Mata on his way out?

Posted by ESPN staff

It's day two of the January transfer window! Jose Mourinho's declaration that 'the club door is open' for players to leave Chelsea will have alerted a host of top European clubs with Juan Mata reacting furiously to being substituted at Southampton yesterday, while Dimitar Berbatov could be a shock target for Arsenal.

23.00 GMT: That's a wrap for Day Two of the January transfer window. Could Mata and Berbatov be the biggest stories over the next month? There will be more on that pair tomorrow we're sure.

22.36 GMT: It's been a Juan Mata dominated day in On The Move so as it draws to a close, it makes sense to mention the in-demand Spain playmaker again. This time, we have the Mirror suggesting that ex-Chelsea boss Rafa Benitez would like to bring him to Napoli.

21.49 GMT: Not to ruin the Berbatov furore but it transpires that the Facebook post was a result of Berba's official page taking an automatic feed from website sports.net, which was running a story about a possible £2 million move to Arsenal for the Bulgarian. Oh technology.

21.31 GMT: It doesn't take much to send the transfer rumour mill into a spin so a post on Dimitar Berbatov's official Facebook account with a picture accompanied by the headline 'Could fire Arsenal to the title' has understandably set tongues wagging. However, Are the Gunners really about to put forward an early contender for surprise signing of the January transfer window?

20.49 GMT: Carlo Ancelotti said he still believes Xabi Alonso will sign a new contract at Real Madrid, and expects Iker Casillas to remain at the club while playing only cup games until the end of the season.

The Italian said: "About Xabi Alonso we believe that in the end we will find a solution and the club and the player will reach an agreement. The case of Casillas is very clear: he will play in the Champions League and also in the Copa del Rey."

20.15 GMT: Arsenal and Barcelona fans' ears may prick up now -- Paul Pogba has spoken of his desire to play for both clubs at some point in his career, though the talented France midfielder insists he is happy at Juventus.

"I feel good at Juve," Pogba told La Repubblica. "I don't hide that when I was a child I was dreaming to play with Arsenal or Barcelona. And now I dream of playing with the French national team against my brothers. I don't hide that when I was a child I was dreaming to play with Arsenal or Barcelona. And now I dream of playing with the French national team against my brothers. For me, Juve is Zidane, Trezeguet, Nedved - talent, class, discipline and a sense of the team."

19.26 GMT: ESPN FC writer Miguel Delaney says Manchester United are monitoring Juan Mata's uncertain situation at Stamford Bridge with a view to a bid in this transfer window, though Chelsea sources maintain the Spain playmaker would only be sold to a Primera Division club or Paris Saint-Germain.

19.04 GMT: Davide Santon's agent Claudio Vigorelli says the defender is happy to stay at Newcastle, telling TMW: "David is [doing] wonderfully at Newcastle. He has already played 19 games [this season] and loves playing English football. Certainly he will not move now and I do not think he will even want to do it in the future."

18.32 GMT: Billy Sharp has returned to Southampton after a loan spell at Reading, with the Royals saying they will "hold discussions with his parent club in the next week or so to understand what their thoughts are."

18.01 GMT: DONE DEAL Along with recruiting Tom Cairney from Hull City, Blackburn have also announced the permanent signing of Cardiff City striker Rudy Gestede on their official website. The 25-year-old moves to Ewood Park on a three-and-a-half-year deal.

17.30 GMT: DONE DEAL Derby County have re-signed Manchester United youngster Michael Keane on loan until 29. Jan, the club have announced on their official website.

17.25 GMT: DONE DEAL New Chelsea signing Bertrand Traore will join Vitesse Arnhem on loan until the end of the season, according to the club's official website.

The 18-year-old Burkina Faso international is off to the Dutch club in order to gain first-team experience -- and Jose Mourinho believes he is one of 'the best talents of his age.'


17.20 GMT: DONE DEAL Tom Cairney has made a permanent move from Hull City to Blackburn Rovers, the Premier League club have announced on their official website.

The 22-year-old was been on loan with Blackburn since August, and signed a three-and-a-half year deal at Ewood Park for an undisclosed fee.

