It’s quickly approaching that time of year all football fans love and hate – transfer season. Over the coming months the final pieces of silverware will be handed out in the various leagues, teams will take stock of their season and begin looking forward to the next campaign. For the few months that our clubs are inactive we’ll anxiously wait for next season while regularly checking various online sites for any scraps of information which are relevant. Checking for scores will be replaced by looking for transfer news and rumors. We’ll scour online papers for positive rumors which, as footballtrasnferleague.co.uk has calculated, even at their best are 20-35% accurate. In a period often labelled ‘silly season,’ the summer transfer window can get quite ridiculous at times.
It’s still a month off of the transfer season and the rumor mill has already started its inevitable surge to life. It’s like TMZ for the football addict and we can never get enough of it no matter how insane the rumor. Some transfer speculation is created out of thin air. Other rumors are related to how well a team performed. Did your team do poorly this year and miss out on Champions League qualification? Well, then every player must want to leave for Real Madrid and Barcelona. Does a certain player have a girlfriend who enjoys spending money on the best fashion from Paris and Milan? That settles it, he must be transferring to Inter or PSG. Did a player make a statement years ago about how he liked a certain country? The press will dig that up to create a transfer rumor. Sometimes all it takes is a tweet that a cab driver’s uncle’s best-friend heard that a certain Argentinian striker was spotted at a local airport – surely a bullet-proof piece of transfer evidence. Yes, nothing seems for certain (or sane) in world football this time of year.
The following looks at 20 of the more popular transfer rumors making the headlines this spring. Some are relatively new and surprising while others have been dragging on all season and just will not go away. Players that are reportedly unhappy, on the final year of a contract, a potential make-weight in a bigger deal, or just not fitting in are all found here. Depending on who you support, some of these you’ll hope never happen while others will get you more than optimistic about the coming season. Just don’t get your hopes too high. If the stats are anything to go by then only 4 to 7 of these names will be moving this summer.
* Stats are correct as of May 5th, 2015.
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20 Paulo Dybala
Argentinian striker Paulo Dybala certainly has some big expectations to live up to with people comparing him to Sergio Aguero and Javier Pastore. Dybala currently plays for Serie A club Palermo, scoring 13 times in 33 overall appearances so far this season. It’s been enough to attract a lot of attention, especially from the big-hitters of the EPL. Fast, creative and technically gifted, the 21 year old has found himself linked with the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal. However, if he prefers to stay in Serie A, the striker need look no further than Inter Milan. Inter’s director, Piero Ausilio, has told Sky he likes the striker but suggested the price may be too high. In the world of negotiation, Ausilio has just put the ball firmly into Dybala’s court – likely to the displeasure of those in charge at Palermo.
19 Geoffrey Kondogbia
A few years ago, when Geoffrey Kondogbia was at Sevilla, he was linked with every club from Real Madrid to Juventus to Arsenal. Now at Monaco, the defensive midfielder finds his name thrown around the rumor mill yet again. All the usual names you’d expect have been linked with the 22 year old. For at least the past month, the club name which appears to be sticking is that of Liverpool. Every red-top in England has had the powerful midfielder linked to the Merseyside outfit at one time or another through April. Of course, as the Daily Mail points out, Liverpool’s lack of Champions League football may be a massive hurdle to signing a young player who just recently enjoyed a relatively successful campaign in Europe’s most prestige competition.
18 Petr Cech
When Jose Mourinho opted to make Thibaut Courtois Chelsea’s number one keeper this season, alarm bells sounded all over Europe. Courtois is an excellent keeper and he demonstrated this last season with Atletico and with further emphasis this season. Unfortunately, for Chelsea’s former number one, Petr Cech, this meant far less playing time and a lot more time on the sidelines pondering what the future has in store. The decorated 32 year old featured in just 15 games this season - a far cry from the 40+ games per season over the last few years. A keeper of Cech’s quality and experience is unlikely to be happy warming the bench and if he opts to push through a transfer this summer, there are going to be more than a few teams lining up to sign him. According to the likes of The Evening Standard, Daily Star, Daily Mail and The Sun, Arsenal and Liverpool are interested and Ligue 1 giants PSG are also rumored to be keeping a close eye on Cech’s situation.
