The January transfer window is quickly approaching, meaning that the rumor mill and speculation about which players could be making a move growing with every passing day.
You've simply got to embrace the transfer news and rumors—dissecting with stern judgment which deals we're likely to see in the upcoming transfer window and which we're unlikely to see in the next ten years of football, let alone this January.
It seems that no player is spared from the transfer world, with world football's biggest names all featuring in the rumor mill over the past few months.
Here's the 50 biggest players and rumors to watch out for over the January transfer window. Read on to see who they are and where they might be going.
We kick off our list with Atletico Madrid striker Adrian Lopez, who is rumored to Arsenal's number one transfer priority, as well as a player of interest to several other clubs (per The Daily Mirror).
Lopez might not receive the accolades or attention that his fellow club striker Radamel Falcao does, but he is a more than capable striker and at around £15 million, presents an interesting transfer prospect clubs in need of some attacking assistance.
Dutch international Klass Jun Huntelaar has a number of top clubs chasing his signature this summer with Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, Arsenal, Juventus and Manchester United all thought to be interested in signing the 28-year-old (per ESPN Soccernet).
Huntelaar is yet to agree to terms with a new contract at Schalke and with rumors that he would be available for significantly less than the £17 million originally quoted for the striker, could well be a January transfer option for several clubs.
Enigmatic Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli is one of the most unusual characters in world football but has struggled to hold down a place in City's starting side this season, with the likes of Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez and Edin Dzeko all performing strongly for the reigning champions.
As a result, the Italian international is thought to be a transfer option for several clubs, with Inter Milan reportedly interested in enquiring about the striker over the winter transfer window (per Goal).
Chilean international Arturo Vidal is thought to be a transfer target for several top clubs this winter including Manchester United, Manchester City and Real Madrid, according to The Guardian.
It seems unlikely that Juventus would want to part with their £40 million-rated midfielder, but for the right price, could well be tempted into making a deal for the 24-year-old.
Thanks to a few choice words from his wife earlier in the season, Real Madrid midfielder Kaka keeps appearing in winter transfer discussions, with the veteran believed to be interested in making a move back to Brazil (per ESPN Soccernet).
Liverpool and Manchester United were also both linked with moves for the 30-year-old (per Yahoo! Sports).
Crystal Palace youngster Wilfried Zaha might well be the hottest young prospect in world football—a fact only compounded by his recent call-up to the England international squad.
According to The Sun, Real Madrid have joined the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United in the race for the 20-year-old, who would cost around £20 million.
Swansea City goalkeeper Michael Vorm is perhaps one of the most underrated shot-stoppers currently in the Premier League, and continues to attract attention about a potential transfer over the January window because of it.
The 28-year-old was reportedly set to sign a new deal with Swansea this season (per The Daily Mail), but is still thought to be a transfer option for Arsenal and Real Madrid.
Can't see Vorm leaving Liberty Stadium, especially given his recent injury, but then again, there have been more bizarre transfer moves than what the departure of the current Swans goalkeeper would be.
After a breakout season for Newcastle United, Demba Ba put teams right around the world on notice by stating that he could be available for as little as £7 million over the January transfer window due to a buyout clause in his contract (per The Daily Mail).
Liverpool are thought to be leading the chase for the striker having let Andy Carroll leave on loan to West Ham. The Reds are also without Fabio Borini for a significant period of time due to injury, which could well see a serious offer for Ba from the Merseyside club.
Fernando Llorente is another world-class striker potentially up for sale this January after admitting that he would not be resigning with current club Athletic Bilbao courtesy of his poor relationship with manager Marcelo Bielsa.
According to The Daily Mail, Juventus are prepared to make the striker their highest paid player whilst Arsenal are also thought to be in the market for the 27-year-old.
Chelsea tried desperately to sign Edinson Cavani over the winter transfer window, but could not land the Napoli striker, who would likely cost around £35 million (per The Daily Mirror).
Now their London rivals Arsenal are thought to be interested in making a move for the striker (per The Daily Mail), but will they too come up short in their quest for Cavani?
