The Bulls**t-O-Meter: Ranking How Ridiculous May’s Transfer Rumours Really Are

It has been a season well and truly packed with transfer ridiculousness, and we are now on the cusp of a summer which promises to build on that, and blow every transfer record that has ever existed into pieces. 

Depending on who you believe, as many as five major European clubs are overhauling their entire squads as a knee-jerk reaction to differing levels of success. This, as you should really expect at this stage, has sprouted no shortage of rumours and speculation, and very little of it takes any time to account for logic or reason.

So, with that in mind, there has never been a better time to bring the old Bulls**t-o-Meter out of the cupboard for the ?first time since January, and use it to make sense of a select few from the raft of ‘news’ that has come to fore over the last four weeks or so. Never, I say. 

Fair warning: ?Manchester United are a recurring theme throughout, so we’ve made one or two adjustments to suit them. 


Hakim Ziyech

Hakim Ziyech,Zakaria Labyad,Noussair Mazraoui

?Linked Clubs: Arsenal, Liverpool, Bayern Munich, various others

It’s hard to really pick a standout performer from the Ajax side who won the Eredivisie and went to the semi-finals of the Champions League, only to be kicked firmly in the nether region by Lucas Moura. Frenkie de Jong, Matthijs de Ligt and Dusan Tadic have all been worthy contenders, but no player has contributed to more goals than Moroccan playmaker Hakim Ziyech. 

21 goals and 24 assists in all competitions has seen the 26-year-old linked with a cavalcade of clubs, and given that he is heavily reported to have a release clause of around £26m in his contract, it is looking near certain that he will move on this summer. 

Who will win the race remains to be seen. ?Arsenal are a strong shout given his relatively low cost, while ?Bayern will throw money at him. ?Liverpool don’t seem as likely given they currently have every midfielder in the Premier League on their books, but you never know. 

Possibility of Future Transfer: Nailed On

Likelihood of Summer Move: Through the Roof

Manchester United’s Chances: Probably not too bad if they want him

BULLS**T-O-METER RATING: 1/10


Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Aaron Wan-Bissaka,Ryan Fraser

Linked Clubs: Manchester United, Tottenham

The Crystal Palace right-back has had a stellar breakthrough season, but as we all know by now, the smaller clubs in the Premier League are not allowed to have nice things. 

The South London club will likely hold out for an exorbitant fee for the latest success story from their youth academy, given that he is probably their best player not called Wilfried Zaha and is contracted for another couple of years, but you can’t help but feel the writing is on the wall over a summer move.

Possibility of Future Transfer: Nailed On

Likelihood of Summer Move: Strong

Manchester United’s Chances: Realistic

BULLS**T-O-METER RATING: 2/10


Matthijs de Ligt

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Linked Clubs: Barcelona, Juventus, Manchester United, Liverpool

Ajax’s baby-faced Goliath has been talked about as one of the up-and-coming defensive talents on the continent for a while now, but this season he has taken steps towards fulfilling his potential that few ever foresaw this early on in his career. 

His performances, so worthy of the captain’s armband he wears at just 19 years old, have driven Ajax on to new heights, but unfortunately for them, the only whiff of bulls**t surrounding this one comes from some of the clubs who remain in the picture.

Liverpool have already ruled themselves out, and United are interested in him in the same way I’m interested in Scarlett Johansson, but we’ll see where he ends up. Probably Barcelona, though.

Possibility of Future Transfer: Very Strong

Likelihood of Summer Move: Very Strong

Manchester United’s Chances: *cry-laughing emoji*

BULLS**T-O-METER RATING: 2/10


Philippe Coutinho

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Linked Clubs: PSG, Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool

It’s been a rough 15 months or so for Philippe Coutinho. Once one of the Premier League’s most highly rated stars, the Brazilian cost Barcelona £142m last January, and he has only gone on to become a scapegoat for the teams shortcomings. I mean, they’re on course to finish the season with just the domestic double, and he’s only contributed the 11 goals and 5 assists to that. 

You can’t blame him for wanting out, and it does seem as if Barca want to sell, so this seems some way from impossible, though the nature of any potential move will take some agreeing on. 

