With Christmas nearly upon us, the winter transfer window is now just 2 weeks away from opening – and with some clubs not performing at their best, expect some big moves. Here are some of the biggest that are being hinted at so far.
Linked with: Shanghai SIPG
Verdict: Absolutely ludicrous. Looks like the most likely deal to happen on this list, which is quite shocking and shows the state of football now. Yes, he is barely playing since Conte made the switch to 3-4-3, but he could still walk in to most sides in Europe – and he’s choosing to go and take a big salary in China! Still, you probably won’t catch a Chelsea fan (me included) moaning at the fee Chelsea are getting for him.
James Rodriguez (Real Madrid)
Linked with: Chelsea
Verdict: An upgrade on Oscar? Without a doubt. But it’s hard for me to see where he would fit into the 3-4-3 Chelsea use, as he isn’t a natural winger. Some reports are saying he would be used to give Hazard a rest – which neither player would really want. Still, it would give Chelsea the option to switch to a 4-2-3-1 (or similar) so they can’t be found out too easily.
Ross Barkley (Everton)
Linked with: Tottenham
Verdict: Another transfer window, another Ross Barkley rumour. With Everton still struggling, Ronald Koeman looks set to try and bring in players to match the way he wants to play. However, with Everton posting some big financial losses for the past season, it looks like they will need to sell before they can buy. Barkley has been inconsistent for the past season and a half, and looks the most likely to leave.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund)
Linked with: Man City and Real Madrid
Price: No price mentioned yet, likely to be between £70-80m
Verdict: There were always going to be rumours surrounding him – especially as the top goalscorer in Europe’s top 5 leagues. There is absolutely no chance of this happening in the middle of the season, but it would be a statement of intent if either City or Madrid could lure him to join them (even if not until the summer). The player himself has said he would one day like to play for Real.
Probability: 3/10, but don’t rule it out.
Marco Veratti (PSG)
Linked with: Chelsea
Verdict: A more realistic option for Chelsea, as he is likely to leave should PSG continue to struggle – and being 7 points adrift of the top isn’t likely to entice him to stay. Given that he has previously played under Conte in the Italian national side, it isn’t too far fetched an idea for PSG to lose one of their key players.
Diego Laxalt (Genoa)
Linked with: Chelsea and Arsenal
Price: None mentioned – Likely to be around £15m
Verdict: Another player linked to Chelsea, but he would most likely be the cheapest of 3 mentioned here. Which is probably why Arsenal are after him as well. Laxalt has shone this season at Genoa, despite the side not doing as well as they may have liked – and he’s a versatile player, able to play on the left wing or in central midfield.
Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)
Linked with: Tottenham
Verdict: Another overpriced English talent continually linked with Spurs. Palace would be unlikely to want to sell one of their star players, but his head has been turned by a bigger club before. With his inconsistent performances, could Pardew take the chance to cash in and sign a few players to aid them in the relegation battle?
Gael Clichy (Manchester City)
Linked with: Inter Milan, Napoli and Roma
Price: Free (Pre-Contract)
Verdict: I doesn’t seem that likely that Clichy will stay at City beyond this season, so he will most likely try to sort out where he moves to in the January window in order to be focused for the title run-in. It also would allow City to focus on replacing him.
Lucas Lima (Santos)
Linked with: Crystal Palace
Verdict: Having failed to land the playmaker over the summer, Palace manager Pardew clearly sees Lima as the solution to Palace’s problems. Santos want more than the £8m Palace are offering for him though – despite only owning 10% of the players rights (complicated third party ownership deals are still prevalent in Brazil). With the player available on a pre-contract in the summer, expect some movement on this one.
Lamine Koné (Sunderland)
Linked with: West Ham
Price: Around £25m
Verdict: Both sides defensive struggles are well documented this season, and a few clubs have been taking a look at Koné – Everton had a bit rejected in the summer. However, with the revelation that there is a release clause in his contract, West Ham look likely to activate it if their defence doesn’t improve soon. £25m might seem like a lot for a defender in a relegation threatened side, but if he wasn’t at Sunderland then they would most likely be bottom of the league.