Internacional striker Leandro Damiao has added further fuel into the fire about a possible move over the January transfer window—professing his love for Real Madrid and how he "dreams" of playing for the Spanish giants at some point in the future (per Goal).
Damiao was chased heavily by Tottenham Hotspur earlier in the year, but Andre Villas-Boas could not land the 23-year-old over the summer transfer window.
Can Real Madrid do better?
Brazilian starlet Neymar is without doubt one of the brightest stars in world football and so, as a result, he has seemingly become one of the most talked-about players every time the transfer window rolls around.
Barcelona and Chelsea are thought to be the two clubs in the running for Neymar, who is currently under contract with Santos (per Goal).
The Daily Mail reported back in September that PSV midfielder Kevin Strootman was likely to leave the club over the winter transfer window, with the desire to prove himself in a tougher competition.
Since then, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Arsenal, Liverpool and Inter Milan have all been linked with moves for the 22-year-old Dutch international.
But will he even leave the club at all this January?
Celtic midfielder Victor Wanyama's name has been floating around transfer circles for a while now, and given his recent strong performances on Europe's biggest stage—the UEFA Champions League—could well be set for a January move from the club.
Manager Neil Lennon has stated that the midfielder would cost any club around £25 million (per ESPN Soccernet), but according to the latest from The Daily Mail, offers could start coming in for Wanyama at over half that price this January.
Manchester United are believed to be heavily interested in signing the 21-year-old.
Daniele De Rossi has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester City over the transfer window for some time now, with manager Roberto Mancini keen to sign the Roma midfielder (per The Telegraph).
Whether De Rossi would want to move to a team that already has the likes of Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez, Yaya Toure and David Silva and Edin Dzeko in attack is another question, but he would no doubt still receive plenty of game time at the Eithad, and would of course, but subject to Sheikh Mansour's credit card at the club.
Meaning he could get an awful lot of money should he make a move.
Tottenham Hotspur winger Gareth Bale is well-known and loved at White Hart Lane, but according to several media outlets, could be the subject of a monstrous bid from Real Madrid over the summer transfer window, which would no doubt intrigue the London club.
ESPN Soccernet reports that £50 million could be offered by Jose Mourinho for Bale.
The 23-year-old did just sign a new four-year deal at Spurs which makes this one seem unlikely—especially since Tottenham just sold midfielder Luka Modric to the club last transfer window—but it is still definitely a transfer worth keeping an eye on this winter.
Just in case.
It was only April when Marko Marin agreed on a transfer to Premier League giants Chelsea but having received just 20 minutes under Roberto Di Matteo through the opening two months of the season, is thought to be looking at new options for his future.
Borussia Monchengladbach is thought to be eyeing off a January push for Marin, who is yet to be afforded the opportunity to prove himself at Stamford Bridge (per ESPN Star).
Six months after his previous transfer, a move would seem unlikely, but if Chelsea do not see the midfielder in their plans moving forward, then they may be willing to depart with him for the right price.
The Telegraph reports that Newcastle Untied midfielder Yohan Cabaye could be on his way out of St. James' Park this winter due to increasing interest from several clubs including Liverpool and Arsenal.
The Gunners—led by their French manager Arsene Wenger—are thought to be leading in the race for the Magpies playmaker, whom Newcastle do not want to lose if they can help it this January, but would most likely accept a large offer for if it was on the table (per The Daily Mail).
Will another Frenchman be on his way to the Emirates this coming winter?
Tottenham Hotspur tried desperately to sign Joao Moutinho over the summer transfer window but could not finalize a deal for the Porto playmaker.
It seemed they would try again for the 26-year-old once January rolled around, but with Paris St. Germain and Zenit St. Petersburg both thought to be interested in Moutinho, Spurs might not have a deal for the £20-million rated midfielder like they thought they would (per The Daily Mail).
Both PSG and Zenit have shown they can splash large amounts of money on transfers when needed; are we going to see further exuberance for Moutinho?
