We are fast approaching the January transfer window which means the rumour mill is in full force once again as speculation is made about who will join Premier League clubs next month.
Although traditionally clubs don’t seem to splash out the cash as much as they do during the summer, we have seen some big transfers during this window in recent years. Roll back 12 months ago and Manchester United spent £35 million on Juan Mata from Premier League favourites Chelsea when David Moyes caught wind the Spanish midfielder was available.
There was also the transfer of Fernando Torres from Liverpool to Chelsea for £50 million in 2011 when the Blues spent £75 million during the month to boost their squad for the second half of the season. Now, here are ten players who have been linked with a move to the Premier League next month.
Kwadwo Asamoah (Juventus)
Ghana international Kwadwo Asamoah has played in Italy since 2008 when he made his professional debut for Udinese. In 2012 Juventus secured the services of the hardworking midfielder where he has notched up 67 appearances for The Old Lady since then.
It is now thought Jose Mourinho is interested in the 26-year-old at Chelsea and may be prepared to bid for the player next month when the latest transfer window opens. The Blues boss may recall the Ghanaian from his time as Inter Milan manager in Serie A.
Asamoah is a player who can play in a number of positions across midfield, something of which Mourinho is a big fan. There could also be some competition for the Juve man from Manchester City, who may look to freshen their squad as they aim to reduce their deficit behind leaders Chelsea in the Premier League.
Juventus are not short of midfielders in their squad so a transfer away from Turn is likely in January with England his possible destination.
Bernard (Shakhtar Donetsk)
Shakhtar Donetsk took a chance in 2013 and splashed out €25 million on relatively unknown Brazilian winger Bernard from Atletico Mineiro in Brazil. That investment looks to have paid off so far as the 22-year-old has been one of the star players in the Ukrainian league over the last couple of seasons.
With the political unrest in Ukraine this year, though, Bernard has made it clear he may look to leave the country in the near future if the situation does not improve. This message has been picked up by a number of clubs in England who would be interested in his services now he has proven himself in Europe.
Bernard would not come cheap as Shakhtar would want to make a profit on the €25 million they spent to bring the player to Europe. Liverpool and Arsenal have both been interested in the past and would see the winger as an ideal fit into their teams.
Edinson Cavani (PSG)
Reports suggest Arsenal are very close to agreeing a fee for Edinson Cavani in January which would be a huge sign of intent from Arsene Wenger as the PSG striker is likely to cost at least £50 million.
PSG broke the French transfer record when they signed the Uruguayan in July 2013 from Napoli. It was a big coup for the Ligue 1 side as a number of top clubs in Europe were in for the player but they won the race for his signature.
Although the striker helped PSG to win the league title last season, Laurent Blanc is reported to be happy to let his star player go in order to free some money up to spend on his squad.
Arsenal seem desperate to add to their attacking options next month as they have struggled for goals this season in comparison to a lot of their rivals in the league.
It is not out of the question for Liverpool or Manchester City to come in for the player as they both need a striker themselves. The stumbling block for the Merseyside club may be the transfer fee, though, as they spent heavily in the summer so may not be able to afford to bring him to Anfield.
Nicolas Gaitan (Benfica)
Benfica have developed some top-class players in recent years, most notably Angel Di Maria, Ramirez and David Luiz who have all played in the Premier League following moves away from the Estadio da Luz. Nicolas Gaitan is thought to be the latest talent who is likely to be snapped up from the Portuguese club after some impressive performances recently.
Manchester United winger Di Maria is thought to be encouraging his club to take a chance on Gaitan who has a €35 million release clause in his contract.
Gaitan plays alongside Di Maria for Argentina so the two players know each other very well which would be a huge positive for United boss Louis van Gaal if he could secure the player’s services.
Di Maria may be able to persuade his national team-mate to make the move to Old Trafford where he would be able to help him settle into life in England.
Mario Mandzukic (Atletico Madrid)
Manchester City have struggled to keep their strikers off the injury table this season, with Sergio Aguero, Stevan Jovetic and Edin Dzeko all facing spells off the pitch at various points of the campaign so far. With that in mind, it is thought City boss Manuel Pellegrini has made it his priority to sign a striker in January.
Mario Mandzukic is believed to be top of the Chilean’s shortlist as he has proved himself in Europe in both Germany and Spain with spells with Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid, respectively.
The Croatian international won the Champions League with Bayern in 2013 and was also part of their record-breaking year which saw them win the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup.
