Man United readying Ronaldo, Neymar, Bale bids; Rooney may move to China
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.
United plotting mega move
After United crashed out of the Champions League with a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Wolfsburg, the barbarians are circling at the Old Trafford gates. It's desperate times for Louis van Gaal and chief executive Ed Woodard, and in this space, desperate times call for desperate rumours.
And oh do we have a beauty on that front courtesy of The Times in London. The outlet reports that Manchester United are gathering funds to make a mega move to bring one of Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo or Neymar (or maybe all three) to the club. OK, the chances of these three megastars all landing in Manchester are very slim and it's hard to imagine that even a club with United's resources could afford the fees and wages it would require to make this work.
However, the story goes on to say that the club's brass feels the product on the pitch "lacks stardust," and any of the above names would qualify there. All but Anthony Martial have failed to deliver on some lofty summer fees and even loftier expectations for the 2015-16 campaign.
The deal breaker for any of these high-profile names making a Premier League move could come down in large part to the competitive nature of England's top flight. Many players are wary of the limitations and demands that can come from playing in perhaps the most physical and competitive league in the world. A senior United source told The Times: "They know if they play in La Liga they can score 40 or more goals, but in the Premier League you're probably looking at 20 to 25."
For what it's worth, United are also rumoured to be monitoring Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski and Tottenham's Harry Kane. Van Gaal's spending since arriving at Manchester United totals £285 million -- a figure that seems likely to grow much larger if any of this pans out.
THE BEST OF ESPN FC
- Bell: Liverpool fans make themselves heard
- Cox: Leicester improving | Why Poch should stay
- Okwonga: Man United's market | City's title hopes
- Laurens: PSG's pre-UCL issues | Hertha's curse
- Highlights (U.S. only): Stuttgart 1-3 BVB
- FC TV: Champions League W2W4 | LVG wrong
- News | Transfer | Toe Poke | Fantasy | FC TV | Podcast | MLS
Rooney heading to China?
With all of these big names rumoured to be headed to Manchester, the time may finally have arrived for one of the club's biggest names in recent years to leave. The Daily Mail says Red Devils captain Wayne Rooney could be the beneficiary of a three-year, £75m deal to join his former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson at Chinese Super League club Shanghai SIPG.
The CSL is growing quickly in the football-crazed nation. One reason is the astronomical sums the league's clubs are willing to shell out to lure high-profile players and managers to ply their trades there. Rooney has been fairly well beaten and battered by the press and fans for his team's noticeable lack of offense this season. Indeed, Wazza is showing the effects of age, looking a step slower on the pitch and even fluffing lines he'd have nailed in the past.
China? £75m? A less competitive playing field? Where does Rooney sign up?
Arsenal may bid for Wanyama
Now from the Mirror, where the story goes that Arsene Wenger's top priority in January is to bring in reinforcements for his injury-hit midfield. The apple of the Frenchman's eye is Southampton's Victor Wanyama, according to the report.
With Francis Coquelin, Santi Cazorla and Mikel Arteta all out for various spells with injuries, Arsenal need depth as they pursue a title push in England and advancement from the Champions League round of 16, after qualifying with a 3-0 win against Olympiakos on Wednesday. Saints will likely fight to keep Wanyama, who could fetch as much as £15m in the winter window.
Crew SC's Meram drawing interest abroad
Though he's likely still reeling from the disappointment of losing out to the Portland Timbers in the MLS Cup finals, Justin Meram should also be feeling pretty good about how he's rated internationally. MLSSoccer.com is reporting that the Iraq international could consider a move away from Columbus, despite the club picking up his option for the 2016 season.
Meram's agent admitted there's nothing concrete, but that a few teams in the Middle East have expressed interest in the 27-year-old midfielder, whose profile has grown at home after playing on the Iraqi national team. When asked about a possible move, Meram, who scored six goals and assisted on five in 28 starts for Crew SC, was coy.
"I don't know," Meram said with a smile. "We'll see."
Should Pep leave Bayern?
Shaka Hislop reacts to rumours that Pep Guardiola could take his show on the road and leave the Bundesliga giants.
- In a wide-ranging interview in English, Ronaldo also hinted that he wouldn't rule out a move to Barcelona in the future. That should come as a real shot across the bow to Real Madrid fans and perhaps throw some ice water on the aforementioned return to Manchester United.
- Giving credence to the sentiment of some Transfer Talk readers that EVERYONE is going to Man United is the latest on John Stones. The Daily Star reports that the Everton defender will be the subject of a £50m bid to bring the 21-year-old defender to Old Trafford.
- Corinthians manager Tite is hoping to count on the services of Alexandre Pato in 2016, despite offers from Europe for the in-form 26-year-old forward.