The festive season is almost upon us, with a feast of footballing action to savour. As the Premier League title race is currently wide open with several clubs hoping to lift aloft the trophy in May, the likes of Aston Villa, Newcastle and Sunderland are battling to maintain their status in England’s top flight. The January transfer window is fast approaching, and scouting networks from all 20 Premier League teams will be collating information to determine who their respective targets will be in the New Year.
Around £130m was splashed by Premier League sides last January – which pales into insignificance compared with the circa £870m spent in the summer of 2015. It is rare that any team will part with their most prized asset midway through the season, but surprises can occur. Bookmakers will also be taking wagers on specific players moving clubs throughout the window to create further interest. We take a look at some potential moves after the Christmas period.
West Bromwich Albion striker, Saido Berahino has garnered more than his fair share of column inches in regards to a prospective move away from The Hawthorns in recent transfer windows, and January is unlikely to prove an exception. The 22-year-old has netted four goals from fourteen appearances in all competitions for the Baggies so far this season, but speculation continues to rumble on regarding his future. After several failed bids in the summer by Tottenham Hotspur, Berahino slammed the Albion hierarchy and threatened strike action. Manager, Tony Pulis has attempted to alleviate the situation since, but if Spurs – or another club – return in the New Year with an improved offer, can Albion keep a hold of their prized asset?
If Spurs can manage to snare Berahino away from the Midlands in January, it could be that England international, Andros Townsend might be a part of the potential transfer. Townsend is another player who has had a recent altercation – fitness coach Nathan Gardner was pushed by the winger at the end of a 3-1 home win against Aston Villa. The 24-year old was separated from the first-team squad for two games after the incident, but boss Mauricio Pochettino has since said that, “it is all forgotten, and Townsend is still a young player who can improve”. Those words will surely be tested when the transfer window opens, for a talented player who has participated in just 64 minutes of Tottenham’s Premier League season so far.
Highly-rated Italian under-21 international defender, Daniele Rugani has been interesting several Premier League clubs in recent months. The former Empoli centre-back re-joined his former club for a two year loan spell as part of the deal that took the 21 year-old to Juventus in the summer of 2013. Rugani has been an unused substitute for the Old Lady on all 13 occasions in Serie A so far this season, as the task to remove Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli and Leandro Bonucci from the Juve back-line has proven difficult. The likes of Chelsea and Arsenal have been heavily linked with the promising player, who could hand in a transfer request to force the move.
Schalke’s speedy 19-year old Leroy Sane is creating plenty of waves with his recent performances. Called up to the Germany squad for the recent ill-fated friendly with France, Sane played 29 minutes for his national team. With four goals already in the Bundesliga this season, Manchester United and Liverpool are amongst a host of clubs who covet this promising wide player. His rapid progress has seen Sane appear just three times for the under-21 national side, but with four goals already at that level, this skilful wing-man could be heading to the Premier League soon.
Any English teams who manage to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League in February could perhaps be looking at Sadio Mane to bolster their attacking options. The 23 year-old Southampton attacker has already been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United in the summer, but the South Coast club have so far stood firm. It is highly likely that further bids will arrive for the classy Senegalese forward in January, who has so far netted three Premier League goals this season, and it will be interesting to see if the Saints continue their stance until the summer or beyond.
Main image: Thomas Rodenbücher