It feels like no time at all since the halcyon days of the summer, when the temperatures reached double figures, the taps were well and truly aff, and we were awash in nonsensical transfer speculation surrounding a ‘who’s who’ of Europe’s top players.
It’s been a quick few months since, with plenty of actual football to pass the time, but now the January window is open, it’s time to dust ourselves down and do it all again.
In the modern climate where anything with a searchable headline passes as ‘news’, however, we need some help in filtering the good from the bad, the worthwhile from the worthless, and the genuine from the just not happening.
To aid us with that, we’ve dug out, dusted off, and plugged in the old Bulls**t-O-Meter, and run a few of January’s most talked-about transfer rumours through it.
Linked Clubs: Aston Villa, Celtic, Everton, Leicester, Newcastle, Rangers
Carlisle United’s ‘giant starlet’, as he has hilariously been monikered, looks to have attracted Premier League interest with his performances in League Two this season. The humungous man-child, the Cumbrian De Ligt (who is actually only around 6ft 3′ according to our Blues correspondent Chris Deeley) looks dead certain to be signing elsewhere this month.
He’s been linked with virtually every mid-range club in the Premier League, as well as the big two in Scotland, although it’s the Toffees who currently lead the way – it seems they have tabled at least one bid as things stand.
Possibility of Future Transfer: Absolutely Nailed On
Likelihood of January Move: Very Strong
BULLS**T-O-METER RATING: 1/10
Linked Clubs: Inter, Real Madrid, Manchester United
The Danish midfielder has been flirting with leaving Tottenham for about two years now, but on the first of the month, he entered the final six months of his deal – signalling his availability for pre-contract negotiations.
With no new deal in sight since the appointment of José Mourinho, his departure either now or in the summer looks a tacked-on certainty. Inter look to be the current favourite, as they target a £20m deal that would see him join the club immediately, and that may make sense for Spurs to avoid losing a valuable asset for free.
Minimal poo here, with perhaps only some lazy reporting giving it the distant hint of a faecal aroma.
Possibility of Future Transfer: Nailed On
Likelihood of January Move: Fairly Strong
BULLS**T-O-METER RATING: 2/10
Linked Clubs: Chelsea, Manchester United
Since moving to Borussia Dortmund from Manchester City’s youth academy, Jadon Sancho has been nothing short of a Bundesliga revelation. He has been obscenely good, and only seems to be getting better, having tallied up 19 goal-involvements in 15 league appearances since August.
With that sort of form of course comes interest from his homeland, and while it seems unlikely that Dortmund will sign off on a departure for anything short of a stupendous transfer fee this month, it does seem likely he will return to England down the line.
A good deal of the reporting on it has of course been virtually made-up for clicks, making it near-impossible to tell what is legit and what isn’t. But the fact there seems to be plenty substance buried in it somewhere means it can’t rank too highly.
Possibility of Future Transfer: Strong
Likelihood of January Move: Unlikely
BULLS**T-O-METER RATING: 4/10
Linked Clubs: Barcelona
Oh for the love of…
Ok, so the story here goes that Barcelona are in need of short-term cover up front (thanks, Luis Suarez’s knee) and aren’t prepared to go for another high-profile Kevin Prince-Boateng type, since that stung their palms last January.
Their search has, apparently, led them towards the on-fire Stuani, who hammered in 19 La Liga goals for Girona last season, and has followed that up with 16 in 18 in the Segunda Division following their relegation.
Who knows with this one? It could simply be as lazy a rumour as it gets, simply because he currently plays in Catalonia, but it could equally just be a really unambitious move from Barcelona that would likely lead to riots on the streets. Time will tell which…
Possibility of Future Transfer: Barcelona or bust
Likelihood of January Move: Reasonable
BULLS**T-O-METER RATING: 5/10
Linked Clubs: Arsenal, Manchester United, Newcastle, West Ham
Watford have five good games, and all of a sudden their 28-year-old centre-back – who missed their last game with a red card suspension – is a target for Arsenal and Manchester United. Smells like the transfer window.
Come on. Just…come on. West Ham and Newcastle interested, you could almost see. Manchester United and Arsenal? Behave yourselves.
No surprise this one originated from the least trustworthy tabloid of them all, the ever-reputable [information redacted for liability purposes].
Possibility of Future Transfer: Reasonable? Depends on Watford’s survival? Who knows
Likelihood of January Move: Not hugely likely
BULLS**T-O-METER RATING: 7/10
Linked Clubs: Manchester City, Manchester United
The stench of sh*t on this one doesn’t come from the suggestion that Kalidou Koulibaly, once considered the best defender in history before Virgil van Dijk knocked him off his pedestal with a towering header, could leave Napoli in future. It comes from claims that he could leave in January. For Manchester United.
The idea that either of the Manchester clubs, in fact, would invest north of £70m on a new centre-back mid-season, regardless of how inhumanly good that centre-back is, is just silly. We all know how particular Pep Guardiola is with his central defenders, and Manchester United literally just broke the world transfer record for a defender in the summer to land Harry Maguire (ok, that hasn’t quite worked out for them, but still).
Think about these things before you mindlessly report them.
Possibility of Future Transfer: Mild
Likelihood of January Move: Not happening is it?
BULLS**T-O-METER RATING: 8/10
Linked Clubs: Liverpool, Real Madrid
*screams endlessly into the abyss*
Believe it or not, there are Liverpool fans out there who actually think, and expect, Kylian Mbappé to join them. If not this month, then in the summer.
What on earth are they all taking? There is not a chance – and I mean that, not a single chance – that they will sign him in the foreseeable future.
They don’t need it, they’re not even close to needing it. They are not even in the same postcode as a team that needs it. Nor can they afford it, really, considering it would surely cost a world record fee to lure him to Anfield.
Liverpool are looking for game-changing signings and definitely have the resources, but it is unlikely Mbappe will materialize. (Ornstein)
I have suddenly forgotten how to read and all I can see is #Mbappe2020
— LFC Fans Corner (@LFCFansCorner) January 7, 2020
This one would require Sadio Mané or Mo Salah to rock the boat with a surprise transfer request, but even if that happened, it’s likely the Reds would turn their attentions to making another star, rather than buying one.
So, a request to you fools who have #Mbappe2020 trending, just because both Liverpool and Mbappé are sponsored by Nike: stop it.
Possibility of Future Transfer: Possible-ish, if PSG’s owners withdraw their funding, or Real Madrid bid Jeff Bezos’ entire net worth
Likelihood of January Move: *bangs head off desk at the thought of reading another story about it*
BULLS**T-O-METER RATING: *DING DING DING* 10/10!!!
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