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Chelsea, Roma, and West Ham continue merry transfer rumor dance

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Feghouli, Musonda, Payet?

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West Ham United v Manchester United - Premier League Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire is an adage we often (fallaciously) refer to when talking about transfer stories, but given the unreliability of the vast majority of rumors, there’s often nothing else we can do than guess and try to read between the lines while looking for motivation and sourcing.

In this situation, the motivation for the various parties involved is fairly clear. AS Roma want an attacking player to replace Mohamed Salah for the next month or so (and possibly help the team beyond that as well). Chelsea want to make sure that Charly Musonda doesn’t waste the second half of the season like he did the first half at Real Betis, while also being on the lookout for “right” players to possibly come in this January. West Ham want to hang on to their best players and receive proper compensation for the others as they try to recover from their terrible first half to the season. Meanwhile, there are the continuing questions over Michy Batshuayi’s possible loan.

So, what do these things have to do with each other? Perhaps nothing. Probably something. Possibly everything? (Chances are, it’s the middle option.)

According to Sky Italia, AS Roma aren’t too keen on paying £10m for West Ham’s Sofiane Feghouli, preferring instead a loan solution for Salah’s temporary absence. This could mean a deal with Chelsea instead for Charly Musonda, as it had been hinted at by Charly’s father earlier. Conte had opted against using Musonda in the FA Cup over the weekend precisely to keep the loan option on the table for the second-half of the season.

Meanwhile, the Dimitri Payet runaway train is about to hit the depot full of dynamite over at West Ham, with the France international submitting his “quitting papers” but the club staunchly and very publicly refusing to sell. Considering that Payet has 4.5 years left on his contract, the ultimate solution to this situation is definitely not going to be Payet getting paid for not playing at all for the next half-decade. Perhaps they can reconcile, as the club appear to be hoping. Or, more likely, they’ll agree to a sale. Or at least a short-term loan?

That said, one of the reasons Payet ended up at West Ham in the first place was his previous reputation for attitude and ‘team spirit’ issues, and while he seemed to shed all those labels over the past year or so, which included a starring role for France at Euro 2016, going on strike from West Ham has once again validated those previous concerns. Perhaps tellingly, the only bid so far for Payet’s services has come from Marseille, and that at just £20m for a £50m-rated player.

Should Chelsea consider a bid for Payet? When this idea was floated in the summer by Di Marzio, the prices quoted made it a non-starter. But at a discount, or perhaps just a loan? Payet on his day is a game-changer, while on other days he’s apparently a dressing room disruptor (he’s now been barred from training by Bilic), which does sound risky.

So maybe all this is a terrible idea, but it’s Thursday and I’m slightly bored. So, we loan Musonda to Roma, loan Batshuayi to West Ham, and bring in Payet (on loan). Just for the next six months. Just for funsies.

UPDATE: Didn’t have to wait too long for Chelsea to be “officially” linked with Payet. Here’s The Sun to lead the way.