Chelsea legend Frank Lampard is almost as synonymous as the club he currently plays for, but the rumors about a potential move by Lampard have been plentiful this season.
Chinese club Guizhou Renhe has stated they are in talks with the Blues midfielder about a prospective transfer (per The Daily Mail), and is still thought to be considering a move to the Major League Soccer in the United States at some point in his career (per Yahoo! Sports).
Lille defender Mathieu Debuchy looks likely to make a move to Newcastle United one the January transfer window after coming close to agreeing on a deal with the club last transfer window.
The 27-year-old stated last week via The Sun that he still wants to move to Newcaslte, and according to The Telegraph, the club could use that as a move to keep French teammate Yohan Cabaye at the club also, given the transfer rumors surrounding his future.
Debuchy to the Magpies is one I'd be very confident in saying will take place this winter.
Marouane Fellaini has been one of the form players of the English Premier League players this season—dominating in attack for Everton so far—but could be set to depart the Merseyside club in search of Champions League football, bringing a number of teams into consideration.
Chelsea are thought to be the most likely landing designation for the Belgian international (per The Daily Mail), but Paris St. Germain and Manchester United are also thought to have significant interest in landing Fellaini if available.
reports that Shakhtar Donetsk playmaker Willian is wanted by a number of sides right across Europe, given his strong performances for the Ukrainian club in the Champions League to date.
Tottenham Hotspur have been interested in the 24-year-old for some time now, but Chelsea and Inter Milan are also lurking for a deal with the £30 million rated player.
However, ex-team mate Eduardo believes that only Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea are good enough for Willian—excluding Tottenham from any transfer discussions (per Goal).
There is perhaps no bigger player over the January transfer window than Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao, who is quickly establishing himself as one of the top strikers on the planet.
With Manchester City and Paris St. Germain also interested, it seems that three biggest cheque books in world football will be going head-to-head-to-head for his signature—bound to provoke plenty of discussion and speculation in the process.
Andre Schurrle was a failed transfer target for Chelsea over the summer transfer window, but is thought to be on the radar for a number of clubs heading into the winter transfer window this year.
Arsenal and Liverpool are both highly interested in the Bundesliga player, who is a well-known Everton fan as well (per The Daily Mail).
Malaga lost playmaker Santi Cazorla to Arsenal last summer and now the man that has made his name at the Spanish club this year, Isco, is thought to be a transfer option for a number of teams.
The 20-year-old has been excellent for the club in both La Liga and the Champions League this year, and has naturally caught the attention of several top clubs as a result.
Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United are all interested in the man The Daily Mirror has dubbed as "the new Fabregas}.
Schalke midfielder Lewis Holtby has stated that he will decide his playing future once the winter transfer window comes around (per Times of India) after receiving a number of offers to play football in both England and other European countries.
Arsenal and Liverpool are thought to be leading the way, though several clubs including Everton and Chelsea are also keeping tabs on the midfielder (per BBC Sport).
The arrival of Luka Modric at Real Madrid has forced several changes to take place at the Spanish club—one of which being the uncertainty about the playing future of midfielder Mesut Ozil.
The German international is no doubt an integral part of their side, but with doubt about his long-term future at the club, offers could start to come in for the former Werder Bremen star (per The Daily Mirror).
Liverpool and Manchester United are both rumored to be interested in Ozil, though few teams would dispute having a player of his quality in their squad if afforded the opportunity.
Theo Walcott's departure from Arsenal has been played out for some time now, with the England international reportedly unhappy with his current salary and playing position at the North London club (per The Telegraph).
A new contract has not been agreed upon between the two parties, and as a result, Walcott could walk over the winter transfer window, with Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City all believed to be interested in making a deal for the 23-year-old winger/striker.
That is, if he even leaves Arsenal.
The transfer speculation on Wellington Nem has gone cold for the last little while or so, but given the fact that Fluminense were recently named league champions, we could see some more action for the underrated 20-year-old this winter.
