True or False: Klaas-Jan Huntelaar's Potential Destinations in January
There's only one reason why the Schalke striker is called 'The Hunter' (aside from his surname, of course). One of the most feared marksmen in world football, Huntelaar lives, breathes and, of course, scores goals to make a living.
He may be 29 years old, but Klaas-Jan Huntelaar is very much only just entering the peak period of his career, with the former Ajax hitman something of a late bloomer, having only made his Holland debut six years ago. Yet amazingly, Huntelaar is just six goals off equaling Patrick Kluivert's 40-goal haul for the Oranje, scoring 34 times in just 59 caps. Even Robin Van Persie, regarded as one of the world's most talented strikers, is behind in the leaderboard, with 31 goals in 71 appearances.
However, it seems as if Huntelaar could be set for a new challenge, which is all the more surprising given that the Dutchman has already played for Ajax, Real Madrid, AC Milan and Schalke. With one league in particular yet to welcome Huntelaar, could he be set for a move to England? Or is a return to Italy on the cards?
All is revealed in the next five slides...join me, won't you?
If Huntelaar does decide to move to the Premier League, I can think of no fewer than 10 clubs who would be quite interested in signing him. But one club that truly needs a player like Klaas-Jan Huntelaar is Arsene Wenger's struggling Arsenal side.
Why, you ask, when the North Londoners signed Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski this summer? Well, the difference in quality is one point. Although Podolski has over 100 caps for Germany and Giroud was the top scorer in Ligue 1 last season, the pair have struggled to reach top form for the Gunners, managing just eight goals between them in the first 16 games of the Premier League season. And if that statistic isn't bad enough, adding insult to injury is seeing Robin Van Persie, who left Arsenal to join Manchester United this summer, score 12 Premier League goals for the Red Devils.
But the signing of Huntelaar could help aid Arsenal's mission to finish in the top four to claim that all important Champions League spot, and in turn, calm the fears of alienated Arsenal fans who are concerned their club is being left behind by the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City.
There's almost no doubt Huntelaar would be interested in a move to the Emirates Stadium, it's just a question of whether Wenger would offer a contract lucrative enough to lure Huntelaar to England.
They call him the "next Jose Mourinho," but Inter Milan coach Andrea Stramaccioni is only focusing on helping his side return to the days after a torrid few years at the San Siro. However, the rebuliding process is not yet complete, with the young Italian coach looking to bolster his strikeforce.
Despite possessing an attacking inventory containing the likes of Antonio Cassano and Diego Milito, three of their attackers are over the age of 30, and although Huntelaar is too reaching that age in the near future, the striker is a late developer in football and, as a result, could still be performing well into his 30s.
A stumbling block to Inter moving for Huntelaar could be his age, with Stramaccioni keen to build from their youth system, introducing the likes of Philippe Coutinho and Marko Livaja this season, both of whom have impressed when given a run-out.
It seems that only a small fee would be required to sign the much-traveled marksman, with Huntelaar's contract expiring at the end of the season. But it would require a lot more for him to win over the fans of the club, with them unlikely to forgive him for his short spell at AC Milan back in 2009.
Things are rather rosy for Tottenham Hotspur at the moment, with the club sitting in fourth position in the Premier League, level on points with their London rivals Chelsea. Andre Villas-Boas much be wondering what could go wrong for his side to blow such a great position.
You only have to look at the strikeforce of Spurs to see a pressing problem for the Portuguese coach. Emmanuel Adebayor, Jermain Defoe...oh, that's it? No more strikers? The problems start when the likes of Adebayor or Defoe get injured. Do they have sufficient back-up to replace them? No, no they do not.
Luckily for him, the duo have stayed injury-free. But the time will come where Villas-Boas wished he bought a third striker, even just to deputise. Someone cheap, experienced but very capable of scoring goals. Do you see a pattern emerging?
There's no doubt that Huntelaar would be a superb signing for Tottenham, though his wage demands of £100,000 per week could be problematic for a club with a strict salary wage structure. Still, few would dispute it's worth breaking to have him in their squad.
Finally, after years of tabloids accusing Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich of possessing "Russian roubles," there is a team who represents the cheesy phrase. And the direct contrast between one of the poorest regions in Russia, Dagestan, and the richest team in Russia, Anzhi Makhachkala, is astounding.
So why on Earth would Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, a seasoned international who has spent his career in Europe, move to a club based in such a deprived region? Well actually, Anzhi train in their hometown, but for matchdays they fly to Moscow to play in a large stadium with more fans. And moreover, they have Samuel Eto'o among their ranks.
Another reason why Huntelaar could move is the manager is Guus Hiddink, who is also Dutch and has managed the forward at several stages in his career. Immediately contrast that with the fact that Hiddink will retire at the end of the season, and a move to Russia doesn't seem so likely. However, Suleiman Kermiov's "Russian roubles" could lure the 29-year-old to Anzhi if the offer is right.
Last but not least, we have Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool outfit, who may be a far cry from their second-place finish back in 2009/10 but nevertheless have the funds and support to rebuild a team who can compete for the Champions League.
His style of football, consisting of short and quick passing, may not ideally suit Huntelaar, but Rodgers may see no other viable options as he looks for a partner for Luis Suarez in attack. With Andy Carroll out on loan and Fabio Borini out until at least February, Liverpool are in desperate need of a striker.
Huntelaar would fit the bill in terms of being a prolific striker, with the Anfield club significantly struggling to find a striker to replace their former star Fernando Torres since his departure almost two years ago. But is the Northern Irishman ready to break his philosophy just to sign one player? Probably not.
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