17.15 GMT: Robert Lewandowski's likely move to Bayern Munich in the summer could cause a shake-up of strikers across the continent -- and Mundo Deportivo are reporting that Atletico Madrid forward Diego Costa is a target for Borussia Dortmund.

17.10 GMT: Spanish correspondent Guillem Balague has been talking about Juan Mata's current predicament on Twitter, and he thinks the ball now lies in Chelsea's court.

"About Mata: he has NOT asked to go in January. Nobody would be happy in his situation but the latest from the club is that he's not for sale. IF, and only IF, club wants him to go, plenty will take him."

17.05 GMT: PSG are the latest side to be linked with Juan Mata, with the Evening Standard claiming Laurent Blanc's French champions have joined the race to sign the Spaniard.

The Ligue 1 side have the money and standing in the Champions League to potentially tempt both the club and the player into a January deal.

17.00 GMT: Elliot Grandin could be on his way out of Crystal Palace, with Sky Sports reporting that Charlton and Sheffield Wednesday are keen on the out-of-favour playmaker.

16.55: Joleon Lescott is proving to be a popular target this January already -- the Evening Standard are now reporting that Tottenham are keen on a loan deal for the Manchester City defender, who can fill in at either centre-back or left-back.

The 22 milion-pound man's is out of favour at The Etihad and with his contract up at the end of the season, Spurs paying a portion of Lescott's wages could be an attractive prospect for Manuel Pellegrini's side.

16.45: Norwich City boss Chris Hughton has been talking about the Canaries' prospects during the January transfer window -- check out the video below for his approach to navigating a tense month.

16.37 GMT: DONE DEAL Middlesbrough have announced that Justin Hoyte has sealed a permanent move to Millwall on their official website.

The former Arsenal player had been on loan at The Den since November, and was due to return to the Riverside in January, but has signed a contract with the London side until summer 2015.

16.30 GMT: While Olivier Giroud is happy without Arsenal adding to their striking options in January, Theo Walcott believes any new signings would make a great squad stronger.
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"The boss has already said that he is looking for special players and we have got a lot of special players in that dressing room."

16.21 GMT: Kevin De Bruyne's agent has confirmed that the midfielder wants to leave Chelsea, according to Sky Sports.

"Another loan wouldn't be good for the player or the club," Patrick De Koster told Press Association Sport.

"The player and his family would like to secure a permanent solution because he has been out on loan already twice. It's a World Cup year and for this reason he needs to play."

16.10 GMT: DONE DEAL Milan striker Myabe Niang has joined Montpellier on loan for the rest of the season, the Ligue 1 club have announced on their official website.

The 19-year-old has struggled to break into the Rossoneri's starting line-up this season, and will wear the No. 9 jersey for the France side.

16.00 GMT: Steve Bruce may be looking for additions to Hull City in January, but one big loss to the Tigers' changing room will be Tom Huddlestone's hair. The midfielder scored against Fulham to end his self-imposed haircut ban, and is currently getting his locks chopped off to be auctioned off for charity.

15.57 GMT: West Ham boss Sam Allardyce is struggling for forward options to save the Hammers' season, but QPR manager Harry Redknapp is keen in taking Carlton Cole off his hands to boost the Hoops' Premier League promotion push.

He told BBC London 94.9: "It's difficult as [Cole] belongs to West Ham still. Sam Allardyce has his own problems with injuries and everything there.

"I'm looking for a proven goalscorer and someone who can come in and do the job."

15.45 GMT: Sunderland need more goals to fire them to safety, and The Mirror are reporting that Ignacio Scocco is on Gus Poyet's radar.

The 28-year-old currently plays for Brazilian side Internacional, and could be available on a loan deal to help kickstart the rock bottom Black Cats' season.

15.30 GMT: Cardiff City have been showing off Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to the fans already -- there was no mention of what sort of budget the new manager will be given by Vincent Tan in his earlier press conference, but he has the whole of January to reshape the Bluebirds.

15.05 GMT: Former Middlesbrough player turned television pundit Jan Aage Fjortoft believes compatriot Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will raid former club Molde as he looks to swell Cardiff City's ranks. Midfielder Mats Moller Daehli is first on his shopping list, with Solskjaer previously likening the teenager to former teammate Paul Scholes.

