European rumour roundup: Real Madrid banking on costly Sterling

With European football’s silly season in full swing, it can be a challenge to discern between an accurate report and fraudulent speculation. Here’s a glance at the week in transfer talk, covering marquee moves both possible and phony.

Los Blancos appraising Sterling

Real Madrid has only scored two goals in its last three league matches, and with a spot in the top four hanging in the balance, Los Blancos is reportedly looking to bolster its attack with a move for Manchester City star, Raheem Sterling. The Manchester Evening News speculates Zinedine Zidane and Co. are set to test City’s resolve with a lucrative offer, which Sheikh Mansour will surely snicker at while eating chips and gravy with a diamond-encrusted fork.

Odds this move happens: The same as Manchester City failing to win the league. Zero.

And that’s why they call them The Blues

Staying in England’s top flight: Amid reports that Chelsea is looking to ease the pressure on Alvaro Morata‘s shoulders by signing a giraffe, the Blues are monitoringRoma duo Edin Dzeko and Emerson Palmieri. Needing both goals and a left-back after a failed pursuit for JuventusAlex Sandro, an alleged interest in the Serie A brethren makes heaps of sense considering chatter linking Antonio Conte with a summer exit. The Ross Barkley signing stinks of “we moved for the lad when Conte was in the loo,” prompting Chelsea to curry favour with the Italian by luring players from the league where he used to ply his trade and manage. Here’s hoping Conte doesn’t take N’Golo Kante to PSG with him.

Odds: Dzeko’s agent says his client is happy in Italy, meaning Chelsea will probably sign Obafemi Martins and a cardboard cut-out of former British Bake Off delight Mary Berry.

Benevento eyeing ageless Alves

Eyeliner aficionado Bruno Alves could be set for a shock Serie A return after reports surfaced Friday suggesting the 36-year-old centre-back is being monitored by Benevento. Italian football savant Gianluca DiMarzio alleges that the top-flight debutant is looking to fill the void from captain Fabio Lucioni‘s one-year doping ban. Alves, who played with Cagliari last season and joined Rangers in the summer on a two-year deal for an undisclosed fee, is considered an aerial wizard who fancies a composed performance – two virtues Benevento could use during an uphill climb for Serie A safety.

Odds: On the indifference scale, this one scores high, meaning it’s definitely happening.

Younes fancies Little Donkeys over struggling Swans

Apologies to south Wales and picturesque Glamorgan county – a lovely melange of swath and surf – but from a footballing perspective, it’s easy to see why Amin Younes fancies a move to Napoli over a trip west to enlist with relegation favourites Swansea City. Football Italia reports the 24-year-old Ajax winger, whose contract concludes in the summer, has a verbal agreement with Napoli amid a €10-million bid from the sinking Swans and is looking to force an early move.

Odds: Napoli’s fetish for petite attackers is no secret, and with Maurizio Sarri procuring his own munchkin guild, this rumour has legs. Not very long ones, albeit.

BVB fancies CFC’s LVP

With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang nearing a Borussia Dortmund exit, the German giant is readying replacements, and Chelsea’s undeserving ‘Least Valuable Player’ Michy Batshuayi is one of the names most frequently linked with a Westfalenstadion pilgrimage. The DailyMail reckons Batshuayi would fancy a move abroad, with Sevilla also reportedly interested in the former Marseille man.

Odds: Antonio Conte will drive Batshuayi to Stansted and put him on a budget flight if he has his way.

Elsewhere: Linked last week with a move for West Ham wantaway Diafra Sakho, Crystal Palace is reportedly shifting its attention to Inter forward Eder, who will become an immediate fan favourite when his first touch sails onto Park Road. If Chelsea’s alleged interest in Peter Crouch amounts to the most peculiar transfer rumour, former New York City FC midfielder Kwadwo Poku‘s move from second-tier Miami FC to Russian Premier League side Anzhi Makhachkala is downright inconceivable. In brief, Majeed Waris is off to Porto, Sandro is in Italy, and Schalkeshipped another one of its best players for nothing. Great transfer policy that.

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

EPL | theScore

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