Power Ranking the Week's 20 Hottest Transfer Rumours: Cesc Fabregas to Chelsea?
Bleacher Report presents a power ranking of the 20 hottest transfer rumours, news and signings.
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. Mark Birighitti
Newcastle Jets goalkeeper Mark Birighitti is hopeful of a move to Bayer Leverkusen.
"I left a good impression over there [at Leverkusen]. They were quite happy with me, with the way I went," Birighitti said, per Iain Strachan at Goal.com. "It's still up in the air at the moment. I'm just playing a waiting game now."
Birighitti is a fantastic shot-stopper and one of Australia's best young talents, so it is not a surprise that Leverkusen are interested in him.
The problem with this move is that Birighitti will not be given leeway to beat out Bernd Leno, one of the best goalkeepers in Germany.
Leno would need to have a Joe Hart-like fall for an extended period of time before an opening emerges for Birighitti.
He could end up like Borussia Dortmund's Mitchell Langerak, who has sat on the bench for the better part of four seasons.
19. Michael Keane
Manchester United defensive prospect Michael Keane wants to stay at the club, rather than extend his stay at Blackburn Rovers.
"I still think I've got a chance of making it at United," Keane said, per Sky Sports. "While I still think I've got that chance I will stay and try to prove myself."
Able to play at right-back and centre-back, Keane appeared in 20 league games in loan spells at Derby County and Blackburn last season.
18. Yura Movsisyan
Spartak Moscow centre-forward Yura Movsisyan is being targeted by Premier League teams.
"Sky Sports understands a number of Premier League clubs are tracking Spartak Moscow forward Yura Movsisyan," per Pete O'Rourke at Sky Sports. The broadcaster reports that the 26-year-old is "one of the hottest properties in Europe."
Movsisyan scored 16 goals from 63 shots in 27 league games for Spartak in 2013-14.
17. Jonathan Soriano
Newcastle United are looking into signing Red Bull Salzburg centre-forward Jonathan Soriano, per Steve Brown at the Journal.
Soriano was a Spanish wunderkind before being labelled a fallen star.
He has since rebounded with Salzburg, dominating with 31 goals in 28 league games and eight goals in seven UEFA Europa League appearances.
Soriano's story should give hope to Bojan Krkic.
16. Jonathan Williams
Crystal Palace attacking midfielder Jonathan Williams is considering a move to Swansea City.
"I spoke to my agent who says [Swansea] were interested [in signing me]," Williams said, per Simon Gaskell at Wales Online. "I need to play football, preferably at Palace, but if not I'd have to consider playing elsewhere."
Williams has superlative technique and is nicknamed Joniesta after Barcelona's FIFA World Cup-winning midfielder Andres Iniesta.
However, injuries and lack of playing time has hindered Williams from fulfilling his potential.
15. Nemanja Pejcinovic
Nice centre-back Nemanja Pejcinovic is a summer transfer window target for Arsenal, per Anthony Chapman at the Daily Express.
In order for this to happen, Pejcinovic will need to use his Bosman right to a free transfer.
It would be a typical cost-effective transfer from Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.
14. Luc Castaignos
Swansea City are close to securing the signing of centre-forward Luc Castaignos from Twente, per Gareth Vincent at the South Wales Evening Post.
Castaignos played great for Twente last season, but Swansea should make an ambitious move for his teammate Dusan Tadic, who ran Twente's attack.
Castaignos is a good signing on paper, however, his failure to make an impression in Serie A for Inter Milan is a concern.
13. Mame Biram Diouf
Stoke City are close to completing a deal to sign Hannover 96 centre-forward Mame Biram Diouf, according to Stoke chairman Peter Coates.
"We're hopeful that Diouf will be done," Coates said, per BBC Sport. "We thought twice we'd got the deal done only for the deal to collapse, as it does in football."
Diouf scored eight goals in 19 league games for Hannover in 2013-14 and has bounced back with the German outfit after failing to make it at Manchester United.
12. Luis Muriel
Udinese sporting director Cristiano Giaretta has reiterated the club's stance regarding centre-forward Luis Muriel.
"I can confirm that there are no negotiations open for Muriel," Giaretta said, per LaRoma24.it (h/t Simone Bargellini at Sky Sports). "He will remain at Udine next season."
Muriel, an explosive and gifted No. 9, only started 58.3 percent of league games he was involved in last season.
11. Ashley Williams
Swansea City centre-back Ashley Williams will join Queens Park Rangers for £4 million, per Simon Jones of the Daily Mail.
Williams is a ball-playing defender, who completed 86.4 percent of his 56.9 passes per game last season.
Money aside, moving to a newly promoted Premier League team in QPR is not an ideal career decision.
