Ranking the 25 Hottest Transfer Rumours from Week of August 18
Which Premier League team has made a shock bid for AC Milan's Mario Balotelli? Will Real Madrid sell Angel Di Maria? Have Juventus made a definitive statement on Arturo Vidal's future?
Instead of scouring the internet for the latest 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.
These 25 players will be ranked subjectively via name recognition.
25. Eder Balanta
River Plate → Sampdoria, per David Amoyal at GianlucaDiMarzio.com
Sampdoria are targeting highly rated Colombian international Eder Balanta.
"[Balanta is] strong and quick with an excellent understanding of the game," Colombian football correspondent Carl Worswick said, per Juan Arango at The Telegraph. "Balanta has shown remarkable maturity to cement his place in the River back line at such a tender age."
In 2008, Sampdoria signed Uruguayan wunderkind Bruno Fornaroli.
A goalscoring sensation at Nacional, Fornaroli never lived up to his promise at Sampdoria.
While betting on Fornaroli's upside failed, Sampdoria correctly projected Shkodran Mustafi's potential.
Balanta could be a replacement for Mustafi, who was sold to Valencia.
24. Fernando Lucas
Shakthar Donetsk → AC Milan and Fiorentina, per Enrico Passarella at GianlucaDiMarzio.com
Fernando Lucas is in negotiations with Fiorentina, though the transfer is delayed due to financial differences.
This could open the door to AC Milan, but the Rossoneri have so far operated on a shoe-string budget, so Shakthar will encounter the same problem.
The sociopolitical unrest in Ukraine is believed to be a factor in Fernando wanting out, per Football Italia.
While Fernando's departure would be bothersome for Shakthar's management, the club have one of the most expansive scouting networks in the world, so they will find an adequate replacement.
23. Valeri Bojinov
Levski Sofia → West Ham United, per Sky Sports
Valeri Bojinov is technically excellent and a competitor.
He has a Tim Cahill-like knack of winning headers against taller and stronger opponents.
West Ham targeting Bojinov suggests management envision him making an impact as a super sub in a low-risk, high-reward deal.
He is a fallen star who faded into obscurity.
Before you jump on the Martin Odegaard bandwagon, the likes of Freddy Adu, Peter Ofori-Quaye and Bojinov serve as recent reminders that not all child prodigies go on to fulfil their potential.
Even though Bojinov has been playing professionally since 2002, he is only 28 years old (he was 15 years old when he made his Serie A debut for Lecce).
There is still time for a second act.
22. Kostas Manolas
Olympiacos → Arsenal, per Dominic Fifield of The Guardian
Kostas Manolas is close to completing a transfer to Arsenal pending the completion of a medical.
How long does a medical take?
August 20, 2014, per James Dickenson at the Daily Express: "Olympiacos defender Kostas Manolas is undergoing a medical ahead of his move to Arsenal."
August 18, 2014, per James Orr at The Independent: "Greek defender Kostas Manolas is on the brink of an £8 million move to Arsenal after undergoing a medical with the north London club."
August 17, 2014, per William Joyce at Goal.com: "Olympiacos centre-back Kostas Manolas is undergoing a medical at Arsenal ahead of a move to the Gunners."
Either no medical has taken place or complications have arisen, hence the transfer being dragged out.
Another theory is that Manolas might be having second thoughts. In 2012, Manolas attracted headlines when he pulled out of a proposed move to Everton.
Then-Everton manager David Moyes was "pushing [Manolas] for an answer," per Fotis Voinikas and Graeme Bailey at Sky Sports.
The answer was no.
Manolas then agreed to join Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, per Graeme Bailey at Sky Sports, only to sign with Olympiacos.
Manolas impressed at the FIFA World Cup. Solid in the tackle, formidable in the air and an accurate passer from the back, it is understandable why Arsenal are seeking to sign Manolas.
At 23 years of age, he has immense upside.
21. Vincent Aboubakar
Lorient → Hull City, per Alan Nixon at the Daily Mirror
Hull targeting Vincent Aboubakar is similar to West Bromwich Albion signing Brown Ideye.
Like Ideye, Aboubakar has the potential to play at a major European club, but he is not yet at that level.
