Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Black Book of Transfers


ESPNSTAR.com brings you the updates from the big transfer rumours making the rounds in Europe.

Football's silly season has cranked into top gear after the end of the European Championships, with each day bringing with it a raft of stories. Some are based in fact, others are just about plausible while the rest sound like they've been dreamed by someone in a padded cell.
Here we take a look at all the tall tales and rate their chances of actually coming true.
1. Mathieu Debuchy
Mathieu Debuchy
Current Club: Lille
Linked with: Newcastle
What he brings to the table: Along with Jordi Alba, Debuchy was one of the most impressive full-backs in Poland and Ukraine. An attacking player with an impressive work-rate who's not scared of taking on opposition defenders, Debuchy would be an asset for any side.
Will he fit in at Newcastle? Yes. Current right-back Danny Simpson has yet to sign a new deal, despite entering the last year of his contract and his departure is looking likely with each passing day. Debuchy could be the perfect replacement.
Chances of joining: 90 percent.
Good fantasy buy? Absolutely. Given that this will be his maiden season in England and that he was not exactly a household name before the Euros, the Frenchman is not likely to be priced very high. If his recent performances in national colours are anything to go by, you can expect plenty of assists and even the occasional goal from the 26-year-old.

2. Clint Dempsey
Current Club: Fulham
Dempsey
Linked with: Liverpool
What he brings to the table: Versatility and knowledge of where the back of the net is; something Liverpool could do with. Able to play as a striker, winger or attacking midfielder, Dempsey has been one of Fulham's most consistent players since his arrival from MLS side New England Revolution in 2007. However, it was only last season that he seemed to make the transition from "good" to "could be brilliant" with 23 goals in 46 appearances for the Cottagers.
Will he fit in at Liverpool? Like a glove. Especially if manager Brendan Rodgers does set out his side to play like he did when at Swansea. Comfortable with the ball on the ground, and capable of contributing with assists as well as goals - he could turn out to be a brilliant signing.
Chances of signing: 60 percent
Good Fantasy buy? Probably not. His stock is likely to go up, and with Suarez and Fabio Borini in Reds' ranks, the American could play in a deeper role that he did at Fulham. 

3. Joao Moutinho
Moutinho
Current Club: Porto
Linked with: Tottenham, Manchester United
What he brings to the table: Moutinho has a very wide passing range and is equally adept defensively, which makes him a midfielder that any team would want. As seen at Euro 2012, it was his distribution from deeper into the flanks that spearheaded many Portugal attacks and his precise cross from the right also provided Cristiano Ronaldo with a simple headed goal.
Will he fit in at Manchester United? Definitely. With Darren Fletcher not likely to return from injury soon and Anderson flattering to deceive season after season, Moutinho seems like the perfect foil for Manchester United's passing-based midfield and an ideal fit deep in midfield.
Will he fit in at Tottenham? Not as much. Luka Modric is hell-bent on leaving Spurs and they could use Moutinho's distribution skills but both Scott Parker's industry and Rafael van der Vaart's preference to drop deep and create seem to be at odds with Moutinho's style. However, with fellow Portuguese Andre Villas-Boas at the helm, Moutinho will find himself in a comfortable environment.
Chances of signing for Manchester United: 20 percent
Chances of signing for Tottenham: 50 percent
Good Fantasy buy? Yes. The Portuguese has a fierce shot from range and always good for assists when going on the foraging runs or launching a counter-attack with his precise passes.

4. Robin van Persie
Current Club: Arsenal
Robin van persie
Linked with: Manchester City, Juventus
What he brings to the table: Top scorer in the Premier League last season with 30 goals in 38 league matches, Arsenal's captain fantastic single-handedly dragged them from mid-table obscurity back into Champions League contention. An excellent striker of the ball and intelligent outside the box, Van Persie is the perfect number 10 for any side to have - he can create and finish chances out of nowhere.
Will he fit in at Juventus? Definitely. Juventus have a strong squad in terms of creating chances with Andrea Pielo, Claudio Marchisio and Arturo Vidal in midfield but their strikers are a letdown, with none of them scoring more than 10 goals last season. Van Persie is the striker's striker and will find the technical Serie A to his liking, especially with the extra space and time that comes with the Italian game.
Will he fit in at Manchester City? Perhaps. Manchester City have the mercurial Sergio Aguero, Euro 2012 star Mario Balotelli and the industrious Carlos Tevez in their strikeforce. And not to mention Edin Dzeko, who somehow managed to conjure 19 goals despite playing a bit-part role at the club, which makes it hard to accomodate another world-class striker. On the other hand, Manchester City have had many ex-Arsenal players like Kolo Toure, Gael Clichy, Emannuel Adebayor and Samir Nasri at the club. Van Persie would feel right at home.
Chances of signing for Juventus: 50 percent
Chances of signing for Manchester City: 50 percent
Good Fantasy buy? Hell yes. Need we say more?

