Anyone who knows me knows that I vehemently hate Donald Trump and anyone who stands with him. And while I protest just about everything he does, says or believes in I’m going to steal one of his monikers, “Fake News”. The President uses that term (and uses it quite often) to derail any media coverage against him he does not like, it’s an authoritarian/totalitarian approach to free press. However in the case of soccer transfer news and speculation there could be no greater term than “Fake News” to describe the lunacy, inaccuracies and flat out lies that are being reported across European newspapers, tabloids and websites. In a week the January transfer window opens and while it’s always less hectic than the frenzied summer window it’s still a time where every player and every major team are somehow linked with ‘official’ reports. Let the silly season begin yet again…
The rumors are just beginning to resurface and they should escalate quickly once people come out of their winter holiday coma post the new year. Premier League teams are running through the gauntlet of their Christmas, Boxing Day and Pre-New Year’s Day fixtures so the sport is heavy with speculation as player’s are mysteriously left out of their team’s squads. Yes I’m looking at you Virgil Van Dijk. I’ve said it once before but I’m never going to truly believe a soccer transfer rumor until the player is on the stage holding the team’s jersey. There is just too much “Fake News” out there especially on Twitter where everyone is an aficionado. Also remember that in Europe there is betting involved in transfers, so the flow of information and/or misinformation is crucial for some people to move the gambling lines. Keep that in mind when you’re reading “credible” sources.
The first confirmed signing of the window has been made and it’s an expensive one, in fact a world record for a defensive player. Liverpool have agreed to terms with Southampton for the transfer of Dutch center back Virgil Van Dijk in the range of a whopping £75 million. The transfer breaks Manchester City’s £50m signing of Kyle Walker from Spurs this summer. It’s a massive figure but Liverpool’s defense is in such a dire situation that breaking the bank was the only move to make. Anyone who deals with Liverpool knows they can get the club to pay a premium because how desperate they are to upgrade their defense. There is no doubt that Southampton drove up the price considering their near summer arrangement was around £15m less.
We’ve seen Liverpool cough up multiple goal leads in the past month (Sevilla, Arsenal) and while Van Dijk won’t fix all their problems he should be a big upgrade over the likes of Dejan Lovren or Ragnar Klavan in central defense. The pairing of Van Dijk and Joel Matip makes for a respectable duo on paper. Liverpool has conceded 23 goals in 20 games in the Premier League thus far, they’ll need to upgrade their goalkeeper and wing-backs if they want that ratio to decrease. Expect any goalkeeper they chase to come with a hefty price tag as well.
Manchester City were also rumored to be in the mix for Van Dijk but considering how well their season is going there is no need for him in any shape or form. I’m fairly certain had City signed him Jose Mourinho’s head would have imploded. And for those of you looking to get a jump start on a VVD jersey, he’s going to wear shirt #4.
Another confirmed transfer is forward Sandro Wagner moving from Hoffenheim to Bayern Munich as the German champs sign a much needed back-up striker. This move will give Bayern the option of resting Robert Lewandowski and saving his legs for the more crucial games this Spring. Wagner has six goals in 17 appearance this season as he rejoins his boyhood club.
Everton have also made a move to sign striker Cenk Tosun from Turkish club Beskitas in a deal rumored to be around £25 million. Tosun has had a superb season thus far scoring in 13 of his 23 games this season; including four goals in their Champions League group stage. Beskitas were top of their group and now have a date with destiny against Bayern Munich. Everton have floundered this year (9th place) despite making some substantial investments this off-season: Sigurdsson, Rooney, Keane, Pickford, Klaassen and Sandro. They’ve already sacked their manager and they’re playing soccer with an Sam Allardyce identity. Tosun should help their attack which looks anemic right now.
- David Luiz who has fallen out of favor with Antonio Conte at Chelsea
- Leonardo Bonucci who just six months into his venture at AC Milan is apparently “unhappy”
- Every young defender in Europe is linked to Manchester United
- Thomas Lemar going to Liverpool because they need another speedy winger right?
- Angel Di Maria leaving PSG for Barcelona is apparently “gaining momentum”