Bizarrely, Chelsea have reportedly ?become the front-runners to offer him a Premier League return, so that could be an interesting story to follow. It most likely won’t be, but it could be. 

Possibility of Future Transfer: Strong

Likelihood of Summer Move: Moderate

Manchester United’s Chances: Absolutely none but still better than most of these, somehow

BULLS**T-O-METER RATING: 4/10


Romelu Lukaku

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Linked Clubs: Inter 

A brand spanking new one here. Reports have emerged claiming that Antonio Conte, who looks a cert to take over at Inter in the foreseeable, will make Romelu Lukaku one of his first signings, and the club are prepared to offer ?€30m plus perennial Manchester United target Ivan Perisic to make it happen. 

Logically, it makes sense for all parties really. United want to raise funds for a squad overhaul, and Lukaku, one of the hottest strikers in the world as recently as last summer, has endured a poor season, brief resurgence in Ole’s initial honeymoon period aside. Inter will want a new talisman to replace Mauro Icardi when he (probably) leaves, so it all adds up. 

There are quite a few moving parts, however, and the story is still in its infancy, so it’s far from a given. Also, it would involve Inter spending money, so that is a problem in itself.

Possibility of Future Transfer: Moderate

Likelihood of Summer Move: Moderate

Manchester United’s Chances: Eh…

BULLS**T-O-METER RATING: 5/10


Leroy Sane

FBL-ENG-PR-BURNLEY-MAN CITY

?Linked Clubs: Bayern Munich

This one is not dissimilar to the above. It’s a relatively new story, only coming to light since the end of the season, with the rumour being that Bayern are seeking a young, world class winger to inherit the legendary legacy left behind by Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery. 

Just like Lukaku, it makes sense from the buying club’s perspective and it is similarly too early to call just how much might be in it. Where the two diverge, however, is that City don’t seem at all likely to be willing to sell. 

With Bayern needing a squad rebuild, putting all their eggs in one basket with what would surely need to be a huge fee for Sane would perhaps not be wise.

Possibility of Future Transfer: Moderate

Likelihood of Summer Move: Lukewarm

Manchester United’s Chances: Behave

BULLS**T-O-METER RATING: 6/10


Kylian Mbappe 

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?Linked Clubs: Real Madrid

There is probably something in there somewhere about Real Madrid’s interest in Kylian Mbappe, who has netted 32 goals in 28 Ligue 1 games this season, but such is the overwhelming volume of reports surrounding their transfer business that it is difficult to believe most of them are founded. 

There is also the small matter of the brain-melting fee PSG would demand for their services. They paid north of £100m for him two years ago (or one year ago technically) and he has since won a World Cup and scored 59 goals at club level, so it would surely take a fee that dwarves the current world record the Parisians spent on Neymar.

It’s Real Madrid we’re dealing with here, however. You can never rule it out.  

Possibility of Future Transfer: Moderate

Likelihood of Summer Move: Not really likely unless Real Madrid do the most Real Madrid thing in Real Madrid history

Manchester United’s Chances: A stretch even in Ed Woodward’s wildest fantasies

BULLS**T-O-METER RATING: 6/10


Gareth Bale

Gareth Bale

?Linked Clubs: Tottenham, Liverpool, Manchester United, PSG

Bale has been linked with an exit from Real Madrid every summer since he signed for them back in 2013, and this year is unfortunately no different.

To be clear, we don’t doubt that he is actually likely to leave this time around, which is the only thing that stops him taking a place further down the list. What the meter detects, however, is that the actual stories that have arisen surrounding him this month carry probably carry no weight whatsoever. 

The latest is that he is ‘certain’ to move to one of Tottenham or Liverpool. You know, Tottenham who are frequently linked to no avail just because they are Tottenham, and Liverpool who famously won’t be spending a lot of money this summer, and wouldn’t even have a place for Bale in their first XI. Do they even try at this point?

Possibility of Future Transfer: Very High

Likelihood of Summer Move: Strong

Manchester United’s Chances: Sigh.

