With the January transfer window on the horizon, this is a good time to assess which players might be on the move. Signing players midway through the season can be difficult due to the circumstances, but various success stories (see Bruno Fernandes and Virgil van Dijk) prove that it can be done.
Newcastle United will almost certainly be in the market for new players to help their fight against relegation from the Premier League while Manchester United have a number of fringe figures who could be persuaded to leave.
Here are 10 players who could be on the move when the transfer window opens in January.
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It had been hoped that Antonio Conte’s arrival at Tottenham Hotspur would reignite something in Dele Alli, but the 25-year-old remains a shadow of the player not so long ago considered among the best young midfielders in Europe. At this point, Deli would surely benefit from a completely fresh start at a different club where he can find himself again.
Xavi Hernandez has used Philippe Coutinho in his first few matches as Barcelona manager, but with the Brazilian playmaker reportedly on a wage of £380,000-a-week the cash-strapped Catalan club would surely move him on if a suitor became apparent. Newcastle United, who need top quality players to help them move away from the bottom three, could be that suitor.
Most clubs will surely wait until the summer window, when Erling Haaland’s €75m release clause becomes active, to make their move for the Norwegian striker, but Borussia Dortmund’s failure to qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League might hasten the player’s decision to leave. Any club intent on moving for Haaland next summer could steal a march on their rivals by testing Dortmund’s resolve with an offer of more than €75m next month.
For much of last season, Dean Henderson was Manchester United’s first-choice goalkeeper. As David de Gea missed the penalty that condemned the Old Trafford outfit to defeat in the 2021 Europa League final, it appeared that the Spaniard’s United was over. Now, though, de Gea is back in form and Henderson isn’t the sort of character to hang around as second-choice.
Last summer, AC Milan lost Gianluigi Donnarumma as a free agent and it’s entirely possible that they could lose another key figure for nothing this summer with Franck Kessie still to agree to a new contract extension. January could be the Rossonneri’s last chance to cash in on the highly-rated midfielder who would improve most teams.
Most expected Jesse Lingard to depart Manchester United for good after a successful loan spell in the second half of last season. However, the 28-year-old stayed on the word of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that he would receive more game time this season. Lingard remains a peripheral figure with the midfielder believed to be keen on a January exit. Newcastle United have been linked.
Signed for £72m two summers ago, Nicolas Pepe remains the most expensive transfer in Arsenal’s history. At the time, the addition of the Ivorian was seen as a statement of intent, but he has struggled to find consistent form for the Gunners. Pepe has shown glimpses of his brilliance, particularly towards the end of last season, but if Arsenal could recoup some of the money they paid for the winger, they surely would.
There are more than a few Americans playing at the top level of the European game right now (Christian Pulisic, Gio Reyna, Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams etc.) and Ricardo Pepi could be next to join them. The 18-year-old is already the USA’s first-choice centre forward and is expected to be a breakout star at the 2022 World Cup. Atletico Madrid and Manchester United have been linked with a move.
Nat Phillips more than proved his worth as a stopgap solution for Liverpool in van Dijk’s absence last season, but the 24-year-old needs more regular game time. Phillips’ stock might be slightly higher after his impressive display in the away win over AC Milan in the Champions League. He could be a good Premier League defender for the right team.
Like a number of the players on this list, Kieran Trippier is entering the final six months of his current contract which raises the possibility of a January move. Arsenal and Manchester United were both linked with a move for the Atletico Madrid defender in the summer and with Ralf Rangnick keen to use his full backs in a more attacking way he might still fit the bill for the latter.
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