The transfer window opens on New Years Day, and in January, there will be far more smoke than fire. Perhaps the two biggest moves of the window have already happened with Erling Haaland opting for Borussia Dortmund and Zlatan Ibrahimovic rejoining AC Milan. Here we look at ten of the stories most likely to feature on Europe’s back pages this month and look at the situations that could determine each player’s future.
Eriksen has just six months left on this contract at Tottenham, meaning he will be free to negotiate with clubs outside the Premier League this month ahead of a free transfer in the summer. It seems unlikely Eriksen will remain with Spurs beyond this season, but where will he go and when?
If his future remains unresolved, a move within England seems a good bet with Manchester United the listed favorites. However, United seem keen to accelerate a deal and bid a cut price £40M to execute the deal this season.
With Spurs and United separated by just a single point in the league, it would be a surprise if Daniel Levy sanctions such a deal. Eriksen may not have as many options as he did a year ago among the elite with Real Madrid seemingly looking elsewhere. However, one team who remain interested are PSG who could arrange a pre-contract agreement this month.
Prediction: Signs pre-contract deal with PSG
Borussia Dortmund’s teenage sensation is enjoying a second fruitful season in the Bundesliga, having already reached double figures for both goals and assists this season. Every top club in Europe is interested in the dynamic winger and Dortmund will sell at some point.
However, with Dortmund in contention both at home and in Europe, a move in January is highly unlikely. He will linked with big names in England and Spain this month, but should stay in Germany.
Prediction: Stays with Borussia Dortmund
After his transfer request in the summer, it’s inevitable Zaha will be the subject of transfer interest this month. Crystal Palace don’t need to sell and the 25% clause provides a major stumbling block in any deal. Having made his intentions clear in the summer, it seems Zaha will get his way now or in the summer.
With Palace in the relative safety of the Premier League mid table, striking a deal now or early in the summer makes more sense than letting it drag on until August, but only if the price is right.
Having spent big on Nicolas Pepe, it seems Arsenal are now out on Zaha, making Chelsea the likeliest bidders. With their transfer embargo lifted, Chelsea are thought to be willing to spend big on a forward in this window. It would be a surprise if Chelsea didn’t bid for Zaha this month, but the question is whether they are prepared to pay a huge premium to land him.
Prediction: Goes to Chelsea if they are prepared to pay over the odds
Costa has struggled since rejoining Atletico Madrid, scoring just 7 goals in two years in La Liga. It seems the 31-year old is nearing the exit door, and a move away from Europe is likely. Costa could follow the well worn path for fading stars by topping up his pension in the Chinese Super League, but he isn’t known for being predictable.
It seems a move back to the country of his birth is in his sights, with a move to Brazilian champions Flamengo heavily rumored. The stumbling block could be the fee with Atletico reportedly wanting £25M.
Prediction: Joins Flamengo
A big narrative for this window will involve the new Premier League managers. Jose Mourinho sounds unusually laid back, Carlo Ancelotti is still assessing what he has, Nigel Pearson will be shopping in the bargain bin, and Mike Arteta looks set to make major moves at Arsenal. It looks certain Granit Xhaka will depart for Hertha Berlin and Arteta looks to be targeting Bayer Leverkusen forward Kevin Volland.
The move makes sense, as Volland can play as a centre forward or on the right of a front three. With Aubameyang seemingly running down his contract, Arsenal need another option in their front line. Volland has 18 months left on his deal, and with Leverkusen out of the Champions League, they could be tempted to sell should Volland refuse an extension.
However Leverkusen are currently sixth in the Bundesliga and in contention for the top four. They will need a compelling offer to sell such a prized asset in January. This ultimately feels like a deal for next summer.
Prediction: Stays at Bayer Leverkusen
Pierre Emerick Aubameyang
Arsenal have got themselves into a familiar predicament, with Aubameyang down to the last 18 months on his current deal. He has been a sensation at Arsenal, but the team hasn’t progressed back to the Champions League, with the player non-committal about his future.
After allowing Aaron Ramsey to run his contract down and the disaster of Mesut Ozil’s golden handcuffs deal, Arsenal need to deal with this situation. One factor in their favor is Aubaeyang has turned 30, so Europe’s top clubs are less likely to wait 18 months to sign him for free.
That doesn’t mean a deal has to be cut in January, particularly as Arsenal would struggle to find a replacement before the summer. This looks like being Aubameyang’s last season at the Emirates, but a summer departure seems far more likely.
Prediction: Stay at Arsenal
Giroud needs to be playing to ensure he stays in France’s first team for Euro 2020, and therefore would likely prefer a January move. However, potential suitors may prefer to sign a pre-contract agreement and get him for free in July. Among Giroud’s admirers is Antonio Conte at Inter Milan.
With Inter serving as a genuine threat to Juventus’ domination of Serie A, a move for a forward who could rotate with Romelu Lukaku makes sense. Rumors are abound that Chelsea would settle for as little as £6M for the 33-year old. If a deal can be agreed upon, this move makes sense to all concerned.
Prediction: Joins Inter Milan
The Uruguay legend is now 32 and out of contract with PSG this summer. Cavani appears to be surplus to requirements in Paris after the successful loan spell of Argentinian striker Mauro Icardi. Atletico are looking to replace Diego Costa and rumors are circulating that a deal has already been struck.
However, there are other interested parties; notably David Beckham’s new Inter Miami MLS team, as well as both Milan clubs. Cavani has been a peripheral figure at PSG this season, but that is however partly due to injury, which will keep him out for the start of 2020. A January departure is unlikely, but a move to Madrid in the summer is possible.
Prediction: Signs pre-contract agreement with Atletico Madrid
The Dutch international looks set to be at the center of a tug of war this January. Former club Chelsea are interested, as are Premier League champions Manchester City. Ake has progressed his career significantly with Bournemouth, but with no sign of European qualification, he could be tempted.
Pep Guardiola insists City won’t spend in January, but Ake would be a logical target for the summer. The interest of Chelsea could be directly correlated to Antonio Rudiger’s form having returned from long-term injury.
Prediction: Re-joins Chelsea
Having started the season as Arsenal captain, it seems there’s now no way back at the Emirates for Xhaka. His agent has claimed he has agreed to personal terms to join Hertha Berlin. Xhaka was left out of the Arsenal squad for Mikel Arteta’s home debut as manager; a move that provides some credence to the story.
However, a fee has yet to be agreed upon and Arsenal want to recoup the majority of their £35M outlay on the midfielder.
Prediction: Joins Hertha Berlin
Photo Credit: Getty Images
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