10 Under-the-Radar Footballers Who Will Switch Clubs in January

Guido Fargiorgio@WorldBGuidCorrespondent INovember 28, 2012

10 Under-the-Radar Footballers Who Will Switch Clubs in January

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    There is an abundance of footballers currently flying under the radar just waiting to get their big break this coming January.

    The January transfer window is quickly approaching us and, as we wait with great fervor for our teams to ultimately disappoint us with their purchases, let's take a moment to recognize some talent that, usually, goes unrecognized.

    Don't get me wrong all players get exposure. It's the most popular sport in the world after all, but some players, for a few different reasons, receive more fame than others.

    This collection of players will fall into the not-so famous category. Sure, certain leagues are featured more prominently, and it may seem like some of these players are on the radar.

    I'm thinking in more about name recognition. The diehard fans probably know everyone. So if a casual fan knows who you are, then you're pretty popular. If they don't, however, it's safe to say you are under the radar.

    Any way, the other prerequisite is that these players have been linked with a move before. Rumors are rumors and don't always mean a transfer is imminent, but it'd be extremely difficult to compile a list of players who have already committed to a January transfer. It'd be a short list.

1. Casemiro

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    Casemiro, currently playing for Sao Paolo, is next in the long line of Brazilians to move on to the European stage.

    The defensive midfielder has been a standout for his club so far this season and, at the ripe old age of 20, has shown that he is ready to test his skills with the "big boys."

    What's most impressive about Casemiro, given his age, is his commitment to his position.

    Defensive midfield is not usually high on the list of positions young players want to play, and even more when you're used to seeing a free-flowing attack style like Brazil.

    He's been linked before with moves to Arsenal, PSG, and a host of Italian clubs.

2. Mauro Zarate

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    Mauro Zarate returned to Lazio during the summer because he didn't feel wanted at Inter and he is now facing a similar situation.

    While he originally thought he'd be part of plans for the Biancocelesti, he has been deemed surplus by head coach Vladimir Petkovic.

    Zarate began his career as a promising prospect in Argentina. However, Zarate's time at Lazio has been disappointing. He's still young enough, at 25, to see some of his potential, but it's likely that it doesn't happen with Lazio.

    Given his previous success in England, it's no shock that he is drawing a lot of interest from English clubs, but he has non-English (via tuttosport) suitors as well.

3. Marouane Chamakh

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    Marouane Chamakh is ready to be a first-team striker, but is currently low on Arsenal's pecking order.

    He hasn't seen an incredible amount of success at Arsenal, but it's hard to fault him completely. He was never going to play over Robin van Persie and the emergence of Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud this season mean he won't see the majority of time up front.

    Still, he's a strong talent entering his prime years. Chamakh would be a great snatch for those who can give him that playing time. Fiorentina and his former club Bordeaux are among the teams interested.

4. Holger Badstuber

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    Holger Badstuber is a fringe player as it pertains to being under-the-radar, but the German defender is still making the list.

    He has emerged as one of the top defenders in Germany, starring at center-back while also being adept as a left-back.

    Badstuber himself has said it would be hard to leave Bayern, and insisted his preference was to play left-back, but what if was an offer he couldn't refuse?

    Enter: Barcelona. The Catalan club was very high on the young German over the summer, but couldn't reach an agreement. 

5. Paulinho

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    Paulinho has risen to prominence as a central defensive midfielder like his compatriot Casemiro. He is tactically tough and sound and, in addition, provides a quality aerial threat.

    Though he is four years older than his compatriot, it is apparent that Paulinho has outgrown the competition in Brazil.

    He has been linked with a healthy number of European clubs with Chelsea and Inter considered the front-runners to gain his signature.

    Paulinho, though, has tried to distance himself from rumors. No doubt that there's truth to his feeling as new challenges can be daunting, but, then again that's the usual response from a player about to leave.

6. Alexander Merkel

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    Alexander Merkel is still a bit green as a player, but he's ready to break out. A move in January might facilitate that.

    Merkel's already got the tools, tenacious in the midfield, good work rate and with some attacking flair, and experience playing in bigger competitions (i.e. European competition) would do wonders.

    Genoa is a bottom club in the Serie A right now, and should Merkel move on to a bigger club, the experiences would be better for development.

    Luckily for him, among his suitors is Zenit who could provide him with that competition. The Italian club have said Merkel is currently not for sale but also admit that it could change.

    Translation: money talks.

7. Eder

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    Eder only just recently transferred to S.C. Braga this summer, but his striking ability has caught the attention of the rest of Europe.

    So far this season, he has has four goals in eight Portuguese Liga games. They are very raw numbers, but it's definitely been an impressive showing for the young Portuguese forward.

    It seems odd that he would switch teams so soon, but, when the big teams come calling, it's not out of the question. And the top Premier League dogs have kept their tabs on Eder. If a big offer is made, it's hard to see either side refuse.

8. Kevin Strootman

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    Kevin Strootman has been starring in the Eredivisie, with PSV Eindhoven, for the last two seasons.

    His play has caught the attention of the top clubs in Europe, and it looks like Strootman is ready to make his move away from PSV in January.

    Well, his skill is ready. The player himself admitted back in October that he would not be ready to make his move in January.

    IHowever, it looks like things have changed as his agent revealed to talkSPORT (via FanIQ) that Manchester United has approached the versatile midfielder about a transfer in January.

9. Andreas Granqvist

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    Andreas Granqvist has quietly been one of the better defenders in Italy this season. Maybe it's because he plays for Genoa, who are fighting to stay out of relegation, or maybe it's because he's not the flashiest of players.

    What's not to be denied, though, is Granqvist's work on the defensive side of the ball. It speaks that he is regarded in Italy even though his team, on the whole, is rather poor defensively.

    It should come as a surprise that multiple players from Genoa have made the list. Then again, isn't that the point? Granqvist has a few teams lining up to lure him away from Genoa, including NewcastleZenit and Liverpool.

10. Chris Wondolowski

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    Chris Wondolowski could be the next MLS star to play in Europe.

    Say what you will about his competition, but "Wondo," as he is known, was amazing for the San Jose Earthquakes this season. He scored 27 goals during the regular season which tied the all-time record.

    Thus far, there hasn't been much reporting on it so far, save for an article on MLSSoccer.com linking Wondolowski with Hannover 96.

    Clubs like Hannover 96, not elite but playing in the top leagues, is probably the highest interest Wondolowski will see, but it's still a great feat for an MLS player. And it's a challenge that Wondo wouldn't shy away from.

    Maybe it's just a slight bias, feel-good story to me, but does it get more under-the-radar than Chris Wondolowski?