17 Memphis Depay
This Dutch midfielder currently plays for Eredivisie side PSV Eindhoven. Like a few players on this list, transfer rumors for Depay started during the 2014 World Cup and haven’t gone away since. In addition to a notable performance in the World Cup, the Dutch winger had a breakout performance with Eindhoven this season, scoring 21 goals in 28 league appearances. If the rumors from the Liverpool Echo and Bleacher Report are to be believed, Liverpool have been keeping tabs on Depay and plan on making a move this summer. They face stiff competition from Paris Saint-German and even Manchester United, who have entered the race – although we wonder if the only basis of this link is that Depay and Louis van Gaal are both Dutch.
Update: It's been confirmed that he'll be going to Manchester United this summer, according to Goal.com.
16 Radja Nainggolan
If one thing has stood out in World football over the last few seasons, it’s been the rise of Belgium and the number of notable Belgian players leaving their mark on the sport. Perhaps not as well-known as the likes of Eden Hazard, Belgian midfielder Radja Nainggolan has nevertheless attracted attention and been at the center of transfer speculation. Nainggolan is currently in his second season playing for Serie A club Roma. Reports say that the Italian club, who co-own Nainggolan with Cagliari, can’t afford to keep the midfielder on a permanent deal. With the vultures circling it appears that, according to The Telegraph and Metro, EPL duo Liverpool and Manchester United are the two favorites to sign the former Southampton target should Roma and Cagliari fail to come to some sort of solution to keep the player in Serie A.
15 David de Gea
Every transfer window, there are some key players whose transfers begin a chain reaction of moves across Europe. Heading into the 2015 transfer window, Manchester United’s keeper, David de Gea, appears to have become central in a transfer merry-go-round. De Gea arrived at United from Atletico Madrid in 2011 and established himself as an excellent keeper. His performances have not gone unnoticed and it is rumored that Real Madrid have placed their sights firmly on United’s top keeper. There are just as many sources saying the keeper will stay as he will leave for Spain. As The Express recently highlighted, de Gea very well might be on the way out if he is used as part of a deal for some Welsh player Madrid have – but more on that later.
14 Giannelli Imbula
Marseille midfielder Giannelli Imbula, who has been with Marseille since 2013, finds himself constantly in the transfer rumor pages. If the rumors are to be believed, the 22 year old is an annual transfer target of Chelsea. Often described as a complete midfielder, in the mould of Claude Makelele, it’s no wonder he always gets linked with the EPL champions. In late April, the Sun, The Guardian and Talk Sport raised the rumor one more time – although Talk Sport did also include that Serie A team Juventus were interested. Surely any transfer means Chelsea must make room in an already full midfield. Does this spell the end for Jon Obi Mikel?
13 Ilkay Gundogan
While Ilkay Gundogan’s contract at Borussia Dortmund is set to expire in 2016, the player has made it clear he will not be signing an extension. In all likelihood, this summer will see the Bundesliga club cut their losses and attempt to get some sort of money for the German midfielder. The long standing favorites to sign the 24 year old are Manchester United who Sky Sports reported were extremely close to finalizing a deal. Of course, rivals Arsenal have also been strongly linked with Gundogan who is seen as a natural fit for Arsene Wenger’s style of play. Of course, the EPL duo could be left with nothing if, as the Daily Mail reports, Bayern Munich swoop in to snap up the German as they have with other Dortmund players.
12 Raheem Sterling
The last several years have been a rollercoaster for Liverpool supporters. Fernando Torres bailed out for league rivals Chelsea, Luis Suarez bit his way to Barcelona and the club have struggled to find stability in the league and become consistent Champions League contenders again. All the downs of last season nearly vanished when the club made a real push for the title only to fall (or slip) just short. This season, the inconsistency is there for all to see and it is all made worse by the fact that the club look set to battle to maintain a hold of their prized starlet, Raheem Sterling. The pacey winger is packed full of potential and this has attracted the eyes of some big clubs. Sports sites across the world, including Bleacher Report, were quick to announce the England international’s reported snubbing of a new Liverpool deal. Along with earlier reported interest from Arsenal, the likes of Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are keen to get their hands on the player.
