Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

Transfer rumor roundup: Van Dijk to Chelsea, Ox to Anfield

Leave a comment

More and more players are being linked with Manchester United, but — believe it or not — the Red Devils aren’t the only club seeking talent.

DiMarzio is reporting that Antonio Conte is close to securing the services of Southampton center back Virgil Van Dijk, insisting the Dutch back is Conte’s top choice ahead of Juventus power house Leonardo Bonucci (which isn’t to say there isn’t room for both). The price? An eyebrow-raising $77 million.

[ MORE: Confederations Cup scenarios ]

Meanwhile, Conte is selling talented Bertrand Traore outside the Premier League. A solid season on loan at Ajax upped interest in the 21-year-old striker, and L’Equipe says it’s a $22 million move to Lyon for Traore.

How much do you think Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is worth? Liverpool may think his value is as high as $32 million, as The Independent reports that Arsenal is prepared to sell the Southampton Academy product to the attacker-heavy Reds.

Meanwhile, Serge Gnabry‘s wild journey looks to have another stop despite a purchase from Bayern Munich this summer. Gnabry was one of Germany’s heroes at the Olympics and left Arsenal for Werder Bremen last summer. He thrived, and earned a deal to Bayern, but Kicker brings quotes from a Hoffenheim player that are hopeful of a loan for this season.

Report: Fabregas will leave Chelsea on loan in January

Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images
1 Comment

Intrepid midfielder Cesc Fabregas has spent two terrific stints in London, but may be leaving in January.

Fabregas, 29, spent 2003-11 with Arsenal and has been with Chelsea since 2014, but a lack of playing time under Antonio Conte will have him leaving the Blues in January according to Matt Hughes of The Times.

The midfielder won the Premier League for Chelsea and was one of its most influential players during the 2014-15 season, but has played just 87 minutes in the PL this season. He’s featured in a pair of EFL Cup games, posting two goals and an assist.

[ MORE: Zouma nearing return ]

Should he be available, a wide swath of teams will be interested in his services. He’s a hero in Spain, having won the World Cup and a pair of EURO titles.

But he has not won a Champions League title, famously finishing second with Arsenal in 2006, and he could chase that title on loan since he has not been Cup tied this year. Napoli, Bayern, Atletico, PSG, Dortmund… players like Fabregas aren’t often available and not Cup tied in January.

Fabregas has been tipped as a potential Serie A star with Juventus, Roma, or AC Milan amongst others, and it’s easy to see his silky skill set transitioning into Italy. He’s also been linked with Real Madrid as recently as this summer.

Or could Conte want to wreak havoc on his Premier League opposition by loaning Fabregas inside England. We saw Jack Wilshere loaned from Arsenal to Bournemouth; What if Fabregas wants to stay in London for half a year, and Palace wants to make a splash?

There’s also a goofy part of us that wants to see him sign for any team with a ‘D’ after spending time with Arsenal, Barcelona, and Chelsea. FC Dallas or DC United are okay with us. He’d fit in fine.

It’s getting late. Forgive us.

Rumors know no window: Pjanic from Roma to Liverpool for $57 million?

1 Comment

According to multiple reports, Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool badly want to pry Roma midfielder Miralem Pjanic away from his Italian side.

Pjanic, who turns 25 on April 2, created more chances than any other player in the group stages of this summer’s World Cup (Sky Sports), and the Bosnia and Herzegovina star is expected to cost Liverpool or any other suitor a rather robust $57 million (especially given the four-plus years left on the Roma deal he signed last May).

[ MORE: Champions League roundup ]

Pjanic is listed as the 18th most-effective player in Serie A by advanced statistics web site Squawka, but what’s more impressive is that his possession score is the second-best in Italy’s top-flight. That puts him ahead of some pretty good company:



For comparison’s sake, Pjanic’s overall score of 552 is somewhere between Samir Nasri and Jordan Henderson in the Premier League.

Of course the media narrative is, “Can Pjanic be the next Steven Gerrard?” That’s an absurd question on many different levels. Not because Pjanic can’t be as good as Gerrard, but because labeling every player the next “X” from your club is a troubling trend. As someone who’s grown up watching his hometown clubs seek out the next “Jim Kelly” and “Dominik Hasek” for a couple decades? Yeah, just seek out “next star midfielder.”