Calling Fact or Fiction on 20 La Liga January Transfer Window Rumours
In a day under six weeks' time, the January transfer window will be open for business.
Traditionally much quieter than its summer counterpart, it doesn't stop the rumour mill from turning apace.
There will be truth in some of the stories, whereas some will just emanate from an agent trying to get a better deal for his client.
The transfer window is a gift that keeps on giving as fans are glued to social media, sports news and various websites (surely only B/R is required?!), waiting for updates on who is coming to, or going from, their club.
Let's take a look on some La Liga transfer rumours already making the news and determine whether they are fact or fiction.
Valencia captain Ever Banega seems certain to be moving away from la Mestalla in January.
Ben Jefferson of the Daily Express reports that his agent Marcelo Simonian is already laying the foundations for pastures new in January:
I can only tell you that we are already talking with several clubs in relation to the next window. In the next few days I will be travelling to present all the options to Valencia.
Steven Gerrard seems convinced this time.
Perennial troublemaker and goalscorer extraordinaire, Luis Suarez was on the verge of leaving Anfield just a few short months ago.
That Fenway Sports dug their heels in to remind the Uruguayan who calls the tune seems to have worked in their favour.
I think January will be difficult for us because Luis is committed. I think he is happy. I think he is pleased with the decision he has made to stay around.
He is in good form. The team is playing well so I think January won’t be a problem.
He is the key. His goals, his performance and his form will be the key whether we finish in the top four or not.
Los Blancos may continue to flex their financial muscle, but it's unlikely any of their euros will be spent on the red half of Merseyside.
Paul Smith of the Mirror reports that the Gunners are closing in on a £22 million deal with Mesut Ozil providing Arsene Wenger with a "ringing endorsement" of the player's credentials.
It was one of the biggest on-off transfer sagas of the last window.
Rob Shepherd of the Daily Mail reports that both Barca and the Blues are willing to do business in January, but with the emergence of Marc Bartra at Camp Nou, you would have to wonder where the Brazilian might fit in.
Owing to Joe Hart's loss of form, Manuel Pellegrini is in urgent need of a top-class keeper at Manchester City and Valdes fits the bill.
Verdict: FICTION (for a January move)
Highly-rated 19-year-old Sergi Darder is a central defensive target for the Blues, according to David Anderson of the Mirror.
Despite only registering 11 La Liga appearances for the Anchovies, Pellegrini will have to persuade his paymasters to part with £34 million if they want to see the player in Manchester next year.
John Edwards of the Daily Mail reports that the Reds are in pole position to complete the transfer, after noting that the player was distraught at a proposed move to the club falling through during the last summer window.
Quite how that will sit with Patrice Evra is anybody's guess.
Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas will do everything in his power to persuade the player—he cost Madrid £25 million from Benfica just two years ago but has only been in the first-team picture on five occasions this season—to swap the Spanish capital to North London.
As a player at one of the most successful sides in the Bundesliga, there seems to be no need whatsoever for Ilkay Gundogan to consider swapping Borussia Dortmund for, well, just about anyone.
With Robert Lewandowski certain to move to Bayern Munich, Jurgen Klopp will not countenance letting another of his best players go.
However, John Edwards of the Daily Mail is reporting that the Real Madrid board have already agreed to meet Gundogan's personal terms and are preparing a £25 million bid to bring the player to Spain.
Although Xabi Alonso is in the latter stages of his career, his performance levels are still consistent.
Witness the craft, guile and bite he brings to the Real Madrid midfield, and the lack of the same in his absence.
All qualities that interest Alonso's former manager at Madrid, Jose Mourinho.
Such a move would allow Alonso one last hurrah in a league where he undoubtedly enjoyed some of the most successful times of his career.
Strong rumours have already been doing the rounds suggesting that Sergio Aguero is ready to swap the Etihad Stadium for Camp Nou.
Via the same report, Spanish publication El9 are quoted as suggesting that Aguero misses Spain and wants a return sooner rather than later.
Blues manager Manuel Pellegrini will require a suitable replacement before even considering letting Aguero leave.
