Rumour Mongering: January Blues Edition

Clive Brunskill

Despite high expectations for Liverpool in the January transfer market, with a week gone nothing much has yet happened. We try to sort through where things stand for the Reds.

The transfer window never goes quite the way one expects it to. This time around, with Liverpool solidly in the top four race but suffering through an injury crisis and lacking the depth of their closest league rivals, most fans expected a quick more or two. Left back, winger, and midfield all appeared possible priorities, and a handful of intriguing names were routinely mentioned. Yet with the window a week in, nothing has much has happened aside from Adam Morgan's loan move to Yeovil Town being made permanent.

Still, it's early, and all because the club appear to be keeping any potential moves exceptionally quiet this January doesn't mean there aren't rumours floating around to skeptically sort through…

Mohamed Salah FC Basel - Winger
Age: 21 - Games Played: 47 - Goals: 19

Seventeen goals in 27 appearances for Egypt

The Mohamed Salah rumours have become a touch ridiculous over the past week as the player has gone from sure thing to arrive at Liverpool within days of the January window opening to a player who has most certainly not arrived at Liverpool within days of the January window opening. Fake journalists have taken to Twitter, declarative statements from media outlets in his homeland have been made, and Liverpool-connected media sorts have mostly sat around scratching their heads over the growing fuss—and this status quo hasn't much has changed with each passing day.

It's gotten to the point where former Egypt manager Bob Bradley can respond to media reports linking the player to Liverpool by saying he thinks the young winger would be a good fit for the Premier League and in two days there are outlets using his rather general statement as proof of Salah's imminent arrival at Anfield. Meanwhile, rumours swirl about an impasse over any potential fee while some suggest Zenit and Inter may be eyeing up a bid. In short, nobody appears to actually know anything beyond that Salah is not at present a Liverpool player. And anyone who claims otherwise is lying.

Cristian Tello FC Barcelona - Winger
Age: 22 - Games Played: 48 - Goals: 10

Nine goals in 39 Barca B appearances

Cristian Tello is the new Arda Turan, with the young Catalan winger having been linked to Liverpool every window since Brendan Rodgers arrived at the club. It's no surprise then to find Tello once again linked with an Anfield move, though when a player is linked every single window it quickly becomes difficult to judge if there's any truth to the rumours or if it's simply lazy rumour mongering at work. Either way, Barcelona are believed to have little interest in letting Tello leave this month, as despite having made only two starts so far this season he's seen as an important depth option.

Guillem Balague, Sky's Spanish football expert, believes that though Barcelona don't want to move him on right now Tello would be open to a move either now or in the summer as the player sees little chance of breaking into the starting eleven and knows he needs minutes if he's ever to reach his full potential. Previously, it had been suggested a loan deal was a possibility, but when Gerard Deulofeu headed to Everton on loan in the summer that option became less likely.

Glen Johnson Liverpool - Fullback
Age: 29 - Games Played: 127 - Goals: 7

Has 18 months remaining on his contract

Elsewhere, rumours have picked up suggesting that after failing in their £40M and a pound bid for Luis Suarez over the summer, Arsenal could be interested in launching another unsuccessful bid for a Liverpool player. This time it's Glen Johnson the Gunners are rumoured to be interested in, and despite the right back's poor form it's hard to imagine Liverpool selling Johnson to a top four rival. As Johnson only has a year and a half left on his contract, speculation about his future will only grow, but a January move to another Premier League side would be unthinkable from a Liverpool point of view.

If the player and club cannot agree to a new deal by the summer, a move might then start to become likely to avoid Liverpool losing the fullback on a free in 2015. Johnson has in the past suggested that he would like to play in Spain before the end of his career, and Liverpool would be far more open to granting him a move to the continent than a move to London, though even that will depend first on what happens on the contract front—and no matter what happens on the contract front, Johnson won't be moving in January.

Odds & Ends Montoya, Fernando, Pjanic, & Bertrand

Despite being out of contract at the end of the season, young Barcelona fullback Martin Montoya is in no hurry to either sign a new deal or move on, telling reporters he was happy learning from Dani Alves "at the best club in the world" following Sunday's 4-0 thumping of Elche. After early suggestions Montoya could be a January target for Rodgers and Liverpool, of late such rumours have largely gone quiet. Similarly, rumours suggesting a move for Porto's Fernando Regis have fallen quiet following the opening of the transfer window.

Heading into even more speculative realms finds the suggestion that Liverpool have been scouting 21-year-old Benfica winger Ola John, who arrived in Portugal from FC Twente with a promising reputation but has yet to make a league start. Meanwhile, Roma's Miralem Pjanic is looking for a way out of Italy, with PSG, Tottenham, Manchester United, and Liverpool all linked to varying degrees. And finally, there's news that any move for Chelsea's Ryan Bertrand may have stalled thanks to Chelsea's childish reaction to Victor Moses' lack of playing time.

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