Due to Jose Mourinho's arrival at Old Trafford, the newspapers have been dominated by rumors of players joining the Portuguese coach at Manchester United. In this week's Rumor Mill, we have a couple of those Mourinho links plus a round-up of the best speculation from around soccer. Enjoy!
Rumor: Napoli to Liverpool. // Likelihood: Why not? // The Talk: Gonzalo Higuain is interested in a move to Liverpool as he tries to force his exit from Napoli, according to the Daily Mirror. The report claims the Argentinian is keen on a move to the Premier League and more specifically Liverpool. He is thought to be impressed with Reds coach Jurgen Klopp and would like to work under the German. The 28-year-old broke the Serie A goalscoring record this season with 36 goals in 35 appearances and is understood to be undeterred by Liverpool's failure to qualify for Europe. Any move could be dependent on whether Klopp can find a new home for Reds flop Christian Benteke, who the club bought for £32.5million ($47.5m) last summer.
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Rumor: Real Madrid to Manchester City. // Likelihood: The ball will be in Real's court. // The Talk: Toni Kroos is the new top midfield target for incoming Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola and not Paul Pogba, according to the Daily Star. The newspaper claims that Guardiola wants to pair Kroos with fellow German Ilkay Gundogan in the middle of the park next season at the Etihad. The 26-year-old has four years remaining on his contract in Madrid and it's thought it would take a bid of around £37.5million ($54.8m) to tempt Real to sell up. However, it's likely the Champions League winners would want a replacement lined up before any deal could take place.
Rumor: Juventus to Chelsea. // Likelihood: In the balance. // The Talk: Chelsea are in regular contact with Paul Pogba's agent over a summer switch, according to reports. Get French Football News report that the Blues are keen on the Juventus midfielder and they are in 'constant contact' over a move. If Antonio Conte's side are successful in their pursuit of one of Europe's top talents it could set them back as much as £80million ($117m). It is claimed that Pogba has privately accepted it is his time to move on and Conte has made it clear to the Blues hierarchy that the midfielder would be a key piece of business. However, the massive transfer fee plus Pogba's potential wage demands could be the stumbling block here.
Rumor: Everton to Chelsea. // Likelihood: Definitely leaving Everton. // The Talk: According to reports, Chelsea are confident of beating Manchester United in the race for Everton striker Romelu Lukaku. The Blues sold Lukaku to the Toffees for £28million ($40.9m) in 2014 and could now have to pay more than double that amount to get him back at Stamford Bridge. The striker is reportedly valued at £65million ($95m) and it's thought incoming boss Antonio Conte wants the Belgium to lead his attack next campaign. Chelsea insist they don't want to sell their star striker Diego Costa after the team only scored 59 goals in the Premier League. Lukaku, who bagged 18 goals in the league, would provide a great option alongside Costa for the starting berth in front of the usual three attacking midfielders.
Rumor: Chelsea to Manchester United. // Likelihood: Chelsea unlikely to sell to a rival. // The Talk: Jose Mourinho wants Chelsea attacking midfielder Willian to join his Manchester United revolution, according to The Sun. The Brazilian was named fans' Player of the Year and players' Player of the Year for last season and was one of the only positive points to come out of an awful campaign for Chelsea. And now, Mourinho, who was appointed as the new United boss last week, is hoping to bring the 27-year-old to Old Trafford. It is thought the Red Devils would have to pay at least £60million ($87.7m) for Willian and it's understood he is keen to link up with his former boss. The star recently praised Mourinho after 'The Special One' moved to United, saying: "Jose is one of the most successful coaches in the world and Manchester United will be stronger with him as manager. I played some of my best football under Mourinho. He is a special coach and I have a great relationship with him. Winning the Premier League with him was one of the highlights of my career. I was sad things didn't work out after that."
