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Villarreal rumors start early

We’re not WAITING for any transfer window!!

FC Twente v Levante UD - UEFA Europa League Photo by Anoek de Groot/EuroFootball/Getty Images

The rumor mill waits for no one, and evidently not for January 1st, either. Here we go.....

In: Vicente Iborra is the guy we want. He has been in the Leicester squad the last couple of matches but has seen little playing time. Supposedly, Villarreal has already contacted Leicester about his availability but we have not yet heard back. Today’s EPM points out that our current coach knows Iborra very well—he was a key part of the Levante promotion squad in 2009-10 and, after he recovered from an ankle injury, helped them stay up the following season.

Most likely outs: Nicola Sansone is widely expected to be on the move. Fiorentina were touted as one possible destination but now Bologna has emerged as a potential suitor. We need to dump Sansone’s salary (well, maybe not his specifically, but someone’s); if we can do that via a loan with a purchase in the summer, that might work. Speaking of loans, Roberto Soriano, who was loaned to Torino in August, hasn’t played much there and word is Torino may want to move him elsewhere (maybe to Bologna, so he and Sansone could be reunited).

Other potential departures: Manuel Iturra has done OK in limited action, but it’s been REALLY limited. He might be someone we just work out a deal to pay off his contract and be done with it, if Iborra indeed arrives. Miguel Layún was someone I was thinking might be on the move but apparently Luis García feels he can use him far more than Calleja did.

Longshot departures: I’m going to put Samu Chukwueze here just because there has been a lot of discussion about his current contract (I believe it has a release clause of €30m); he has apparently been offered a new one with an even higher clause (€50m?). I would not expect him to leave, but stranger things have happened. We know EPL clubs have contacted Pablo Fornals but he declined their interest (he’s someone else whom the club needs to put a new contact in front of with a higher release clause).

Longest of longshots, maybe, but I wonder about Alfonso Pedraza. He has already played in England (on loan to Leeds); he’s not made the consistent impact we hoped he would, and he has had some problems this season with the fanbase, allegedly. He released this video recently (captioned in English, note) referring to “new challenges, new brand” there a message here? If an EPL side came up with €22-25m or whatever it is for him, would we say no? Just a thought...