11 Marco Verratti
Over the last two seasons, Paris Saint-Germain’s Marco Verratti has been linked with moves to clubs which include Barcelona, Arsenal and Real Madrid. Through it all, the 22 year old Italian has remain firmly rooted in the French capital, making 85 appearances since 2012. This transfer window things may be different as Real Madrid look to fill a potential Sami Khedira shaped hole in their midfield. Blogs, forums and ‘reputable’ papers have lit up with rumors that Verratti would fill this void perfectly. At the end of April, the Daily Mail reported that last season’s Champions League winners are set to launch a £30 million offer to entice the Italian to the Spanish capital.
10 Iker Casillas
It’s strange to think of Real Madrid without keeper Iker Casillas. After all, he’s been with Madrid his entire professional career, beginning with their youth team in 1990. Twenty five years, five La Liga and three Champions League titles on and it appears Casillas’ days with Madrid may be numbered. The 33 year old has made over 40 appearances this season, yet rumors have him heading out to make way for Manchester United’s David De Gea. It’s a rumor which divides opinion but it’s also a rumor which will not go away. If the speculation is to be believed, then the downright favorites to secure this decorated keeper’s signature are surely Arsenal. It seems every paper in the known world is linking the Spaniard with a move to the Emirates. Of course, it also appears that other moves must take place first before this rumor even gets any wings.
9 Raphael Varane
Raphael Varane has been at Real Madrid for four seasons now. The defender has seen his pitch time slowly increase, although he remains stuck in the lineup behind the likes of Sergio Ramos and Pepe. Various papers have speculated about the player’s happiness and future at the club, leading some outlets, like the Mirror, to write that Chelsea and Manchester United are prepared to sign the Frenchman. Of course, if the central defender does choose to leave, the club with the edge (at least in the world of rumors) is Chelsea. Jose Mourinho is known to be interested in Varane. Yes, he might not immediately get into the very good Chelsea defensive lineup right off the bat, but John Terry isn’t getting any younger. The Chelsea captain is 34 and Mourinho needs to seriously consider a high quality replacement if he is going to maintain Chelsea’s defensive quality.
It won’t surprise many that Barcelona’s Pedro has his name included in the transfer gossip this year. The Barcelona forward has fallen far down the pecking order at Camp Nou thanks to the availability of offensive trio Neymar, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. He’s appeared in over 30 league matches but most of these have been as a substitute. The 27 year old Spaniard definitely wants more playing time and over the last few months various outlets have linked him to Inter Milan and Liverpool. The latest rumors, such as those in Metro, have strongly linked Pedro with a move to Arsenal to link up with another Barcelona castoff, Alexis Sanchez.
7 Mauro Icardi
Even before Mauro Icardi had played a professional senior level game, teams across Europe vied for his signature. Currently playing for Inter, the 22 year old striker is again attracting attention as the transfer window nears. With 18 league goals in 32 appearances, the Argentinian striker is seen as the perfect addition for those teams rebuilding or requiring a long term offensive threat. Over the last few months, a range of papers across Europe have Icardi linked with the likes of Juventus, Manchester United, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Tottenham and Atletico Madrid. More recently, despite the best attempts of Inter to quell any rumors, the Telegraph reported that Chelsea were in a good position to sign the Serie A striker and strengthen their offense for the 2015/16 season.
6 Jack Wilshere
Despite being with the Arsenal since 2001 and often being labelled as ‘Arsenal through-and-through,’ the rumors surrounding Jack Wilshere’s future at the Emirates won’t go away. Out of action with an injury since late November 2014, Wilshere’s time on the sideline has, unfortunately, coincided with a fantastic run of form from his North London club. Fans and media alike have linked Arsenal’s winning ways and the absence of Wilshere, leading to talk that Arsene Wenger may be willing to sell Wilshere this summer. A poor run of form by Manchester City over recent months has led many to link the former Champions and the English star with a summer transfer. The perception that City need more English talent has further strengthened this rumor to the point that is reported on by everyone from The Bleacher Report to the Manchester Evening News.