5. Oscar
Current Club: Internacional
Oscar
Linked with: Chelsea
What he brings to the table: Versatility and creativity up front. Oscar's passing and movement range and intelligence has seen him frequently compared to his compatriot Kaka
Will he fit in at Chelsea? Chelsea have already signed Kevin De Bruyne, Marko Marin, Eden Hazard so far.  Do they need another young, versatile attacking player who can play across the front line? Their primary concern should be deeper in midfield, where the ageing legs of Frank Lampard and Michael Essien are.
Chances of signing: 80 percent
Good Fantasy buy? Oscar is a risk given that he's not guaranteed a start and we have not seen a Brazilian actually light up the Premier League yet.

6. Hulk
Current Club: Porto
Hulk
Linked with: Chelsea, Tottenham
What he brings to the table: Hulk, like his namesake suggests, is a force to be reckoned with in front of goal. He has perhaps the longest range shot/free kick in football since Juninho Pernambucano, as witnessed in last season's Champions League and his presence up front is always a nuisance for defenders. The Brazil international's movement across the front of the pitch combined with his speed throws defenders off their stride.
Will he fit in at Chelsea? Yes. With Di Matteo preferring a 4-3-3, Hulk can easily slot in on the right wing or lead the line in the middle. The only problem he poses is that other players in similiar positions like Daniel Sturridge, Romelu Lukaku, Juan Mata, Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, Marko Marin or Fernando Torres may find themselves out of a spot in the squad.
Will he fit in at Tottenham? Like a fish in water. With former manager Andre Villas-Boas in charge, Tottenham are looking for a striker after Adebayor returned to Manchester City from his loan deal, unlikely to be offered an exorbitant wage, and with Jermain Defoe still out of favour, Spurs have lots of creativity but little finishing in ther line-up.
Chances of signing for Chelsea: 50 percent 
Chances of signing for Tottenham: 50 percent
Good fantasy buy? Yes. He's a fierce free kick taker and is an excellent finisher. His excellent physique will see him settle into the Premier League well.

7. Andy Carroll
Current Club: Liverpool
Andy Carroll
Linked with: Newcastle
What he brings to the table? Carroll is a striker of the old-school English variety. He's big, strong in the air and when he is on form, has a pretty decent all-round game that can make him England's no. 1 choice to partner Wayne Rooney.
Will he fit in well at Newcastle? Back at his boyhood club, Carroll should feel comfortable to shine under a familiar environment. The fans love him, he'll play under the same manager and he has better team mates to work with. The only issue now is that he'll probably play second fiddle to Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba.
Chances of signing: 80 percent
Good fantasy buy? Not really. He might not have that many starts with Cisse and Ba in the squad.

8. Leighton Baines
Current Club: Everton
Linked with: Manchester United
What he brings to the table: He was named the left back in the Premier League Team of the Season for good reason. Baines is stable defensively and picks the right moment to go up in support of the attack. He also has a wicked left foot that can deliver a mean cross or whip a free kick in - an asset in set pieces that served up quite a few goals for Everton.
Will he fit in? Yes. Patrice Evra is ageing and has shown to be prone to defensive lapses too frequently to be a regular starter.
Chances of signing: 30 percent
Good fantasy buy? Yes. He's an excellent set piece taker and is good for a few assists or goals.

9. Edin Dzeko
Current Club: Manchester City
Linked with: AC Milan, Juventus
What he brings to the table: Dzeko may play a secondary role in Manchester City but it doesn't diminish his goalscoring ability, with him scoring 19 goals for his side last season. Described as dominant, powerful, agile, the Bosnian has record of a goal every other game in his career and is the highest scorer in the history of Wolfsburg with 59 goals in 96 appearances.
Will he fit in at AC Milan? Yes. He is as close to a like-for-like replacement for the departed Zlatan Ibrahimovic as Milan is going to find currently.
Will he fit in at Juventus? Another yes. The Bianconeri desperately need a polished finisher and Dzeko will fit in well.
Chances of signing for AC Milan: 60 percent
Chances of signing for Juventus: 30 percent

10. M'Baye Niang
Current Club: Caen
Linked with: Arsenal, Tottenham
What he brings to the table: Raw talent - lots of it. At 17 years old, he has already made 30 starts for Caen and caught the eye of several scouts across the region with his explosive speed and strength that belied his age. Niang's playing style is similiar to a certain Emmanuel Adebayor and his young age means that he has a lot more potential to improve upon.
Will he fit in at Arsenal? Did Adebayor fit in? Yes, and so will Niang.
Will he fit in at Tottenham? Did Adebayor fit in? Yes, and so will Niang.
Chances of signing for Arsenal: 50 percent
Chances of signing for Tottenham: 30 percent
Good fantasy buy? Not yet. He's young and may take some time to get settled into the Premier League.