This gives Hull a window of opportunity.
The No. 1 option at Lorient, Aboubakar scored 16 goals and created seven for his teammates in Ligue 1 last season.
Hull are trying to sign Aboubakar for €11.2/£9 million.
Despite being 22 years of age, Aboubakar is expected to lead by example for an inexperienced Lorient team.
The club has young guns such as goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte, 23, left-back Raphael Guerreiro, 20, left-winger Bryan Pele, 22, central midfielder Rafidine Abdullah, 20, and forward Jordan Ayew, 22.
20. William Carvalho
Sporting Lisbon → Chelsea, per A Bola (h/t Metro).
William Carvalho is set for a €43.7/£35 million transfer to Chelsea.
The relatively unproven William would have to be the second coming of Claude Makelele to justify such a colossal bid.
Have Chelsea considered Mainz's Johannes Geis as a viable alternative?
19. Douglas Costa
Shakhtar Donetsk → AC Milan, per La Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t Football Italia)
Milan are prepared to pay €25/£20 million for Shakhtar attacking midfielder Douglas Costa "spread across multiple payments."
The biggest winner of the deal would not be Milan, Shakhtar or Costa.
It would be his agent, Kia Joorabchian, who stands to make €4/£3.2 million if the deal comes to fruition.
In July, Shakhtar manager Mircea Lucescu detailed Joorabchian's part in players refusing to return to Ukraine following a friendly in France.
"Kia showed up and after the game, at two in the morning, he took our players away—the very talented ones: Teixeira, Douglas, Fred," Lucescu said, per Canal+ (h/t ESPN). "The situation is unpleasant, because it all happened at the last moment."
18. Adrien Rabiot
Paris Saint-Germain → Arsenal, per Ben Jefferson at the Daily Express
Adrien Rabiot's refusal to extend his contract means he can exercise his right to a free transfer under the Bosman ruling at the end of the season.
This is why PSG are open to selling Rabiot for €7/£5.6 million, per RMC (h/t Get French Football News).
Rabiot has a complete playing style comparable to Juventus central midfielder Paul Pogba.
However, Rabiot lacks consistency.
While Rabiot's attitude is questionable, he can thrive under Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.
17. Morgan Schneiderlin
Southampton → Tottenham Hotspur, per Oliver Todd at the Daily Mail
Southampton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin will be the subject of another bid from Spurs.
While he vented at Southampton management for not letting him leave for Spurs, Schneiderlin made three tackles and intercepted two passes in a 2-1 defeat to Liverpool.
Though he may not toe the line on Twitter, he was a consummate professional on the field, even though his future is still uncertain.
16. Bryan Ruiz
Fulham → Werder Bremen, per Bild (h/t Thomas Zocher at Sky Sports)
Bryan Ruiz is on the brink of a transfer to Werder.
Showing glimpses of technical brilliance, Ruiz could never star for an extended period of time for Fulham.
He had a good loan spell at PSV Eindhoven last season, beating out wunderkind Zakaria Bakkali and the explosive Luciano Narsingh for a starting position.
Ruiz carried that form into the FIFA World Cup, where he scored against Italy and Greece.
15. Gonzalo Castro
Bayer Leverkusen → Bayern Munich, per Agence France-Presse (AFP)
Leverkusen midfielder Gonzalo Castro being targeted reinforces Bayern's policy of weakening their rivals.
Castro is an all-round midfielder who completed 52 tackles and registered eight assists last season.
He is versatile and is capable of playing out wide or in the middle.
However, Leverkusen CEO Michael Schade has disclosed that Bayern are yet to open negotiations to sign Castro, per the Rheinische Post (h/t Stephan Uersfeld at ESPN FC).
14. Matija Nastasic
Manchester City → Juventus, per Football Italia
City manager Manuel Pellegrini has confirmed Matija Nastasic's impending exit.
"Nastasic needs to play and we already have four central defenders," Pellegrini said, per Football Italia. "Nastasic is a great player, but I think the best thing for him is to go and play."
Nastasic had a solid debut Premier League season, so it is unfathomable that City are discarding him.