5 Paul Pogba
Another transfer window on the horizon and we are likely in store for another transfer window of relentless Paul Pogba transfer rumors and speculation. If you thought this got old last year, just wait until the end of the 2015 summer transfer window. Going by just the rumor mill, you might think Pogba is the next Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. Since his departure from Manchester United in 2012, the French international has flourished in Serie A. His skill, pace and strength have turned a lot of heads making more than a few people wonder if Alex Ferguson was mistaken by not fighting to keep hold of this player. At only 22 years old, Pogba has a potentially big future ahead of him and that’s why Juventus have reportedly slapped a massive £60 million pricetag on their player. If the rumors in the papers, including The Mirror, are to be believed then Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Barcelona are all trailing PSG, who are reportedly willing to meet the price to get this much hyped player on board.
4 Edinson Cavani
This Uruguayan footballer created his own transfer news earlier this year, when he came out criticizing the way he was being used at club Paris Saint-Germain. If there’s anything the rumor mill loves, it’s an unhappy or dissatisfied player. Despite later saying he was focused on his club and would honor his contract, the 28 year old still finds himself linked with a host of moves. In the EPL, the usual suspects, including Arsenal and Manchester United have been mentioned. Realistically, Football Italia is probably closer to the mark with Cavani heading back to Serie A with Juventus – if a move happens at all. In all likelihood, Juventus would need to move Paul Pogba or Carlos Tevez to free up the money and wages to bring in the Ligue 1 striker.
3 Hugo Lloris
When Hugo lloris made his move from Lyon to Tottenham Hotspur for £8 million in 2012, many saw it as a statement of intent from the London club. A few seasons on and some are wondering just how long the French international keeper will be happy to remain at a club which is not an annual Champions League contender. If contracts are anything to go by, Lloris is happy at Spurs thanks to a multi-year extension signed last year. However, we all know contracts often mean very little. As far back as January 2015, The Guardian started reporting that Lloris would become a target of Manchester United or Real Madrid as a result of a potential move (or no move) for David De Gea. Since then, the rumor hasn’t gone away and consistently appears in a variety of papers. With strong traditional transfer ties to both Manchester United and Real Madrid, Spurs supporters will understandably be pessimistic about the chances of seeing Lloris in the team lineup next season.
2 Mats Hummels
Since having a fantastic 2014 World Cup performance, it has seemed like Mats Hummels has been linked by the papers with every team in Europe. The imminent departure of Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp hasn’t done anything to slow down rumors of player departures – including Hummels. Since day one, the German defender has been linked strongly with Manchester United because, let’s face it, their defence is a shadow of what it used to be. The Sun and Daily Mail are just a few outlets which have been consistent in linking Hummels with the Red Devils. That said, the Telegraph has reported on the defender’s potential move to Chelsea and Talk Sport is keeping him tied to Arsenal. If you look hard enough there are even rumors about a potential move back to Bayern Munich, the team he started his professional career with.
1 Gareth Bale
It doesn’t seem so long ago that everyone’s jaws hit the floor when they read that Real Madrid had spent a whopping £85 million to sign Welsh winger Gareth Bale from Tottenham. Not even two full seasons on and the papers are filled with rumors about Bale having difficulty fitting in to the team and their tactics, as well as incompatibilities with a certain Portuguese star who had held the previous transfer record. Naturally, the transfer rumor mill has fired into full gear for this one. If there is any shred of truth to Gareth Bale leaving Madrid this summer, there are only a few teams who could possibly afford the probably insane asking price. Since PSG aren’t rumored to be interested and Madrid would sooner set the Santiago Bernabeu on fire than send him to league rivals Barcelona, step forward Manchester United and Chelsea. Every red-top in England has been covering the rumor of Bale moving back to the EPL with Manchester United for some time now. Recently, Chelsea have supposedly entered the race backed with Roman Abramovich’s well used wallet. Both teams would need to sell players to make the move possible and the last time we checked – if the rumors are to be believed – United have a certain keeper that Madrid want.
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