Ranking the Week's 25 Hottest Rumours

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentAugust 7, 2014

Ranking the Week's 25 Hottest Rumours

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    Instead of scouring the Internet for the latest football transfer gossip, Bleacher Report makes your life easier by providing you with a weekly power ranking of the 25 hottest transfer rumours in one slideshow.

    Whether it is the Bundesliga, Eredivisie, La Liga, Ligue 1, Premier League, Serie A, alternative European leagues or non-European leagues, this slideshow will be inclusive. The 25 players will be subjectively ranked via name recognition.

25. El-Hadji Ba

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    Scott Heppell/Associated Press

    Bastia are close to signing Sunderland central midfielder El-Hadji Ba on loan, per James Hunter of the Evening Chronicle.

    Ba only made one Premier League appearance against Swansea City last season. It was a game where he made several high-percentage passes, including one to Sunderland substitute Jozy Altidore.

    The signing of Jack Rodwell damages Ba's likelihood of breaking into Sunderland's first team, so being loaned out to Bastia makes perfect sense.

    He will learn more under the guidance of Bastia manager Claude Makelele, one of the greatest defensive midfielders ever, than watching Rodwell play.

     

24. Giancarlo Gonzalez

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    Columbus Crew have rejected two bids from Fulham for centre-back Giancarlo Gonzalez, per Pete O'Rourke of Sky Sports.

    Gonzalez impressed at the FIFA World Cup for Costa Rica.

    He is a safe tackler (he averaged 0.8 fouls per game in the World Cup and 0.7 in Major League Soccer) and possesses prototypical centre-back size (6'3", 185 pounds).

     

     

23. DeAndre Yedlin

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    Seattle Sounders right-back DeAndre Yedlin is uncommitted on his long-term future.

    "If the situation's right, then maybe I leave," Yedlin said, per Nicholas Rosano at MLSSoccer.com. "If the situation is to stay for good, then maybe I stay for good. But I don't really know right now, so we'll see."

    During the FIFA World Cup, he flashed raw athleticism for the United States. He averages 41.9 passes per game for the Sounders, so not only is he physically gifted but he is smooth in possession. 

    According to a tweet from ESPN football analyst Taylor Twellman, Tottenham Hotspur are heavily interested in signing Yedlin. 

    Yedlin should err on the side of caution. One regrettable decision can destabilise his career which is on an upwards trajectory. 

22. Chico Flores

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    Swansea City centre-back Chico Flores will link up with former manager Michael Laudrup at Lekhwiya, per Chris Wathan at Wales Online.

    Chico wore his heart on his sleeve—you're either with him or against him. 

    He and Swansea manager Garry Monk never had a normal relationship.

    Why? Chico wanted to beat down Monk, per The Guardian: "Swansea have admitted that police were called to their training ground on Friday following a row between their defenders Garry Monk and Chico Flores."

    In the past, players such as Bakari Kone, Nam Tae-Hee and Vladimir Weiss gave up on their European career to play for Lekhwiya. Chico could join that list. 

     

     

21. William Carvalho

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    Arsenal are considering Sporting Lisbon central midfielder William Carvalho as a viable alternative to Sami Khedira, per Matt Law at The Telegraph

    Now, there are two complications which could sink William's move to Arsenal:

    • His €44.1/£35 million release clause.
    • William's playing rights are co-owned by Sporting and the Sporting Portugal Fund.

    The one position in European football where there is an abundance of elite talent is central midfield. It is not a position for which Arsenal should be overspending. 

    How about Mainz's Johannes Geis as a cheaper alternative to Carvalho?

     

     

20. Memphis Depay

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    PSV Eindhoven left forward Memphis Depay is close to securing a €20/£15.8 million transfer to Tottenham Hotspur, per De Telegraaf (h/t The Metro).

    Depay led PSV in Eredivisie assists (seven) and was PSV's second-highest scorer in league play (12) behind centre-forward Jurgen Locadia (13).

    If Spurs do sign Depay, Nacer Chadli's chances would be further limited. It would be unfortunate, since Chadli deserves a place at the last chance saloon. 

     

     

19. Alessio Cerci

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    Atletico Madrid are pushing to sign Torino deep-lying forward/right forward Alessio Cerci, per Enrico Passarella at GianlucaDiMarzio.com.

    Cerci is an inventive player around the box. He can create his own shot, consistently crafts chances for his teammates and is a daring dribbler. 

    However, Cerci does not press to the standard expected from Atleti manager Diego Simeone.

     

18. Adem Ljajic

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    Roma left/right forward Adem Ljajic is being targeted by Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Schalke, per Football Italia.

