On the move: 10 players that could be sold during the January transfer window
In the world of football, the new year does not just mean an overloaded calendar for players in England; it means the start of the transfer window, a busy time for intermediaries and a chance for clubs at both ends of the table to boost their squads to achieve their ambitions. It also represents the time when out-of-favour players can find pastures new and kick-start their careers. Here are ten players who could be on the move next month.
James Rodriguez (Real Madrid)
Interested clubs: Juventus, Fenerbahce, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Manchester United
Fee: €60 million ($62.9 million)
The long-running saga of James in Madrid is set to end with the European champions finally prepared to accept a loss on the €80m signing. James started two recent games in succession – the Champions League game against Borussia Dortmund and the league match against Deportivo – after which coach Zinedine Zidane insisted that he did not want James to leave in January. James needs to move and he admitted as much after Real Madrid’s Club World Cup win earlier this month. His agent Jorge Mendes said he was going nowhere, so we can expect this back and forth until the final days of January.
Chances of moving: 80 percent
Interested clubs: AC Milan, West Ham, Las Palmas
Fee: €30 million ($31.5 million)
PSG has already pulled off the signing of January, after clinching the deal for Julian Draxler from Wolfsburg for €36m. That will inevitably lead to the exit of Jese Rodriguez, whose summer move from Real Madrid has not worked out. Jese’s autumn was interrupted by appendicitis and a knee injury, and he scored two goals in his first 14 appearances under Unai Emery, only two of which were starts. He was expected to play out wide in a 4-2-3-1 system but Emery has reverted to predecessor Laurent Blanc’s 4-3-3. A recent interview with PSG chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi suggested that there was little point in trying to make it work with Jese. “Emery told me, 'When a mistake is made, it is better to try to fix it than to try to live with it.' So, if we have made mistakes, we will try to correct them.” The most likely destination for Jese is a loan to his hometown club Las Palmas, and a second-half of the season redemption before another move in the summer.
Chances of moving: 90 percent
Memphis Depay (Manchester United)
Interested clubs: Everton, West Ham, Fenerbahce, Wolfsburg, Spurs, Nice
Fee: £13 million ($15.9 million)
The Dutch international, signed under previous United manager Louis van Gaal, has only started once this season, in an EFL Cup tie at Northampton Town. United is reportedly prepared to accept half of the £25m it paid for the winger 18 months ago. Everton is at the front of the queue, with coach Ronald Koeman reportedly wanting Depay and his team-mate Morgan Schneiderlin in a double-deal. But Wolfsburg could swoop in with a bid as it looks to replace Draxler, while Fenerbahce’s Dutch coach Duck Advocaat also said to be keen. Either way, it looks like Depay’s time at Old Trafford is over.
Chances of moving: 95 percent
Ross Barkley (Everton)
Interested clubs: Manchester City, Chelsea, Spurs
Fee: £30 million ($36.7 million)
“I am not sure,” is how Everton coach Ronald Koeman responded to the question about whether Barkley would ever meet the expectations placed on him as the local talisman of his side. Barkley is now 23 and with 18 months of his contact to run, at a critical point in his career. Koeman’s predecessor Ronerto Martinez called him a diamond but Koeman has gone for the stick treatment rather than the carrot: with mixed results. The decision is whether a move away will get the best put of the playmaker, whose talent is not in doubt; or if Everton is willing to pay to keep Bajrley for what could be the best years of his career. A January bid from a top-six side could force its hand one way or the other.
Chances of moving: 50 percent
Bastian Schweinsteiger (Manchester United)
Interested clubs: Chicago Fire, Santos
Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness urged Schweinsteiger to see out his contract at Old Trafford as revenge for how Manchester United has treated the former Germany captain; in truth, signing an injury-prone 30-something on a giant contract always looked peculiar. And so, halfway through his three-year deal and with no chance of regular games under Jose Mourinho, Schweinsteiger is ready to move on. He has met with Chicago Fire, who remains favorite to sign him, though there has also been interest from Brazil and China. Schweinsteiger at United, not just through any fault of his own, has to go down as a big flop.