11. Luka Modric
Current Club: Tottenham
Linked with: Real Madrid
What he brings to the table: The Croatian is one of the most creative players in the Premier League with his movement and distribution. He can pass as well as he can dribble, has a fierce shot from range and is capable of taking set pieces when called upon. Modric is as well-rounded an attacking midfielder as there is around.
Will he fit in? Yes. He plays like a Galactico and will look at home along the likes of Xabi Alonso, Mesut Ozil, Nuri Sahin and Kaka.
Chances of signing: 99.999 percent

12. Nuri Sahin
Current Club: Real Madrid
Linked with: Tottenham
What he brings to the table: Sahin can read the game like an open book, which serves him well in the role as a playmaker but his best attribute is his killer long pass which propelled Borussia Dortmund to the Bundesliga title in 2011. Deployed in midfield, his astute positioning and tackling makes him a decent holding midfielder as well.
Will he fit in? As a partner for Scott Parker in midfield. He won't be able to contribute much further upfield with Gylfi Sigurdsson and Rafael van der Vaart playing a similiar role which may see a clash of style if Sahin is deployed as an attacking midfielder.
Chances of signing: 50 percent
Good fantasy buy? A fair buy. He's a phenomenal player, but won't get too many direct assists and goals.

13. Kaka
Current Club: Real Madrid
Linked with: AC Milan
What he brings to the table: Kaka was considered the world's finest playmaker during his prime at AC Milan but he was thwarted at Real Madrid by an unfortunate string of injuries. Kaka has arguably the best vision going into the final third of the pitch and a sublime pass to complement it - not to mention the ability to place the ball powerfully in the net from outside the box.
Will he fit in? A homecoming for Kaka to the Serie A where he was top dog in arguably the most technical league in the world will do him good on the surface but Milan have already more than enough top-class creative players in Riccardo Montolivo and Kevin-Prince Boateng.
Chances of signing: 20 percent

14. Christian Eriksen
Current Club: Ajax
Linked with: Manchester United
What he brings to the table: Brought up through the Ajax youth ranks, Eriksen is familiar with the passing-based game and he also has the skills to ghost pass defenders to set up play from the area outside the box, which is considered his lethal zone.
Will he fit in? Yes, but the only problem is that United have signed Shinji Kagawa to play in a similiar role. Eriksen's preference for the pass will suit the United midfield well though.
Chances of signing:  5 percent
Good fantasy buy? Yes. Eriksen tends to come up with assists via his through-balls.

15. Alessandro Del Piero
Current Club: Juventus
Linked with: LA Galaxy, Muangthong United, Flamengo, Watford
What he brings to the table: Del Piero is a living legend in football. He made the trequartista role famous two decades ago (imagine that!) before the likes of Francesco Totti did. Calm under pressure and blessed with an excellent touch, the 37-year-old can create as well as score a goal and is always a scary prospect to face when approaching the box. Most famously, he has scored so many goals from cutting in outside the box that such goals are named 'Gol alla Del Piero', after him.
Will he fit in? He will fit in anywhere. Del Piero showed last season that he still has what it takes to play at the top flight and his excellent instincts haven't diminished with age.
Chances of signing for LA Galaxy : 25 percent
Chances of signing for Muangthong United: 25 percent
Chances of signing for Flamengo: 25 percent
Chances of signing for Watford: 25 percent

16. Robert Lewandowski
Current Club: Borussia Dortmund
Linked with: Tottenham, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United
What he brings to the table: Lewandowski is a player who will get you goals. Strong in the air and packing a lethal shot, he was a shining star for Dortmund last season with an amazing return of 30 goals in 46 games. He was also one of the few strikers  to have caught the eye in the recently-concluded European Championships.He might be well known for his prowess in front of goal but eight assists for Dortmund last season suggests the Polish striker is something of a creative outlet and can be relied on to provide for his teammates.
Will he fit in at Arsenal? Yes. With the imminent departure of club captain Van Persie, Arsenal will need another quality striker to replace the Dutch striker and Lewandowski fits the bill as a natural goalscorer. Arsenal have enough creative outlets in the team to provide for Lewandowski, who can definitely be counted on to convert those chances.
Will he fit in at Tottenham? Yes. Tottenham's play is concentrated on their wings, with Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon tearing down the sidelines and providing tantalizing crosses for the forwards. Lewandowski is a good header of the ball and will thrive on such service.
Will he fit in at Manchester United? Probably. The plus point is that Manchester United have already signed former teammate Shinji Kagawa and the two have developed a good understanding from their time at Dortmund. However, whether Lewandowski can displace Rooney and the rapidly improving Welbeck in the starting line-up remains to be seen.
Will he fit in at Chelsea? Unlikely. It is hard to see Fernando Torres being displaced from the team now that Drogba is gone and the recent acquisitions of Eden Hazard, Marko Marin and the imminent arrival of Oscar suggests that Chelsea are looking to concentrate on their counter attacks, a playing style which requires pace, and that Lewandowski pales in that department when compared to Torres.
Chances of signing for Arsenal : 25 percent
Chances of signing for Totthenham: 15 percent
Chances of signing for Manchester United: 50 percent
Chances of signing for Chelsea: 10 percent
Good fantasy buy? Yes. With the right service, Lewandowski can be a near unstoppable goalscoring machine.

