Power Ranking the Week's 20 Hottest Transfer Rumours: Carles Puyol MLS-Bound?

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentMarch 6, 2014

Power Ranking the Week's 20 Hottest Transfer Rumours: Carles Puyol MLS-Bound?

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

    So, 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. Jos Hooiveld

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    Southampton centre-back Jos Hooiveld is contemplating leaving the club in the summer transfer window.

    "I considered leaving during the January transfer window but the manager told me it wasn't possible," Hooiveld said, per Sky Sports. "But I will sit down at the table with him to discuss it once more during the summer."

    Hooiveld is not a week in, week out starter, with Dejan Lovren and Jose Fonte being the preferred centre-back partnership while Maya Yoshida is the backup. 

    So essentially Hooiveld is the backup backup thus why he wants to leave. 


19. Keylor Navas

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    AC Milan are the latest club interested to target Levante goalkeeper Keylor Navas, per talkSPORT

    Navas is tied with Granada's Roberto for the most saves in La Liga this season, per Fox Soccer

    Navas, a 27-year-old Costa Rican international, has been a major factor why Levante have the sixth-best defensive record in Spain's top flight. 

    If Milan does sign Navas, he would likely succeed Christian Abbiati. 

18. Matthias Ginter

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    Freiburg centre-back/defensive midfielder Matthias Ginter was recently scouted by Manchester United, per David McDonnell at the Mirror.

    Ginter is an imposing footballer at 6'2" and 187 pounds. 

    He is comfortable with the ball at his feet (52.6 passes per game) and he is a clean tackler (0.3 fouls per game).

    Freiburg are 17th in the Bundesliga, so should the club suffer relegation, Ginter will be available at a reduced price. 

17. Saphir Taider

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    Inter Milan central midfielder Saphir Taider is frustrated with his limited role at the club.

    "It's a situation that I have to accept, that is the price you pay when you play in a big European club," Taider said, per Football Italia. "Yes, it bothers me, when you are ambitious you always want to play every game to the 90th minute."

    Taider has only started 57.1 percent of Serie A games he has been involved in this season. 

    Why is Taider speaking out?

    Essentially he is asking another club to bail him out of his current situation by bidding for him in the summer transfer window. 


16. Remy Cabella

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    Montpellier president Louis Nicollin lambasted Newcastle United saying the club is not good enough for Remy Cabella.  

    "Would I advise him [Cabella] against joining Newcastle? Yes definitely," Nicollin said, per RMC (h/t Patrick Haond at Sky Sports). "For my dear [Mapou] Yanga-Mbiwa, Newcastle was not Eldorado."

    The latter quote is a reference to former Montpellier player Yanga-Mbiwa, who along with Newcastle teammates Hatem Ben Arfa and Sylvain Marveaux, "look absolutely shot," according to Mark Douglas at the Journal. 

    Cabella has scored 10 goals and created another five in 26 Ligue 1 games for Montpellier this season. 



15. Craig Gardner, Jack Colback, Phil Bardsley and Sebastian Larsson

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    Sunderland management are trying to mediate the contracts of Craig Gardner, Jack Colback, Phil Bardsley and Sebastian Larsson, per Sami Mokbel at the Daily Mail

    All four players can exercise their Bosman rights and sign for another club on a free transfer once this season finishes. 

    Sunderland are currently 18th in the Premier League and face a fire sale should the club suffer relegation to the Championship.  


14. Nicolas Gaitan

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    Liverpool are considering a move for Benfica attacking midfielder Nicolas Gaitan, per Paul Doyle at the Guardian

    In Benfica's 2-1 UEFA Champions League win over Paris Saint-Germain, Gaitan started on the left wing and tended to drift in centrally. 

    While he scored in that game, he is inconsistent, scoring twice from 18 league games this season. 

13. Gerard Deulofeu

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    Going by the words of Barcelona's Everton loanee Gerard Deulofeu, he has no intentions of extending his loan for another season.

    "I am working every day to get back to Barcelona next season," Deulofeu said, per Catalunya Radio (h/t the Liverpool Echo). "My dream is to find a place in the Barcelona attacking line-up."

    Given Jese Rodriguez's breakout season for Real Madrid this season (five goals and four assists), Deulofeu will probably be telling himself: "I can be a star too." 

    Deulofeu has mainly been an impact sub for Everton, making 12 of his 15 Premier League appearances off the bench. 

12. Bernard

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    Shakhtar Donetsk left attacking midfielder Bernard said he is concerned with the socio-political situation in Ukraine, which could prematurely end his tenure with Shakhtar. 

    "The demonstrations in the city centre, in front of city hall, have already begun," Bernard said, per ESPN (h/t Georges Sessions at Sambafoot.com). "I have already talked to the ambassador of Brazil about if it gets worst if we leave Ukraine as soon as possible."

    Shakhtar will have to draw up a contingency plan should the socio-political situation in the country worsen since the club have a Brazilian clique. 


11. Ivica Olic

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    Wolfsburg centre-forward Ivica Olic has revealed that playing in the Premier League for Stoke City is his "first choice," per Jutarnji List (h/t Jure Bohoric at Sky Sports). 