The Brazilian international is one of his country's brightest young prospects—which is truly saying something—and Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Juventus and CSKA Moscow are all thought to be interested in making a move over the transfer window (per The Daily Mail).
Another Lille defender thought to be up for auction on the transfer market is 19-year-old Lucas Digne, who is rapidly improving as a footballer and achieving growing notoriety in international circles.
Digne recently broke into the Lille first-team and with appearances under his belt for French national youth teams, could provide a nice, cheap addition into several defenses around the world.
Manchester United are believed to be the club most interested in Digne, though they did just sign Alexander Buttner, whilst Chelsea are also considering the youngster with Ashley Cole's playing future unknown (per The Daily Mail).
Following a strong showing for Russia at the 2012 European Championships, CSKA midfielder was wanted by a number of clubs over the summer transfer window, with Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur both making serious enquiries into the 22-year-old (per The Daily Mirror).
And whilst both clubs have signed several other players since then, Dzagoev could be set to appear as a transfer option again this coming January given his physically strong play and transfer fee, that would not cost either club a great deal of money.
Especially if he is out of contract in December, as the Mirror suggests.
Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski has been in the transfer headlines for what seems like forever, despite repeatedly stating that he will not be leaving the German champions in the near future.
ESPN Soccernet reports that whilst Lewandowski is under contract until 2014, Dortmund are no longer ruling out the departure of the striker—stating that there are plans in place for what would happen should a new contract not be agreed upon between the two parties.
Manchester Untied have strong links to the Polish international, whilst Manchester City, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich have also shown interest.
Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo has stated that the club will not be selling England international Daniel Sturridge this January (per The Daily Mail) despite the growing reports about a departure from Stamford Bridge by the 23-year-old.
Teenage goalkeeper Jack Butland is one of the best young keepers going around at the moment, and after admitting that his future at Birmingham City is out of his hands at the moment (per The Daily Mail), could be set to depart the club this coming January.
Southampton, Everton and Manchester City are thought to be keen on a move for Butland, should the chance at a deal transpire.
Financial problems at Spanish club Sevilla could force the La Liga team into selling several players over the January transfer window—one of which being striker Alvaro Negredo (per Talksport).
Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur are both thought to be tracking the 27-year-old.
According to The International Business Times, French international Yann M'Vila could we'll be a January transfer for several top teams in world football after failing to wrap up a move from Rennes over the previous summer transfer window.
Handed a recent ban from the French international team, M'Vila was a transfer target for Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Everton and Zenit St. Petersburg (per The Metro) and all four clubs could resume their interest in the midfielder once the winter transfer window opens.
Another Borussia Dortmund player linked with a potential move this January is Mats Hummels, though a move for the star defender does seem unlikely to transpire.
Hummels is believed to be a transfer target for Manchester United (per Sky Sports) and recently refused to rule out a move at some point his career, but did not suggest that he would like to move on from the reigning German champions this January.
The name continues to dominate transfer discussion, but I would be absolutely certain that we won't see it take place over the upcoming winter transfer window.
Everton Leighton Baines is no doubt one of the top defenders in the Premier League and indeed world football, and continues to be subject of transfer discussion about a departure from the Merseyside club.
The Manchester Evening News reports that Manchester United could be willing to sell Nani (who we'll get to in a minute) in order to fund a possible move for Baines, whom the club view as a replacement for Patrice Evra at left back.
Bayern Munich are also thought to be still interested in Baines, which means we're likely to do another round of transfer discussion and rumors on this over the winter.
Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos is thought to be a shock candidate for a move over the transfer window after it was revealed by The Guardian that the defender and Jose Mourinho had a falling out after his famous "Mesut Ozil shirt incident".
Whether or not it will be enough for the Spanish club to listen to offers for Ramos is another story, but if they are, Chelsea are thought to be interested in the 26-year-old defender (per The Metro).
Manchester United winger Nani is reportedly set to leave Old Trafford this winter after a number of poor performances have pushed him to the outer at the club (per Goal).
