Barcelona may be forced to sell Messi, Neymar, Suarez; Arsenal after Bender
The winter window draws closer with each passing day, and the transfer rumour mill is starting to pick up steam. As always, Transfer Talk has the latest and greatest. See all the summer deals here.
TOP STORY: Barca's hand forced on big-three sale?
The perils of being the best -- and having three of the best players on the planet -- are front-and-centre for Luis Enrique and Barcelona. On the field, things are just fine, with Lionel Messi returning from injury to rejoin forces with Neymar and Luis Suarez, who admirably kept the Catalans' ship pointed in the right direction in the absence of their Argentine talisman.
But it's on the financial ledger where things aren't quite so grand for Barcelona and it could force the Primera Division giants to sell one or all three of their superstars, according to The Sun.
The outlet is reporting that the combined wage bill for the club is a staggering 73 percent of the revenue they take in. That news, along with a planned £423 million renovation to the Camp Nou, has the team on the brink of a financial crisis.
The sublime play of the threesome has the Premier League's big spenders lying in wait if indeed a fire sale is in the offing in January. Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu insists none of his white-hot stars will be sold, but Manchester City have been regularly linked with a move for Messi and their crosstown rivals at Old Trafford are said to be smitten with Neymar.
The way this is currently going, things could get pretty hot in the winter window. Here, Graham Hunter explains some of the club's revenue-boosting options in his latest column.
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Bender tops Gunners' shortlist
The January transfer window looms large on the horizon and Arsenal, desperate to add some midfield depth given their numerous injuries, are reportedly fine-tuning their list of targets.
Top of the list, according to the Evening Standard, is Bayer Leverkusen's Lars Bender. The Germany international, contracted to the Bundesliga side until 2019, has been in Arsene Wenger's sights for a long time.
This report from 2013 suggests that the Gunners missed out on the 26-year-old for €23 million at the time. Given inflation, the price of fish, and the fact that all Premier League clubs are six months away from their biggest payday ever, we can only imagine that Leverkusen will now be demanding a figure at least triple what Arsenal were originally willing to pay.
Can you imagine Wenger parting with that sort of cash in January? Let's put this rumour in the maybe pile for now.
Moreno plays down Real link
Our previous Transfer Talk brought you the news that Alberto Moreno's agent Javier Moya had been talking up his client's talents to the likes of Real Madrid.
But, after an impressive performance in Liverpool's 6-1 demolition of Southampton on Wednesday night, the left-back played down reports linking him with a move to the Spanish giants.
"I have never had anything serious with them -- not me, not my brothers or representatives," Moreno said, according to the Liverpool Echo.
"I have not found out about that [Real Madrid's interest], I do not know whether that is true."
Seems to be plenty of whispers and innuendo around this one. Let's wait and see if Los Blancos firm up that interest in January.
Red Bulls decline option on Wright-Phillips
The New York Red Bulls have declined to exercise options on nine players for the 2016 season. Among them is Shaun Wright-Phillips, the brother of the team's leading goalscorer from 2015, Bradley Wright-Phillips.
The Red Bulls, who just lost 2-1 on aggregate to Columbus Crew SC in the Eastern Conference finals, also declined options on goalkeeper Kyle Reynish, defenders Roy Miller, Damien Perrinelle and Anthony Wallace, midfielders Leo Stolz and Marius Obekop, and forwards Manolo Sanchez and Dane Richards.
This was the second year in a row the team exited the playoffs just one game short of the MLS Cup.
- Newly re-minted Brazilian international Augusto believes a return to the Bundesliga with Schalke would be a smart one if he is to maintain his place in the Selecao national team. The 27-year-old already had one stint in the Bundesliga, spending four-plus seasons with Bayer Leverkusen before moving back to Brazil to play with Corinthians in 2012.
- The embarrassment of riches in Chelsea's youth system does have its pitfalls. The Telegraph is reporting that the club are unsure how to handle the future of starlet Charly Musonda, who reportedly has plenty of admirers from a host of European clubs.
- Things haven't gone according to plan for Ravel Morrison in Serie A, and The Mirror is reporting that Lazio are willing to set the 22-year-old midfielder free in January for a desired return to England. The former West Ham player has been on the field for only 135 minutes this season and is clearly way down the pecking order for boss Stefano Pioli.