14.53 GMT: Jermaine Jones looks like he will be moving on from Schalke in the near future as the club have released a statement on their official website stating the midfielder requested not to travel with the side to their mid-season training camp in Qatar.

The 30-year-old USA international's contract is up this summer, and Jones has been given more time to sort out his future rather than make the trip with his team mates.

14.40 GMT: ESPN FC correspondent Jonathan Johnson confirms that despite PSG's president Nasser Al-Khelaifi confirming the club want to keep Thiago Motta and Blaise Matuidi, neither player has signed a contract extension yet.

14.30 GMT: Bayern Munich forward Mario Mandzukic has again been linked with Juventus, according to Tuttosport.


ESPN FC
reported on the Italian club's interest in November, and speculation appears to be mounting on a move for the Croatian striker.

14.18 GMT: talkSPORT are reporting that Arsenal have made contact with Nemanja Matic's agent Dejan Mitrovic about a move for the highly-rated Benfica playmaker.

Arsene Wenger has ample cover in midfield, but the midfielder's form is attracting the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, and his former club Chelsea.

14.05 GMT: Tottenham are in fine form with Tim Sherwood in charge, but Goal are reporting that Lewis Holtby is seeking talks with the new coach over his role in the team.

The 23-year-old is a promising talent, and would attract a lot of interest should Spurs decide his future lies elsewhere.

13.55 GMT: Our Germany correspondent Stephan Uersfeld has told us that Robert Lewandowski will not be signing for Bayern Munich today, as the BVB forward is travelling back to Berlin tomorrow.

13.50 GMT: Angel di Maria was heavily linked with a move away from Real Madrid last summer, and PSG coach Laurent Blanc has denied the French champions are after the winger.

"All good players are welcome at PSG. But we're talking about a player who's at Real Madrid, one of the best clubs in Europe... signing him is not on the agenda."

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13.40 GMT: Sevilla playmaker Ivan Rakitic says he plans to discuss a new contract with the Spanish club before he makes any decision about his future.
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The 25-year-old told Sevilla’s official website: “There is nothing new to say -- we have all been on holidays. I have not been on the mobile, just letting the days pass."

Manchester United, Liverpool and PSG are reportedly targeting the playmaker, who currently captains his Primera Liga side.

13.25 GMT: Solskjaer has signed a rolling contract with Cardiff City from season to season -- now it will be up to the new boss to tempt in players during the transfer window to ensure Premier League survival. The former Manchester United player has plenty of friends in the game, so it'll be interesting to see if he looks to Old Trafford for fresh faces.

13.10 GMT: Confirmation from Jack Sullivan -- joint-chairman David Sullian's son -- that John Heitinga will not be joining West Ham now. The Hammers will have to turn their attentions elsewhere for defensive cover.

13.00 GMT: Another top European club are after David Luiz, according to Bild -- they say Bayern Munich are interested in the Chelsea man.

Jose Mourinho is still keen to keep the Brazilian, but the prospect of a bidding war between Pep Guardiola's team and Barcelona could be too tempting for the Portuguese coach to turn down, especially given the Blues' lack of funds for January.

12.50 GMT: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been confirmed as Cardiff City's new manager, the club have announced on their official website.

The former Molde manager met his new squad at the Vale training ground, and is currently at Cardiff City Stadium to meet the press.

12.41 GMT: More on Miralem Pjanic now -- L'Equipe reports that PSG are after the Roma attacker, and a move remains a possibility until he signs the rumoured contract entension that we suggested is on the cards.
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12.35 GMT: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has arrived at Cardiff City Stadium and is set to be unveiled as the Bluebirds' manager this afternoon -- we'll have more on that and any potential budget/transfer news as and when it's announced. Vincent Tan is almost certain to back the former Old Trafford striker to bring in a few new faces.

12.28 GMT: Marco Reus has been linked with a big-money move to Manchester United this month as David Moyes searches for players who can actually pass the ball to one another, but the Borussia Dortmund midfielder has told Bild that he is happy in Germany and a move abroad is a long way off.

"All I can say is I do not think about moving -- anywhere else other than Dortmund at this time is far away."