BULLS**T-O-METER RATING: 7/10


Felipe Anderson

Felipe Anderson

?Linked Clubs: Liverpool, Real Madrid

West Ham’s newest talisman enjoyed a solid first season in England, scoring ten goals in 40 appearances in all competitions, and has been linked fleetingly with Real Madrid and a little more heavily with Liverpool. 

It is incredibly difficult to believe either of those sides is genuinely interested, however. Real have more exciting, established targets on their radar, and Liverpool as most outlets can’t seem to grasp, will not be spending big money this summer – certainly not on a guy who isn’t on the level of their first choice front three. 

It seems likely both clubs have had scouts at a West Ham game at some point and rumours have spiralled from there, or whatever. But in any case, no.

Possibility of Future Transfer: High

Likelihood of Summer Move: Feeble

Manchester United’s Chances: Their level, so decent

BULLS**T-O-METER RATING: 8/10


Paulo Dybala

Paulo Dybala

?Linked Clubs: Manchester United

You were worried he wasn’t going to make the list, weren’t you? Well fear not. The day he actually leaves Juventus will be a sad day, for it will mark the end of a first ballot hall of fame Bulls**t-O-Meter career. 

The Dybala rumour mill truly never fails to deliver. Speculation over his future at Juventus arises year after year, and at one time or another he’s been close to moves to Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Liverpool and Manchester City depending on who you believe. 

This time around, it’s United who get the treatment, and are reported to have ‘held talks’ over a deal I can confidently say will not happen. Unless it does, then I’ll look silly. 

Possibility of Future Transfer: Moderate at best

Likelihood of Summer Move: Tenuous

Manchester United’s Chances: Non-existent 

BULLS**T-O-METER RATING: 10/10

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Maurizio Sarri Will ‘Respect’ Eden Hazard Decision & Provides Loftus-Cheek Update Ahead of UEL Final

?Maurizio Sarri has provided an update on the injury sustained to Ruben Loftus-Cheek ahead Chelsea’s Europa League final clash with Arsenal, with the midfielder set for at least a four month lay-off.

The Italian also admitted he will ‘respect’ Eden Hazard’s decision if the Belgian opts to leave London and move to Real Madrid, although he has ‘hope’ that he will stay on at Stamford Bridge.

?Chelsea will take on ?Arsenal in the final of the competition in Baku on Wednesday, with Sarri addressing the media ahead of the all-English European final. One of the key points the 60-year-old brought up was the loss of Loftus-Cheek, who ruptured his achilles during a charity friendly game against MLS outfit New England Revolution.

“For sure, he will become one of the best midfielders in the world,” he said of Loftus-Cheek, as relayed by Goal reporter ?Nizaar Kinsella.

“I don’t know the timing. Maybe four-five months. Training after five months then to train to play at the best of his abilities.”

Much of the discussions taking place ahead of the showpiece event have been surrounding the future of Blues’ forward ?Hazard. The 28-year-old has been widely tipped to confirm his departure from the club and join ?Madrid, with an announcement set to come after Wednesday’s match.

Sarri was quick to state that he wants the player to remain in west London, although he is unsure of the Belgian’s next move. Nevertheless, the Italian claimed his side must be ready for any eventual departure.

FBL-ENG-PR-CHELSEA-CRYSTAL PALACE

“I want to respect his decision, I hope he will stay with us,” he added. “We need to be ready if he decides something different. Hazard is good for every team [after being asked about Real Madrid], also for us.”

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Christian Pulisic: The American Superstar That Will Be a Better Chelsea Player Than Eden Hazard

?Oh, hi. Didn’t see you there.

How you doing? You okay there buddy? It’s all good. Relax. Take a couple of deep breaths. I know, I know. It’s crazy. You’re angry. And that anger is entitled. Eden Hazard is one of the greatest players to ever put on the Chelsea shirt. Christian Pulisic is just some upstart who’s done ‘some’ okay ‘things’ at notorious Bundesliga bottlers Borussia Dortmund.

They’re not in the same league (both metaphorically and probably literally, despite ?Chris’ best wishes), and never will be. Hell, as was confirmed on Wednesday, Dortmund have effectively replaced Pulisic with Hazard’s beta of a brother, Thorgan.