    Ljajic is a mercurial footballer able to single-handedly win games with his mesmeric skill. 

    But he can also have no impact on games, which was a factor in him being used off the bench 11 times in Serie A last season. His inconsistency is holding him back from transitioning into an elite player. 

17. Mateo Musacchio

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    Villarreal centre-back Mateo Musacchio is on the verge of completing a €21.4/£17 million move to Tottenham Hotspur, per Matt Law at The Telegraph.

    Musacchio is a prolific ball-winning centre-back. He completed 76 tackles and intercepted 108 passes in 32 La Liga games last season. 

    However, he makes comical errors. He once completely misjudged the flight of the ball, enabling Athletic Bilbao centre-forward Aritz Aduriz to cash in.

    In another match, he and Villarreal goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo failed to communicate against Getafe. Musacchio went one way, Asenjo went the other, which allowed then-Getafe (now at Konyaspor) centre-forward Ciprian Marica to scoop up the ball. 

    There was also the unfortunate own goal against Barcelona which precipitated a comeback from the Catalan club.  

16. Alberto Moreno

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    Fernando Bustamante/Associated Press

    Sevilla have agreed a €20.2/£16 million transfer fee with Liverpool for left-back Alberto Moreno, per Jack Wilson at the Daily Star.  

    Moreno is an assertive and pacey left-back who can provide attacking impetus with his overlapping runs.

    He is more suited to being a wing-back in a 3-5-2 than a full-back in a back four. 

15. Adel Taarabt

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    AC Milan will hold out to the last few days of the transfer window before making a move for Queens Park Rangers central/right attacking midfielder Adel Taarabt, per Tuttomercatoweb.com (h/t Football Italia).

    Taarabt played 14 Serie A games on loan at Milan and looked revitalised. He scored a sensational goal against Napoli and was involved in both of Milan's goals in a 2-1 win over Genoa. 

    Considering Milan's bargain-basement approach to business, expect another loan proposal for Taarabt.

14. Eliaquim Mangala

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    Manchester City will soon announce the signing of Porto centre-back Eliaquim Mangala for €40.3/£32 million, per BBC Sport.

    How did City come up with that kind of absurd valuation for Mangala?

    He has the physical capacity to dominate in the Premier League, but his positioning is loose and he is prone to making mistakes. 

    At times you wonder if he is more useful at the other end scoring headers than defending at the back. 

13. Fredy Guarin

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    Manchester United are in the running to sign Inter Milan central midfielder/deep-lying forward Fredy Guarin, per Chisanga Malata at the Daily Star

    Guarin can go on surging runs, has box-to-box characteristics and plays with energy. However, his shooting is wayward, and he committed more fouls (62) than tackles (48) last season.

     

     

12. Matija Nastasic

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    Juventus are open to signing Manchester City centre-back Matija Nastasic, per Tuttosport (h/t The Independent).

    Assuming City do sign Eliaquim Mangala, Nastasic and his agent may consider a move away. 

    Nastasic had a great debut season and then an injury-affected second season. 

    Instead of cutting Nastasic completely City should loan him out, because Mangala is not a can't-miss prospect. It would not be surprising if Nastasic ended up being a better player than Mangala. 

11. Lucas Leiva and 10. Marouane Fellaini

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    Lucas Leiva and Marouane Fellaini are possible Napoli transfer targets, per Simon Jones at the Daily Mail

    It has been a double blow for Fellaini: he has been a disappointment at Manchester United, while his former club Everton are thriving without him. The presence of James McCarthy, Muhamed Besic and Gareth Barry shuts down the idea of Fellaini going back to Everton.

    Meanwhile, Lucas' injuries have impacted his ability to play week-in, week-out for Liverpool.

    He has always been about compensating for his shoddy positioning and his limited passing with ravenous ball-winning ability, but he experienced a 1.4 drop-off in his tackles per game compared to the 2012-13 season. 

    Has Lucas reached his use-by date?

     

     

     

9. Daniel Agger

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    Liverpool centre-back Daniel Agger has pleaded with management to let him leave, per Darren Lewis at the Mirror

    "Daniel Agger has had a tearful heart-to-heart with Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers and asked to leave the club," Lewis wrote. "[Agger] then broke down and had to be consoled by senior members of the squad."

    Since 2006, Agger has only made 30 appearances or more in a Premier League season once. 

    Not only does he have fitness problems, but if he is not mentally prepared to fight for Liverpool he needs to be offloaded.

    If Lewis' report is correct, what happened?

    On July 22, Agger tweeted: "Getting fit for the new season:) Y.N.W.A."

