Soccer Tori (Gists, rumours, speculations and transfer updates)

Nigerian international and Watford top striker Odion Ighalo and his coach Quique Sanchez Flores have been voted the Barclays Premier League Player and Coach of the Month of December respectively. Watford showed great form in December by picking up 10 points in five games to establish themselves in the top 10. Flores beat the likes of Arsene Wenger, Alan Pardew and Claudio Ranieri to the award while Ighalo, who scored five goals consecutively in five games during the month did beat the likes of Mesut Ozil, Marko Arnautovic, Riyad Mahrez, Romelu Lukaku and Dele Alli to the best player’s award.

Chelsea believe their chances of recruiting top managerial target Diego Simeone, 45, have improved after the Argentine’s current club Atletico Madrid were given a transfer ban.

Real Madrid are planning to spend GBP250m in January after they were given a transfer ban, with GBP80m-rated Chelsea attacking midfielder Eden Hazard, 25, their top target. The Belgium international is joined on the list by Manchester United keeper David de Gea, 25, Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba, 22, Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski, 27, and Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero, 27. Also, Tottenham’s England striker Harry Kane, 22, and Everton centre-back John Stones, 21, are also targets for Real Madrid.

Immediate past gaffer of the Super Eagles, Stephen Keshi, is to bury his wife today. She died of cancer in the US few weeks ago.



Despite Real’s intentions to spend big, the transfer ban will mean De Gea and Hazard stay at Manchester United and Chelsea respectively.


Chelsea are close to signing Brazil striker Alexandre Pato, 26, from Corinthians. But the Blues will have to match Corinthians’ GBP10m valuation of the Brazilian to enhance their striking options. Meanwhile, Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink has been told he must sell France striker Loic Remy, 29, before he can bring in Pato.



West Ham United are hoping to beat Everton to a deal for Leeds’ 22-year-old English right-back Sam Byram.


Marseille are close to re-signing Florian Thauvin, Newcastle United’s unsettled France winger, 22, on loan for the rest of the season.



Liverpool and Tottenham are monitoring winger Yasin ben el-Mhanni, 20, who has impressed this season for Ryman Premier League side Lewes and has just started a trial at Crystal Palace.

Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri wants to sign West Bromwich Albion’s England Under-21 striker Saido Berahino. However, Albion say the 22-year-old is not for sale and have warned Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United not to make any bids.

Newcastle are ready to make a GBP12m bid for Tottenham’s England winger Andros Townsend, 24.

Manchester United are set to make their first signing of the transfer window in Italian centre-back Luca Ercolani, 16, from Serie D side Forli.



Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli, 19, could sign another new deal at Spurs at the end of the season as the club pursue a contract renewal policy to reward and retain their best players.



Every window at Old Trafford is being covered in anti-shatter film to protect players and fans from a terror attack.



He has played in the Champions League and the World Cup and boasts three Premier League titles, but Joe Cole has revealed he is cleaning his own boots again after joining League One side Coventry City.



United are facing more turmoil among their backroom staff with the impending departure of the club’s academy chief. Derek Langley is planning to leave the club at the end of the season because of disillusionment about the state of the academy.



Juventus’ former Manchester United midfielder Pogba has teased United fans on Instagram by posting a photo of himself in the Red Devils’ kit.

Southampton’s Japanese defender Maya Yoshida tweeted his delight at goalkeeper Fraser Forster making his first start since March, after his recovery from a knee injury. “Glad to see our monster back last night,” wrote the Japan international.

Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce, 61, wants to hire a hypnotist to put his Sunderland players into a survival trance.


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