As usual, this is the exact time of the year when the football rumor mill is in full swing, manufacturing all sorts of stories -- some right and some very wrong, some real and some very unreal, some credible and some really ridiculous.
The very reliable mass-circulation Zaman daily reported that Brazil midfielder Felipe Melo, who scored 12 goals for defending champion Galatasaray this season, wants to continue with the İstanbul club. But Melo, who was on a one-year loan from Juventus to Galatasaray last season, has said the unfortunate thing is that his fate is not in his own hands.
“I really want to continue with Galatasaray, but this is not tied to me,” Melo, nicknamed “Pit Bull,” noted. “I know the fans love me and I would like to play here for many more years to come,” he asserted.
The issue here is that there is an option for Galatasaray to purchase Melo for 13 million euros in this player's contract. In other words, if Galatasaray wants to continue with Melo, the club has got to pay Juventus 13 million euros. But whether Fatih Terim's Galatasaray can afford to fork out such a huge sum for this aggressive Brazil player remains a mystery, more especially after the no-nonsense coach reportedly said that his top priority at the moment is Real Madrid midfielder Hamit Altıntop.
Furthermore, the record books show Galatasaray has not continued with any player on loan after one season in the past decade; and this really casts a pall over the Melo matter.
Egemen rebuffs Beşiktaş
Reports in the Hürriyet daily had it that talks between cash-strapped and heavily indebted Beşiktaş and its defender Egemen Korkmaz over planned annual pay cuts fell apart immediately after they started.
The Beşiktaş club is talking to all the players one by one and asking those with high price tags to take a pay cut. Egemen, who joined Beşiktaş from Trabzonspor as a free agent, reportedly rebuffed this demand, adding that he would rather quit than accept a cut to his TL 1.25 million annual salary plus 25,000 euros per match.
“When several clubs were after me [at the end of last season], I made a sacrifice by rejecting all other offers and coming to Beşiktaş,” he said.
“As a professional footballer I want the contract I signed with Beşiktaş to be declared null and void because I have been making sacrifices all along and now you are asking me for a pay cut. Thanks for your offer, but I want my buy-out clause to be given to me,” he declared.
Egemen has said offers are coming from the German Bundesliga and if no agreement is reached by Monday, then he will start looking towards Europe.
The agents of defender Ekrem Dağ, German midfielder Roberto Hilbert, Slovakia striker Filip Holosko and Portuguese winger Simao Sabrosa have all been invited to İstanbul for negotiations.
In the meantime, there are other reports that the annual salaries of Portugal winger Ricardo Quaresma and forward Hugo Almeida are to be cut down to the neighborhood of 2 million euros.
Emre breaks transfer silence
For over two months now there have been reports the Fenerbahçe midfielder Emre Belözoğlu, whose contract expires this month, will be joining former Galatasaray captain Arda Turan at La Liga's Atletico Madrid next season for a fee of 2.5 million euros.
But Emre speaking to Beyaz TV said there was no such thing, thereby putting an abrupt end to all transfer speculation. “As long as I am not kicked out of Fenerbahçe and ordered ‘to go,' I am at Fenerbahçe,” he made categorically clear.
In the meantime, Trabzonspor has denied any rift with veteran coach Şenol Güneş, saying the 59-year-old will certainly be at the helm next season.