     

8. Diego Lopez

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    Real Madrid goalkeeper Diego Lopez's next club is set to be AC Milan, with the Serie A club looking to capitalise on his precarious situation, per Enrico Passarella at GianlucaDiMarzio.com.

    Lopez's future at Real is on shaky ground after the club signed Keylor Navas.

    It has been a bittersweet experience for Lopez at Real. Yes, he returned back to Real, but he does not receive the credit he deserves. 

    In addition, Real "are not keen to pay him the severance package" he is owed, per Carmen Colino at AS.

     

     

     

     

7. Shinji Kagawa and 6. Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez

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    Atletico Madrid are planning to sign Manchester United outcasts Shinji Kagawa and Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, per Steve Brenner at The Guardian.

    Kagawa only played 36.8 percent of United's Premier League games last season, while Chicharito started six of 24 Premier League games he was involved in. 

    Kagawa's career has been in decline since he moved away from Borussia Dortmund, and Chicharito is attempting to shrug off being stereotyped as a super-sub. 

    Both players should consider transfers to mid-tier teams rather than jumping into the deep end at another major club such as Atleti.

     

     

5. Pepe Reina

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    If Pepe Reina passes a medical, he will move from Liverpool to Bayern Munich for €3.2/£2.5 million, per Andy Hunter at The Guardian.

    This is another example of why you should generally always take the word of agents with a grain of salt. 

    July 4, 2014: Reina's agent Manuel Garcia Quilon, per James Pearce at the Liverpool Echo

    I'm aware of the rumours circulating regarding the future of Reina, but I can confirm that Pepe will play at Liverpool next season.

    Is a return to Napoli completely ruled out? Yes.

    Reina will respect his contract with the English club.

    A month later, Reina is set to move to Bayern.

    It is a strange move because Reina rebounded at Napoli but will now be taking a step back to watch Bayern No. 1 Manuel Neuer play. 

     

     

     

4. Thomas Vermaelen

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    Arsenal centre-back/left-back Thomas Vermaelen is a €12.6/£10 million Barcelona transfer target, per The Telegraph.  

    Well, at least Barcelona are buying defenders rather than signing midfielders and converting them into centre-backs. 

    Signing Jeremy Mathieu and targeting Vermaelen are mediocre choices from Barcelona. In the case of Vermaelen, he lacks match fitness and is injury-prone. 

3. Marco Reus

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    Borussia Dortmund management have reacted angrily over Bayern Munich chairman Karl Heinz-Rummenigge's constant references to Marco Reus' €25/£19.8 million release clause, per Dortmund's official website

    Borussia Dortmund has noted with some irritation that Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is currently discussing internal BVB matters in a three-day rhythm in the media.

    We are sure that every person interested in football knows what the intention of such statements is.

    Through his conduct, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is approving that the already tense relationship between Borussia Dortmund and FC Bayern Munich is further damaged.

    We, as an employer, will naturally remain committed to our policy of never discussing contract matters of our employees in the public.

    Talk about nefarious behaviour from Bayern. 

    Reus scored 16 goals and registered 13 assists for Dortmund in the Bundesliga last season. He is a world-class left attacking midfielder who can also thrive centrally. 

     

2. Radamel Falcao

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    Manchester City are considering a loan move for Monaco centre-forward Radamel Falcao, per Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t Teddy Cutler at The Independent).

    A torn anterior cruciate ligament robbed Falcao of playing at the FIFA World Cup and was the reason why he only scored nine times in Ligue 1 last season. 

    The notion of City signing Falcao on loan rather than spending a massive transfer fee on him is designed to circumvent potential UEFA Financial Fair Play Regulations. It was a precedent set by Paris Saint-Germain when they signed Toulouse right wing-back/centre-back Serge Aurier on loan, per BBC Sport

1. Arturo Vidal

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    Chilean manager Jorge Sampaoli revealed Arturo Vidal's proposed transfer from Juventus to Manchester United has stalled due to his troublesome right knee, per El Mercurio (h/t The Guardian).

    • 2013-14: 130 tackles, 39 interceptions.
    • 2012-13: 151 tackles, 45 interceptions.
    • 2011-12: 178 tackles, 71 interceptions.
    • 2010-11: 155 tackles, 91 interceptions.
    • 2009-10: 139 tackles, 65 interceptions.

    Vidal's immense work ethic inevitably hastens the deterioration of his body.

    United will not be signing him on reputation. They will be signing him on what he can do in the future, i.e. for the length of his contract. 

    Owen Hargreaves' chronic injuries as a United player could be a reason for United management's doubts over Vidal.

     

    @allanjianga

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