With European football’s silly season in full swing, it can be a challenge to discern between an accurate report and fraudulent speculation. Here’s a glance at the week in transfer talk, covering marquee moves both possible and phony.
Dzeko & the dominoes
No, that’s not a Balkan band playing your local sock hop, rather a far-fetched string of events all hinging on Roma striker Edin Dzeko’s reported move to Chelsea. Let’s check in on Sky Sports correspondent Kaveh Solhekol’s version of musical chairs.
Dizzying stuff that, though if it’s any consolation for Chelsea supporters, the links to Peter Crouch have died down, and the Blues seem to be targeting, well, target men to bring some steel and scoring to Stamford Bridge.
Odds this move happens: As described above? About the same chance of Crouch fitting in the back seat of a Fiat.
Nainggolan set to dart to China?
Staying in the Eternal City, Beijing Gouan has not given up its pursuit of Roma tough-tackler Radja Nainggolan. With the Chinese Super League side set to cement a move for Villarreal striker Cedric Bakambu, Gouan is looking to fill its final international roster spot with a move for the mohawked Belgian. However, Football Italia reports Nainggolan’s €50-million move to China could be off if Roma sells both Dzeko and Emerson Palmieri. Guangzhou Evergrande has also reportedly been in for Nainggolan. Hey, Radja – if you get ’em, smoke ’em.
Odds: Nainggolan seems to have overstayed his welcome at the Stadio Olimpico and has his eyes set on opening a biker bar in the Chinese capital.
Putting Javier out to Pastore
Reports have surfaced suggesting Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Javier Pastore fancies a move to Inter amid approaches from Sevilla, Valencia, and Liverpool (the last of which may actually make sense). A slew of Italian sources ranging in legitimacy from Sky Sport Italia to your nonna’s blog are running the story, and with Les Parisiens looking to balance the books for fear of Financial Fair Play penalties and Pastore burning bridges whilst out late cutting a rug, the Argentine may be in line for a Serie A return.
Odds: Relatively. Inter has the depth of a puddle filled with panettone crumbs and Pastore was at his best while sporting hot pink with Palermo.
Florentino Perez to drop some spinach on Dybala
With an aversion to making moves in the January window, Real Madrid is shifting its focus to the summer, and Los Blancos tyrant Florentino Perez has his eyes set on Juventus attacker Paulo Dybala. At least that’s what notoriously speculative Spanish rag Don Balon says, with a report Friday alleging Perez sees Dybala as the next Lionel Messi. Bit daft that, considering Messi is as uniquely exemplary as anyone in football – well, save for Sunderland midfielder and Ballon d’Or afterthought Lee Cattermole.
Odds: Real Madrid usually gets what it wants, except for victories at home to Villarreal, Leganes, and that feral cat that nutmegged Keylor Navas at the Bernabeu.
Bailey on the rocks
Bayer Leverkusen sporting director and purveyor of wispy ringlets Rudi Voller expects clubs to submit bids for exciting 20-year-old Jamaica international Leon Bailey. The sun is also expected to rise in the morning, and with a bountiful locker bursting at the seams with pace and trickery, it’s only a matter of time before Leverkusen makes a few euros on the lad. Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, and four-time defending Malaysian league champ Johor Darul Ta’zim FC (well, three out of four) are all reportedly in on Bailey.
Odds: Like a frost-ridden non-league pitch, Bailey is gone in the summer.
Elsewhere: Real Betis has a fancy for Nerazzurri full-back Yuto Nagatomo, Birmingham City has made a pitch for West Brom’s Sam Field, everyone loves Norwich City goal-scorer/fourth U.S. president James Maddison, and Gregory van der Wiel appears set to swap Cagliari for MLS Cup holder Toronto FC, a move that would be van der wild.