12.20 GMT: The Heitinga plot thickens -- The Mirror are reporting that the Everton defender could be joining Newcastle after rejecting West Ham. It's safe to say that Sam Allardyce will not be happy if he loses out on a public target to his former club.

12.10 GMT: Juventus starlet Paul Pogba is on PSG's radar, with the Ligue 1 club's president Nasser Al-Khelaifi expressing his interest to Le Parisien: "He is a Parisian. He is a great player and represents the future of France."

It would take a hefty fee for the Old Lady to even consider parting with the former Manchester United youngster -- that wouldn't be a problem for the French club, and Pogba's stunning form in November shows why PSG are so interested.

11.55 GMT: In what will be one of the most predictable announcements of the January transfer window, Bayern Munich are set to confirm the signature of Robert Lewandowski according to Abendzeitung, with the Borussia Dortmund striker now free to agree a Bosman move for the summer.

11.50 GMT: John Heitinga has confirmed to De Telegraaf that his proposed move to West Ham is off, in a further blow to Sam Allardyce's hopes of strengthening his depleted defence.

"The deal is definitely off. It has nothing to do with money, but with the feeling."

11.45 GMT: David Moyes may look inside the club as well as out for reinforcements in January, and will decide which young Manchester United players go back out on loan based on his transfer dealings during the window according to the club's official website.

"We don't need to make a decision just now. A lot will depend on if anything changes here - then we can look at them. But we're watching them to see how they're doing.

"Jesse Lingard has returned just now from Birmingham City. Will Keane has returned from Wigan. We'll keep an eye on one or two of the others and we'll see what we think we need to do as the month progresses."

11.38 GMT: Jose Sosa's impending move to Atletico means Leo Baptistao may move out on loan, with Betis apparently best placed to land the striker. Leo's former club Rayo Vallecano had wanted him, but Betis will pay Atletico a higher package to take the 21-year-old for rest of season.

"If Leo goes to Betis, I wish the best for him in his new career stage there," said Rayo coach Paco Jemez last night.
West Ham were also apparently interested in taking on the Spain U-21 international, who cost six million euros last summer.

11.30 GMT: Arsenal moving in for Fulham forward Dimitar Berbatov could suit all parties. The striker has been out of sorts at Craven Cottage this season with just two goals, but he has proven quality in front of goal with the right service. Another forward would give Arsene Wenger options and the change to rest Olivier Giroud in the run-in -- but nothing is set in stone.
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Gunners fans may baulk at the thought of a former Tottenham and Manchester United player in their shirt, but he has already given them a taste of his goalscoring prowess...

11.20 GMT: West Ham are desperate for a striker as they languish in the relegation zone, but Argentinian forward Diego Milito looks set to reject Sam Allardyce's advances according to The Mirror.

The European Cup winner is keen on a return home to former club Racing, but may delay a move until the summer. Inter are said to want the well-paid striker off the books though -- perhaps a loan deal could be the Hammers' way forward?

11.12 GMT: The Daily Mail are reporting that Manchester United are closing in on Dinamo Zagreb wonderkid Robert Muric.

The 17-year-old is valued at around 6 million pounds, but David Moyes is apparently confident of landing the striker for a compensation deal worth around just 300,000 pounds due to uncertainties over his contract -- what a coup that would be.

11.05 GMT: One pundit who seems to think Fulham forward Dimitar Berbatov would be a good fit for Arsenal is Gary Neville. The former Manchester United striker has six months left on his Cottagers contract, and Neville believes the Bulgarian would be a good fit at the Emirates.

11.00 GMT: Newcastle United seem to be after yet another French player as The Chronicle reports that the Magpies have contacted Montpellier about the availability of winger Remy Cabella.

The 23-year-old has been linked with Manchester United in the past, and Alan Pardew must be confident of his side's negotiating skills if he is to land the attacker -- the Ligue 1 club's president rates Cabella at around 14 million pounds.

10.45 GMT: Midfielder Jose Sosa is having medical at Atletico Madrid today to complete a six month loan move from Metalist Kharkiv, the Spanish club have posted on their official website.

