Time for some January transfer news! The Telegraph is reporting that Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen is targeting Tottenham Hotspur's misfiring striker Roberto Soldado for a January transfer. Great news, right? But here's the kicker: apparently Mauricio Pochettino doesn't want to let him go.
Soldado would be targeted as a replacement for Swiss striker Josip Drmic, who signed for Bayer after the World Cup but has reportedly not settled well and is agitating for a move. Pochettino, however, loves Soldado for his attitude and his work rate, despite the lack of, well, goals.
Pity poor Roberto. Things just haven't worked out for him in England. Certainly you can say he's been the victim of overly inflated expectations – you were the chosen one! you were supposed to bring balance to the squad, not leave it in darkness! – but there's just no denying anymore that when Tottenham purchased Soldado for £26m from Valencia 18 months ago what they got was a very expensive Spanish lemon. And that's coming from someone who really, really wanted him to succeed.
But does this all sound a little #batcountry? Yes, it does to me too. From general rumor mill perspective there are two things working against this rumor: Spurs' fixture congestion would preclude Soldado leaving before a replacement is brought in, and he seems much more likely to return to Spain than head to new pastures in Germany. Also, Daniel Levy is for sure going to attempt to get as much of that £26m back as he possibly can.
Moreover, I don't doubt that Pochettino really does love Roberto. All indications are that he's a pretty wonderful guy who loves his club and his teammates and is absolutely flabbergasted that he's still not banging them in for fun. That's not always the best reason to keep a guy around, especially when he's a highly-paid striker who's not putting up the numbers. I think it's more likely that Bayer have made an inquiry, but I'm not convinced that this is going to go anywhere.
If this were a straight swap of Drmic for Bobby... well, then I'm still not sure I'd believe it. That doesn't seem to be indicated here, though. I'd take this rumor with an entire salt mine for now, and would guess that any striker moves would probably wait to happen until right at the end of the January window.