The January transfer window is open and although clubs are still finding things difficult amid COVID-19 restrictions, financial issues and match postponements, there has already been movement.
The futures of some of the big players out of contract in the summer of 2022 – like Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba and Paulo Dybala – look unlikely to be resolved this month, but clubs’ forward planning could have a knock-on effect. training as they battle to outrank their rivals.
With the caveat that transfer spending is generally low in January and especially in this window it looks like clubs will have to get creative to bolster their squads, which player should Europe’s top teams be looking to land if they can?
All transfer values are from Transfermarkt.
ARSENAL: Jonathan David, F.W.
Initially renowned for his mobility and the timing of his runs behind defence, the Canada international has evolved his game since leaving Belgian Gentois for Ligue 1 in the summer of 2020. David is enjoying a campaign last season productive with 16 goals in 28 games. His snappy movement in and around the penalty area and excellent finishing skills with either foot have caught the eye, while David is also becoming more active in the build-up phase which would surely suit Arsenal. The club could need a striker soon as the futures of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah are uncertain.
BARCELONA: Julien Alvarez, ST
Club: River Plate
Value: €17.6 million
The €55m signing of winger Ferran Torres from Manchester City is already more than you would expect from a club that only a few months ago seemed on the verge of collapse. financial collapse. After having refinanced part of their debt of 1.4 billion euros and reduced the wage bill, the Catalans are obviously becoming active again in the transfer market. Alvarez, Argentina’s latest attacking sensation, is a prolific striker who sustains relentless movement down the front – almost like a second supporting striker – with a crisp, fast-executed, one-touch finish. In some ways, Alvarez, who wants to move to Europe, resembles former Barcelona and Argentina striker Javier Saviola. And he has a release clause of 17.6 million euros ($20 million).
BAYERN MUNICH: Rayan Cherki, FW
Although the perennial Bundesliga champions don’t usually dive into the mid-season transfer market, they do have a penchant for up-and-coming French stars. With his exceptional flair and natural talent, it would be an intriguing prospect to see what the 18-year-old winger could produce within Julian Nagelsmann’s fluid brand of football. Cherki, who broke into the Lyon first team with a spellbinding performance last season, has seen far less playing time than expected this season, which is certainly a bargaining point for potential suitors. Having distinguished himself for France at U21 level late last year, he could theoretically be a long shot for inclusion in France’s 2022 World Cup squad should his club career take off.
CHELSEA: Jules Koundé, BC
Having failed in their previous attempts to sign the mobile centre-back, Chelsea may have to act soon with the long-term futures of Antonio Rudiger, Cesar Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen still at stake. Although there are several youngsters An exciting centre-back on the rise in Ligue 1 as well as the Bundesliga, the France international comes with a hefty transfer fee but is a ‘safe’ option given his quality. There are few defenders in European football who anticipate an opponent’s pass better, with their ability to launch attacks from behind being an impressive feature of their game.
INTER MILAN: Matthias Ginter, BC
Club: Borussia Monchengladbach
The Germany international’s contract expires at the end of the season and it now seems only a question of when, rather than if, he signs for Inter. After making it clear several weeks ago that he would not sign a new contract with Gladbach, Ginter was dropped for the home defeat to Bayer Leverkusen at the weekend. Inter may prefer to wait until the summer to avoid paying a transfer fee, but the 27-year-old is a reliable centre-back who is comfortable on the ball and could be worth bringing in. January to bolster his defence.
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JUVENTUS: Anthony Martial, FW
Club: Manchester United
Juventus have a number of problems in attack and new blood is becoming a necessity. Federico Chiesa has been ruled out for the season with damaged cruciate ligaments, inconsistent Federico Bernardeschi has muscle issues and Dybala has only recently started to show signs of form as difficult contract extension talks continue. If that wasn’t enough, Juve centre-forwards Alvaro Morata and Moise Kean are struggling to perform each week. A loan for the hapless Manchester United striker could certainly help the Bianconeri in a variety of attacking positions – albeit short-term – and give Martial a chance to revive his faltering career.
LIVERPOOL: Christopher Nkunku, FW
Club: RB Leipzig
Whether you play him as a wide left midfielder, second striker, No.8 in central midfield or even as a full-back, the 24-year-old will provide pace, energy and excellent movement off the ball. . Another player who has improved remarkably since joining RB Leipzig, Nkunku now looks set for a bigger challenge. As well as having the physical conditions required to play in Jurgen Klopp’s pressing squad, he is also exceptionally good at finding the right areas to exploit in the final third and most of his attacking engagements are executed with a goal. He creates a lot of chances and is almost impossible to contain when in good form. Liverpool would have a great option to replace either Mohamed Salah or Sadio Mane (both of whom are out of the Africa Cup of Nations this month) if he were in the squad.
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UNITED MANCHESTER: Aurelien Tchouameni
Club: AS Monaco
Strengthening central midfield is one of many struggling areas United need to strengthen and Tchouameni would certainly be an upgrade from his current options, although he is not the finished article just yet. The Monegasque midfielder usually has a consistent impact on any game and whether he’s fielded as a starting midfielder or a No.8, you can count on him to win challenges in the air and on the ground , as well as to pick up second balls to distribute. precisely. The 21-year-old France international’s development over the past two years has been impressive and he plays with the authority and presence of someone 10 years his senior. Potentially a replacement for Paul Pogba?
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MANCHESTER CITY: Dusan Vlahovic, ST
With the club playing arguably their best football – often without a central striker – since Pep Guardiola took over in 2016, City will not feel under pressure to sign anyone this month. That said, footballing trends change rapidly and having a young goalscorer technically adept at building a traditional No.9 might be what they need to keep their momentum going. After rejecting several offers to extend his contract with Fiorentina, Vlahovic is expected to play in one of the next transfer windows. Already tracked by Arsenal and nearly every other big club in Europe, the Serbian international will likely wait until the summer, but City have the money to beat their rivals to the punch and he would come in much cheaper than Harry Kane from Tottenham.
PSG: Franck Kessie, CM
Club: AC Milan
Another world-class player whose contract ends in 2022, it’s hard to see the Ivory Coast international choosing to stay at Milan beyond this summer and Paris Saint-Germain could be a perfect fit. The French side need a winner on the ball to complement their most creative stars in midfield and Kessie is one of the best. At 25, he has room to develop and, although there will be tough competition to sign him on a free transfer this summer, PSG have the ability to make the first move.
REAL MADRID: Jurrien Timber, RB/CB
The La Liga leaders don’t really have any particular issues to deal with this month, but in the longer term it would probably be useful to identify a world-class right-back to replace Dani Carvajal. Granted, Timber isn’t a specialist in the position, as the 20-year-old plays on the right side of central defense in a back four or three, but he can step in at full back if needed. Within a reasonably short time, Timber would also be in contention for a centre-back spot, as his development suggests he’s going to be a top player.
TOTTENHAM: Charles De Ketelaere, CM
Club: Club Brugge
Spurs are not lacking in quality up front, with Kane and Son Heung-Min, but behind the two world-class strikers there is little strength through depth. Still very much in development, De Ketelaere – who already has four senior caps for Belgium – has made a good impression in the Champions League and is already one of the best players in the Belgian league. The 20-year-old has impressive technique and the versatility to play in all attacking positions, including centre-forward. At 6ft 3in he is a creative and fine ball carrier, while he seems destined to be picked up by a top club sooner rather than later.