"Atletico Madrid and FC Metalist have reached an agreement that will see Jose Sosa play in our club on loan until 30th June 2014. The Argentine, who acted as the captain of the Ukrainian team, arrive in Madrid in time to spend the New Year here and this Thursday he will do the relevant medical examination before completing his signing as a new Atletico player."

10.35 GMT: Miralem Pjanic is a rumoured target for Manchester United, but Roma are set to reward the midfielder's fine form with a bumper contract extension.
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Reports suggest the 23-year-old could receive about a 50 percent rise in salary to earn 3.2 million euros a season. Presumably one of the reasons i Giallorossi want to keep him is because he can do things like this...

10.25 GMT: 19-year-old Portuguese youth international Ruben Vezo is raring to go after being unveiled by Valencia on Tuesday.

"I have come to Valencia to work, I really want to do well. I will work so that I can reach my potential. Other clubs were talked about, but Valencia showed the most interest."

The defender was signed from Vitoria de Setubal for 1.6 million euros [with his former club having 25 percent of future sale fee and Jorge Mendes heavily involved]. Vezo was brought in to cover the gap left by Adil Rami, who has officially joined Milan after falling out with Valencia in autumn.

10.20 GMT: Real Betis are apparently set to do loan deals to take both Stoke midfielder Wilson Palacios and Malaga keeper Carlos Kameni for the rest of the season. Both players are looking to get first team action ahead of the World Cup finals next summer, while bottom club Betis need experienced reinforcements in their fight against the drop.

10.05 GMT: Two of Manchester United's most famous January imports -- Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra -- didn't exactly cover themselves in glory in the 2-1 defeat to Tottenham yesterday, and it seems like David Moyes is intent on strengthening his struggling squad this month.

Le 10 Sport are reporting that Moyes is ready to shell out for Juventus star Arturo Vidal, and the Chilean could be tempted by the promise of massive wages.

Vidal agreed a contract extension in Turin in early December, but this video gives you a little taste of what the United fans could come to expect if Moyes manages to tempt him to England.

09.50 GMT: Some managers stay away from the January transfer window like the plague, while others can't wait to dip their toes back into the murky waters of survival deals.

Liverpool have given us all a timely reminder of when a winter deal can go spectacularly right -- Daniel Sturridge celebrates a year at Anfield today, and 22 goals in 30 games is not a bad return at all.

09.45 GMT: Nicklas Bendtner is beginning to change the minds of Arsenal fans after scoring a vital late goal against Cardiff yesterday, but it came at a cost as the striker faces 'weeks' out, according to Arsene Wenger.
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That injury may force the Gunners manager into the market -- Loic Remy could be the man for the table-toppers according to The Times, while The Sun are reporting that Dimitar Berbatov may be closing in on a cut-price move to the Emirates.

09.30 GMT: Another Chelsea player who could be on his way out of Stamford Bridge is David Luiz -- Goal are reporting that Barcelona have renewed their interest in the 26-year-old.

Chelsea are apparently willing to listen to offers for the defender/midfielder, but Jose Mourinho would only consider selling the classy player if a huge bid came in. Barca, of course, are after more than just a defender...

09.20 GMT: Former PSG forward, Guillaume Hoarau, is set to return from China to join Bordeaux, the Sud Ouest newspaper claims, with Les Girondins' Malian striker Cheick Diabate linked with a move to the Premier League where - inevitably - Newcastle United head the queue.

Rennes, meanwhile, are eyeing up a 2.5 million euro bid for Tours forward Andy Delort, who has registered seven goals and five assists in Ligue 2 this season.

09.05 GMT: An episode that is sure to run throughout the window is the case of Juan Mata. The midfielder was angry at being substituted for Oscar as Chelsea struggled against Southampton yesterday -- while the Brazilian came on to change the game for the Blues, the mild-mannered Spaniard's uncharacteristic reaction tells you all you need to know about Jose Mourinho's decision.

The Portuguese manager was predictably vague abouut Mata's future -- he wants the midfielder to stay, but also said: "The club's door is open too, so when a player wants to speak to us we are there waiting for them."
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Happy New Year! It's exhilarating, the first of January. With the window open, transfers can evolve from rumor into fact. From fantasy to reality. No longer must you dream of signing that player you desperately need -- you actually might see him smiling, clutching with your team's shirt in his hands!