Take nothing away from David Moyes.
Even after an unsuccessful long drawn-out transfer saga over the summer with firstly Thiago Alcantara, then Cesc Fabregas, the Manchester United manager has not been deterred from going straight back in for the kill at Barcelona again.
This time Andres Iniesta finds himself the focus of admiring glances from the Scotsman. However, Moyes is wasting his time. Again.
As Ashley Clements of the Daily Mail has reported, Iniesta is expected to sign a new deal at Barca before Christmas, ruling out any notion that the little maestro will turn up in the Premier League anytime soon.
Quite why Juan Mata doesn't fit into Jose Mourinho's plans is a bit of a head-scratcher.
A darling of the Stamford Bridge terraces and twice winner of Player of the Year, Mata has seen his Chelsea career curtailed in spectacular fashion under the "Special One."
Motivational tactics perhaps, but Mata isn't impressed.
Both Arsenal and Manchester United are also said to be monitoring the situation, but the Blues do not want to sell to a domestic rival in a move that could come back to haunt them.
That appears to have alerted Los Che, who are believed to have already started the process of raising the £25m they feel will be enough to see Mata return to the Mestalla, with sponsors and local businesses set to fund the bid.
It beggars belief that Real Madrid would let one of their most able generals leave in the January window. Yet this seems precisely what they are about to do.
Currently, Ramos earns a not-insignificant £4.6 million a year. If he were able to earn the £6.2 million per year of his contemporaries, there is no doubt that Ramos will stay in Madrid.
However, with Madrid refusing to meet those demands, Manchester City have seized the chance to move to the head of the queue for his signature with an annual wage offer of an astonishing £7.2 million.
Jorge Resurreccion Merodio, better known as "Koke," is having another stellar season at an in-form Atletico Madrid side.
Barcelona are also rumoured to be circling, but with the player central to everything that the mattress makers do, it's highly unlikely that Diego Simeone will sanction a sale.
A man-of-the-match performance for Chile against England at Wembley only added to his allure.
According to Spanish daily Sport (h/t Ben Jefferson of the Express), Manchester United are willing to offer in the region of £22 million to lure the right-winger to Old Trafford.
However, with Sanchez and his family settled in Catalonia, it's a move doomed to failure.
As with teammate Ilkay Gundogan, Borussia Dortmund's Marco Reus has no valid reason to leave the club other than if he requires a change of scenery.
Dortmund, for their part, are happy to offer Reus a hefty pay rise to ward off potential suitors.
There isn't much doubt that Antoine Griezmann has been one of the stars of the season for Real Sociedad.
As such, it would be a shame not just for La Real, but for La Liga in general, if he were to move on.
Charles Perrin of the Express notes that the player is aware of the interest:
I know that some English clubs are looking at me and Manchester United is on that list. It’s nice to hear that but it doesn’t influence my work.
Juan Camilo Zuniga
Combative Napoli left-back Juan Camilo Zuniga has fanned the flames of transfer rumours linking him with a switch to La Liga.
I have renewed my contract with Napoli and would not say too much right now on rumours that do not exist.
However, the stories are persistent and I know that in football a transfer is always around the corner. It could happen or not, but it is impossible to think of predicting the future.
And honestly I'd also add - Barcelona and Real Madrid are a dream for any footballer.
Barca are well covered in the left-back slot once Jordi Alba returns from injury, so the Spanish capital could be his more likely destination.
Angel Di Maria
Whilst there has been no comment from the player himself, the benefits of a move are obvious.
Well, Rob Shepherd of the Daily Mail seems to think otherwise:
It sounds like idle speculation.
There is increasing talk in Spain that Messi, who has struggled for form (by his own stellar standards) and fitness this season, is becoming stressed at the pressure he is put under by Barcelona to play when not fully fit.
It is impossible to speculate transfer fee and salary figures.
But a complex playing/commercial/image rights deal with Nike assuming a major role could get around regulations.
And I understand several super agents and brokers are actively looking at piecing together a deal.