As the January transfer window moves to within 10 days of closing, The Soccer Sofa will analyse three of the top rumours each day until the window slams shut at midnight on February 1st. Rumours provided by Football Whispers.
Mauro Zárate to Watford
Reports from The Guardian and the Daily Me have all but confirmed that Zarate is on his way to Vicarage Road. Having scored just 4 goals for Fiorentina so far this season, it’s a gamble from boss Walter Mazzarri, who seems intent on bringing in players from abroad.
Surely there must be a British core to any side who are looking to consolidate their Premier League status. Tom Cleverley, who signed on loan from Everton last week, was only the third English player to start for Watford in the league this season.
Players such as Nordin Amrabat who signed from Málaga, Valon Behrami from Hamburg and Christian Kabesele from Genk, know that even if Watford got relegated, they could return to mainland Europe with their reputations relatively still intact.
Zarate has had stints at Birmingham, West Ham and QPR where he scored 9 goals in 40 Premier League appearances. With Troy Deeney severely lacking confidence and Odion Ighalo looking like a completely different player, Mazzarri will be desperately hoping Zárate can produce slightly better than a goal every four games, otherwise Watford will quickly be looking over their shoulder.
Ashley Young to Shandong Luneng
With his England days likely behind him, is Ashley Young set to become the second ‘Cashley’ of our generation? The lure of Chinese football has attracted highly rated players of late, including Oscar, Jackson Martinez and Alex Teixeira. Young would be the first British player to move to the land of the dragon.
Young has only appeared in the league on five occasions this term, falling behind Shaw, Rojo and Darmian in the pecking order.
Young should still be aiming to play at the highest level, however, and is still very much a quality Premier League player. If it is large wages he demands, though, he could be the first of many ageing English players to jump ship to China.
Asmir Begovic to Bournemouth
The fact that Eddie Howe is repeatedly linked to big names is a testament to his ability as a manager. After securing the loan of Jack Wilshere at the beginning of the season, the Cherries have been linked with the likes of John Terry, Republic of Ireland hotshot Robbie Brady and now Begovic.
At the start of this season, many considered Bournemouth candidates for relegation, perhaps suffering from second season syndrome. But they have built on the previous season, maintaining their fantastic passing style in the meantime, and are in the mix for a top half finish.
Artur Boruc has been impressive in goal, but if the opportunity arises to sign a player of Begovic’s quality, Bournemouth have to move. The Chelsea back-up is far better than playing second fiddle to Thibaut Courtois and would rack up clean sheets on the south coast. Any move is relying on Chelsea signing a replacement for the Bosnian, with rumours citing Tim Krul or Diego López as possible candidates.
Come back tomorrow for three more exciting Premier League transfer developments!