Rumor: Free Agent to Manchester United. // Likelihood: Likely. // The Talk: According to reports, Manchester United will offer Zlatan Ibrahimovic over £400,000-a-week ($584,000-a-week) to join Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford. Goal.com claims the Sweden international will be offered an £8million ($11.6m) tax-free signing-on bonus, with a weekly salary of £250,000 ($365,000). The potential offer would be for one year with the option of a second season, which means he would effectively earn £404,000-a-week ($590,000-a-week) over the course of his first season...staggering! However, since those reports, Ibrahimovic's agent has moved to cool talk of a move to the Red Devils. The 34-year-old's agent Mino Raiola told Swedish newspaper Expressen: "Does it have to be United that Zlatan goes to? Will the whole of Sweden not sleep if it does not happen? We have yet to decide, it'll be a surprise in the end. Everyone talks about United, which is why I don't talk to journalists a lot. There are clubs in England and Europe, some outside of Europe, but everyone thinks he must go to Manchester United. It's not true."
Rumor: Manchester City to Everton. // Likelihood: No chance. // The Talk: The Sun reports that Everton will make an ambitious swoop for Manchester City and England keeper Joe Hart this summer. The Toffees have a rich new owner, Farhad Moshiri, who is ready to bid £40million ($58.4m) to tempt Pep Guardiola into selling City's current number one. City have been linked with several keepers this summer as it's rumored that Guardiola has his eyes on a stopper that's better with the ball at his feet. Tim Howard has played his last game for the club and Joel Robles has had mixed reviews this term, so a new keeper seems a must for Everton this summer. However, you have to suspect Hart will look to a club with European football if he was to leave the Etihad.
Rumor: Gladbach to Liverpool. // Likelihood: Makes sense. // The Talk: Liverpool are looking to beat Tottenham and Borussia Dortmund to the signing of Borussia Moenchengladbach midfielder Mahmoud Dahoud, according to Goal.com. The report claims Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has identified Dahoud as the best option to improve their central midfield area thanks to his 'defensive bite' and intelligence in 'recovering the ball'. Gladbach are in no rush to sell, however, and their sporting director Max Eberl has said: "Mahmoud is an exceptional player and we have no need to sell him. He will stay with us." That said, Goal.com reckons a bid of around £25million ($36.5m) could be enough to get the Bundesliga side to reconsider.
Rumor: Bayern Munich to Real Madrid. // Likelihood: Doubtful. // The Talk: Robert Lewandowski 's agent has revealed that the Bayern Munich striker has held talks with Real Madrid. Cezary Kucharski, who represents the Polish striker, told the German news magazine Spiegel: "Real Madrid contacted us a few weeks ago, we listened to everything they said. It's a big and exciting club. We have informed FC Bayern that we've held talks with Madrid." The striker has scored 30 goals for Bayern in the Bundesliga this season and has been linked with a move away from the club this summer. However, with three years remaining on his contract in Munich, Bayern's chairman Karl-Heinze Rummenigge has said: "One thing I know for sure, Robert Lewandowski will play in the upcoming season at Bayern Munich," Rummenigge told German magazine Kicker. "There is no need to think anything else. The decision has been made: we won't let Robert Lewandowski go, regardless of what offer lands on the table. There is no pain-barrier (to what Bayern will pay) when it comes to Robert."
Rumor: Arsenal to Barcelona. // Likelihood: Unlikely. // The Talk: Barcelona make Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin their 'first choice' to replace Juventus-bound right-back Dani Alves, according to Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo. Bellerin is a former Barcelona academy youth player and the news could be of concern for Gunners boss Arsene Wenger ahead of the new Premier League season in August. The report claims that Bellerin maintains a good relationship with a lot of the staff at Barca and that he could be persuaded to return home. It is also thought that Barca's technical director Robert Fernandez made contact with the Spanish international a month ago. Despite this, Bellerin has distanced himself from the reports, saying: "Right now I'm very happy where I am, at Arsenal and focusing on the national team. With these things, until you don't know what to do until they arrive. If Alves leaves they will need a full-back, there are lots in Europe."
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