The Portuguese winger has struggled for form and game time behind the likes of Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young at the club and could depart over the transfer window should an offer in the vicinity of £15 million arrive for the 25-year-old (per The Guardian).
Juventus and AC Milan are thought to be the favorites to sign Nani.
After failing to make a move from Fiorentina last summer, striker Stevan Jovetic looks set to be another transfer target this transfer window following strong interest from Manchester City and other clubs.
The Daily Mail reports that City manager Roberto Mancini is keen to sign the 22-year-old, whose club have already admitted that they will be hard-pressed to hang on to him this transfer window.
Juventus and Chelsea are also both interested in the striker.
With a sluggish start to the 2012/13 season, Arsenal are believed to be interested in adding some further spark and creativity into their midfield this transfer window, with Lyon playmaker Yoann Gourcuff featuring high on their transfer targets (per The Metro).
The French club are currently experiencing financial problems which could force them into selling the 26-year-old, whom the Gunners are believed to have been tracking for some time now.
Chelsea defender Ashley Cole's future at the club appears in limbo after the player's mother stated that the 31-year-old will be leaving the Blues shortly (per The Daily Mirror) and that his destination would not be a far trip on the Eurostar.
Paris St. Germain are thought to be the likely candidates for Cole, though Manchester United and Real Madrid had both been speculated as other transfer destinations for the defender, who is off contract at the end of the 2012/13 season.
Etienne Capoue is slowly gathering some serious respect in football circles following several strong seasons since making his first team debut in 2007 and the French under-21 national team.
Arsenal, Queens Park Rangers, Inter Milan, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona were all rumored as being interested in the 23-year-old over the summer transfer window, and could renue their interest in the January window seeing that no move eventuated for Capoue (per The Daily Mail).
According to Talksport, Manchester United have been keeping tabs on Juventus star Richmond Boakye, who has already reportedly been scouted by the Premier League giants.
The 19-year-old is also believed to be a transfer target for Liverpool, who are in need of some assistance up front due to the departure of Andy Carroll and long-term injury to Fabio Borini.
The reports about a possible move by Porto winger James Rodriguez have been around for some time now, with Manchester United believed to have watched the 21-year-old for the seventh time—and that's just for this season alone (per The Daily Mail).
Manchester United are the team most likely to land Rodriguez, but Porto have been so far reluctant to sell the star winger for anything below £35 million, which Sir Alex Ferguson is unlikely to pay given he already has Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia in his squad.
Iker Muniain is without doubt, the hottest teenager in world football at the moment, and could well depart from Spanish club Athletic Bilbao over the winter transfer window if the right price is offered (per The Metro).
The Basque club obviously want to keep hold of the Spanish international if possible, but given their poor start to the season, may soon see clubs revive their interest in Muniain this winter, with Manchester United, Manchester City and Juventus all believed to be watching the youngster closely.
Newcastle United players continue to be linked with moves away from the club this coming January transfer window, with Hatem Ben Arfa another Magpies' midfielder that could depart the club.
The Sun reports that Arsenal and Liverpool are both interested in the 25-year-old in order to provide some much-needed spark into their attacks this season.
After a tumultuous start to the season that left Cristiano Ronaldo feeling "sad" for one reason or another (per The Daily Mirror), the Real Madrid star winger is now being tossed around as a potential transfer option—and one that would shatter all transfer records in the process.
Paris St. Germain manager Carlo Ancelotti has stated (per Goal) that Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ronaldo can play in the same team together, and with a seemingly endless cheque book behind him, could back up on his words about a potential transfer if Madrid wanted.
€100 million is the figure touted as a transfer fee that PSG would need to pay if they wanted to sign the Portuguese international.
It's tremendously unlikely to take place this winter, but then again, that's what we all said originally about a move from Manchester United to Real Madrid in the first place.
Look how that one turned out for us.
What transfer deals or rumors are you most excited about this winter?
Comment below or hit me up on Twitter: Follow @dantalintyre