B/R Gossip Roundup: Raphael Varane, Marco Reus, Isco and Felipe Anderson

Laura Greene@@Greene_LFeatured ColumnistSeptember 13, 2015

B/R Gossip Roundup: Raphael Varane, Marco Reus, Isco and Felipe Anderson

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    Raphael Varane, Marco Reus, Riyad Mahrez, Isco and Felipe Anderson all feature in this week's B/R Gossip Roundup, where our believability meter struggles to get past the gear marked "low."

    The following pages also contain our thoughts on Arsenal's reported interest in FC Basel youngster Breel Embolo, plus the speculation surrounding Real Betis teen whiz Dani Ceballos, who seems to have been attracting attention from a number of Premier League sides.

    Read on for more!

Arsenal Tracking Breel Embolo

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    Arsenal are interested in Basel youngster Breel Embolo, according to Uche Amako in the Express.

    This follows a quiet summer at the Emirates Stadium, where the only incoming player was former Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech.

    Now, as Amako reported, it seems Arsene Wenger's side would like to sign the Switzerland international:

    Reports of interest from the Gunners in the Highly rated 18-year-old come from Italian website Calciomercato who say the link stems from Swiss press.

    Spurs were also understood to be interested in the youngster, who is valued at around £10million, during the transfer window.

    A Swiss Super League winner with Basel in 2014/15, the teen notched 17 goals and 13 assists across 42 games in all competitions last term—his breakout season at St. Jakob-Park.

    Believability Meter: Low

    There is certainly plenty of hype surrounding Embolo, who is fast-becoming a star player at Basel.

    Champions League outings against the likes of Real Madrid, Liverpool and FC Porto introduced him to a wider audience last season, and he became one of only eight players under the age of 18 to score in the competition, per UEFA.com.

    Interest from a number of clubs may certainly be real, but it's unlikely the attacking player will be leaving Urs Fischer's side any time soon as he continues his development.

Riyad Mahrez Catching Barcelona's Eye

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    Riyad Mahrez could switch Leicester City’s King Power Stadium for Barcelona's Camp Nou, insisted the British press this week.

    As the MailOnline's Simon Jones reported:

    Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez is a surprise candidate to replace Pedro at Barcelona.

    The 24-year-old Algeria international played a pivotal role in keeping Leicester in the Premier League last season and has started off well again in this campaign too.

    Barcelona scouts have been alerted to his performances and plan to watch him again over the coming weeks.

    Mahrez, previously of Le Havre, moved to Leicester in January 2014. He has since recorded 55 games for the Foxes, notching 11 goals and eight assists.

    In August, he inked a new contract, which is designed to keep him at the Premier League side until 2019, as seen on BBC Sport.

    Believability Meter: Low

    This slice of speculation was made using a few key ingredients:

    1. The international break (i.e. slow news weeks in the world of football).
    2. Mahrez has scored four goals in four games this season (i.e. he's currently flavour of the month in the Premier League).
    3. Barcelona's transfer embargo will be lifted in January (i.e. they are an easy club to base your transfer chatter on—even this early).

    Combine all three and, hey presto, you have a transfer story to get you through the internationals.

    Is it going to happen? Come on, we think you know the answer to this one already (hint: no).

Manchester United: Cash Plus Adnan Januzaj on Offer for Marco Reus

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    Marco Reus could be on his way to Old Trafford should a Manchester United offer of cash plus Adnan Januzaj prove successful, Paul Hetherington insisted in the Daily Star this week.

    Often the subject of intense transfer speculation, the 26-year-old Reus signed a contract extension with Borussia Dortmund back in February, as seen on ESPN FC.

    However, as Hetherington wrote:

    Borussia Dortmund midfielder Reus was one of the top targets on United's wish list of marquee signings in the window which has just closed.

    And Old Trafford winger Januzaj, 20, has just joined the Bundesliga club on loan for the current season.

    Officially, Januzaj is in Germany to further his experience and is due to return to United next summer.

    But if the Belgium attacker impresses with the German side, Dortmund may be prepared to discuss an exchange deal.

    Reus—a Dortmund-born player—has racked up 129 appearances for Thomas Tuchel's side since 2012 and has a contract that runs until 2019.

    In Januzaj's case, he will spend the 2015/16 season on loan at Signal Iduna Park, and his United deal is designed to expire in 2018.

    Believability Meter: Low

    It is possible to get this believability meter to go any lower? Trust us, if we could, we would.

    Reus' new deal does not contain a release clause, he is playing for his hometown club and he signed a new long-term contract within the last eight months.

    Did we mention he has scored six goals in seven games in all competitions so far this season?

    Januzaj to Dortmund at the end of his loan sounds more likely and, who knows, maybe there will be an option to buy the young Belgian at the end of the season. But will Januzaj and a big wad of cash be enough to send Reus to Old Trafford? We think not.

Dani Ceballos: Arsenal and Liverpool Interested

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    Arsenal and Liverpool are both tracking Real Betis teenager Dani Ceballos, according to Darren Witcoop in the Mirror.

    Already into the final year of his contract at Benito Villamarin, the 19-year-old made 33 appearances in the Segunda Division last season as Betis won promotion back into the Spanish top flight at the first time of asking.

    As Witcoop reported:

    Clubs have been alerted that Ceballos has less than a year on his contract, with the buyout clause set a £7.5million.

    But the Gunners and the Reds continue to send their scouts to run the rule over Ceballos as they aim to move first in January.

