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Saturday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup: Wayne Rooney stays, but Spurs players can leave

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The biggest piece of transfer gossip on Saturday is not who’s going, but rather who’s staying. In the buildup to Sunday’s upcoming clash between Chelsea and Manchester United, Blues’ boss José Mourinho has been up to his usual trickery, talking about how United would sell Wayne Rooney to a foreign club at the end of the season.

But when asked to respond to Mourinho’s comments, United manager David Moyes said he completely disagreed, while also suggesting the club were set to offer Rooney a new contract. Which manager’s interpretation will be correct? Guess we’ll have to wait and see…

Over at Tottenham, though, it’s all about who’s on their way out. Spurs manager Tim Sherwood has made it clear changes are afoot, with the club looking to jettison players brought in by free-spending Andre Villas-Boas. Tottenham’s midfield is a bit crowded these day. The disappointing Erik Lamela is just taking up space, but it seems Lewis Holtby is set to move on, with negotiations underway with Schalke. And it looked like Spurs would be able to offload Étienne Capoue, who’s barely seen the pitch, but with Napoli set to complete the signing of midfielder Jorginho, that deal may fall through.

Liverpool may enter into negotiations with an Italian side, however, as it’s rumored Brendan Rodgers has his eye on Lazio’s Antonio Candreva. Picking up the midfielder may prove to be a headache, however, as he’s also co-owned by Udinese. Lazio are looking to acquire full ownership, but it seems the Reds may step in to offer more cash to Udinese. But with Candreva about the only bright spot for the biancocelesti this season, the rumored transfer hardly seems fair.

Keeping to the peninsula, it looks like Arsenal’s hopes of snatching up Juventus forward Sebastian Giovinco are all but dead. The diminutive striker has made just two league starts for the bianconeri this season, pushed to the bench by the arrivals of Fernando Llorente and Carlos Tévez. But the Gunners are smart enough to know that Giovinco excelled at Parma and fared well as part of Juve’s title winning side last season, and wanted to give him a chance to come to London. Alas, they weren’t quite smart enough to realize that manager Antonio Conte has a slightly irrational attachment to Giovinco, and has repeatedly stated he won’t be leaving the club this season.

“Overweight” Costa comes to Mourinho’s defense

Diego Costa, Chelsea FC
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Diego Costa says he and his Chelsea teammates are to blame for Chelsea’s horrid start to the 2015-16 Premier League season.

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Speaking Thursday, during a bit of downtime over the current international break (Costa was left out of Vicente del Bosque’s squad for Spain’s final two EURO 2016 qualifiers this week), Costa placed the majority of blame at the feet of the entire team, but went on to most harshly critique himself for coming into the season unfocused and “overweight.”

Costa, on his lack of fitness and form to begin the season — quotes from the Guardian:

“We know we’re not in the form we were supposed to be at the beginning of the season. We need to blame the players because we came back from holiday very confident, thinking we could go back into how it was last season, and then realized the team was already in a bad situation.

“I’m going to be very honest: maybe a few weeks ago, five or six weeks ago, I was not on top of my game. At least physically. We talk within the players and we know that, maybe at the beginning, we were not 100 percent as we were supposed to be when we got here. I got injured at the end of last season and then I went on holiday. Maybe I got out of my diet and, when I came back, I was not the way I was supposed to be. I was a little bit overweight. That affected my game. You can be selfish and blame it on the manager but I’m not going to do that. I’m responsible 100%, and so are the other guys.

Given that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said on Thursday he doesn’t quite know what’s wrong with the defending Premier League champions, hearing someone — anyone — speak up and explain the club’s worst start to a season in 37 years will surely be a welcome sound to any Blues supporter’s ears.

[ MORE: Liverpool appoint Klopp as manager | Allardyce to Sunderland? ]

Costa, who is eligible to return from suspension next weekend when Aston Villa visit Stamford Bridge, has scored just one goal in league play this season (six appearances) after scoring 20 in 26 games last season.

Sam Allardyce to open talks with Sunderland

Sam Allardyce, West Ham United FC
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Now that Liverpool have selected and named their new manager, it appears Sunderland are finally ready to move forward with their own managerial search. (That’s clearly a joke, because it implies Liverpool and Sunderland ever duke it out for the same managerial candidate.)

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Anyway, the Black Cats will have to hire someone to replace the recently-departed Dick Advocaat at some point. We all knew that, despite the fact he’s probably earned a shot at that level, Bob Bradley was never really going to be considered for the job. With that in mind, if you’re not going to endear yourself to the entire United States of America with this hire, you might as well go for the best unemployed manager who’ll actually consider your approach.

That’s what Sunderland chairman Ellis Short appears to have done, as it was reported Thursday that despite an initial reluctance from Sam Allardyce — let’s be honest, he actually was holding out hope for the Liverpool job — the 60-year-old most recently in charge of West Ham United was willing and ready to enter into negotiations with the northeastern club.

One of the major sticking points during Sunderland’s courting of Allardyce is expected to be his demand for autonomy in the transfer market as well as a sizable transfer budget to sign his own players during the January window.

[ MORE: Advocaat: Sunderland squad too thin, chairman to blame ]

Allardyce seems like the no. 1 guy you’d like to bring in to steady a capsized ship — cough Sunderland cough — in any situation. Not only does he have a successful track record in the Premier League, but he’s the kind of no-nonsense leader a club like Sunderland so desperately needs as they find themselves in yet another relegation battle just eight games into the new season.

Short hopes to have Allardyce signed, sealed and delivered when the Premier League returns to action next weekend. In that event, Allardyce’s first game in charge of Sunderland would be a trip to West Bromwich Albion. His first home fixture? Home to Tyne-Wear derby rivals Newcastle United, a club whose boisterous fanbase still holds a great deal of disdain for Big Sam. Sometimes the football gods really are looking out for us.