Sunday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup: Chelsea in for Cavani? Or Costa?

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It’s no secret that Chelsea have a bit of a forward problem – as in, their forwards have trouble producing goals with any regularity. With the Blues’ midfield, goals still are inevitable, but the side are still in need of firepower up top. So why not secure the services of Edinson Cavani? The striker moved from Napoli to PSG just last summer, but it’s reported the Uruguayan isn’t settling in well, possibly due having to play out wide to accommodate Zlatan Ibrahimović. Cavani’s made just 16 starts for PSG yet scored 13 goals, making him an attractive target for the Blues. However, in order to fund the move, it’s said that Chelsea will need to sell Romelu Lukaku.

If poaching Cavani from Paris doesn’t work out for Chelsea, they may be able to land Diego Costa from Atlético Madrid. The latest buzz says the Blues have already reached an agreement with the Spanish side to bring in the forward in the summer, meeting the £32m buyout clause necessary to secure his services. The Brazilian has 19 goals in 20 games, which is sure to make keeping Lukaku look like the least attractive option.

Speaking of Lukaku, Everton are eager to make a loan signing permanent…but it’s not that of the Belgian. No, apparently Roberto Martinez thinks that it’s Gareth Barry that’s been the most influential member of the side this season, and he wants to land the midfielder on a permanent contract this summer. Barry’s contract with Manchester City runs out come June, and the Everton boss has said it should be a priority for the club to keep the 32 year old.

Moving to the red side of town, Liverpool are hoping to sort out their midfield problem by bringing in André Gomes from Benfica. With Lucas out for two months and Steven Gerrard plagued by a reoccurring back injury, Liverpool are prepared to pay top dollar for reinforcements. That’s fortunate, as after Chelsea snapped up Nemanja Matić last week, Gomes’s price is sure to shoot up. In fact, it seems the Portuguese side want £12.4m for the 20 year old.

Finally, it seems that, despite paying £37m for Juan Mata, Manchester United aren’t yet done doing business in the January transfer window. At least, the club hopes they’re not finished yet. Tongues started wagging after David Moyes was spotted in the stands watching Bayern Munich beat Borussia Mönchengladbach, but now rumors suggest that the United boss wasn’t just looking at Toni Kroos. The midfielder is represented by the same company that handles Marco Reus, and Moyes is thought to have asked about the Dortmund attacker as well. However, neither is likely to be available until the summer.

Agent: “There’s no hatred” between Bale, Ronaldo

Gareth Bale & Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid CF
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Gareth Bale doesn’t at all dislike Cristiano Ronaldo — or vice versa — despite what may seem a lukewarm on-field relationship between the two Real Madrid superstars, insists Jonathan Barnett, agent of Bale.

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Instead, Barnett insists that the two men with very different personalities have a healthy relationship, and competition, that pushes each Galactico to be the best player he can be.

Barnett, on Bale’s relationship with Ronaldo — quotes from the Guardian:

“They don’t go out eating every night together, but it’s fine. There’s no hatred there. Gareth is a quiet guy. They’re complete opposites. But I think Gareth can learn a little bit from Ronaldo as well, interacting maybe a little bit. But he wants his own life and he lives it. Gareth is a great footballer, he doesn’t want anything more. He has some very good endorsements but his whole life is to be the best footballer in the world. I don’t think he wants to be the best model in the world or the best underwear seller. That’s not him.”

That’s a hilarious closing quote from Barnett, but he knows exactly how some folks are going to interpret it: “Bale thinks Ronaldo loves himself too much.”

[ MORE: Giroud: “I must harden myself” to unseat Walcott ]

There’s nothing better for the ultimate success of a team than healthy, friendly competition between teammates who are spectacularly talented as Ronaldo and Bale. The former will only be around to perform at his current level for so much longer, but at what point does the latter officially take the torch and supplant Madrid’s biggest star, and how accepting will he be of passing that proverbial torch?

Olivier Giroud: “I must harden myself” to unseat Walcott

Olivier Giroud, France
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Is it just me, or does the press really only ever get noteworthy quotes from players during international breaks?

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I suppose it’s not surprising, given Premier League players get away from the mean ole British press, go back to their respective homelands and speak with journalists they’ve likely known since their early playing days, thus feel more comfortable opening up about key issues.

Anyway, today we have Olivier Giroud essentially calling himself out for having lost the starting striker’s job at Arsenal because he’s been outplayed of late by Theo Walcott. As discussed before, this is bad news for Giroud because he’s now falling down the depth chart for France with next summer’s European Championship on the horizon.

[ MORE: Aguero admits he wants Guardiola link-up ]

Giroud, on losing his place at Arsenal — quotes from the Guardian:

“At Arsenal, I am in competition with Theo for the striker position. But he is doing well at the moment, so there is no reason to change.

“Whether it was at Tours, Montpellier or Arsenal, I have never experienced a situation like this, I have often played from the start. I need to take positives and to harden myself mentally. It is something new for me.

“I was in [Walcott’s] place in previous seasons at Arsenal. I imagine what he must have been thinking. But I feel that the coach believes in me.”

Giroud goes on to cast into doubt his own confidence, stating in very certain terms he needs “to believe more in [his] abilities.” Giroud’s always come across as a bit of an existentialist, but it’s always strange to hear players publicly call themselves out — particularly their confidence — as if that’s not going to increase the pressure currently weighing down on them.

[ MORE: Rodgers reportedly chosen to take over at Aston Villa ]

The next eight months are going to be monumentally important in Giroud’s career, as the 29-year-old attempts to prove he’s worth keeping around at Arsenal and deserving of a place in the national team squad for next summer’s EUROs, which are to be played in France.