World Football

Power Ranking the Week's 20 Hottest Transfer Rumours: Karim Benzema to Arsenal?

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentMay 15, 2014

Power Ranking the Week's 20 Hottest Transfer Rumours: Karim Benzema to Arsenal?

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    Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

    Bleacher Report presents a power ranking of the 20 hottest transfer rumours, news and signings.

    So, how will these 20 transfer-window rumours be ranked? The rumours will be ranked according to name recognition.

    The less identifiable the rumoured player is, the lower the rumour will be ranked and vice versa.

20. Mustafa Amini

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    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    Borussia Dortmund central midfielder Mustafa Amini is still working hard, despite a bittersweet experience thus far. 

    He toiled in the 3. Liga with Borussia Dortmund II and dealt with the fallout of his proposed first-team debut being quashed after an untimely injury.

    "The injury was frustrating and very hard for me," Amini said, per Philip Micallef at SBS. "My contract will expire next season but I'm confident it won't be my last here."

    It would be in Amini's best interest if he lowered his standard and aim for a 2. Bundesliga team or an Eredivisie club.

    Amini is one of Australia's most technically gifted footballers. 

    He can control play in midfield, has vision and is still only 20 years old. 

    Hopefully his career does not go down the drain like Kaz Patafta, who never recovered after failing at Benfica. 

19. Mat Ryan

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    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    Club Brugge goalkeeper Mat Ryan is not being closely followed by Real Madrid, according to his agent, Mikkel Beck.

    "I haven't had any contact with Real Madrid about Matty," Beck said, per the The Australian. "But it's no secret that he's had a great season and of course in Europe when you have a great season then people start to follow you."

    The Ryan-Real rumours were started by his former manager, Graham Arnold, who claimed the Spanish giants were interested in the 22-year-old Australian international goalkeeper, per Cameron Leslie of ABC Grandstand Online.

18. Krisztian Adorjan

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    Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

    The future of Liverpool central midfielder Krisztian Adorjan is in limbo after Groningen decided not to extend his loan into a permanent deal, per talkSPORT

    There was a significant talent gap between Adorjan, 21, and 17-year-old centre-forward Richairo Zivkovic and 21-year-old left-forward Filip Kostic. 

    Zivkovic will be an Ajax player next season, per Gerrit van Leeuwen at Sky Sports, while Kostic scored 11 goals and registered seven assists this season. 

    Adorjan was a bit-part player at Groningen. 

17. Didier Ya Konan

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    Lukas Schulze/Associated Press

    Everton are one of several Premier League clubs interested in signing Hannover 96 centre-forward Didier Ya Konan, per Sky Sports.

    Mame Biram Diouf (18), Artur Sobiech (12) and Artjoms Rudnevs (12) have all started more games than Ya Konan (nine) this season. 

    Mainz centre-forward Shinji Okazaki, who has scored 15 goals this season, would be a better transfer target than Ya Konan, who is the fourth-choice centre-forward at Hannover. 

16. Papakouli Diop

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    Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

    Swansea City are in the running to sign Levante defensive midfielder Papakouli Diop, per Chris Wathan at WalesOnline.co.uk

    Diop accumulated 96 tackles and 47 interceptions in 33 La Liga games. 

    He chipped in with four goals. 

    Two problems in his game is giving away needless fouls and turning over the ball 29.5 percent of the time he tries to pass.

15. Alaixys Romao

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    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    Marseille central midfielder Alaixys Romao is open to a move to the Premier League, per Sky Sports.

    Romao started 35 Ligue 1 games this season and brings grit to midfield. 

    Should he move, it could open up a regular starting spot for either Gianelli Imbula or Mario Lemina, two prospects with high upside.

14. Tom Ince

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    Scott Heppell/Associated Press

    Blackpool's Crystal Palace loanee Tom Ince is close to moving to Inter Milan, per Simon Johnson at the Daily Mail.

    Ince has been average for a resurgent Palace under Tony Pulis, only scoring once in eight Premier League games. 

    Inter play a 3-5-2, so unless Ince wants to be a wing-back, the move seems bizarre. 

    Ince's father, Paul, played for Inter from 1995-1997. 

13. Alberto Moreno

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    Fernando Bustamante/Associated Press

    Liverpool see Sevilla left-back Alberto Moreno as starting material, per James Pearce at the Liverpool Echo.

    Moreno has world-class potential and is already a Spanish international. 

    However, he is not the can't-miss prospect some believe he is. 

    There are noticeable holes in his game: He is often caught out of position, his tackling is hit-and-miss and he is not yet in the class of Wolfsburg left-back Ricardo Rodriguez.

12. Joe Cole

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    Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

    Joe Cole is available to potential suitors on a free transfer.

    "My relationship with West Ham [United] is great, but obviously it didn't work towards the end of this season, I didn't play enough," Cole said, per Joe Moore at talkSPORT. "I'm a free agent now and I'm looking for a new club."

    Cole played more games off the bench (14) than as a starter (six) in the Premier League this season. 

    He struggled to beat out Stewart Downing for a starting position, and Mohamed Diame moving out wide probably was the last straw for Cole.

11. Roberto Firmino

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    Michael Probst/Associated Press

    Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is targeting Hoffenheim central attacking midfielder Roberto Firmino, per Ben Jefferson at the Daily Express

    Firmino is an extraordinary footballer. 

    He can conjure up Ronaldinho-like brilliance, take on players like Djalminha and put in tackles like Gilberto Silva. 

    Firmino is a once-in-a-generation-type player. 

    To think it has been three years since Marco Pezzaiuoli threw on an unheralded rough diamond in Firmino.

    He has come a long way from being an inconsistent talent to one of Europe's best prospects.

