Power Ranking January's 20 Hottest Transfer Rumours: Which Club Wants Raul?

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentDecember 26, 2013

Power Ranking January's 20 Hottest Transfer Rumours: Which Club Wants Raul?

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    Bleacher Report presents a power ranking of the 20 hottest January transfer rumours.

    So, how will these 20 January 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. Michy Batshuayi

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    Standard Liege centre forward Michy Batshuayi is a transfer target for Arsenal, according to John Cross at The Mirror.

    "The Gunners are looking at Standard Liege hot-shot Michy Batshuayi, 20, who could be available for around £8 million," Cross wrote.

    "They are stepping up their scouting work on him and doing checks as they look to bolster their squad with a January swoop."

    Batshuayi would be a project so it is more beneficial for the Gunners to sign him and loan him back to Standard for the rest of this season.

    The constant rumours of Arsenal signing a new striker is odd because Chuba Akpom impressed during pre-season, has been scoring in the UEFA Youth League and is not only an Arsenal product but is English.

19. Jorginho

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    Chelsea, Liverpool and Zenit St Petersburg are targeting Verona central midfielder Jorginho in the upcoming January transfer window, according to talkSPORT.

    People should keep in mind that five of his seven Serie A goals are penalties, so it is not as if he is a box-to-box goal scoring midfielder which is the false impression you get if you just look at his goal tally.

    He sits in midfield and sprays passes around as evidenced in the Lazio game when he created two goals.

    With Verona in the top half of the table right now, Jorginho should stay and reassess the situation in the summer.

18. Aymeric Laporte

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    Arsenal and Barcelona are considering triggering Aymeric Laporte's £30 million release clause in his Athletic Bilbao contract, according to El Correo (h/t talkSPORT).

    Laporte extended his contract until 2018 last week, so it makes no sense for him leave Bilbao.

    Barca in the past have signed world-class players from Bilbao such as goalkeeper Andoni Zubizarreta and centre-back Jose Ramon Alexanko, the latter described by FCBarcelona.com as a "typical central defender who transmitted calm to the rest of the team with his intelligent and elegant style of play."

    Regarding Arsenal, they have a German contingent, so it is more likely that they would target a promising Bundesliga centre-back such as Matthias Ginter from Freiburg or Wolfsburg's Robin Knoche.

17. Everton Ribeiro

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    Cruzeiro's Everton Ribeiro wants to join Manchester United.

    "I know them [United] very well because I play with them a lot in video games as they are a great team," Ribeiro said, as per ESPN Brasil (h/t Sky Sports).

    "I would fit in any part of the midfield. I would do well as a playmaker to support the attack."

    This season, during a five-game run, Ribeiro scored twice and created three goals.

    He could be a useful option for United, but they need a world-class central midfielder. 

16. Luke Shaw

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    Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino has reiterated the club's stance of not considering bids for left-back Luke Shaw.

    "Other clubs can watch him [Shaw] and show their interest but he does not want to go anywhere and we do not want to sell him," Pochettino said, as per Alex Crook at The Mirror.

    "Luke is still learning how to be an experienced player and it is taking him time to mature as a player."

    There have been comparisons to Shaw and former Southampton left-back Gareth Bale, which are wrong.

    The likelihood of seeing Shaw move into midfield is slim because he's a solid defender with world-class potential. Bale was much better attacking than defending, hence him being moved forward.

15. Alexander Buttner

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    Fulham manager Rene Meulensteen is aiming to sign Manchester United reserve left-back Alexander Buttner, according to Darren Witcoop at The Mirror.

    "Fulham have conceded eight goals in the last two games and will target a new left-back to boost their survival bid," Witcoop wrote.

    "Buttner's agent has already claimed Italian pair Roma and Genoa are leading the scramble for his signature."

    If Meulensteen wants to shore up his defence, signing the attack-minded Buttner is devoid of rationale.

    Genoa would be an understandable destination as they play with wing-backs.

