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Transfer Tuesday: The whirlwind approaches

This is our penultimate rumor roundup until the mercato actually opens, so you know that there are some juicy tidbits in here.

But who is this mystery man? (Hint: quack quack quack quack)
But who is this mystery man? (Hint: quack quack quack quack)
Pedro Vilela/Getty Images

Do you hear that wind blowing off the mountain? Magna cum murmura monte, the rumors are pouring out of every crevice, from the gentle whispers of credibility to the gales of unlikelihood. Fortunately, we've got all the rumors collected here so you don't have to brave the weather. So let's kick back, have a nice warm cuppa, and postulate how Daniele Pradè is going to spend his (maybe €10 million) war chest, although we've heard rumblings that the mercato funds will only be there if the club win their next two league matches.


First, the exits. Young Luca Lezzerini, who hasn't figured prominently in Sousa's plans thus far, may leave on loan to get some more experience. No destination has been named as of yet, but it certainly can't hurt to get a promising young player some quality minutes.

This might paradoxically increase the pressure on Ciprian Tatarusanu, who's come under criticism following his performance against Juventus. As it's unlikely that the club will carry just two goalies, another keeper could be brought in, and potentially to compete with Tata for starter's minutes. No names have emerged recently, but it's a situation worth monitoring.

Center backs

Well, looks like all the kerfuffle about Lisandro López has boiled down to nothing. With club captain Luisao's recent long-term injury, the Argentine defender is back front and center for Benfica, who've blocked any possible exit. Fortunately, the rumor has spat out a few alternatives.

The new top center back target is also at a Portuguese club. Porto's Bruno Martins Indi has unexpectedly popped up as a potential January arrival, although considering he's a Dutch international, the busy-savvy Dragões are probably going to hold out for an astronomical fee.

Speaking of expensive defenders, let's move on to another supposed "top target." Joël Matip has featured in this space previously. The hulking Cameroonian, who can also step into the midfield, is signed through next year, so this is the time to sell him. The rub, though, is that Schalke are reportedly holding out for €14 million, which is a whole lot of money.

Philippe Mexès has cropped up again as a possible winter arrival. AC Milan are purportedly trying to shuffle him along, but we've already covered this. Just, please no.

And speaking of Milan, Fiorentina are maybe trying to beat the Rossoneri to the signature of Atlético Mineiro's Jemerson. The 23-year-old was solid in place of an injured Réver last year, and the Galo may look to profit on him.

Another new option is Nicolas Nkoulou of Marseille. The Cameroonian has been monitored by a host of clubs in England and Spain in the past, but may have stagnated a bit in Ligue 1. L'Om are never averse to turning a profit on a player, so could sell him for the right price.


Well, we've covered Marcos Alsonso and his weird links to Real Madrid and Barcelona here, so we'll just leave that be. Also, it's weird and and the unfamiliar scares me.

Manuel Pasqual has also repeatedly stated that he's not going anywhere, even as Milan and Sampdoria circle. Unceremoniously dropped from the captaincy and Paulo Sousa's first XI, the longest-serving Viola has remained a consummate professional, admitting his disappointment at losing the armband without ever wavering in his commitment to the cause. Let's all hope he sticks around until the end of his career, gamely spamming in crosses and doing not much else.

On the other side, Juan Zúñiga has resurfaced as a potential addition at right back. Deemed superfluous by Maurizio Sarri, Napoli may release the pacy Colombian from his contract, meaning he'd be a free addition to whatever team picks him up. He'd be a perfect fit out wide for Fiorentina, so let's hope this one has some legs.

Another name familiar to Fiorentina rumor trackers is that of Sime Vrsjalko. The Sassuolo right back has been quite good this season, and has been linked to a move to Florence in the past. Considering a certain recent performance in which he notched two assists, hard to say he wouldn't be an excellent addition, and this report agrees.

And Udinese have warned that Sylvan Widmer is not going to be sold to Fiorentina this transfer window. So, uh, I guess that's the end of that, too. Unless they're just saying that because it's a crazy double blind. Or not.


Riccardo Saponara has been the best player at Empoli for a couple of years, so it's not too surprising that reports have him linked to Fiorentina. For €15 million, though, he'd have to be a starter, and as a logical Borja Valero replacement, it's hard to imagine that going through.

A cheaper, more realistic alternative is veteran Mirko Valdifiori. With appearances under Sarri harder to come by at Napoli than at Empoli, word is he could be had for a song. As a less physical version of Matías Vecino, he could be an excellent addition to the squad.


We've already covered the Giuseppe Rossi/Liverpool situation elsewhere, so we'll leave that be for now. Instead, let's focus on inbound (or not) attackers, like Juan Iturbe. The AS Roma misfit is almost certain to leave the capital club, and was strongly linked to the Gigliati. Alas, the history and allure of Watford (!) were apparently too much to resist; the player's expected to move to the English club early in the window.

Manolo Gabbiadini is another direct wide attacker who hasn't settled in at a top club. With Gonzalo Higuaín in the form of his life and an attack that's firing on all cylinders, Fiorentina are among approximately eleventy dozen clubs offering to take the Italian international on loan. Honestly, his destination probably isn't Florence, but it's nice to dream.

A more realistic, budget-friendly option is André Claro, a 24-year-old Portuguese striker plying his trade with Vitória Setúbal. Never prolific before this year, he's struck 5 goals in 10 matches for Os Sadinos; whether he's a late bloomer finally finding his footing or a flash in the pan, he probably wouldn't cost much.

And we'll end this one with some comedy, because guess what other Portuguese-speaking striker is, um, "being monitored" by Fiorentina? If you guessed Alexandre Pato, congratulations, you have successfully grasped a post-modern world in which reality and causality are irrevocably sundered. The São Paulo is on loan from Corinthians, and the finances of the deal are shadowy in a typically South American fashion. But let's not worry about that. Let's marvel that someone, somewhere, thinks that Pato and Fiorentina are a likely pairing. And then let us never speak of it again.

So that's it for this fortnight's worth of transfers. Stick around for our big January mercato primer, which is upcoming, and let us know which of these rumors seem credible or otherwise (Pato. It's definitely Pato.)