe (h/t Patrick Haond at Sky Sports). "At the moment he is not mature enough to take the next step."

    It is pleasant to see an agent care about the career of his client, rather than only focusing on agents' fees. 

    Najar has scored one goal in 810 minutes of play for Anderlecht this season.

19. Alejandro Galvez

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    Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    Rayo Vallecano centre-back Alejandro Galvez has signed a pre-contract to join Werder Bremen next season, per Bild (h/t Tom Conn at Inside Spanish Football).

    Galvez is a strong ball-winner (59 tackles and 53 interceptions) this season, however he is part of a back four which have conceded the most goals in La Liga (58 goals in 24 games).

    Playing alongside a rookie in Saul Niguez, on loan from Atletico Madrid, who should be in midfield, has not helped Galvez at all. 

     

18. Andre Hoffmann

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    Markus Schreiber/Associated Press

    Hannover 96's utility player Andre Hoffmann is being targeted by Tottenham Hotspur, per Stephan Uersfeld at ESPN FC.

    Hoffmann is a 20-year-old German youth international, who has played as a centre-back and as a defensive midfielder this season. 

    He is still adjusting to the pace of Bundesliga football, so he is not ready yet to take the next step up and sign for a notable European club such as Spurs.

17. William Carvalho

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    Armando Franca/Associated Press

    One of Manchester United's midfield targets is Sporting Lisbon's 21-year-old Portuguese international William Carvalho, per David Anderson at the Mirror.

    United have targeted Sporting's talents in the past, having signed a then-18-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo and then-20-year-old Nani, so targeting William would follow the trend.

    If United sign William, he could be seen as a replacement for Tom Cleverley, whose performances have made him a target for United supporters.

    He believes the criticism is unfair.

    "I feel I've been made a scapegoat a little bit," Cleverley said, per Oliver Holt at the Mirror. "A few people in the media certainly seem to have a perception of me not doing much in the team."

16. Alen Halilovic

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    Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

    Barcelona are set to sign Dinamo Zagreb's 17-year-old Croatian international Alen Halilovic, per Jutarnji List (h/t talkSPORT). 

    Dinamo recently announced they had rejected a bid from Barca for Halilovic, but were open to another bid.

    "It was not accepted because we, the player and his family were not entirely satisfied with the terms," Dinamo vice-president Zdravko Mamic said, per Sportski (h/t Sky Sports). "Barcelona still want the transfer to happen so we will see how everything will continue."

    Halilovic is only 17 years old and would not walk into Barca's starting XI.

    Unless he wants to play for Barca B in the Segunda Division, it makes no sense for Halilovic to leave a safe environment for his footballing development in Zagreb.

15. Ben Davies

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    David Rogers/Getty Images

    Atletico Madrid are targeting Swansea City left-back Ben Davies, per the Metro.

    The move would not be that complicated as his compatriot, Real Madrid right attacking midfielder Gareth Bale, lives in the same city, so he can help Davies settle into life in Madrid.

    Atleti's current two left-backs are starter Filipe Luis and backup Emiliano Insua, who has been slotting in at left-back, as evident in the 1-0 UEFA Champions League win over AC Milan, as Luis is injured.

    Depending on how Insua plays during Luis' absence will dictate if Atleti should sign a new left-back.

    Davies signed a contract extension at Swansea last December, per BBC Sport, so he is in no rush to move.

     

14. Ron-Robert Zieler

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    Ronny Hartmann/Getty Images

    Liverpool see Hannover 96 goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler as a quality backup to Simon Mignolet, per talkSPORT.

    The question is: Does Zieler want to be on the outside looking in again? 

    He spent around five years at Manchester United, but did not make a Premier League appearance.

    Zieler has started every single Bundesliga game for Hannover this season.

13. Shola Ameobi

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    Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

    Newcastle United centre-forward Shola Ameobi is unsure of his future at the club. 

    "Like I've always said, I've never taken it [playing for Newcastle] for granted," Ameobi said, per the Shields Gazette (h/t Sky Sports). "After the summer, my future is unclear."

    Reading between the lines, Ameobi could be suggesting that Newcastle are either going to offer a new contract with reduced salary, or they may be looking to move on. 

    Ameobi has been a stalwart for the club, though he has not kicked on to become an elite No. 9 as he has never scored 15 goals or more in a top-flight season. 

12. Loic Remy

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    Scott Heavey/Getty Images

    Newcastle United management dilly-dallying over the future of loanee Loic Remy, whose playing rights are owned by Queens Park Rangers, could lead to Arsenal signing him, per Mark Douglas at the Journal.

    Remy has scored 11 goals in the Premier League for Newcastle this season, but has experienced a dip-in-form. 

    In his last 10 league games, he has only scored three times and was sent off in a 0-0 draw against Norwich City after lashing out at Bradley Johnson.

11. Joel Veltman

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    Peter Dejong/Associated Press

    One of Tottenham Hotspur's summer transfer window targets is Ajax centre-back Joel Veltman, per Daniel Jones at the Metro.

    Veltman is known for his adventurous runs from centre-back and his high technical ability.

    He is a productive ball-winner, having registered 30 tackles and 32 interceptions this season.

    He has played a role in Ajax having the best defence in the Eredivisie (conceded 20 goals from 24 league games).

     

10. Rafa Alcantara

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    Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    Barcelona's Rafa Alcantara, commonly known as Rafinha, is a summer transfer window target for Manchester United, per John Cross at the Mirror.

    Rafinha is currently on loan at Celta Vigo and has shown versatility being able to play multiple positions: central midfield, right forward and left forward. 

    Like his brother, Thiago of Bayern Munich, Rafinha is technically astute and has world-class upside.

