15 Early-Summer Transfer Rumours Now Unlikely to Happen

Laura Greene@@Greene_LFeatured ColumnistJuly 30, 2014

15 Early-Summer Transfer Rumours Now Unlikely to Happen

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    The transfer window officially opened for business on July 1, but the rumour mill—helped along by an approaching World Cup—started grinding its gears long before that. 

    Speculation is what keeps us going during the barren months of the off-season but it's worth remembering that not all gossip turns out to be true. In this slideshow, we look at 15 players who were linked early with a summer switch, yet look increasingly unlikely to be changing clubs anytime soon.

    To be considered for inclusion, each player must have been rumoured to be on their way out of their respective clubs. They may yet move to another side but, at the time of writing, these transfers seem doubtful. 

    Ranked with the "least likely" move coming in at No. 1, read on for more!

15. Wilfried Bony

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    After moving from Vitesse Arnhem to Swansea City last summer, Wilfried Bony took to Premier League football right away and repaid the club's record outlay of £12 million with 26 goals (in all competitions).

    As Phil Cadden reported in the Mirror as early as May, Borussia Dortmund, Monaco and "Premier League clubs" were all interested in signing the Ivorian international. 

    Liverpool have been most strongly linked with Bony of late, after plans to sign Loic Remy fell through, as seen in this report by David Maddock of the Mirror

    However, Swansea manager Garry Monk insists that Bony will only leave if the club are offered an "astronomical fee." As reported by Steve Tucker on WalesOnline, Monk said:

    Wilfried remains a Swansea City player and we have had no contact from anyone about him.

    Everything that has been said about him this summer has been in the papers. We are not a newspaper company. We just deal with realism. At the moment nothing has come in and Wilfried remains a Swansea City player.

    But the situation can’t drag on for the whole summer. You don’t want one of those scenarios where it goes all the way up to the last day. It has to be made loud and clear, the fact is he is not for sale, unless someone comes in with an astronomical offer which does happen. Unless they want to pay an astronomical fee, then he is going nowhere.

14. Alexandre Lacazette

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    Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette has been on the radar of several clubs, including Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool for some time, as reported by Jamie Sanderson in Metro.

    In April, the 23-year-old added weight to the speculation when he suggested that he would be open to a move away from France. Lacazette told The Sun (h/t Skysports.com), "I'm tempted to try and experience life abroad. Are Arsenal and Liverpool interested? An experience in another major league fascinates me."

    In early July, Ben Jefferson of the Express claimed that Everton had joined the race to sign the forward, who scored 15 Ligue 1 goals last season. As Jefferson reported, Lacazette's agent David Venditelli had told Le Parisien, "Some English clubs are rushing to the scene. If Alexandre leaves, it will be for a team that plays in the Champions League, or at least a team who is very close to being there."

    While not in the Champions League, Newcastle United have most recently been linked with a move for the Frenchman, as Lee Ryder claimed on the Newcastle ChronicleLive website this week. 

    However, by Skysports.com's reckoning, Lyon are confident of keeping hold of their in-demand player, with club chairman Jean-Michel Aulas telling L'Equipe that the France international will remain at the Stade de Gerland. He said, "We are in talks and I don't know if he will prolong for two or three years. Whatever happens, he is not for sale."

13. Romelu Lukaku

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    If Romelu Lukaku stays at Chelsea, he is likely to find his chances limited this season—with Diego Costa, the recently returned Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres all ahead of him in the Stamford Bridge pecking order.

    After spending the majority of the 2013/14 campaign on loan with Everton, where Lukaku slotted right into Roberto Martinez's plans, it didn't come as much of a surprise to see him linked with the side all summer.

    As reported by Simon Rice in The Independent, Everton have appeared confident of landing the striker, with Martinez telling fans "of course we'll get him," during the club's pre-season trip to Thailand. 

    However, it now looks unlikely that Lukaku will be returning to Goodison Park, after Chelsea have put a £30 million price tag on the striker, as reported by Martin Lipton in the Mirror

    Lipton also names Monaco and Juventus as potential destinations for the 21-year-old. 

12. Iker Casillas

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    Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas has been attracting attention from Arsenal all summer.

    As Ben Jefferson reported in the Express in June, from an article that originally appeared in AS, manager Arsene Wenger was hoping to "use Gunners stars Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil - both close friends of Casillas - to help persuade him his future lies in London."

    Casillas made just two appearances in La Liga last term, after losing his place to Diego Lopez for domestic games. However, the Spaniard was a Champions League winner, with Carlo Ancelotti using him as his No. 1 in Europe.

    Despite a poor showing at Brazil 2014 with Spain, rumours linking Casillas with Arsenal have continued—with some reports suggesting that the 33-year-old has already been offered "a five-year deal worth £1.4m per-year," as seen in Spanish newspaper Sport (h/t Jamie Anderson in the Express).

    However, Wojciech Szczesny is Arsenal's undisputed first-choice keeper and the recent purchase of David Ospina from Nice makes Casillas' arrival look increasingly doubtful. 

