Transfer Rumor Roundup: The Update

Michy Batshuayi! - Dean Mouhtaropoulos

In a few days, the January transfer window opens up, and the rumors about strikers, starlets, and clubs who can't meet Bendtner's wage demands will return anew. Here's a roundup of names to watch.

Let the wild speculation begin again!

The January transfer window will open next Wednesday, as Arsenal tries to close out the Christmas glut of games against the blue-clad red-clad Bluebirds Dragons of Cardiff City. Rumors have already been swirling, mostly involving shoring up a striker corps that currently includes a legitimate first-teamer, a gangly Dane with an inflated sense of self, a 20-year-old French player returning from injury, and two first-team stalwarts that are better deployed at wing than center forward. With this in mind, here are the names swirling around, with some breakdowns and narratives.

In alphabetical order, here's the latest on some possibilities. (Note: We're going to assume that Lewandowski's off to Bayern in May.)

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Michy Batshuayi

Currently playing for: Standard Liege (Belgian Pro League)

Pros: Available for around £8M, has scored 12 goals in 17 BPL league matches this year, is 20, is Belgian

Cons: Remains untested at higher levels of play and is currently behind Lukaku and Benteke in the Belgian national team pecking order -- he's yet to get a senior call up

The latest: The Mirror's John Cross says he's on Arsenal's radar; an ESPN FC writer's already waxing ecstatic about him.

*

Diego Costa

Currently playing for: Atletico Madrid and Brazil Spain TBD

Pros: In blistering form (23 goals in 23 comps), leading Atletico Madrid to the top of the La Liga table and making fans forget that Falcao let Monaco drive a dumptruck full of money up to his house; just debuted at #35 in Guardian's Top 100 Footballers (putting him in the Top 15 forwards list, just behind Balotelli)

Cons: Like Luis Suarez, Costa's a mercurial player who has a reputation for combativeness and general jackassery. Also, given that he's ditching his native Brazil for the Spanish national team in the year that Brazil's hosting the World Cup, he seems a little mercenary as well

The latest: Though it's hard to imagine him leaving Atletico during such a storybook season (Read: I call BS), he can apparently be bought for £32M. (Naturally, Chelsea wants in as well.)

*

Angel di Maria

Currently playing for: Real Madrid and Argentina

Pros: Creative winger, talented, plays well with Özil

Cons: CL cup-tied, expensive (and with Monaco in the mix, the bidding war could be insane)

The latest: ESPN FC debunked the di Maria-to-Monaco rumors in a report saying di Maria was happy at Real Madrid. It seems more likely that if Arsenal spends this much on a winger, it'd be Draxler in the summer rather than di Maria (or anyone else) now.

*

Michu

Currently playing for: Swansea and sometimes Spain

Pros: Seasoned Premier League player, gifted goal-scorer, not CL-cup tied, has nifty goal celebration

Cons: Will come at about 15 times the £2M price he transferred in for, has only scored 6 goals this year (with only 2 in EPL play) compared to 22 last year, is recovering from a broken ankle

The latest: According to Metro, Arsenal's scuttling plans to bring him to the Emirates in January because his pending surgery will keep him out until mid-February.

*

Konstantin Mitroglou

Currently playing for: Olympiakos and Greece

Pros: Scoring 1.4 goals per game in his league campaign, a key player in Olympiakos' Champions League run (leading them to a Round of 16 matchup vs. Man United), a key player for Greece in its run to the 2014 World Cup

Cons: CL cup-tied, has reportedly signed a new deal keeping him tied to his Greek club team through 2017 (and removing the appealing £6M transfer fee)

The latest: According to Metro, the new deal with Olympiakos means this option's out.

*

Alvaro Morata

Currently playing for: Real Madrid and Spain youth teams

Pros: Up-and-coming striker, knows first-hand what through balls from Özil look like, would come on a six-month loan knowing his role, and Spurs want him as well

Cons: Involves doing business with Real Madrid, is CL-cup tied

The latest: As we reported in The Short Fuse at the start of December, this is allegedly a done deal, though it is a transfer window rumor and it involves Real Madrid.

*

Antonio Sanabria

Currently playing for: Barcelona B and Paraguay

Pros: Gifted 17-year-old, revives Fabregas narrative, would allegedly come on a five-year deal.

Cons: Still just 17, could revive Fabregas narrative of shining at Arsenal and then returning to Barcelona.

The latest: Though we relayed reports that this was happening in mid-December, there are now new reports that Roma's going to be the first to meet the £3.6M release clause.

*

Fabian Schär

Currently playing for: FC Basel and Switzerland

Pros: Can play center back or right back, has had "eye-catching performances" in recent Champions League matches (including two wins against Chelsea), has a £6M release fee, has an umlaut in his name

Cons: Is CL cup-tied, plus signing a potential starting right back could complicate Sagna negotiations

The latest: He's happy at Basel but is wanted by multiple teams, including United.

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