Power Ranking the Week's 20 Hottest Transfer Rumours: Lionel Messi to Be Sold?
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. Virgil Van Dijk
Celtic centre-back Virgil van Dijk is staying level-headed even with big European clubs looking to sign him.
"First of all I have a contract until 2017 I think, so I don't have to move," Van Dijk said, per Sky Sports (h/t the Scotsman). "I think the Champions League is always a big thing for every player. I want to play Champions League."
Should Van Dijk move to another club, he needs to find a manager willing to back him, as is the case with Neil Lennon at Celtic.
19. Yacouba Sylla
Aston Villa central midfielder Yacouba Sylla is frustrated about warming the bench.
"I am always on the bench and never on the pitch," Sylla said, per Mat Kendrick at the Birmingham Mail. "What I want is to go back to France on loan for one year to a good club."
Ashley Westwood, Fabian Delph and Karim El Ahmadi are all ahead of Sylla, who has only started five Premier League games this season.
18. Calum Chambers
Southampton right-back Calum Chambers is a potential successor to Bacary Sagna at Arsenal, per Sami Mokbel at the Daily Mail.
Chambers is involved in a competitive competition with Nathaniel Clyne to be Southampton's No. 1 right-back.
Clyne has started 17 Premier League games while Chambers has started 18 Premier League games.
Chambers is a prospect who should stay at Southampton to further his development.
17. Thorgan Hazard
Chelsea's Zulte Waregem loanee Thorgan Hazard is a loan target for Borussia Dortmund and Schalke next season, per talkSPORT.
Hazard started five of his six UEFA Europa League games as a central attacking midfielder for Waregem.
He would be vying with Henrikh Mkhitaryan at Dortmund and Max Meyer at Schalke.
Hazard, who can play on the left, could slot in that role at Schalke if Julian Draxler left in the summer transfer window.
16. Federico Macheda
Manchester United's Birmingham City loanee Federico Macheda knows he does not have a future at United but wants to stay in England.
"I think I won't return to Manchester. I'd like to remain in England because I have grown up here with football," Macheda said, per CalcioMercato.com (h/t Simone Bargellini at Sky Sports). "In Birmingham things are going quite well, I'm scoring regularly."
Macheda has scored nine times in 15 Championship games for Birmingham.
He is a natural scorer so he should not be consigned to a struggling journeyman career like former United players Bojan Djordjic and Rodrigo Possebon.
15. Stephane Mbia
Everton, Inter Milan and Liverpool want to sign Stephane Mbia from Queens Park Rangers, per talkSPORT.
Mbia is a decent top-flight midfielder, who can play at centre-back, but there are holes in his game.
He is prone to making bad challenges (concedes 2.4 free kicks per game) and is inconsistent.
Mbia is currently on loan at Sevilla where he has made 17 starts in La Liga.
14. Ivica Olic
Ivica Olic still has not made up his mind on staying at Wolfsburg or moving to Stoke City.
"So one day I wake up and say to myself: I will stay in Wolfsburg," Olic said, per Jutarnji list (h/t Jure Bohoric at Sky Sports). "So the second day I wake up again and say to myself: Now I'm going to Stoke."
Olic is an assiduous, competitive and feisty centre-forward who can survive in the Premier League.
He is having an age-defying season in the Bundesliga as he has scored 13 goals and recorded five assists for Wolfsburg this season.
13. Victor Moses
Chelsea's Liverpool loanee Victor Moses wants to return to Jose Mourinho's Blues squad.
"I'm a Chelsea player. I came to Liverpool to do a professional job for them," Moses said, per Sky Sports. "I'm going back to Chelsea at the end of the season to try and fight for my spot."
Moses has lacked the cutting edge at Liverpool, averaging 0.5 key passes and 0.8 dribbles per game.
He should contemplate about life after Chelsea since he would be the fourth-choice left-winger behind Eden Hazard, Andre Schurrle and Lucas Piazon next season.
12. Loic Remy
Queens Park Rangers's Newcastle United loanee Loic Remy is considering a transfer to a bigger Premier League team or moving abroad to La Liga, per Lee Ryder at the Evening Chronicle.
Remy has scored 13 goals in the Premier League for Newcastle.
If he can score this amount of goals with minimal support in a post-Yohan Cabaye team, Remy could hit the 20-goal barrier on a side with a world-class playmaker.
11. Luke Shaw
Manchester United have agreed to sign Southampton left-back Luke Shaw for £30 million, per Jamie Jackson at the Guardian.
Shaw will be offered a five-year contract on £100,000 per week.
What? £30 million for a left-back?