Christian Pulisic

But sit back, breathe, smile, and see why you might be wrong (I know, it’s a strange concept). See why Pulisic could in fact be a more than capable replacement for Hazard at Stamford Bridge. Why he could in fact be an improvement. Blasphemous, I know. Heresy. Punishable by death via twitter wrath and everything.

But hear me out. 

First of all, the guy’s American. That’s, like, a way better country than Belgium. Hah, Belgium. What have they done? Pathetic. I mean, sure, their football team is factually the best in the world according to FIFA, but how about you back that up with a trophy, lads? Yeh, thought so. #Owned. 

Pulisic is also born in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Yeh, that Hershey. The one with all the chocolate. What cocoa-related exploits can Belgium lay claim to? LOL. #Amateurs. 

Right, now that that #roasting is over, let’s get serious. All of the aforementioned was indeed a joke. 

Let’s talk pre-west London development. Fine, I’ll concede that, before joining the Blues, the Belgian prodigy had already notched 50 goals and 53 assists for Lille, which is, well, quite a bit more than the 19 and 23 that Pulisic has managed.

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But that’s with one more year under his belt and one more season cut in his teeth. And that final year was instrumental in boosting those stats, for, with 22 goals and 22 assists, they accounted for 44% and 41.5% of those totals respectively. So, if we scratch that spectacular season from the record, his tally becomes far more comparable – 28 to 19 goals and 31 to 23 assists.

Still feel like that’s slanted? Well, then take into account that Hazard had accrued 13,752 minutes in that time, while Pulisic was restricted to just 7,495, and then consider that the majority of those former minutes came in France’s famed ‘farmer’s league’, Ligue 1, while the latter’s came in the ultra-competitive haunts of the Bundesliga.

Indeed, taking into consideration solely the highly pressurised cylinders of Champions League football, Pulisic outranks his adversary comfortably in goals (two to zero), assists (three to two) and minutes (1428 to 540). So, he’s played extensively at the highest level, and he’s acquitted himself well. 


The positive comparisons don’t stop there. In fact, as per twitter user ‘ChelseaYannick’, even in a season such as 2018/19, where the emergence of Jadon Sancho meant he was limited to just nine league starts, he still managed a greater goal contribution per minute ratio (every 115 minutes) than Sadio Mane (every 134 minutes), the man who effectively kept Hazard out of the PFA Team of the Year.

Huh. Not bad.

But, no matter how many times they (you know, the Man) tell you it is, football isn’t all about goal contributions. Even in these stat-heavy, oooh-I’ve-read-‘Moneyball’ times, there remains some footballing intangibles. For example, magical moments – save for measuring the social media reach of said clips – are a hard thing to quantify, but one would imagine ?Eden Hazard ranking fairly high in this fictionalised table. 

Hazard has also grown into one of the great on-field leaders at Stamford Bridge, displaying his ability to haul the team on his back time and time and time again. He has been asked to cope with being the team’s unquestioned best player and thrived in that role.

Christian Pulisic

In contrast, Pulisic has no such experience of such things – OH WAIT. Of course he f***ing does. He’s had it all his life. As the only decent player ever to even look at the USMNT shirt (yeah, that’s right Landon Donovan, have some of that — actually, wait, apart from Clint Dempsey…I don’t want to incur the wrath of ‘?Deuce‘) Pulisic has carried this burden since he was a toddler, in one of the most pressurised sporting countries in the world. 

Seriously, this is the place where Jozy Altidore was touted as a game-changer, so imagine what the pressure they heaped on a kid who was starting for the second best team in Germany. 

Hell, look at the pressure we put on Sancho, then imagine Jozy Altidore was the previous benchmark. That’s the level of pressure we’re talking about.


So, to conclude this ludicrously hot-takeist but actually not completely unfounded argument, Pulisic may not be Hazard right now. He may not be Hazard in two years. But he has all the tools and experience at his disposal to replicate the Belgian’s rise and, with the right development and people around him, he could feasibly surpass him. 

