As the world recovers from its collective New Year’s Eve hangover, the transfer window is open and ready for business. This means the words ‘EXCLUSIVE’, ‘BOOM’ and ‘BREAKING’ are going to be used as much as possible for the next 30 days. Strap yourself in, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
Eden Hazard to Real Madrid
The moment Eden Hazard’s father dropped Real Madrid’s name into the conversation, we all knew what was coming. The comment was completely intentional. Unfortunately on the dirty side of football, more so during contract negotiations, it’s all about forcing the other party’s hand.
Chelsea are stalling on offering the terms Hazard put to them. To give talks a little boost towards an amicable solution, why not name drop another potential destination? Real Madrid and Zinedine Zidane are known admirers of Hazard after all. In fact, the Frenchman said the tricky forward is only behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in terms of quality.
Over in Madrid, fans are desperate for change. They want new faces in the squad to replace others who are outstaying their welcome. But despite Hazard Sr mentioning Real Madrid as a possible destination, in Spain, there’s next to nothing that suggests the club will make a move for Hazard.
Both AS and MARCA are using Hazard’s face on the front page because there isn’t any football to talk about. But the stories themselves are simply rehashes of what is being said in England. It feels like someone is desperate to get a new deal, on his terms, at his current club. For now at least.
Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona
This transfer was already bubbling under the surface before Nike decided to get in on the act. An oversight by a nightshift employee or a deliberate ploy to drive traffic to their website caused the red half of Liverpool to implode. Was Coutinho already a Barcelona player?
The signing of Virgil van Dijk only increases the belief that Coutinho is heading out of the door at Anfield. But even those who came to terms with this inevitable conclusion last summer must be a little uncomfortable with the idea of losing Coutinho this month.
Similar to the Hazard story, a lot of the headlines are being created by English reports as opposed to fresh information in Spain. I think we all know Coutinho will end up at Barcelona but with him being ineligible for the Champions League, surely waiting until the summer suits both parties?
Arda Turan to Everton
What happened to Arda Turan? The fiery Turkish playmaker, occasional boot thrower, was a key man under Diego Simeone but is somewhat of a ghost at Barcelona. A mixture of injuries and increased competition makes Turan an expense Barcelona no longer wish to foot the bill for.
The initial plan for Turan was a return to Turkey but this is proving to be complicated due to his high wages. The player is unwilling to take a pay cut and that’s why a move to Arsenal quickly broke down. But a move to the Premier League isn’t completely off the table just yet.
According to Mundo Deportivo, Everton are one of the teams keeping an eye on developments. Flush with money and a desire to inject a bit more quality into their starting XI, Turan could be a shrewd signing for the right price.
Turan wants to resolve his future this week. He’s happy to stay at Barcelona and try to force his way into the first team, however unlikely that appears right now. Turan is yet to make a single appearance this season. If Barcelona close the door on the first team squad, could Turan join the arch rivals of the player likely to replace him?
Vicente Guaita to Watford
Now this story is one which originally came out in the Independent. Marco Silva is constantly looking to improve his side and more so after going through something of a slump. One victory in his last eight league matches – with six losses – is not what he was hoping for.
It makes sense that Guaita would be a player on his radar. While Heurelho Gomes is a solid option between the sticks he is also approaching 37 years of age. Guaita is six years his junior and enjoying the best form of his career to date at Getafe.
The former Valencia stopper is riding a wave of confidence in the last 12 months to propel himself into the limelight. After initially being the backup goalkeeper for Getafe in LaLiga 1|2|3, he regained his spot as they were promoted to Spain’s top tier.
This year he’s been a key reason for Getafe’s fine start to life in LaLiga. Not quite at the level of Jan Oblak and Marc-Andre ter Stegen, he’s certainly in the mix for being the third best keeper in Spain. It might have taken him longer than expected to reach his potential but Guaita could be a smart purchase for Watford. And cheaper than raiding a goalkeeper from a fellow Premier League club.
Steven N’Zonzi to Arsenal (or West Ham)
If Guaita is at one end of the scale for his stock rising this season, N’Zonzi is the polar opposite. After resurrecting his career in Spain the last six months have been a great disappointment for everyone involved. Off the field issues, born of wide-scale changes, has seen N’Zonzi go from midfield lynchpin to unused squad member.
The natural solution appears to be a return to England. With a son in North London, Arsenal quickly jumped to the front of the queue to rescue the unhappy Frenchman from his Sevilla hell. However a change in coach could see those hopes dashed.
Eduardo Berizzo felt the best option to dealing with the wantaway midfielder was isolating him from the team. New manager Vincenzo Montella subscribes to a different methodology. “N’Zonzi is a great player for me, so one of my objectives is to speak with him. I need to see what his ambitions are. For me, he’s an incredibly important player for Sevilla.”
For now N’Zonzi is training as normal so maybe his name is off the list of potential transfers out of the club. Sevilla insist, up to this point, they are yet to receive a single offer for N’Zonzi. Will he push for a move now the transfer window is open? We should know within the next week or so.