11. Sami Khedira

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    A Champions League and World Cup winner, all within the last few months, 27-year-old Sami Khedira would make an excellent addition to most top sides across Europe. 

    Arsenal have been credited with plenty of interest in the Real Madrid midfielder, in a stream of speculation that has spanned most of the summer months.

    In June, it was suggested by James Dickenson of the Express that the Emirates side were readying a bid of £16 million to bring Khedira to the Premier League.

    In July, it appeared that Madrid's asking price had risen to £20 million, according to reports in Spain (h/t Skysports.com), whereas The Independent's James Orr claimed that a deal was off, due to Khedira's high wage demands of £150,000 a week.

    Now it seems that Arsenal have been given renewed hope in signing the German international, who is said to be willing to drop his wages to force through a move, as reported by Charles Perrin in the Express.

    However, gossip linking the Gunners to Lars Bender (per Metro) and William Carvalho (per Gary Jones of the Daily Star), of Bayer Leverkusen and Sporting Lisbon, respectively, suggests that Wenger may already have other plans. 

10. Fernando Torres

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    Chelsea must be eager to get Fernando Torres off their wage bill, yet it's looking increasingly likely that the Spaniard will remain a Blue when the current transfer window closes.

    The £175,000-a-week striker has scored 45 goals for the London side, since joining for a record £50 million in January 2011. 

    Jose Mourinho has added Diego Costa to the Chelsea ranks this summer and has also brought Didier Drogba back to the club. This not only swells the numbers already competing for a striker's role but puts Chelsea in the tricky predicament of having too many foreign players in their squad. 

    But will Torres, who has been linked with a return to boyhood club Atletico Madrid, as reported by John Cross in the Mirror, be leaving Stamford Bridge? 

    With Atletico recently bringing in Mario Mandzukic from Bayern Munich, per BBC Sport, it looks like a long shot, unless another suitor makes themselves known.

9. Paul Pogba

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    Paul Pogba has been heavily linked with a move to the Premier League this summer, yet these are rumours that don't appear to hold water.  

    The 21-year-old's performances in Serie A have attracted many a suitor, since he made the switch from Manchester United to Juventus on a free transfer in summer 2012.

    Pogba's former employers are one such interested team, according to Daniel Taylor in The Guardian. As are Chelsea, who have also been linked with a £60 million move for the midfielder, as reported by the Daily Mail's Ashley Clements. 

    Now, it seems that the reigning Italian champions are close to securing Pogba's services until 2019, as reported in Tuttosport (h/t Richard Arrowsmith in the Daily Mail).

    Don't expect that to put a stop to Pogba rumours in January and beyond—they are here to stay.

8. Karim Benzema

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    Last April, the Express' Ben Jefferson reported that Karim Benzema could be on his way to the Premier League to join Arsenal, as Real Madrid prepared to make a "huge bid" for Liverpool's Luis Suarez.

    After the 2014 World Cup—in which Benzema shone for France—Suarez did leave Anfield, to join Barcelona.

    Naturally, the Uruguayan's exit led to Liverpool being linked with a number of strikers, including Benzema, as seen in Metro.

    However, the 26-year-old—who has one year remaining on his current contract at the Bernabeu—looks set to extend his current deal. According to Spanish football expert Graham Hunter, Benzema will be a key member of Carlo Ancelotti's team next season. Hunter told talkSPORT:

    Benzema is in the process of renewing his contract. It hasn't been done yet, but it is very clear that Real Madrid see him as their principle striker. They don't see James Rodriguez as a centre-forward, they see him as a guy who can unlock the three fabulous talents from last season, Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale.

7. Mario Balotelli

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    The transfer window is not complete without a raft of rumours concerning Mario Balotelli and the current one is no exception.

    As Simon Jones reported in the Daily Mail on June 1, the AC Milan striker has been linked with Arsenal all summer, with Liverpool also mooted as a potential destination for the 23-year-old, according to Jamie Anderson in the Express

    Following a largely poor World Cup with Italy, Milan president Silvio Berlusconi told various media outlets (h/t Ben Jefferson in the Express), "Other than Italy, I lost during the World Cup. I was about to sell Balotelli to an English team for several millions. But after this World Cup who will buy him anymore?"

    With Tuttosport (h/t Metro) claiming that the Italian can be bought by the Gunners for £7.9 million, plus winger Joel Campbell, it looks like an offer cheap enough to make Arsene Wenger consider his options.

    However, it's more likely that Wenger will resist a player who while undoubtedly talented, can be a fractious figure in the dressing room, to stick with Campbell.

    The Daily Mail's Oliver Todd also reported this week that Balotelli is "99.9 per cent certain" to stay with the Rossoneri. 

    One thing is certain. In January, these rumours will be back. 

6. Gonzalo Higuain

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    Weeks before the summer 2014 transfer window opened, Gonzalo Higuain was being linked with a move away from Serie A, less than 12 months after making the switch from Real Madrid to Napoli.

    As reported by Anthony Chapman in the Express, the striker—who bagged 24 goals in all club competitions last term—was being linked with Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United. 

