As the January transfer window approaches, speculation regarding players' futures increases at a rapid rate. It's almost a fact that while the summer transfer window represents the big moves, an example being Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona, the January window—apart from Fernando Torres' and Andy Carroll's big-money transfers in 2011—tends to focus on the players running down their contracts.
Here, we look at some of the players who could be on the move in January, according to rumours in the press. Please note: This will almost certainly involve your team, and not in a good way!
England forward Theo Walcott could be set for a cut-price move in January after Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger revealed talks continue to stall over the 23-year-old's wage demands, with the Gunners said to be offering a "take-it-or-leave-it" £75,000-per-week, five-year contract.
Walcott joined the club as a 16-year-old back in January 2006 for a fee that totalled £12 million after setting the Championship alight with Southampton, with the club beating Chelsea and Manchester United in the race to sign him. He's since made over 150 appearances, scoring 30 goals in the process. However, Walcott could be ready to leave the Emirates Stadium with his contract expiring at the end of the season.
Liverpool were said to be front-runners for Walcott's signature after declaring their interest early. But the Daily Mirror believe that with Chelsea and Manchester United both entering the race to sign the former Southampton trainee, the Reds could be blown out of the water by their financial power.
Frank Lampard and teammate John Terry have, for a long time, been hailed as the backbone of Chelsea Football Club ever since Chelsea signed Lampard from West Ham United for a fee of £11 million back in 2001. It was a move that was ridiculed by Leeds chairman Peter Risdale as "extortionate" at the time. Oh how wrong he was...
But after 11 glorious years at Stamford Bridge—where he's won three Premier League titles, one Champions League winners medal, four FA Cups and many more trophies—Lampard fears that his time could be up under Rafa Benitez.
The Guardian certainly believe that the 34-year-old could move to the MLS to join up with former Tottenham striker Robbie Keane at L.A. Galaxy.
It's widely reported that Lampard doesn't want to leave the club since he feels he has two or three more years at the top of his game, but with the club yet to offer him a new deal, it seems that the Blues could be losing one of their finest ever players in the near future.
Ever since his hat trick against the Blues in the European Super Cup, Falcao has been at the top of Roman Abramovich's shopping list, along with Pep Guardiola, of course.
But following the appointment of Rafa Benitez as interim manager until the end of the season, signing the Colombian looks like a more realistic and likely option in January.
The Daily Mail claim to have an exclusive scoop that Chelsea are willing to pay a transfer of £48 million to prize Falcao away from Atletico, while offering the 26-year-old a whopping £200,000-per-week, five-year deal to make him the highest-paid player at Chelsea.
He's the man who is being heralded as the player to lead Spain into yet another golden generation when the current crop of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Iker Casillas retire. It's no surprise, then, that all of the top clubs in Europe would be keen to sign Malaga sensation Isco.
The 20-year-old has enjoyed a remarkable rise to prominence in Spain, becoming a key part of Manuel Pellegrini's Andalusian revolution, as the Spanish outfit finished as group winners in the Champions League. And his performances, including a superb brace against Zenit St. Petersburg, have alerted the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City to his availability.
Spanish paper AS seem to believe that Chelsea coach Rafa Benitez will use his Spanish contingent to lure Isco away from La Rosaleda, while they also claim that Manchester City are willing to pay his £17 million release clause. In addition, Barcelona and Real Madrid are said to be watching the youngster, meaning that the ball is firmly in his court as to whether he stays or goes.
Kevin Strootman is a special player. In fact, we only did a Scouting Report on him earlier this week and tipped Manchester United to move for the talented Dutchman.
Now, it seems that The Sun also believe that the 22-year-old could move Old Trafford in January, with Sir Alex Ferguson willing to pay up to £17 million to secure the former Utrecht midfielder's signature.
However, the report also revealed that Arsenal could also make a move for Strootman. With Arsene Wenger seemingly unimpressed with his side's start to the season and with concerns over Jack Wilshere's long-term fitness, a move could be in the cards to either London or Manchester for the highly rated Holland international.