    Buttner could beat out left wing-back Luca Antonelli, who has yet to score or create a league goal this season.

14. Adam Lallana

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    Manchester United will target Southampton midfielder Adam Lallana, according to Adrian Kajumba at the Daily Star.

    "Lallana is rated at around £15 million plus and his camp have been made aware in recent weeks that United are keen," Kajumba wrote.

    "The Saints will battle hard to fend off any bids and believe they no longer need to sell their prized assets to make ends meet."

    Lallana can play on the right, the left or from a central position.

    He presses winning back possession 3.1 times per game and he has contributed to Southampton's attacks (four goals and three assists in the Premier League this season).

13. Bafetimbi Gomis

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    Lyon centre-forward Bafetimbi Gomis is ready for a new challenge.

    "I'm in my fifth season with Lyon and I think at the end of the season, it's time for me to go elsewhere," Gomis said, as per RMC (h/t AFP). "[Let's] see if the grass is greener."

    Clubs interested in Gomis should also take a look at his teammate Alexandre Lacazette, who has scored two more Ligue 1 goals (nine) than Gomis (seven) this season while being six years younger (22) than Gomis (28).

12. Alessio Cerci

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    Torino deep-lying forward Alessio Cerci is already thinking of leaving, despite only joining the club last year.

    "I feel as if I am ready to play in the Champions League. I’m mature, I think the time may have arrived for me to take a step up in quality," Cerci said, as per Football Italia.

    "It is no secret that I would like to return to Roma one day."

    Cerci has a free role at the club: He leads the club in shots per game (3.4), isn't forced to press opposing defenders and has developed a good connection with upcoming Italian No. 9 Ciro Immobile.

    Unless Cerci is guaranteed a starting position at a major club, it is beneficial for his footballing career to stay with Torino for the time being.

11. Mohamed Salah

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    Basel right winger Mohamed Salah will join Liverpool for £7 million, according to David Maddock at The Mirror.

    Salah has impressed against Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, so he should be able to transition into Premier League football.

    He is the reigning Swiss League player of the year, as per Ahmed Abd El Rasoul at Ahram Online:

    Egyptian striker Mohamed Salah has won the Swiss Golden Player Award 2013, an award given by the Swiss Association of Football Players (SAFP) for being the best player in the Swiss league during the 2012/2013 season.

10. Koke

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    Manchester United are readying a £30 million bid for Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke, according to David Maddock at the Mirror.

    If United were willing to bid for an inferior player in Ander Herrera, going for Koke would be a certainty.

    Would he join United?

    Not for footballing reasons because Atleti are tied with Barcelona for points in La Liga (46), so staying at a potential La Liga champion is more likely than joining a United team still struggling in a post-Sir Alex Ferguson period.

9. Diego Lopez

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    Jose Mourinho wants Real Madrid goalkeeper Diego Lopez to join Chelsea, according to A Bola (h/t Football Espana).

    Lopez can be a deputy to Petr Cech as current back-up Mark Schwarzer's contract expires at the end of this season.

    The reason why this deal might happen is that the future of Blues prospect Thibaut Courtois is still up in the air and, from Real's perspective, they will be able to hand the No. 1 spot back to Iker Casillas without any controversy.

8. Nani

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    Juventus will make Manchester United right attacking midfielder Nani their primary January transfer target, according to Tuttosport (h/t ITV).

    Nani extended his contract until 2018 while Juve director general Beppe Marotta is a bargain hunter, so Nani to Juve is very unlikely.

    Also where will Nani play? He is a misfit in Juve's 3-5-2 formation.

7. Marc-Andre Ter Stegen

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    Borussia Monchengladbach Lucien Favre's latest comments regarding goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen confirms rumours of him being Victor Valdes' successor at Barcelona.

    "We hope that he [Ter Stegen] stays with us," Favre said, per Sergi Font at Marca. "But when a club like Barcelona comes for you, we have to be realistic, but remain hopeful."