There. It’s over. Well done. Don’t @ me.

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Chelsea Revealed as Only Premier League Club Interested in Signing Philippe Coutinho

?Chelsea are interested in signing Barcelona flop Philippe Coutinho if they avoid their two-window transfer ban this summer. 

The Blues are currently looking for a replacement for Belgian superstar Eden Hazard, who looks set to switch Stamford Bridge for the Santiago Bernabeu in a big money move to Real Madrid, with a possible successor for the 28-year-old coming in the form of ex-Liverpool ace Coutinho.

Coutinho has not had the greatest time since signing for Barcelona back in 2018, only contributing to seven goals in 34 appearances in this most recent La Liga campaign, and a trip back to the Premier League could offer him an exit from Camp Nou.

Philippe Coutinho

Spanish radio network? ?Cadena Ser claim the only Premier League club that has shown an interest in signing the Brazilian is ?Chelsea.

But the Blues are currently enduring a two-window transfer ban for breaching Article 19 of the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players and are looking to appeal this ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which would see the sanction lifted if successful.

If the ban is overturned Chelsea may look to secure Coutinho’s services a year and a half after the former Inter ace left England for Catalonia.

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However, if the ban is not overturned it’s unlikely Coutinho will return to the ?Premier League anytime soon. He may be pushed further down the pecking order with Barca rumoured to be interested in signing Antoine Griezmann.

Chelsea are looking at possible attacking options to replace ?Hazard, and may have to consider the likes of Tammy Abraham and Michy Batshuayi as opposed to global superstars like Coutinho if their transfer ban is not overturned. 

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France Squad Call-Ups: 7 Premier League Stars Feature, Lenglet Earns Spot & Lacazette Snubbed

??Arsenal striker ?Alexandre Lacazette has been left out of the France squad for the upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers, while ?Barcelona’s Clement Lenglet has been included for the first time.

Depsite being named the Gunners’ Player of the Season earlier this month, there is no place for Lacazette in Didier Deschamps’ 23-man squad, which instead includes ?Chelsea’s ?Olivier Giroud and Sevilla’s Wissam Ben Yedder for June’s qualifiers against Turkey and Andorra.


Deschamps, explaining Lacazette’s omission, said via the ?Metro: “There’s no reason for us not to see him again, I had a difficult choice to make, with Ben Yedder coming out of a big season too.

“I have a choice to make and I chose Wissam [Ben Yedder]. He has scored 30 goals in all competitions this season. He scored in big games, he knows how to play in alone in attack. He’s named in this group of attackers as another option at one time or another.”

Meanwhile, Barça centre-back Lenglet has been included for the first time after an impressive debut season at the Camp Nou, where he has made 44 appearances and edged compatriot Samuel Umtiti out of the starting lineup.

?Manchester City’s Aymeric Laporte, however, is snubbed yet again by Deschamps despite starring in the Citizens’ treble-winning season and being named in the PFA Team of the Year, with Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma among the preferred defenders after an impressive season on loan at ?Everton.

Kurt Zouma

Lenglet isn’t the only new face in this French camp, as Lyon full-back Leo Dubois and Lille goalkeeper Mike Maignan prepare to join up with the World Cup winners for the first time next month.

Chelsea midfielder ?N’Golo Kante has struggled with injury of late, but having returned to training ahead of the Europa League final, the 28-year-old has been named among Deschamps’ midfielders alongside ?Manchester United’s ?Paul Pogba.

N'golo Kante,Paul Pogba

Les Bleus take on Bolivia in a friendly on June 2, before two qualifiers away from home against Turkey on June 6 and Andorra on June 11. 


GoalkeepersAlphonse Areola, Benjamin Lecomte, Hugo Lloris, Mike Maignan.

Defenders: Lucas Digne, Clement Lenglet, Ferland Mendy, Benjamin Pavard, Leo Dubois, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti, Kurt Zouma

Midfielders: N’Golo Kante, Blaise Matuidi, Tanguy Ndombele, Paul Pogba, Moussa Sissoko

Forwards: Wissam Ben Yedder, Kingsley Coman, Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe, Florian Thauvin.

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