9. Gerard Deulofeu

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    If Everton want to renew Barcelona loanee Gerard Deulofeu's loan next season, the Toffees will face competition from AC Milan, per talkSPORT.

    With Barca right forward Alexis Sanchez upping his game and scoring 15 goals and providing six goals in 20 La Liga games this season, Deulofeu will struggle to win a starting position at Barca, hence why Milan are open to signing him on loan next season.

    Deulofeu has started only two of 13 Premier League games for Everton, but when he has played, he has shown pace and trickery.

    He should contemplate about staying another season on loan at Everton.

8. Heurelho Gomes

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    Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

    Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes wants to move to Leeds United on loan, per Andrew Bontiff at the London Evening Standard.

    Aside from sitting on the bench against Newcastle United in the Premier League and Aston Villa in the League Cup, Gomes has been left out of Spurs' matchday squads.

    Several years ago, he was a Brazilian international, nowadays he trains, goes home and wonders which club will sign him next.

    It is sad to see his fall from grace because he was an amazing shot-stopper at PSV Eindhoven and made some world-class saves at Spurs, only for his reputation to be marred with errors, hence his downfall.

7. Mathieu Debuchy

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    Scott Heavey/Getty Images

    Newcastle United right-back Mathieu Debuchy has refused to commit his future to the club after being linked with a summer transfer window move to Paris Saint-Germain.

    "PSG? I am here [at Newcastle] until the end of the season and for next year, I do not know," Debuchy said, per Lee Ryder at Chronicle Live. "I had the opportunity to talk a little with Yohan Cabaye and it is clear he is really happy there."

    Debuchy's compatriot Cabaye moved from Newcastle to PSG and scored in a 4-0 UEFA Champions League win over Bayer Leverkusen.

    The allure of playing Champions League football could be the factor that swings Debuchy's decision.

     

6. Ivica Olic

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    Darko Bandic/Associated Press

    Wolfsburg centre-forward Ivica Olic is open to an English Premier League transfer and Stoke City could be a destination in the summer window, per the Sentinel.

    Despite being 34 years old, Olic has scored eight goals in the Bundesliga this season, which is on par with Bayer Leverkusen's Heung-Min Son, Bayern Munich's Thomas Muller and Borussia Monchengladbach's Max Kruse. 

    Sure, Olic is not going to score 20 goals per season, but he is serviceable, he is industrious and is a team player. 

    He would be a welcome addition at a mid-tier or bottom-tier Premier League club.

5. Blaise Matuidi

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    Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images

    Should Blaise Matuidi extend his contract at Paris Saint-Germain, it would be a setback for Chelsea and Manchester City, per Alex Richards at the Mirror.

    Matuidi is a free agent at the end of this season and would be one of the most highly coveted Bosman signings in recent memory.

    He is a powerful and dynamic box-to-box midfielder, who can score goals (as Bayer Leverkusen found out) and put in tackles (56 tackles this season).

    According to L'Equipe (h/t a tweet via French football expert Jonathan Johnson), the "renewal of Blaise Matuidi's contract until 2018 is imminent."

4. Joleon Lescott

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    Stu Forster/Getty Images

    Manchester City centre-back Joleon Lescott will leave the club in the summer transfer window. 

    "It's been great playing alongside him [Vincent Kompany] over the past five years," Lescott said, per Stuart Brennan at the Manchester Evening News. "It's a shame it is going to come to an end this season."

    In 26 Premier League games this season, Lescott has only started seven games. 

    He wants to start week in, week out, rather than being a fill-in centre-back.

     

3. Erik Lamela

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    Paul Gilham/Getty Images

    Inter Milan are planning a summer transfer window bid for Tottenham Hotspur left attacking midfielder Erik Lamela, per Corriere dello Sport (h/t Gavin Brown at the Metro).

    Lamela has only started three games in the English Premier League and is currently nursing a back injury, per David Hytner at the Guardian.

    When Lamela has been fit, he has started and finished on the bench in eight Premier League games.

    Spurs should persist with Lamela.

2. Mario Balotelli

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    Claudio Villa/Getty Images

    Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is weighing up whether or not to pursue AC Milan centre-forward Mario Balotelli in the summer transfer window, per Ben Jefferson at the Express

    Considering that Balotelli is a Milan fan (he once said he was a Milanista while contracted to Inter Milan), he is Italian and he received so much negative press from the English tabloids, it is hard to fathom he would want to go back to England. 

    It could simply be a power play from Balotelli's agent Mino Raiola, who also represents Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba. 

    The 10th-ranked Milan are the Manchester United of Serie A, so the Rossoneri are rebuilding their team and Balotelli, a player who has world-class moments, is pivotal to the club making a resurgent run in the next few years.

     

1. Neymar

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    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    Barcelona have released a three-point statement on their official website reaffirming that the transfer of Neymar from Santos was legal.

    Barcelona have been accused of "tax fraud" in relation to Neymar's convoluted contract, per Dermot Corrigan at ESPN FC.

    Santos "feels hard done by in the Neymar case and even considers taking the issue up with FIFA," per Didac Piferrer at Marca.

    Following the resignation of former Barca president Sandro Rosell, you do wonder if Neymar's transfer will ever be fully explained. 

    Neymar has scored seven goals and created eight goals in La Liga while not being a starter week in, week out. 

    He scored a superb hat-trick against Celtic in the UEFA Champions League and he created Dani Alves' goal against Manchester City during a 2-0 win.

    Neymar's debut season for Barca has been good considering the distractions off-the-field. 

     

    Statistics via WhoScoredFFT Stats ZoneSquawka and Transfermarkt.

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