    They believe they can snap up the teenager for a cut-price fee as Betis fear he will leave for nothing.

    Elsewhere, Spanish daily Estadio Deportivo (h/t Metro's Jamie Sanderson) claimed Chelsea are also interested in the midfielder.

    Ceballos is a Spain under-19 international who won the UEFA European Under-19 Championship in 2015.

    Believability Meter: Medium

    He is a young, Spanish midfielder with a contract that is running down. He also happens to have been likened to a certain Cesc Fabregas.

    We shouldn't be surprised a number of clubs seem to be priming themselves to pounce.

    There is every chance the Seville-born teen will end up talking to prospective new employers in January, and if he continues to impress, we could well see him on the move next summer.

Felipe Anderson: To Manchester United in January?

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    Gossip linking Lazio's Felipe Anderson with Manchester United reared its head again this week, this time courtesy of Tutto Mercato Web (h/t Adam Skinner in the Express):

    United have long been linked with the Brazil international and are said to be keen to tie up a deal before he can officially sign in the January transfer window.

    Italian publication Tutto Mercato Web claim the ball is already rolling, with a firm offer now on the table.

    It was previously reported that United boss Louis van Gaal would make a late in the summer transfer window.

    While nothing materialised, the Dutchman is still thought to be keen despite an embarrassment of riches in midfield.

    Anderson could be the first of numerous players to leave the Rome-based club after their failure to qualify for the Champions League group stage.

    The 22-year-old signed for Lazio from Santos in summer 2013 and has since played 62 games for Stefano Pioli's side, scoring 12 goals and registering 13 assists.

    In summer 2014, United reportedly had an £18 million bid turned down for the exciting winger's services, according to Jamie Sanderson in Metro.

    Believability Meter: Low

    Often connected with a move to Old Trafford, this is a rumour we'll see a lot of as January approaches.

    United's apparent failure to capture Pedro Rodriguez over the summer, coupled with Lazio's exit from the Champions League, will fuel the chatter, but we still don't think it is going to happen.

    Anderson's recently inked contract extension is designed to keep him at the Stadio Olimpico until 2020—which could have been penned with a high buyout clause but could also genuinely mean the Brazilian wants to stay at the club.

    Noises made by Anderson do hint toward the latter. As he told reporters in June (h/t Football Italia), "I only recently renewed my contract for another five years. I’m thinking about that shirt, and nothing else. I don’t know of any offers, my future is at Lazio."

    As he continues to get better and better in Serie A, we can't see Anderson moving within the next 12 months.

Arsenal and Manchester City in Race to Sign Isco

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    Arsenal and Manchester City are going to go head-to-head in a race to sign Isco from Real Madrid, according to Spanish newspaper Sport (h/t Aaron Flanagan in the Mirror).

    As Flanagan reported:

    The Real Madrid midfielder is struggling to nail down a regular starting spot at Real and it is believed that clubs have made enquiries for his services for January.

    City boss Manuel Pellegrini has history of working with Isco, but Arsenal are hoping to bring him to the Emirates.

    The 23-year-old joined Madrid in 2013, following two years with Malaga, where he notched 17 goals and 11 assists over the course of 82 games—all of which were under Pellegrini.

    His current deal will expire in 2018.

    Believability Meter: Low to Medium

    Real Madrid's embarrassment of riches in attacking positions means someone will always have to warm the bench—no matter how talented they are.

    Isco has continuously impressed at the Bernabeu, but there is the feeling his chance will only come if someone else (namely, James Rodriguez) is injured.

    This, coupled with the arrival of Rafael Benitez and his 4-2-3-1 formation, naturally gives way to transfer rumours linking him with an exit from the Spanish capital.

    City-related gossip works nicely, given the player's history with Pellegrini, but does the Chilean manager really need another attacking player at Eastlands?

    As for Arsenal, well, they are said to be on the lookout for just about any player with legs following their quiet summer, although—like City—they are pretty well-stocked in attacking midfield.

    Which leaves us where? Isco, in all likelihood, will stay at the Bernabeu and fight for his place in Benitez's plans. If he does move, we can’t imagine it would be any time before summer 2016.

Raphael Varane: Manchester United’s Top Target?

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    Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane will be Manchester United's top transfer target next summer.

    The 22-year-old has been linked with the Premier League side by French website Le10sport (h/t James Whaling in the Mirror), which claimed a bid was considered this year, but Louis van Gaal's side "opted against it."

    As reported by Whaling:

    Manchester United have reportedly made Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane their top target for next summer's transfer window.

    United failed in their bid to land Sergio Ramos this summer, and plans are apparently already being put into place to take Varane to Old Trafford next year.

    The Lille-born centre-back signed for Madrid from Lens in 2011. With 119 games in total for Los Blancos to date, Varane featured in every minute of his side's opening two league games in 2015/16 and clocked up 16 minutes against Espanyol on September 12.

    His current contract runs until 2020.

    Believability Meter: Low

    After being linked with one Real Madrid centre-back all summer in Sergio Ramos, why not connect Manchester United with his hugely talented—not to mention younger—team-mate Raphael Varane?

    The same Varane who inked a new long-term deal at the Bernabeu last September.

    The France international is good enough to head the shopping lists of many a top club in world football, but he's really going nowhere.

    Pepe is 32. Ramos is 29. Varane is the star of the future at Madrid. We have nothing more to add.

    All player and contract information comes from Transfermarkt.com unless indicated otherwise.