In his 88 games for the German champions, he scored 48 goals before a move to Spain where Atletico paid an undisclosed fee for his services when he was signed to replace Diego Costa who departed to Chelsea.
The reigning Spanish champions have signed former player Fernando Torres on loan from AC Milan which has fuelled rumours even further that they will accept a bid from Manchester City for their striker.
Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona)
Ivan Rakitic only just signed for Spanish giants Barcelona in the summer from Sevilla but it is thought Manchester City and Manchester United are monitoring the player’s situation in Spain as he is believed to be unhappy at the Nou Camp.
The Croatian midfielder has not always been a regular starter in the Catalan club’s side this season, with Xavi preferred ahead of him in some big games by manager Luis Enrique.
The speculation about the player’s morale may just tempt one of the two Manchester clubs. Van Gaal and Pellegrini would see Rakitic as a great fit into their midfields, as the Croatian is a great ball carrier who will enjoy the pace of the Premier League, just like his compatriot Luka Modric did for Spurs before his move to Real Madrid.
Rakitic may well stay in Spain and have a great career at Barcelona, however, he could see a move to the Premier League and one of England’s biggest clubs as a lifeline if he feels the transfer to Barca was a mistake.
Marco Reus (Dortmund)
Marco Reus is one of the few star players left at Dortmund from their title-winning season in Germany where they also reached the final of the Champions League but were beaten by domestic rivals Bayern Munich.
After a terrible campaign in the Bundesliga this season, Reus is thought to be looking for an exit away from the club in January and a host of European clubs are thought to be interested in signing the German World Cup winner.
Real Madrid are favourites to land Reus but it won’t stop Manchester City and Manchester United entering the race for the German.
United showed in the summer that they are not afraid to splash the cash as they look to get back in contention for the title in the Premier League. United look back on track for a top-four spot which will give them Champions League football next season once again. This will help them land some of the big stars in Europe who will want to be performing in the biggest club competition in the world.
It is very difficult to turn down Real Madrid when they do come knocking on your door. However, Reus may look at the Spanish giants and believe there are too many high-profile players in their squad. He could see the Premier League as the best place for his game so it is not out of the question for the Dortmund midfielder to move to England in January.
Xherdan Shaqiri (Bayern Munich)
Liverpool were linked with the services of Xherdan Shaqiri in the summer where it was thought they were going to spend some of the money they received for Luis Suarez on the Bayern Munich winger.
The Swiss international has struggled to gain a starting place in Pep Guardiola’s strong Bayern side which is flying in the German league. He may therefore need to leave in January if he wants regular first-team football rather than coming off the bench in the latter stages of games.
Liverpool may now have competition from Arsenal and Manchester United for the 22-year-old who could be available in January.
Shaqiri has experience of playing in the Champions League for Basel and Bayern and is one of the leading players in his national team, Switzerland, in which he represented at the World Cup in Brazil earlier this summer.
Lucas Silva (Cruzeiro)
Twenty-one-year-old Cruzeiro midfielder Lucas Silva is regarded as the brightest talent outside of Europe at the moment and has been receiving huge glowing reports for his performances in his home country.
As ever with young Brazilian talent, Real Madrid and Barcelona are both reported to be interested in the youngster but it would be a gamble for any club to spend big on the midfielder in January with no guarantee he will settle into European football straight away.
Silva has yet to be capped by Brazil but has featured for their under-20 team. He was named the player of the Toulon Tournament won by Brazil earlier this year when they defeated France in the final 5-2.
Manchester United are thought to be one of the English clubs who are also interested in Silva. If they were to take a chance on the Brazilian it would be a big coup for the Premier League as the 21-year-old could turn out to be one of the best players in the world.
Kevin Strootman (Roma)
Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal knows all about Roma midfielder Kevin Strootman as he was a regular under him while he was manager of the Netherlands national team.
One of the reasons as to why Van Gaal has not signed Strootman yet at Old Trafford is because of the player’s injury record over the past 12 months. Now that the 24-year-old is over his knee problems, January may prove the time Van Gaal pounces for the Roma man.
United are missing a deep-sitting midfielder so Strootman would be exactly what United are looking for in their heart of the pitch.
Roma have coped well in Strootman’s absence through injury as they finished runners-up in Serie A last season behind champions Juventus. Radja Nainggolan was given the opportunity to step into the Dutchman’s shoes in midfield and has taken full advantage of that with some impressive performances. The Italian club may see January as the perfect time to cash in on the injury-prone midfielder as they have been able function well without him.
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