Shaw not only needs to play out his five-year contract at a world-class level, he needs another five on top of that to ensure the transfer fee is only a mention in passing.
It is a lot of pressure to put on an 18-year-old.
10. Tom Cleverley
Everton are planning to sign Manchester United central midfielder Tom Cleverley in the summer transfer window, per James Ducker at the Times (subscription required).
Cleverley is an industrious and reliable midfielder for a mid-tabled team, but he is not United quality.
He needs to improve substantially as Aaron Ramsey did at Arsenal to justify being at a club of United's stature.
Why do Everton want Cleverley?
Everton manager Roberto Martinez worked with Cleverley during the United midfielder's loan stint at Wigan Athletic.
9. Thibaut Courtois
Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is set to extend his contract by two years, per Sami Mokbel at the Daily Mail.
Courtois has been world class on loan at Atletico Madrid this season.
If Courtois receives a contract upgrade, it does reveal Chelsea management's intentions in fast-tracking him as the Blues' permanent No. 1.
Obviously this creates a storyline next season with Courtois replacing Petr Cech.
8. Dimitar Berbatov
Dimitar Berbatov hopes Monaco can extend his contract beyond this season.
"When the season is over, we will sit around a table and we will decide if I stay or leave," Berbatov said, per L'Equipe (h/t Patrick Haond at Sky Sports). "Do I want to stay at Monaco? Yes, I would like to stay."
Fulham released Berbatov, per L'Equipe (h/t Ian Holyman at ESPN FC), so he is looking for a long-term contract.
Berbatov has scored three times and created another three goals in nine Ligue 1 games for Monaco.
The way he lofted the ball over Nice goalkeeper David Ospina to score recently was vintage Berbatov.
7. Ashley Cole
Real Madrid are planning to sign Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole on a free transfer should he exercise his Bosman rights, per John Cross at the Mirror.
Cole has lost his starting position to Cesar Azpilicueta, which is demoralising since the Spaniard was signed as a right-back.
During Chelsea's 0-0 draw against Atletico Madrid, Cole was class (Azpilicueta played right-back in that game), so the Englishman can still do a job for the Blues.
6. Edinson Cavani
Paris Saint-Germain right forward Edinson Cavani is a transfer target for Manchester United, per Daniel Taylor at the Guardian.
If Louis van Gaal takes over United, then Robin van Persie becomes a central part of the team again.
Wayne Rooney negotiated the biggest contract in Premier League history, per Kurt Badenhausen at Forbes, therefore it will have to take an unprecedented contract offer from PSG to sway Rooney from leaving United.
Rooney and Van Persie will have to rekindle their partnership, meaning Cavani to United is unlikely.
5. Diego Costa
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich would prefer to sign Paris Saint-Germain right-forward Edinson Cavani while manager Jose Mourinho is aiming to sign Atletico Madrid centre-forward Diego Costa, per Ben Jefferson at the Daily Express.
Cavani has predominantly started on the right as Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the No. 9, while Costa is having a season-defining campaign with 27 goals in La Liga.
Mourinho should give Romelu Lukaku an extended run in the first team because he has world-class potential.
Sao Paulo president Carlos Miguel Aidar wants to re-sign Kaka, who made his professional debut for the Brazilian club.
"He is the face of Sao Paulo: well educated, speaks well, plays well, scores goals," Aidar said, per Lancenet.com.br (h/t Paulo Freitas at Sky Sports). "But we can't compete with the Arabs and the Chinese. If it becomes possible to bring him back, he will fit perfectly well at Sao Paulo."
Kaka is producing for AC Milan, including scoring a match-winning brace against Chievo Verona and leading by example in a tough season for the Rossoneri.
He can still play at top-flight level for the next few years.
3. Karim Benzema and 2. Luis Suarez
Benzema is having a good season, scoring 17 times in La Liga, while Suarez has scored 30 goals in the Premier League.
Suarez is "very happy" at Liverpool, per David Hytner at the Guardian, so him going to Real is not a possibility right now.
Benzema scored the winner against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League, thus his stock is high.
1. Lionel Messi
Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain are monitoring Lionel Messi's situation at Barcelona and will pounce if the Argentine international's relationship with management deteriorates, per Guillem Balague at Bleacher Report.
Manchester United have asked relevant people what the situation with Messi is, because the impression they get is that the Barcelona board want to sell him. I know for a fact the matter has been discussed at board level and as a consequence, PSG [Paris Saint-Germain] stuck a huge offer on the table.
United? Seems unlikely as you assume the only two clubs that can afford Messi are Manchester City and PSG, two clubs backed by sheikhs.
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