The new year rings in the start of the transfer window and inevitably an abundance of transfer news. In the first of our daily January roundups, Saikat Mandal and I take a look at a number of interesting pieces of Premier League transfer gossip, and give our verdict as to their plausibility.
1. Juan Mata to Inter Milan?
First up is another Juan Mata story, with Italian football expert Paolo Bandini claiming (via talkSport) that the Spaniard could be heading to Inter Milan this January.
The 25-year-old has suffered a torrid time under Jose Mourinho this season, with echoes of the treatment meted out to Iker Casillas when the Portuguese was in charge at Real.
Mata has been tossed on and off the pitch by his manager, and while he has been the typification of patience these last few months, he was on the verge of bursting into flames when subbed off during the 3-0 win over Southampton on New Year’s day.
Baldini, who has written for the Guardian since 2004 covering Serie A, claimed that the future of Fredy Guarin could have an effect on Mata’s movements.
The journalist claimed that Inter and Chelsea have already held talks about a deal for Guarin, and it was thought that the deal hinged on whether the Serie A side could secure Ezequiel Lavezzi as his replacement.
The Argentine now seems set to stay at PSG, and a swap deal involving Mata and Guarin is now a likely possibility according to Baldini.
Saikat’s Verdict: It certainly seems possible. Mata is no longer indispensable under Mourinho, and Chelsea want Inter’s Fredy Guarin. A swap deal seems to make sense here, right?
But what about Mata’s choice? Would he agree to join Inter when he knows he has other suitors like PSG, Atletico Madrid and other European heavyweights also in the hunt for his signature?
2. Paul Pogba to Arsenal?
Meanwhile, Paul Pogba has spoken of his childhood dream of playing for Arsenal, but he insisted that he his happy at Juventus.
The former Man Utd midfiielder has been a revalation for the Serie A outfit this season, but has been linked with a move away in recent months.
Speaking to Republica in Italy, Pogba said: ‘At Juventus I’m doing fine. I don’t hide the fact that as a child I dreamed of playing for Arsenal and FC Barcelona.’
Tom’s Verdict: Despite the French connection at Arsenal, this is a rumour that will surely fade away into nothing. The player is happy in Turin, and Arsenal will surely focus on strikers this January transfer window.
3. Arturo Vidal to Manchester United?
With a creaking defence, an injury hit front-line, and a hugely lacking midfield, Man Utd are in dire need of thorough reinforcements this January.
Midfield seems to be the area of most concern, and United have been linked with moves for some of the world’s top operators. Reports currently surfacing from Italy (via Le 10 Sport) are linking the Red Devils with a blockbuster move for Chilean international midfielder Arturo Vidal.
Italian website ‘Sport Mediaset‘ have claimed that Juventus are preparing a move for Utd winger Nani, and Moyes is rumoured to be considering using the Portuguese attacker as a makeweight in a potential deal for Vidal.
Tom’s Verdict: Very doubtful. The 26-year-old only signed a contract extension last month, meaning it would take an astronomical fee to even begin talking with the player. Vidal also sounds happy in Italy, saying,
“I am fine in Turin and my family is very happy in the city,” he told the Italian press in November of last year.
“In addition to that, I want to keep on winning titles with Juventus.”
4. Ivan Rakitic to Liverpool?
Finally, Liverpool are waiting to see if Sevilla midfielder Ivan Rakitic wants to remain in Spain, with the Croatian’s current deal set to expire in 2015.
The 25-year-old has grabbed seven goals in 15 La Liga games this season, and the Daily Mirror have claimed that Brendan Rodgers’ side are looking closely at the player, along with rivals Man Utd.
With an apparent £33m price tag on his head, a January move seems to be out of the question, but the English duo may return to see how the land lies in the summer, with Rakitic’s decision crucial.
Saikat’s Verdict: Rakitic could be a great addition for Liverpool. Having said that, the Reds do need to invest in areas of concern, at least in this transfer window, so the Croat may be just a shiny toy that Liverpool can do without at the moment.
Brendan Rodgers should put focus on finding a defensive midfielder, a full-back, and on securing the signing of Mohamed Salah.
What do you think? Do you agree with our verdicts? Let us know in the comments below…