    This season, Firmino scored 16 goals and registered 11 assists.

    His total goals output in league play (27) is more impressive than Eden Hazard's (21; 14 goals, seven assists).

10. Gary Medel

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Cardiff City defensive midfielder Gary Medel will be allowed to leave in the summer transfer window if he wants. 

    "Gary [Medel] is a top, top player who deserves to be playing at a higher level than the Championship and he has proven that," Cardiff manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said, per Graeme Bailey at Sky Sports. "Nothing has come up yet, no offers have been received for Gary."

    Medel won back the ball 144 times (79 tackles, 65 interceptions) last season. 

    Solskjaer needs players who are focused on the task of getting promoted back into the Premier League.

    If Medel wants no part of playing in the Championship, then let him go.

9. Luke Shaw

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    Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

    Manchester United are ready to buy Southampton left-back Luke Shaw for £27 million, per Jeremy Wilson and John Percy at The Telegraph.

    For £27 million, United probably would be able to sign Ajax left-back/central midfielder Daley Blind and PSV Eindhoven left-back Jetro Willems and still have around £8 million to £12 million left. 

    Yes, it is a long-term investment, but it is a ridiculous amount of pressure to heap on the shoulders of Shaw, an 18-year-old. 

    Unlike signing Wayne Rooney from Everton in 2004 for £27 million, the then-18-year-old was a match-winner, whereas Shaw is a left-back with world-class potential. 

    It sets a dangerous precedent for United in transfer negotiations. 

    Hypothetically, let's say in the next five years, United are in talks to sign a German Wunderkind centre-forward. 

    The fee could be £50 million since United were willing to sign a left-back for £27 million in 2014. 

8. Adam Lallana

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    Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

    Southampton midfielder Adam Lallana will need to put in a transfer request to force a move to Liverpool, per Andy Hunter at The Guardian

    Playing in a free-roaming role, Lallana showed creativity, flair and skill. 

    The mooted fee for him is £20 million to £25 million which is an absurd amount for a 26-year-old, who would be an impact sub for Liverpool.

    Unless he is going to start every week, he is not worth the fee.

7. Danny Welbeck

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    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    Manchester United left attacking midfielder/centre-forward Danny Welbeck will be retained, according to interim player-manager Ryan Giggs.

    "We wouldn't like to lose someone like Danny [Welbeck] because he has done that, he has been here since eight or nine," Giggs said, per Sky Sports. "So we want to keep him."

    Welbeck is athletic, he is rangy, he tries hard and he would be a solid No. 9 for a bottom-tier/mid-tier Premier League club. 

    Unless he substantially improves, he will always be a secondary option for United.

6. Alex Song

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    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    Barcelona central midfielder Alex Song could make a return to the Premier League with Liverpool and Manchester United eager to sign him, per Alan Nixon and Darren Lewis at the Mirror.

    It was an odd decision from Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger to sell Song, who had registered 11 assists in the Premier League during his last campaign as a Gunner. 

    In two seasons for Barca, Song has yet to create a goal in La Liga. 

    Song should have stayed at Arsenal.

5. David Luiz

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    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    Bayern Munich will lodge a £25 million bid for Chelsea centre-back/defensive midfielder David Luiz, per Simon Jones at the Daily Mail.

    Luiz is not Chelsea's best defender or midfielder. 

    His defensive awareness levels are below-par, he lacks attention to detail and has shown no signs of improvement. 

    Statistically, he is mediocre, averaging 1.2 tackles per game and completing 81.4 percent of his passes.

4. Patrice Evra

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    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    Manchester United left-back Patrice Evra wants to join Inter Milan, per Jason Burt at The Telegraph.

    Evra played with passion, powered forward from left-back and is one of United's best transfers in the modern era. 

    Should Evra leave, United will need to either promote Alexander Buttner (Manchester United) or sign a new left-back. 

    Southampton's Luke Shaw has been touted as Evra's successor, per Jamie Jackson at The Guardian.

3. Diego Costa

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    Clive Rose/Getty Images

    Atletico Madrid centre-forward Diego Costa is set to be sold to Chelsea for £32 million, per Miguel Delaney at ESPN FC.

    Costa scored 27 league goals, which is more than Samuel Eto'o (nine), Demba Ba (five) and Fernando Torres (five) combined. 

    No more excuses for Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho should he sign Costa.

    With the squad Mourinho has plus Costa, Chelsea need to win the Premier League and make the Champions League semi-finals next season.

2. Angel Di Maria

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    David Ramos/Getty Images

    Real Madrid right attacking midfielder/central midfielder Angel Di Maria is a summer transfer-window target for Arsenal and Manchester City, per Paul Brown at the Daily Star

    Di Maria has sacrificed for Real by moving seamlessly into a central midfield role when Gareth Bale (Real Madrid) has operated on the right flank.

    It would take an outrageous bid for Real to even consider selling Di Maria, who is one of their most important players.

1. Karim Benzema

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    Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

    Arsenal will submit a £30 million bid for Real Madrid centre-forward Karim Benzema, per Jeremy Wilson at the Telegraph.

    Benzema is a big-name, but he is not as significant of an upgrade over Olivier Giroud as you would assume. 

    League OnlyGoalsShots Per GoalAssistsKey Passes Per Game
         
    Benzema 175.981.9
    Giroud16781.0
         

    What has not helped Giroud's image is him missing from point-blank range or shanking shots. 

    He gives Arsenal an aerial presence, brings teammates into play and he deserves another season. 

    He has scored five more Premier League goals than he did last season, and perhaps next season, he will break the 20-goal barrier in league play.

     

    @allanjianga

    Statistics via WhoScored.com

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