As the year draws to a close a number of clubs will be concentrating, not only on their festive fixture pile ups, but the season-changing possibility of the January transfer window. With a number of traditionally successful sides having an indifferent start to the campaign, panic buttons are set to be pushed throughout the country.
Clubs who would usually be content with their lot and not rush into buying players to ‘save their season’ are looking for a touch of magic. United need defenders, Arsenal need defenders – and someone else apart from Sanchez to score goals. Chelsea seemingly need no-one but are still linked with half of Europe, and Liverpool will be after anyone half decent.
Here’s a few of the biggest transfer rumours for this year’s merry-go-round:
After last season, even the most optimistic United fan didn’t expect to be among the title favourites but the start they have made under Louis van Gaal has not been great. The lack of European football will be seen as a temporary blip so that shouldn’t put too many players off. Mats Hummels has been linked with a move to Old Trafford but even with Dortmund’s terrible start to their season it is more likely that that would be a summer signing.
United do need defenders though and a more likely situation would be Jan Vertonghen making the switch from Spurs. Perennial United target Wesley Sneijder has become even more unhappy and unwanted at Galatasaray and the fact that van Gaal knows the Dutch midfielder well makes this more possible than in previous transfer windows.
SINGING THE BLUES
Chelsea have blown everyone away so far this season so would seem to have no need to splash out in January but that won’t stop the rumours circulating. The biggest name linked with a move to Stamford Bridge is another Dortmund star, Marco Reus. The fact that he is injured – again – shouldn’t have too much of a bearing on the likelihood of a move, nor should Jose Mourinho’s insistence that he is not interested in capturing the German midfielder. But more likely is Porto’s holding midfielder Joao Moutinho making the switch.
A player that seemingly everyone in the top half of the table wants is West Brom’s Saido Berahino. An excellent start to the season has seen him bag a place in the England squad and the Black Country club has said that they would not stand in the way of their talent moving to a bigger stage.
Although Arsenal, United and City have all been mentioned it could well be a move to Liverpool that is on the cards. A distinct lack of goals has seen the Reds slip to the bottom half of the table and Brendan Rodgers knows that he will have to do something to keep his job.
ICARDI ON THE CARDS?
One of the most coveted talents likely to make a move in the January window is Inter’s Argentinean goalscorer, Mauro Icardi. Liverpool and Chelsea, along with the rest of the usual suspects, have been named as possible destinations for the striker who has impressed with 11 goals so far this season.
The January transfer window is always hyped out of all proportion and ‘news’ that Lionel Messi could move to Manchester City, or that anyone would agree to pay the release clause fee of £60m for Everton’s Ross Barkley should tell you that ‘sure thing’ transfer rumours are usually anything but.
There might well be a surprise move that makes a major difference to a club’s season but if history tells us anything it is that far too much attention is spent on what could be done during one month and not enough on utilising the squads the big clubs already have at their disposal.