The January transfer window will open in a matter of days across Europe (you can see the exact dates for each league at this link). For some footballers, the opportunity to relaunch their career elsewhere may not come quickly enough.
With the COVID-19 pandemic causing long-term damage to club financial statements across football, recent transfer windows have been characterized by reduced transactions within the transfer market, leaving many players without passes due to a lack of circulating money in the big leagues.
However, as the January market prepares to open its doors, and right at the start of a World Cup year, a significant number of top-level players find themselves in a situation where they will have to push for a transfer ( either permanent or by assignment) to ensure the opportunity to play soccer regularly.
Some players need to play, while others start the final six months of their respective contracts and may choose to switch teams now, as long as the right offer comes in.
So which top-tier footballers living in Europe’s major leagues should be looking for a pass in January?
Juventus have been trying to negotiate a new contract with Dybala for several months. However, all his attempts so far have been unsuccessful and Vecchia Signora now faces the possibility of the Argentine forward becoming a free agent following the expiration of his current contract, scheduled for next June.
Dybala, 28, can start negotiating a new deal with non-Italian teams as of January 1 (which would take effect next summer); therefore, Juve will have little control over the player’s future. If he can’t agree to his pass during the summer, or sign a new contract next month, Juventus could try to cut their losses by transferring him in January at a reduced price.
Barcelona has an interest in Dybala, despite his precarious financial situation. For his part, “La Joya” is likely to arouse interest within the Premier League, being a player with proven scoring talent.
Hazard made his childhood dream come true when he left Chelsea for a starting pass of 88.5 million pounds in the summer of 2019. However, the reality of his time in Spain has been nothing short of a nightmare, both for the player as well as for his club.
Injuries, physical fitness problems and the inability to regain his best level have caused Hazard to just add five goals in 57 games in almost two and a half years wearing the merengue jersey. This season has also been unimpressive: The 30-year-old forward has only one goalless assist in 14 appearances. The Belgian international has become a substitute for Carlo Ancelotti, and a move in January would be convenient for both parties.
A permanent deal is unlikely to be finalized in January unless Madrid are willing to take a major loss. However, a loan could resurrect his career; even to help him regain his shape for the next season.
Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick has confirmed that Martial wishes to leave Old Trafford in January; however, its handover would not be as simple as it seems. The French international has two years left on his current contract with United; thus, any club interested in signing the 25-year-old forward is likely to pay something in the range of £ 30 million. Having scored just one goal in 10 United appearances so far this season, Martial’s recent level has not been the most impressive. However, at Old Trafford there is a view that Martial is still capable of reaching the potential shown in 2015, when he was very young and arrived from Monaco. For that reason, he would not be allowed to leave at a reasonable price.
Newcastle, which is planning to invest big next January after its recent acquisition by new owners financed with Saudi money, is interested in Martial. For this reason, United are aware that they can demand a significant amount for their pass.
Pogba’s career with Manchester United has been characterized by a disappointing underperformance since his return to the English club through a £ 89.3 million pass paid to Juventus in August 2016 (a world record at the time). Currently, the French midfielder is preparing to fulfill the last six months of his contract. Different sources have indicated to ESPN that United expect the 28-year-old midfielder to honor the rest of his pact until he becomes a free agent next summer. However, there is still a slight probability that the player will leave in January. If interim manager Ralf Rangnick decides to go ahead without Pogba, who is still out of action due to a right thigh injury; The French midfielder could choose to seek his departure in January, avoiding spending six months discarded within United.
PSG, Real Madrid and Juventus have long been Pogba fans and one of them could try to avoid the risks of not signing him on the summer market by looking for his pass next month. That could help United; however, Pogba could ultimately decide to sit back and wait until he became a free agent.
After being removed from the Arsenal captaincy on disciplinary issues earlier this month, Aubameyang has been left out of coach Mikel Arteta’s call-ups for the Gunners’ last five games. Various sources inform ESPN that Arsenal are prepared to hear offers for the former Borussia Dortmund forward in January and that the 32-year-old’s move now seems inevitable.