17. Bojan Krkic
Current Club: Roma
Linked with: Liverpool, Paris Saint-Germain
What he brings to the table: Bojan, a product from the famed youth academy of Barcelona which produced talents like Lionel Messi, was once considered one of the hottest prospects in football. Blessed with quick feet and good technique, he is noted for his dribbling skills and can beat any defender on his day. His versatility allows him to operate on either flank although he much prefers to play up front as a striker. 
Will he fit in at Liverpool? Probably. Bojan currently looks a little lightweight for the rigours of the Premier League but that's nothing hard work at the gym cannot sort out. Luis Suarez apart, Liverpool have too few players with genuine technical ability and they often lack the spark of genius to change the games. Bojan can provide that spark, and together with Suarez, will definitely prove a handful for even the meanest defence.
Will he fit in at PSG? No. They already have Ezequiel Lavezzi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Kevin Gameiro in their ranks and Bojan will not be able to get much playing time if he joins the French club.
Chances of signing for Liverpool : 35 percent
Chances of signing for PSG: 15 percent
Good fantasy buy? No. Despite his obvious technical abilities with the ball, he is not known to be a clinical goalscorer and can make you pull your hair out in frustration with his profligacy in front of goal.

18. Ganso
Current Club: Santos
Linked with: Tottenham, Arsenal
What he brings to the table: A typical Brazilian player with bags of skills and fantastic close control of the ball. He, along with the likes of Neymar and Pato, are expected to lead Brazil to glory in the future and the attacking midfielder certainly looks the part. Apart from being a mesmeric dribbler, Ganso, who has been compared to Kaka, also has the creativity and vision and creativity to split defences apart with his passes and is tasked with being the main creative outlet for Santos.
Will he fit in at Tottenham? Yes. The departure of Luka Modric looks increasingly likely with each passing day and Tottenham are bereft of creativity in their ranks without the Croatian playmaker. Ganso has the ability to step into the big shoes of Modric, though a certain amount of adaptation time must be granted for the 22-year-old as the step up from Brazilian football to the Premier League is a huge one.
Will he fit in at Arsenal? Definitely. Arsene Wenger is a keen admirer of technically gifted players and there is no doubt Ganso fits the mould of a Wenger signing. Young and bursting at the seams with potential, Wenger can transform this precocious talent into a world beater. Furthermore, Arsenal's passing style would suit Ganso and the Brazilian would also add some much needed flair to the team.
Chances of signing for Tottenham : 30 percent
Chances of signing for Arsenal: 60 percent
Good fantasy buy? Probably. Do not expect Ganso to set the Premier League scene alight immediately as he will need time to adapt to the physical nature of the game.

19. Wesley Sneijder
Current Club: Inter Milan
Linked with: Manchester United, Manchester City
What he brings to the table: Sneijder is one of the best football players on the planet right now and at 28 years of age, he is at the peak of his footballing prowess. A fantastic distributor of the ball, he has a passing range which at times appear to defy the laws physics and has the ability to change the game in an instant. The Dutch international has also made a name for himself as a dead-ball specialist, often scoring from free-kicks and contributing to many assists with his pin-point set piece deliveries. Deceptively quick and tricky, Sneijder also brings a wealth of experience along with him and a winning mentality cultivated from years of success.
Will he fit in? Sneijder has the quality and class to fit into any team. However, like most Dutch players, he does have a bit of a temperament problem and he could prove to be a bit of a disruptive influence in the dressing room if not handled properly.
Chances of signing for Manchester United : 30 percent
Chances of signing for Manchester City: 20 percent
Good fantasy buy? Yes. He will undoubtedly be tasked to be the main creative outlet for the team and will rack up in the assist count. Furthermore, he will also be the first choice set-piece taker for his team and this potentially means more goals and assists for him.