Summer Transfer Window: Eden Hazard, 15 Big Names on the Move Come Summer
With the January transfer window yet to spring up any real surprises so far, some people are already considering the summer transfer window, where the prices are cheaper and the opportunities greater.
Contracts expire, deals are less hurried and players can have a long think about whether the move is the right one for them and their family.
Managers such as Manchester United's Alex Ferguson rarely does any buying in the transfer window, and made a point of declaring it so.
Whilst his oration may just be a ruse, it's also important to consider that Fernando Torres for Chelsea and Luis Suarez for Liverpool were both January purchases albeit one has fared considerably better than the other so far—at least in footballing terms.
With all of the above in mind, let's take a look at some players who seem almost certain to be plying their trade elsewhere after the lights go down on the Summer transfer window of 2012.
Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov has had an indifferent season so far in terms of the amount of pitch time he's seen.
Having largely been absent of playing time up until a few weeks ago, Berbatov suddenly reappeared in our lives and scored a few goals.
His record for the season now reads six goals in nine games.
It seems Berbatov has contract expiration issues with Manchester United, which may see Alex Ferguson extend his deal for a year in order to find a buyer.
Berbatov was linked with Galatasaray in November.
Chelsea striker Didier Drogba has been linked with a move to Shanghai Shenhua to join Nicholas Anelka, but that move has yet to materialise.
With Sturridge and Drogba seemingly favoured over Fernando Torres, Drogba may wait until the summer before saying his farewells to the Stamford Bridge faithful.
Drogba's agent has made it clear Drogba will go where he is offered the most money.
Liverpool midfielder Joe Cole is currently on loan at Lille in the French Ligue one division, and he is due to return to Anfield at the end of the season in order to sort out his future.
With Cole enjoying his football so much in France, it almost seems inevitable that Cole and Liverpool may make the loan deal a permanent one.
Lille midfielder Eden Hazard—who currently enjoys Joe Cole as a midfielder partner—has been the subject of transfer speculation since last year when a number of teams were reportedly chasing his signature.
That move didn't materialise, and he is unlikely to move in January due to Lille's huge valuation of him.
Look out for some summer action once the bidding war starts.
With no formal move forthcoming by either team so far, Neymar may see out the rest of the season with Santos before signing for one of the Spanish giants in the summer.
His recent contract extension until 2014 has made people skeptical of a move this year, but perhaps the club are just ensuring they get the pay day needed for a player of Neymar's calibre.
Inter Milan midfielder Wesley Sneijder was linked with Manchester United throughout the Summer of 2011 but the two clubs couldn't finalise a deal.
With Alex Ferguson currently struggling with his midfield due to injuries, the Old Trafford outfit may try to rekindle the deal, knowing full well they need the extra midfield body as a long-term replacement for Paul Scholes.
Newcastle will do well to hold onto striker Demba Ba until next season.
Currently on duty in the African Cup of Nations for Senegal, Ba may stick with Newcastle United until the summer purely because he's unavailable to discuss a deal right now.
Newcastle will be hoping Senegal go as far as possible in the competition in order to put off interest until the summer when Newcastle will have time to find a suitable replacement.
Ba has been the subject of speculation regarding a contract release clause.
It seems Alberto Aquilani will never to get a real chance to play for Liverpool FC after he was loaned out to AC Milan this season following his loan to Juventus the season prior.
The Italian midfielder showed signs of great improvement in Liverpool's preseason tour before the 2011-12 season, but that looks to have counted for nothing as a permanent move to Italy is sure to come in the summer.
If Arsenal's Andrei Arshavin doesn't leave in the January transfer window, then he will surely depart in the Summer.
The Russian has been linked with move back to former club Zenit St Petersburg but nothing has been finalised as yet.
Big spending club Anzhi Makhachkala have also reported some interest.
Emmanuel Adebayor has been excellent for Tottenham this season whilst on loan from parent club Manchester City—whom he hasn't played for since 2009.
His current loan deal is due to expire at the end of the season whereby he will surely have put himself in the shop window for Summer spenders alongside his current boss Harry Redknapp.
As the sun comes down on yet another failed deal for Manchester City misfit Carlos Tevez, it just might be that the Argentinean might have to face another few months at the Etihad Stadium before leaving for pastures new.
When I say at the Etihad Stadium, I actually mean Buenos Aires where he is currently AWOL.
AC Milan recently confirmed that they failed to make an agreement for the Manchester City striker, and that leaves perhaps only Inter Milan in the frame for his signature.
There's only a couple of weeks left to get a deal done.
Frank Lampard has found life under new manager Andres Villas Boas tough this term after being repeatedly dropped and recalled to the Chelsea starting 11.
With Lampard entering the twilight of his career, he will want to play as much football as possibly before hanging up his boots.
I don't envisage a January move, but some showdown talks at the end of the season may facilitate a move elsewhere in the summer.
Swansea City have made the classic mistake of finding a great player at a low price.
Vorm's £1.5 million move from FC Utrecht is a bargain for the 28-year-old who is proving to be a wonderful shot-stopper in the Barclays Premier League.
With a number of higher profile clubs surely looking on with envy, the phrase "Vorm is temporary, class is permanent" springs to mind.
Chamakh is another Arsenal player who may seek minutes elsewhere in the summer if he escapes the January predators.
Chamakh has already been linked with a £10 million move to Paris St Germain, but he is currently away on African Cup of Nations duty with Morocco.
This is a bold statement, but it seems to me that Rooney becomes more and more disillusioned with Manchester United every season.
After famously handing in a transfer request in November 2010, Rooney questioned the ambition and ability of Manchester United to attract top quality players.
Alex Ferguson managed to persuade Rooney to stay, but Manchester United are out of the Champions League and might find the Premier League title a tough ask also this season.
I wouldn't be surprised if Wayne went in the summer, but if there's life after Ronaldo, then there's life after Rooney.
As always with transfer speculation, there's never a way of predicting what will happen until the deal is done.
Rooney and Manchester United fans will declare that he's going nowhere, but I could name a few Torres and Liverpool fans who said the same.
Blackburn Rovers manager Steve Kean amused me this week by saying his star defender Christopher Samba wasn't for sale.
Since when in football does that matter?
If the figure is right then the club will accept it.
Prime examples would be Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid or Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona.
Long gone are the days when a hands-off warning would detract the top-spending vultures, and players seem to fancy big money deals rather than club history these days.
All that remains to be said is we'll have to wait and see what happens.
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