Aubameyang’s participation in the African Cup of Nations with the Gabon team in January could complicate his situation; however, Barcelona are interested in signing him after the recent retirement of Sergio “Kun” Agüero.
Throughout his career, Aubameyang has provided goals for every team he has played for, and reliable scorers are always in high demand in January. So it would be very surprising if he stays at the Emirates after the market closes.
Pulisic is poised to face the challenge of a crucial year in his career, and he may have to start 2022 looking for his departure from Chelsea. With the imminence of his first World Cup with the United States team at the end of the year in Qatar (the American team failed to qualify for Russia 2018), Pulisic needs to return to the court and enjoy more minutes than he currently receives at Stamford Bridge under the command of Thomas Tuchel.
Despite playing under Tuchel for Borussia Dortmund, Pulisic has failed to earn a starting job with the current Chelsea manager. This season, he has 14 appearances for the Blues. However, only six have been in first base condition.
Chelsea’s abundance of offensive resources has severely curtailed Pulisic’s chances, and with 23 years and little chance of being a regular starter, a permanent loan or transfer seems increasingly his best options.
Wijnaldum was a key part of Liverpool’s triumph in the 2019 edition of the Champions League and their Premier League title in the 2019-20 campaign; However, his free transfer to Paris Saint-Germain this summer has not been optimal for the 31-year-old midfielder.
Despite the fact that the Dutch international has made 22 appearances in all competitions with Mauricio Pochettino’s squad, Wijnaldum has barely 12 games as a starter, completing just a 90-minute Champions League performance.
With a PSG blessed with depth and quality in midfield, Wijnaldum now spends more time on the bench than on the pitch. And while the salary he earns at the Parc des Princes is sure to put off some interested clubs, his top-notch résumé will appeal to those in need of an experienced midfielder, and who can take him on loan.
Alli was listed as one of the most exciting young talents in world football when he got off to an impressive start with Tottenham and played a starring role in the England national team cycle that led to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals. The 25-year-old midfielder’s career has been stalled for more than two seasons, while his international career has been on hiatus since he claimed victory in the last of his 37 appearances in June 2019.
The arrival of Antonio Conte to the technical direction of Tottenham last November has not resulted in the increase of Alli’s appearances; And despite his talents, he is likely to see limited opportunities with the former Chelsea manager, unless he manages to regain the level shown in 2018.
Pochettino (who previously coached Alli at Spurs) has shown interest in signing Alli for PSG. Although it now seems unlikely, it is clear that few footballers need a fresh start as much as Alli.
Jack Grealish’s summer signing for £ 100 million together with the exceptional level shown by Bernardo Silva have caused Sterling to become a supporting actor within Manchester City, and the player himself has already publicly expressed that he will seek his exit from the Etihad in next january.
With their contract with City set to expire in June 2023 and no sign of intention to negotiate an extension, City is likely to seek out Sterling over the summer. However, with information that speaks of Barça’s interest in receiving him on loan next month, while the Blaugrana club invests € 55 million in the signing of Ferran Torres, the English forward could have the opportunity to get regular minutes next January.
Sterling, 27, has managed to score a respectable nine goals in 24 games so far this season for City. However, he has barely assumed ownership in 14 games across all competitions, a figure that could hardly satisfy a player who had one of the most outstanding performances of the recent Euro 2020 Championship.
The Manchester United defender has not made a single first-team appearance since January 2020, due to a knee injury. However, the 29-year-old defender has regained his physical fitness and is ready to return to the court.
Eric Bailly’s imminent departure to play the African Cup of Nations for the Ivory Coast could open an opportunity for Jones with United in January. However, with his contract at Old Trafford still 18 months remaining, the best option for club and player is likely to be a permanent transfer next January.
Whether United would price Jones’ pass remains to be seen. However, after such a long nightmare with injuries, his transfer offers him the best opportunity to restart his career.