10. Philippe Senderos
Philippe Senderos will sign with Aston Villa pending a medical clearance, per Sky Sports.
He brings experience and would reinforce Villa's squad, but he is a liability in defence. He is not a strong tackler, his defensive positioning is suspect and he lacks confidence.
The above are reasons is why he never transitioned into a great defender at Arsenal despite numerous extended runs in the first-team.
He committed more fouls (14) than tackles (three) during his time at Valencia.
9. Guy Demel
West Ham United right-back Guy Demel is set to return to former club Hamburg, per talkSPORT.
Demel lived in Germany for a decade, playing for Borussia Dortmund and Hamburg, so acclimatising will not be an issue for the player.
Hamburg had the worst defence in the Bundesliga in 2013-14, conceding 75 goals in 34 league games, so club management will be aiming to bolster their back line.
8. Youssouf Mulumbu
West Bromwich Albion central midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu's agent Doug Pingisi is linking his client with a summer transfer window move away.
"Youssouf completed a good, consistent season despite the difficulties West Brom encountered," Pingisi said, per Bill Howell at the Birmingham Mail. "He's now aspiring to test himself in European competitions."
Mulumbu is a perfect mid-tier footballer, but whether or not he can take the next step up is debatable.
7. Emre Can
Liverpool have "agreed a deal in principle" to sign Bayer Leverkusen utility player Emre Can, per Liverpool's official website.
It would take something drastic to sink the deal at the 11th hour.
Can is flexible and interchanged from central midfield to left-back during the last campaign. He is a strong midfielder with a great engine and will be invaluable for Liverpool.
6. Aymeric Laporte
Athletic Bilbao centre-back Aymeric Laporte is satisfied with his current situation despite big European clubs targeting him in the summer window.
"Interest from Barcelona and Bayern Munich is impressive and rewarding," Laporte said, per L'Equipe (h/t Sky Sports). "Am I going to leave this summer? No, I am happy at Bilbao."
Laporte is an elite centre-back prospect who also filled in at left-back when Mikel Balenziaga did not play.
5. Kevin Strootman
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal insists on buying Roma central midfielder Kevin Strootman for £30 million, per Jamie Jackson at the Guardian.
Strootman needs to prove his fitness before United spend big on him.
He is a world-class midfielder: scoring five goals, creating six, making 82 tackles and cutting off 27 passes last season.
The only concern is if he can replicate his level of performance once he returns from his torn anterior cruciate ligament, per BBC Sport.
4. Diego Costa
Atletico Madrid centre-forward Diego Costa is set to move to Chelsea for £32 million, per David Hytner at the Guardian.
What about giving Romelu Lukaku a chance?
Costa is a world-class footballer, but will his body continue to breakdown? If he can't stay fit, it will be Fernando Torres all over again.
3. Thomas Mueller
Bayern Munich forward Thomas Mueller wants to hold a frank discussion with club management over his future.
"I am not the type of guy that says 'alright, I have played a good part and will keep my mouth shut and everyone else is able to do with me whatever he wants,'" Mueller said, per Stern (h/t Jamie Jackson at the Guardian).
He continued: "It's no secret that Louis van Gaal and I have a relationship that goes a little beyond the normal relationship between coaches and players."
Translation: Mueller is not content with being shifted all over the field under Pep Guardiola and would be open to moving to Manchester United to play under Van Gaal.
Mueller has played on the right, started centrally, appeared on the left and up front.
Perhaps he wants to play in one position, where he can then have a world-class season, rather than an elite season while constantly changing positions.
2. David Villa
New York City centre-forward David Villa is set to play 10 A-League games for Melbourne City as part of a loan deal between the sister clubs, per the Australian.
"I'm sure that playing for Melbourne City FC will be a marvellous experience," Villa said, per Football Australia's official website. "It will be ideal for me to get some competitive football in the period before the MLS [Major League Soccer] season gets under way."
Villa scored 13 goals in La Liga for Atletico Madrid last season and would have netted more if not for teammate Diego Costa.
His loan transfer is a big coup for Australian football.
Melbourne City were previously known as the Melbourne Heart, but were rebranded to align with their parent club, Manchester City, per Matt Windley at the Herald Sun.
Both New York City and Melbourne City are a part of Manchester City's footballing portfolio.
1. Cesc Fabregas
Fabregas, who also had a run as a deep-lying forward, has been a great player for Barca.
But can he carry the team by himself and win the club trophies when Lionel Messi is not at his best? If the answer is based on last season: no.
This is why Fabregas gets so much criticism.
Fabregas averaged 1.3 tackles per game, so he needs to up that if he wants to feature regularly in Jose Mourinho's system at Chelsea.
Statistics via WhoScored.com
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