So it is with a sense of bemusement that our only completed deal to date involves... 18-year-old Burkina Faso midfielder Bertrand Traore to Chelsea. We eagerly await his loan to a Dutch club within a matter of days.

So where were we? Today's rumors are a bit like a gumbo without a decent roux. They lack the spice and sustenance of summer whispers. The taste is filling but not satisfying, the flavor smooth but not developed. We press on regardless.

The main bit of flavor comes on the managerial front, curiously, as the Guardian updates us all on the Cardiff City situation. Having spent New Year's Day in close proximity to wild-eyed, leather-gloved money man Vincent Tan, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is reportedly holding a pen really close to a contract that would confirm him as their new manager. No truth to the rumor, though, that Tan is holding him hostage until the ink dries. We wonder what on earth would inspire someone to take that job with that man in charge... until we realize that it's a Premier League job and win, lose or draw, the pay's probably quite nice.

Manager in waiting Ole Gunnar Solskjaer watches on from stands with Cardiff owner Vincent Tan.GettyImagesManager in waiting Ole Gunnar Solskjaer watches on from stands with Cardiff owner Vincent Tan.


Elsewhere...

- The Mirror paints a harrowing picture in north England as Manchester City scrap and claw with every fiber of their collective being to avoid losing Joleon Lescott to Besiktas. You see, Lescott's contract expires in the summer and there's little desire among Manuel Pellegrini's employers to continue forking out 90,000 pounds a week for the 31-year-old center-back. Enter the opportunistic Turkish side, in need of an experienced defender. A match made in heaven. "We are negotiating with Manchester City over defender Joleon Lescott," said director Ahmet Kavalci. The horror!

- Also in the Mirror: a scintillating tale involving two birds and a seaside town. It is believed that Newcastle are willing to let Dan Gosling fly the coop for Blackpool on a permanent basis. Having failed to make an impact at St. James's Park, Gosling's been impressing all and sundry while on loan this season for the Tangerines, prompting boss Paul Ince to inquire about a full-time move. The 23-year-old midfielder joined Newcastle on a free in 2010 and could well leave for free given his contract expiring in June. Easy come, easy go(sling).

- Speaking of Blackpool, the Daily Mail says that Swansea and Crystal Palace are "in the hunt" for promising winger Tom Ince. Remember when Liverpool were bidding like the dickens for Paul Ince's son last summer? I do too. Now, the price is apparently 4 million pounds given that Ince's contract expires in the summer.

- French paper L'Equipe is reporting that Marseille forward Jordan Ayew has joined Ligue 1 struggler Sochaux on loan until the end of the season. Just 22 years old, Ayew the younger has netted just once for l'OM in 16 league games. Here's hoping he finds form for his new club, which currently sit second from bottom with just 11 points.

- The Daily Mail riffs on an impending (and possibly fictional) tug of war between Man United and Newcastle for the services of Montpellier and France midfielder Remy Cabella. It makes sense, to some degree, that these clubs would spar for the 23-year-old; David Moyes needs help in the middle of the pitch while the Magpies are seemingly preparing for life without Yohan Cabaye. Given that Montpellier reportedly need money and Cabella is worth a fair bit on the open market -- club president Louis Nicollin declared in November that the young star was worth some 14 million pounds -- we wouldn't be surprised if there's an impending deal.

Some brief hits and flights of fancy:
- Houston, Texas-born defender Zak Whitbread has extended his loan deal at Derby County until the end of the season.

- Porto and France defender Eliaquim Mangala has spoken of his "dream" to move to the Premier League. Lovely.

- The Sun believes that Arsenal are seeking the services of aging style icon and part-time striker Dimitar Berbatov. Imagine him slinking and sauntering around the Emirates penalty area. I can't even.

- The Mirror says that Crystal Palace are on the verge of scooping up defender Scott Dann from Blackburn Rovers. Cool!

Finally, two teasing tweets from FC's own Gabriele Marcotti that pick out several high-profile players whose current deals expire after this season. Could they be (ahem) ON THE MOVE soon?

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