Marouane Fellaini, Isco, Aubameyang, Alex Teixeira rumours rated
There's a lot of talk and speculation, but when it comes to transfers, how do you separate fact from fiction? David Amoyal looks at some of the current rumours and predicts how likely the proposed moves are to actually happening.
Teixeira to Chelsea: January (30 percent); summer (75 percent)
Some transfers are more of a question of when than if. This is the case for Alex Teixeira's potential move to Chelsea, which will almost certainly happen at some point in 2016. The Brazilian offensive midfielder continues to dominate in the Ukrainian league, and after turning 26 this week, he's ready for a bigger stage.
Chelsea is very interested in acquiring him, while their front line has shown some improvement, they want to add another option to the mix. Alex Teixeira fits the profile of what they are looking for. The player is also very eager to join the Blues. Now, the hurdle is convincing Shakhtar (a club of considerable financial means) to let him go in January.
Chelsea is willing to go bid up to £30 million at the moment, but they may have to wait until the summer to complete the deal. Considering how much Teixeira wants to join Chelsea, even not being in next season's Champions League won't hurt the Blues' chances.
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Fellaini to Milan: 25 percent
After improving the defense (Alessio Romagnoli) and attack (Carlos Bacca) Milan is now focused on bolstering their midfield during winter window. Their top target is Manchester United's Marouane Fellaini. The Belgian midfielder has struggled to find consistent playing time under Louis van Gaal, and is another player looking to see the pitch more to get ready for Euro 2016.
At the moment Milan wants to acquire him on loan, while United wants to sell him outright. The club have set a €20 million price tag according to Di Marzio. Milan may be willing to make a financial sacrifice (like a forced option to buy after a certain number of games played) if they can sell Stephan El Shaarawy, who was recently linked to Roma and Bournemouth.
Milan's executive director, Adriano Galliani, was recently asked about Fellaini, and while he did say he likes him, he said Fellaini wouldn't arrive unless Milan sells one of their seven midfielders. It should also be noted that Galliani is the master of the deceiving statements regarding transfers. Should Leicester close the deal for Nigel De Jong they could produce the domino effect that sends Fellaini to Milan.
Aubameyang to Arsenal: 30 percent
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was following Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang when the striker was playing for Saint-Etienne, but Wenger didn't pull the trigger and he ended up at Borussia Dortmund. Now it may cost Arsenal an exorbitant amount to sign Aubameyang, and even with a monster bid there are some hurdles to sign him.
Aubameyang is under contract through 2020 and the German club doesn't have much depth up front. The rumors of a move to Arsenal intensified when Aubameyang was excused from practice for "personal reasons", but it turns out he was allowed to leave to attend the CAF Awards in Abuja rather than a reason related to a potential transfer. On the positive side for Arsenal, Aubemeyang will turn 27 in June and it will be difficult for the striker's price to increase moving forward.
Isco to Manchester City: (10 percent); Juventus (10 percent)
Manchester City continues to shop in Spain, and despite their depth at this position, the Citizens have been heavily linked to Real Madrid's Isco, who continues to struggle to find consistent playing time. In the Galacticos' past 10 matches in all competitions, Isco has only played for the full 90 minutes three times. Prior to Rafa Benitez's departure, it appeared that Isco would finally leave, but Zinedine Zidane's recent appointment makes this very unlikely, at least in January.
Considering Manchester City's excellent options up front, Isco may not be guaranteed a starter's role. Juventus, on the other hand, could offer him the chance to play regularly, and while they do not have City's bank roll, they do have great relations with Madrid, as demonstrated by the Alvaro Morata deal which could serve as a blueprint for the Isco negotiation.
Juventus could acquire Isco in 2016, while giving Real Madrid a buy-back option after two years at a higher price than they would pay originally. But should something like that happen, it will almost certainly have to wait until the summer since Zidane has pledged to give Isco a chance.
Ranocchia to Liverpool: 35 percent
There are reports of Liverpool pursuing Inter Milan defender Andrea Ranocchia, as the center back is looking for an opportunity to play regularly so he can bolster his chances of making Italy's squad for Euro 2016.
Ranocchia's preference is to stay in Italy. While Liverpool is a more appealing destination -- and one where he would play because of all the injuries on defense -- Ranocchia will certainly want to evaluate the offers from Serie A clubs.
Ranocchia could join either Bologna, Sassuolo or Torino on loan for rest of the season --these clubs will likely need Inter to chip in for the wages -- where he would be a starter. Ranocchia could then return to Inter, who may cash in on Jeison Murillo this summer, rather than signing for Liverpool. The X-factor could be Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, who wanted to sign Ranocchia when he coached at Dortmund. Could he convince the defender to join Liverpool in January? Certainly possible.
Zaza to Premier League: January (30 percent)
Another player looking for more time on the pitch to increase his chances of participating in Euro 2016 is Simone Zaza, who has been linked to Premier League teams since last season when he played for Sassuolo. Crystal Palace has taken the most concrete steps recently, but Zaza has been on West Ham's radar for quite some time and there are reports he could be Arsenal's fall-back option should Aubemayang stay at Dortmund.
Juventus spent €18 million to bring Zaza to Turin over the summer, and while they are publicly stating they want to keep him, they would be open to moving him should the player push for the move. The Bianconeri could reinvest the proceeds on a midfielder and bring back Alessandro Matri from Lazio on a low cost deal to provide depth upfront.
Update on last week's rumors
While Manchester United has strong interest in Felipe Anderson, the deal is not imminent or particularly close. It could still happen in January, but Lazio could be switching coaches soon and they need to see what happens with Ravel Morrison, Antonio Candreva and Lucas Biglia.
No significant changes on the other rumors.
David covers transfer news for ESPN FC and works for Gianluca Di Marzio's website. Twitter: @DavidAmoyal.