Injuries affected Nastasic's second season, but he has considerable upside.
He completed 86.9 percent of his passes in his first season and 91.9 in his second.
City should consider loaning him out rather than selling him.
13. Marouane Fellaini
Manchester United → Napoli, per La Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t Football Italia)
Napoli are keen to sign Marouane Fellaini on loan from United.
Fellaini would bring a physical presence to Napoli's midfield.
While this is an advantageous ploy from Napoli manager Rafa Benitez to bolster his squad depth, it will not be a smart move on United's part.
Either stick with Fellaini (at worst, he is squad cover) or sell him to the highest bidder.
The problem with the latter scenario is Fellaini's stock has diminished to the extent that United would suffer a big loss if they were to sell him.
12. Alex Song
Barcelona → Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, per Sky Sports
Barcelona are working to "find a way out" for Alex Song.
While he is a loan target for clubs like United and Spurs, Barca want to sell Song, who has drastically regressed in two seasons.
Barca signed him following a season in which he created 11 goals for Arsenal, but he has since failed to register a single assist in 39 La Liga games.
Ivan Rakitic has been signed from Sevilla to do what Song has been unable to do: be a creative outlet in midfield.
11. Mehdi Benatia
Roma → Bayern Munich, per Sport1 (h/t Sky Sports)
Bayern chief Karl-Heinz Rummenigge alluded to Mehdi Benatia's burgeoning transfer stock as a potential reason for the transfer not being completed.
Benatia is one of the best centre-backs in the world.
He was a big factor in Roma having the second-best defensive record in Serie A last season.
Strong in the air and an excellent interceptor, Benatia is also comfortable in possession, completing 88.6 percent of his 48.7 passes per game for Roma.
10. Daniel Agger
Liverpool → Atletico Madrid, per Simon Rice at The Independent
If Daniel Agger's grievance with Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is not being a guaranteed starter then you would presume Atleti would not be an option.
Unless Diego Godin or Miranda are sold in this window, Agger will have the same squad status: backup.
There was a point in Agger's career when he looked like he could transition into one of the greatest defenders of his generation.
Unfortunately, injuries have debilitated his performances.
When he is fit, he orchestrates play from the back and can take the ball into midfield.
9. Alvaro Negredo
Manchester City → Valencia, per David Anderson at the Daily Mirror
Valencia will tempt City into cutting bait with Alvaro Negredo.
When he is on song, he is a world-beater.
As soon as he struggles, he hits a brick wall. This is evident in his failure to score a goal for City since February.
To make matters worse, he is currently recuperating from a "broken metatarsal," per The Guardian.
8. Fernando Torres
Chelsea → Roma, per Gary Jacob of The Times
Fernando Torres will be included in a transfer package to bring Roma centre-forward Mattia Destro to Chelsea.
Torres on loan plus €25/£20 million could seal the deal for Destro, who is a No. 9 with world-class potential.
|League Only 2013-14||Fernando Torres||Mattia Destro|
|Goals Per Game||0.18||0.65|
|Shots Per Goal||12.2||3.0|
Destro, 23, has a higher upside than the deteriorating 30-year-old Torres.
The only red flag with Destro are his injury problems, which could see him suffer a Torres-esque fall down the line.
A change in scenery will be beneficial to Torres, who has been a burden to Chelsea.
7. Diego Godin
Atletico Madrid → Bayern Munich, per Simon Jones at the Daily Mail
Bayern manager Pep Guardiola discussed the need to replace the injured Javi Martinez.
"With this injury [to Martinez; cruciate ligament tear] we have a special situation and now we must act," Guardiola said, per The Observer (h/t The Guardian). "There are many candidates but only a few who would do for us."
Diego Godin would be a logical choice: FIFA World Cup experience, played in the UEFA Champions League final and a La Liga winner.
However, Godin would need to up his pass completion percentage (78.8) into the 90s because Guardiola likes his defenders to be passing outlets from the back.
6. Marco Reus
Borussia Dortmund → Bayern Munich, Manchester United and Real Madrid, per Bild (h/t Jamie Jackson at The Guardian).
Bayern have continued their media offensive in disrupting Dortmund star player Marco Reus.