Chances of moving: 90 percent
Nicklas Sule (Hoffenheim)
Interested clubs: Bayern Munich, Roma, AC Milan, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City
Fee: €35 million ($36.7 million)
The highly-rated German center back is expected to join Bayern Munich, even though he will find Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng ahead of him in the pecking order at the Allianz Arena. Sule is a star of the future and has been linked to several top Premier League clubs. He is ready for a step up in his career – the question is, will he play much at his next club? And will Hoffenheim be able to keep him for the rest of this season?
Chances of moving: 70 percent
Jose Fonte (Southampton)
Interested clubs: Manchester United, Everton, Arsenal
Fee: £8 million ($9.8 million)
Sounds like a bargain for the 2016 European Championship winner who earlier this season confirmed that he had not been offered a new contract by Southampton. The 33-year-old has spent six years at St Mary’s, joining for £12m when the club was in League One. What a bargain he has proved. He sat tight in August when it looked like Jose Mourinho would take him to Old Trafford, and the center back issues still at United suggest that move might still be possible. Fonte is still Southampton captain but it is now Virgil van Dijk who is the key figure in defense; if Saints are to sell one of its center backs, Fonte is the one likely to go first.
Chances of moving: 70 percent
Jon Obi Mikel (Chelsea)
Interested clubs: Inter Milan, AC Milan, Shanghai SIPG, Marseille, Hamburg
Fee: £5 million ($6.1 million)
Chelsea coach Antonio Conte was reportedly annoyed by the midfielder’s decision to play for Nigeria at the 2016 Olympics and he has not played for the club this season. “Maybe people will say the new manager was upset I left and went to the Olympics, that I didn’t have a pre-season with the team,” he told The Sun last week. “But I don’t want to use those excuses. I have to keep training hard and make sure I change the manager’s mind. If not, then we’ll see what happens in January.” There is no shortage of interest in the 29-year-old, who could get big money if he heads east. But Marseille is another option for him. Didier Drogba, who spent a season in southern France, told RAC1 that he’d put in a word for his former club. “I told him how well I was treated during my stay there,” he said. Mikel is likely to play more once the New Year comes around…but who knows where?
Chances of moving: 85 percent
Saido Berahino (West Brom)
Interested clubs: Everton, Roma, Inter Milan, Nice, Stoke, West Ham
Fee: £5 million ($6.1 million)
Berahino’s contract at West Brom is up next summer so he is free to finalize a move with a foreign club in the new year. The 23-year-old has last played for his club in early September and his last goal was over 10 months ago. He fell out with WBA in summer 2015 after it turned down a £22m bid for him from Spurs; last summer it rejected offers from Stoke and Crystal Palace. The interest in him is no surprise: with the right coach, Berahino could find the form, and goals, that earned him an England call-up in November 2014.
Chances of moving: 65 percent
Dmitri Payet (West Ham)
Interested clubs: Arsenal, PSG, Sevilla, Roma
Fee: £35 million ($42.8 million)
West Ham’s star player of last season and one of France best players at the European Championship has made it clear that he would leave the London club if a better offer came along. “Leave in January?” he told French show Telefoot last month. “I'm asking other questions right now but I've closed the door to nothing. Until now, I always chose my clubs depending on the sports project.” Earlier this year he signed a five-year contract with the Hammers worth over £100,000 per week. He remains one of the best creators in the Premier League but at 29, is running out of time to secure a move to a top Champions League club – no matter how much he wants it.
Chances of moving: 30 percent
- AC Milan
- Bayern Munich
- Borussia Dortmund
- Chicago Fire
- Crystal Palace
- FIFA World Cup
- Inter Milan
- James Rodríguez
- Jerome Boateng
- Julian Draxler
- La Liga
- Manchester City
- Manchester United
- Mats Hummels
- Paris SG
- Real Madrid
- Tottenham Hotspur
- UEFA Champions League
- West Bromwich Albion
- West Ham United