    Olic is a grafter, who is fighting father time at 34 years of age, so for him to say he wants to play in England for unfancied Stoke, when he could earn easy money playing in a developing league, shows his mental toughness. 

    He is not the most elegant player or the most technically astute, but he runs till the final whistle and is a cunning operator on the field, which has been a factor in his eight league goals this season. 

    Should he leave Wolfsburg, Bas Dost, who has scored four times this season, will take up the mantle. 

10. Joleon Lescott

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    Besiktas will offer a three-year, £100,000-a-week salary to Manchester City centre-back Joleon Lescott, per John Cross at the Mirror

    Lescott is out of contract in the summer, so he will be glad to know of Besiktas' lucrative offer if Cross' report is true. 

    Lescott has only started seven Premier League games for City this season and is not considered a vital part of Manuel Pellegrini's team. 

9. Marco Verratti

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    Paris Saint-Germain central midfielder Marco Verratti has revealed that he does not plan on moving to Juventus in the summer transfer window. 

    "When I was a child, I loved Juventus, but now I am happy to be here," Verratti said, per L'Equipe (h/t Nadia Carminati at Sky Sports). "PSG's project is one of the best in the world."

    Verratti averages 84.3 passes per game with a 91.4 pass completion percentage for PSG in Ligue 1, so he is the hub of the team. 

8. Nicklas Bendtner

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    Arsenal centre-forward Nicklas Bendtner has implied that he will leave the Gunners in the summer transfer window. 

    "Every footballer wants to play and right now I am sometimes not even in the team, it's not nice," Bendtner said, per Wally Downes Jnr at the Telegraph. "The team has been winning so it has been difficult to change the team. I think there are reasons why and why not but I would rather keep them personal."

    The flaw with Bendtner is he has not improved significantly since his loan at Birmingham City during the 2006-07 season, which was the last time he scored 10 league goals or more in one season (11). 



7. Lukas Podolski

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    Inter Milan are tracking Arsenal left attacking midfielder/centre-forward Lukas Podolski, per Nick Lustig at the Daily Star

    Having signed Nemanja Vidic, Inter president Erick Thohir is trying to make in-roads into European football by making Inter relevant to casual fans.  

    Vidic and Podolski are big-name players. 

    Inter centre-forward Rodrigo Palacio has only scored twice in his last 10 Serie A games, so if he continues to struggle, you could see Thohir wanting Podolski. 

6. David Luiz

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    Barcelona will put forward a £25 million summer transfer bid for Chelsea centre-back/defensive midfielder David Luiz, per Jason Burt at the Telegraph.

    With Carles Puyol announcing his decision to leave Barca, per the club's official websiteLuiz has been earmarked as Puyol's successor.

    One concern Barca management should hold is that Luiz averages more fouls per game (1.5) than tackles per game (1.1) in the Premier League this season. 

5. Nemanja Vidic

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    Inter Milan have announced on their official website that centre-back Nemanja Vidic will join their club once his contract with Manchester United expires at the end of the season. 

    Vidic will be an invaluable addition to Inter as president Erick Thohir aims to rebuild the Nerazzurri.

    The only concern Thohir will have over Vidic is his durability as the Serbian has not played 30 Premier League games in a campaign for the last two seasons. 


4. Miroslav Klose

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    Lazio are hoping centre-forward Miroslav Klose agrees to extend his current contract, per Sky Sports.

    Should Klose run down his contract, he will be a free agent, but Lazio president Claudio Lotito revealed that the club want to keep the German No. 9. 

    "There is no problem on our part," Lotito said, per Tuttomercatoweb (h/t Sky Sports). "I think Klose has been happy in Rome. I think we can soon find a solution in keeping him."

    As things stand, the Germany international is due to become a free agent at the end of the season and has been linked with moves to America and England.

3. Robin van Persie

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    Former Dutch international Ronald de Boer believes Manchester United deep-lying forward Robin van Persie will force a move in the summer transfer window if the club do not reinforce their squad.

    "I don't think he's enjoying the football Manchester United are playing," De Boer said, per talkSPORT"If there's no investment in new, young, great players from other clubs, then he [Van Persie] will move."

    If Wayne Rooney can get a £300,000-a-week salary, per the Telegraph, why can't Van Persie?

    Should he ask for Rooney's salary, could it lead to conflict at United? 

2. Samuel Eto'o

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    Inter Milan are looking to sign Chelsea centre-forward Samuel Eto'o in the summer transfer window, per the Metro.

    Inter would be re-signing Eto'o as he played for the Nerazzurri from 2009-11.

    The rumour coincides with Blues manager Jose Mourinho derisively questioning Eto'o's real age, per the Telegraph.

    Eto'o has scored a combined eight goals in 23 Premier League and UEFA Champions League games this season.

    Eto'o being linked to Inter contradicts Dominic Fifield at the Guardian reporting that the Cameroonian veteran was moving to a Major League Soccer franchise in the summer.

1. Carles Puyol

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    Carles Puyol's next club will be Major League Soccer franchise New York City FC, per Diario Gol (h/t MLSsoccer.com). 

    After 15 seasons with Barcelona, Puyol has announced his intentions to leave the club once the season finishes, per Barca's official website

    Puyol is making a selfless decision to stand down as his injuries have debilitated his chance of making a meaningful contribution to Barca's season.  



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