This time, honorary president Franz Beckenbauer insisted that Reus would leave Dortmund next year.
"If [Reus] doesn't go to Bayern in 2015, he will probably go to another big international club such as Real Madrid or Manchester United," Beckenbauer said, per Bild (h/t Jamie Jackson at The Guardian). "I can imagine him at Bayern very well."
Reus is one of the best footballers in the world.
He scored and created a combined 29 goals in 30 Bundesliga games for Dortmund last season.
5. Radamel Falcao
Monaco → Liverpool, per Rob Draper at the Daily Mail
Despite an injury-affected campaign last time out, Liverpool are keen to sign Radamel Falcao to compensate the loss of Luis Suarez.
Falcao is not a dribbler and does not have the genius of a Suarez. But Falcao is a complete scorer with the ability to finish with either foot and also an aerial threat.
Falcao is money when it comes to scoring.
He has registered 30 goals or more in all competitions four out of his last five seasons.
However, according to Spanish football writer Guillem Balague in a tweet for Bleacher Report UK: "Falcao wants Monaco exit. He waits for Madrid. #LFC interested, but he waits for RM. @David_Solo_Dolo #askguillem."
If Falcao's heart is set on Real Madrid, then Liverpool should move on to other targets who are willing to don their red shirt with pride.
4. Petr Cech
Chelsea → Monaco, per John Cross at the Daily Mirror
After losing the No. 1 position to Thibaut Courtois, Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech is thinking about leaving.
Cech "is believed to be disappointed by the way the situation has been handled," per Matt Law at The Telegraph.
From Cech's perspective, he may have felt it was his job to lose, yet Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho arbitrarily chose Courtois.
Was it the right move? Yes.
At 22 years of age, Courtois is already a world-class goalkeeper and can play at the same level for the next 10-12 years.
Monaco goalkeeper Danijel Subasic's positioning has been unconvincing thus far.
Cech, one of the best goalkeepers in recent memory, would be a significant upgrade over Subasic.
3. Arturo Vidal
Juventus → Manchester United, per Football Italia
Juventus chief executive officer Giuseppe Marotta announced United were never in the running to sign central midfielder Arturo Vidal.
"[Vidal] was never put up for sale and there have never been any negotiations for him," Marotta said, per Football Italia. "There is always the same speculation about him."
Tackles Per Game: 5.4 [2011-12] → 4.9 [2012-13] → 4.1 [2013-14]
The concern for Vidal is that his tackles per game has gradually decreased.
Will the accumulative injuries curtail Vidal's defensive productivity?
2. Angel Di Maria
Real Madrid → Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain, per Marca
Real's primary leaders in the dressing room, Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos, have urged club president Florentino Perez not to sell Angel Di Maria.
United are not the only major European club looking to sign Di Maria.
According to Spanish football writer Guillem Balague in a tweet for Bleacher Report UK: "He [Di Maria] has agreement with PSG. But PSG yet to put money on the table. #askguillem."
Selling Di Maria would be a big mistake.
He creates goals, he hustles to win back the ball and he can play multiple positions.
1. Mario Balotelli
AC Milan → Liverpool, per Tony Barrett of The Times
Liverpool have upped the ante by preparing a permanent transfer for Mario Balotelli.
Italian football journalist Fabrizio Romano tweeted: "AC Milan answer to Liverpool bid is clear: #Balotelli will not leave on loan. #LFC must offer money now to have Super Mario."
If Balotelli had moved to Liverpool on loan, there would have been parallels with Nicolas Anelka arriving at Anfield from Paris Saint-Germain in similar circumstances in 2001: a talented but troubled star.
Why not compare Luis Suarez's unmanageable behaviour to Balotelli?
Suarez once scored 49 goals in one season for Ajax and produced back-to-back campaigns of 30-goal hauls in all competitions for Liverpool.
Suarez produces at the highest level, whereas Balotelli has not even scored 30 goals in a season once.
Balotelli's career is similar to Anelka's.
Yes, Balotelli has been on winning teams and there are glimpses of world-class goals. But when it counts most, Balotelli will flatter to deceive.
Statistics via WhoScored