The transfer window can either be the most dreadful or most exciting part of a team’s season. Whether it be to unload an unpopular player, reinforce the squad with a new exotic signing, or lose a star player to a more powerful club, the transfer window always has its ups and its downs. Despite generally being the less important transfer window, the January one has had its fair share of stars change hands. Among major names traded in this short period have been Luis Suarez to Liverpool in 2011 and Patrice Evra to Manchester United in 2006. This period is one of hope or anxiety as players, at inflated prices, travel from team to team. Here are 5 transfer rumors for this window and an opinion of the likeliness of their occurrence.
Gareth Bale to Manchester United:
The Welsh star made a record breaking fee of around 100 million euros to become a Galactico at Real Madrid in 2013. He went on to score the winning goal in both of the clubs trophy wins: in the final of the Copa del Rey against Barcelona and the Champions League final against Atletico Madrid. Bale has been decent in his second season with Real, already with 8 league goals, but he has been linked to Manchester United quite often in recent times. Nevertheless, Florentino Perez has come out rebuffing claims of a transfer. “We wouldn’t listen to any offers for Bale, regardless of the amount,” he says regarding his super signing. There have been some rumors about United swapping goalkeeper David de Gea in a possible deal for Bale, but it seems unlikely. Furthermore, Manchester United would be a step down for the Wales international, making it an unlikely move. 3/10.
Saido Berahino to Liverpool:
A 21 year-old having a break-out season, Saido Berahino of West Brom scored 7 goals in his first 9 games of the season. A cool head from the penalty spot and a hard worker, Berahino has even managed to get himself an England Cap. With this sort of success comes speculation, and once again Liverpool are on the other end of it. Since around September/October there has been talk of a 23 million pound move to the Reds. Liverpool, who currently play speedy winger Raheem Sterling as their frontman are lacking a forward due to the poor form of Mario Balotelli and the injury to Daniel Sturridge. They will be looking to add a fast forward with a high work rate and it wouldn’t be surprising for Berahino to want a move from the struggling West Brom. Despite West Brom’s recent tweet claiming the rumors were “fabricated,” the allure of playing in one of England’s most celebrated clubs makes this rumor a 7/10. Add the fact that Baggies manager Alan Irvine has just been sacked, Berahino is a strong contender to leave the Hawthornes.
Lukas Podolski to Internazionale:
The Arsenal attacker hasn’t been a common name on the team sheet since joining the London side from FC Koln. Having played in only 7 games in the first half of the 2014/2015 season, he has made clear his intentions to ply his trade elsewhere. It is reported that officials from both the English and Italian sides have already met to agree a fee. The 29 year-old would likely want to restart his career. 8/10 for Inter, 9/10 he leaves Arsenal.
Mario Mandzukic to Manchester City:
After a successful season at and surprising sale from Bayern Munich, the Croatian target man has scored 14 times in 22 for Spanish side Atletico Madrid, showing his adaptability after only 5 months in a completely new league. Furthermore, City’s injury list of Kun Aguero (league’s leading scorer with 14), Edin Dzeko, and Stefan Jovetic has forced Manuel Pellegrini to use midfielder James Milner as his striker against Sunderland on Sunday. It also helps the Citizens that Fernando Torres recently arrived in Madrid to sign for the side he formerly captained before his move to Liverpool. Atletico, however, might be unwilling to sell the striker they purchased earlier this year, making it difficult for this transfer to have a clear green light. But since any transfer with Manchester City’s funds is just a matter of how much the buying side wants it to happen, 6/10.
Sami Khedira to Arsenal:
The Real Madrid defensive midfielder, whose contract runs out in the summer, has been eternally linked to the Gunners. Arsenal, with a defensive midfielder squad of an aging, and sometimes reckless Mathieu Flamini, and a very unstable Mikel Arteta, have been looking to reinforce this area of their game. Enter Khedira, an engine on legs with confident dribbling and good passing, coupled with decent technique. He would cost Arsenal upwards of 20 million euro but it has been reported that, despite a lack of playing time, Khedira is “happy” to stay at Real Madrid. He calls the competition “healthy” and hints that he will fight for his position behind both Luka Modric and Toni Kroos. The German international’s attitude paired with a long injury history make this rumor unlikely to come true. 3/10.
It is necessary to mention Barcelona’s transfer ban and thus their inability to participate in this window. Other notable rumors are the departures of both Ezequiel Lavezzi and Edinson Cavani from PSG, Kevin Strootman to Manchester United, and Koke to Chelsea. A mid-window update will follow up on these rumors and more. May the games begin.