    In Favre's system, Ter Stegen is a ball-playing keeper, averaging 39.9 passes per game, so he will naturally fit in at Barca.

6. Rio Ferdinand

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    Manchester United's veteran centre-back Rio Ferdinand is headed for an exit as the club begin a rebuilding phase, according to Mark Ogden at the Telegraph.

    "Despite the former England captain [Ferdinand] accepting media work with the BBC and BT Sport, it is understood that he is prepared to wait until the end of the season before deciding whether to continue his playing career," Ogden wrote.

    "And while a contract offer from United is unlikely, there remains strong interest from clubs in the United States and Middle East."

    When Ferdinand pulled out of Roy Hodgson's England squad, the player didn't stay at home, giving himself a lazy day off and playing football manager.

    He flew to Qatar to be a TV pundit for Al Jazeera.

    Ferdinand is a savvy business-thinking player, so signing with a Middle Eastern club or going to the MLS would be a typical Ferdinand decision.

5. Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard and John Terry

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    The future of Chelsea trio Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard and John Terry is uncertain, according to David Woods at the Daily Star.

    "Owner Roman Abramovich has no plans to sanction contract talks with the England trio 'for a few months', according to a source close to the Russian billionaire," Woods wrote.

    "It looks like the trio will have to wait until near the end of the season to see if Abramovich and Mourinho still see them as key members of the squad."

    Cole has lost his place to Cesar Azpilicueta who is actually a right-back, while Lampard has improved his tackling but is an attacking midfielder being played in a deeper role.

    Terry is great servant, but the Blues need centre-backs in the mould of Thiago Silva if they want to win the Premier League and UEFA Champions League.

    How Terry copes with Liverpool's Luis Suarez and other world-class strikers should heavily factor into Abramovich's thought process.

4. Victor Valdes

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    Departing Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes has received a formal offer from Monaco while Manchester City are also expected to be in the running for his signature, according to Luis Rojo at Marca.

    City are an attractive option for Valdes because of the high salary he would receive, him being able to beat out a confidence-riddled Joe Hart, the Spanish contingent in the City squad plus the presence of former Barca executives Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain.

    Should Valdes, 6'0", join Monaco presumably for economic and lifestyle reasons, he will compete with a much taller and stronger Danijel Subasic, 6'3", for the No. 1 position.

    Valdes seems intent on living up to his word in leaving Barca, as evident in a heartfelt encounter with long-serving club kit-man Chema Corbella, per Marca: "At a dinner, he [Corbella] said, 'You'll never be better off than you are here'. And he's right. We started crying, and went on crying. We're both very sentimental."

3. Gonzalo Higuain

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    Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho wants to sign Napoli centre-forward Gonzalo Higuain who is available for £48 million, according to the Sun (h/t The Mirror).

    The same Higuain who had 78 percent of his games under Mourinho sub-affected?

    All Chelsea need to do is wait out this season and then welcome back Romelu Lukaku and make him the undisputed No. 9.

2. Wesley Sneijder

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    Wesley Sneijder has revealed that rumours of him leaving Galatasaray in the January transfer window are untrue because he hasn't received any offers.

    "You would know better than me if I received any offers. Up to now there have been no offers," Sneijder said, as per Beyaz TV (h/t Michael Bell at Football Oranje).

    "I’m very happy here with the team and the fans and I have no reason to leave."

1. Raul

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    New York Cosmos manager Giovanni Savarese wants to sign Al Sadd centre-forward Raul, a living Real Madrid legend.

    "If you told me I could sign a forward now, I would love to bring in Raul, because of what he represents as a person with his professionalism, commitment and ability," Savarese said, as per Marca.

    "He's exactly the type of person we want at the club."

    With the MLS granting a franchise to New York City FC, a team backed by Manchester City and baseball club the New York Yankees, Cosmos not only won't enter the MLS, but they do not have the financial allure to sign Raul.

    If Raul plans on extending his playing career after Al Sadd, he should consider coming to Australia and playing in the A-League.


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