Transfer Rater: Juan Mata to Inter Milan, Olivier Giroud to Fenerbahce
Things change in the blink of an eye in football. The Football Whispers Index takes the latest transfer rumours and gives them a score out of five; the higher the score, the more realistic and reliable the whisper.
Here are today's top five emerging whispers. And keep an eye on Transfer Talk for all the latest gossip.
Juan Mata to Inter Milan
According to reports in the Daily Mirror, Inter Milan are keeping close tabs on Mata's situation at Manchester United. The Spanish playmaker's contract expires in the summer but there is an option which allows United to extend it by a further 12 months. However, Mata may be reluctant to put pen to paper on a long-term deal at Old Trafford if he doesn't feel he'll get the first team minutes he wants at this stage of his career, especially if United target and Jose Mourinho favourite Mesut Ozil joins the club. The Serie A side could take him to Italy for a knockdown price during the summer window.
Philipp Max to Manchester City
Augsburg left-back Max has opened the door to a move to the Premier League a month after reports claimed the top four are all interested in the 24-year-old. In an interview with Sports Bild, Max suggested his style would be ideally suited to the English top flight: "Since I was a kid, I have dreamed of playing abroad. I think the English league would go well with my straightforward style on the pitch." Manchester City are tipped as the favourites to sign the former Bayern Munich academy player.
Mario Balotelli to Napoli
Balotelli could be set for a return to Italy this summer with Napoli interested in the 27-year-old striker, according to reports in Corriere dello Sport. The former Manchester City forward is out of contract in the summer but although Nice have tabled an extension, it is believed Balotelli is keeping his options open for now. He is able to sign a pre-contract agreement this month and the possibility of bringing a player of such quality to the club on a free transfer is one that interests Napoli, the Serie A leaders.
Olivier Giroud to Fenerbahce
Giroud is the top target for Fenerbahce as they look at players capable of replacing Robin van Persie. The Dutch forward has just six months remaining on his deal in Turkey and has indicated that he wants to return to the Eredivisie when his deal is up. Giroud is viewed as an ideal replacement but Fenerbahce want to bring him to the club in January so he can settle in, according to Fanatik, and the club feel the lure of first team football ahead of the World Cup could be enough to make him leave Arsenal this month. Giroud has previously been reported as an Everton target.
Erik Lamela to Inter Milan
Reports in Gazzetta dello Sport claim Inter Milan have added fit-again Lamela to their January shopping list as they look to bolster their squad to get their title push back on track. Tottenham view the Argentine attacker as an important member of their squad but this hasn't stopped Inter Milan, who believe Walter Sabatini, Inter's technical coordinator who brought Lamela to Europe from River Plate when he was Roma's director of football, could play a huge part in convincing the 25-year-old to move to the San Siro.