    Later came rumours that suggested the 26-year-old could be on his way to Barcelona, as told by John Drayton in the Daily Mail

    Now, those moves are looking increasingly unlikely and the Argentina international says he is happy in Naples. As seen on Skysports.com, Higuain told tuttomercatoweb.com, "I have a contract with Napoli that makes me very happy. The Partenopei club (Napoli) has always treated me very well since I arrived there."

    Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis told Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t Skysports.com), "I'd say that Higuain is not to be taken. He's ours and we keep him. Also because in his contract there is a release clause of €100m."

5. Mehdi Benatia

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    Last season, Mehdi Benatia made 33 appearances in Serie A, scored five times, finished the campaign in second and was part of an AS Roma defence that conceded just 25 goals all season.

    No wonder the 27-year-old centre back is in demand, just 12 months after moving from Udinese to the Stadio Olimpico.

    Benatia has been linked to, well...just about everyone. 

    In May it was Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City, as reported by Anthony Chapman in the Express

    Whereas in June, it was Bayern Munich, Barcelona and, again, Manchester City, according to Rhys Turrell in the Daily Star, with Chelsea also rumoured to be in the frame (h/t Gazzetta dello Sport).

    Currently, with August and a new season fast approaching, the Italian side insist that the Moroccan is going nowhere. Last week, Goal.com quoted Roma coach Rudi Garcia as saying, "Benatia is under contract with Roma and will play with Roma. The club talks with all the players, not just with him. Benatia will remain in Rome."

4. Arturo Vidal

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    For those who support Manchester United, there will always be a glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe Arturo Vidal will sign for the club this summer.

    He's one of the best central midfielders in the world, arguably the best and United's shortcomings in the center of the park have been glaringly obvious for some time.

    Despite a multitude of rumours that suggest otherwise, the 27-year-old insists that he will not be departing Juventus to join the Old Trafford side. As reported by David Kent in the Daily Mail last week, Vidal told Italian reporters:

    I do not go to Manchester. Can I say I will remain with Juve? I don't know. I'll talk to Allegri on Monday and then we will see. I haven't spoken with Allegri or any of my team-mates yet, but I'm not going to Manchester.

    On ESPN.co.uk, Juve's general manager Beppe Marotta was quoted as saying:

    We never put Arturo on the market. If he does not express the desire to leave, then we are proud and honoured to keep him here. We are not taking anything for granted, but the player has never taken any other stance than that of wanting to stay with us.

    Elsewhere, Chilean newspaper El Mercurio (h/t Phil Dawkes in the Mirror) claim that a £63.3 million deal has already been agreed for the former Bayer Leverkusen man. 

    Unless he's suddenly pictured in red, shaking Louis van Gaal's hand, we can't see this one happening.

3. Xherdan Shaqiri

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    In June, the Daily Star's Nick Lustig claimed that Liverpool were "desperate" to sign Xherdan Shaqiri from Bayern Munich, to replace Barcelona-bound Luis Suarez. 

    Shaqiri, who impressed for Switzerland at the 2014 World Cup, is still at the Allianz Arena and it looks like things are going to stay that way.

    Amid rumoured interest from Juventus, Monaco and Roma, it seems that the 22-year-old winger is in talks with Bayern regarding renewal of his current contract, which is set to expire in 2016.

    As Erdin Shaqiri—Xherdan's brother and agent—told Bild (h/t Alex Harris in the Express), "We have opened negotiations for the renewal, hence the player does not move." 

2. Mats Hummels

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    For large parts of the summer, Borussia Dortmund's Mats Hummels has been linked with a move away from the Westfalenstadion.

    Manchester United and Barcelona have continuously cropped up in speculation concerning the BVB centre-back who, according to David McDonnell in the Mirror, turned down Barca and was "inching closer" to Old Trafford just weeks ago.

    However, when asked about Hummels signing for Louis van Gaal at United, Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp had this to say (h/t The Telegraph):

    If that's not a bullsh*t story, I'll eat a broomstick.

    What are we talking about today? Mats to Manchester United? For how much? €20m (£15.8m)? With those kind of sums can you forget that straight away. When papers mention such numbers you know it is garbage.


1. Yaya Toure

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    Yaya Toure put the silly into silly season in May, when news broke that he was thinking about leaving Manchester City, after they'd failed to wish him a happy birthday.

    As Mark Ogden reported in The Telegraph, Toure was, "threatening to force a move from the Etihad Stadium this summer after being upset by the club's failure to mark his 31st birthday sufficiently."

    As far as "come and get me pleas" go, this one was bad, really bad. Especially when it was revealed that City had, in fact, given Toure a cake and birthday wishes, as seen in The Guardian.

    Cue a raft of rumours linking the Ivorian international with a number of other clubs, including Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain, as seen in Ian Ladyman's report in the Daily Mail

    Toure, who scored 20 league goals last term, looked like he may be on his way out of Manchester for large parts of the summer. However, now that the 2014/15 season is almost upon us, a large amount of backtracking seems to have rendered this rumour null and void.

    As written by the Express' Richard Tanner, Toure now wants to stay at the Etihad and has branded early exit talk as "disappointing."