Here are seven under-the-radar players who could be January transfer steals. What qualifies as under-the-radar?
Well, a player that isn’t transfer fodder for the tabloids—so footballers like Fernando Llorente, Isco, Wilfried Zaha, Tom Ince, etc. don’t qualify for this list.
Feel free to comment below with your own examples.
What Tamás Hajnal Offers
Creativity, pin-point passes, ability to dribble out of trouble and midfield generalship.
He has pedigree, having played for Borussia Dortmund, and has earned over 50 caps for the Hungarian national team.
Why Might Hajnal Be Available?
Out with the old and in with the new is the mantra Bundesliga clubs adopt. Hajnal has been an occasional starter/impact sub and hasn't produced a goal or assist in league play.
The tall 19-year-old Raphael Holzhauser has been given an extended run. While he hasn't done anything special, Stuttgart management believe there is an upside there for them to exploit, thus why Hajnal isn't an automatic starter.
Last season, Hajnal led Stuttgart with league assists (eight) and shots created per game (2.6).
What Giorgi Chanturia Offers
World-class dribbling, incisive play and entertainment. Chanturia spent a season at Barcelona's La Masia before being lured by his compatriot Merab Jordania's ambitious project at Vitesse.
Perhaps the reason why Chanturia is called the Georgian Messi is due to his short stint at Barcelona. Aside from both players being able to dribble at full speed, Chanturia is bigger, stronger, but more selfish and less efficient than Messi.
A more accurate comparison would be to Arjen Robben, since Chanturia is almost an imitation of the former Groningen and PSV star.
Why Might Chanturia Be Available?
Sometimes being too skilful can be a curse. Instead of making the easy pass, you try to do the spectacular and turn over possession.
Chanturia falls into that category with players like Jefferson Montero and Gökhan Töre.
Giorgi has hardly played for Fred Rutten's side, who are challenging for the Eredivisie title without needing Chanturia's support.
Since Jordania is a proud Georgian, he's not going to give up on Chanturia. Logic would suggest loaning him out to an Eerste Divisie team instead.
Going down a division will hurt Giorgi's ego, but it will give him a chance to regain his confidence by dominating lesser players.
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar couldn't get into the PSV team and had a miserable loan spell with De Graafschap. He was then loaned out to Eerste team AGOVV Apeldoorn, where he scored 27 goals in 37 total games.
Heerenveen took a chance on Huntelaar, which paved the way for a move to Ajax and the rest is history.
Of course, there will be some desperate teams in Europe's elite who could do with a player as lethal as Chanturia.
What Samuel Armenteros Offers
He can get in behind the opposing defence and finish calmly. He has eight league goals for a modest Heracles Almelo team, who also have two talented players in Ninos Gouriye and Willie Overtoom.
In the 6-3 win over Marco van Basten's Heerenveen—a side that play some lovely football but defend as well as Gregory van der Wiel—Armenteros was a handful, Gouriye pulled off an audacious chip and Overtoom was completing key pass after key pass.
Why Might Armenteros Be Available?
He is good enough to be playing for a better team than Heracles, which is just a stepping stone in his career.
What Dario Cvitanich Offers
Expert goal poaching, which makes his limited teammates look better than they really are.
|League Only||Games/Goals||Shots Per Goal|
* for Freiburg
Newcastle United made one of the best January transfer signings in recent memory by getting Papiss Cissé from Freiburg, as the Senegalese forward went on to score 13 goals in 14 games. Unlike Nikica Jelavić, Cissé has failed to continue his rich goal scoring form this season.
Cvitanich's shots per goal is probably an outlier because there's no way he can keep up that efficiency, which is better than Lionel Messi (3.3).
Why Might Cvitanich Be Available?
Nice need to think smart. Will they be in the top three at the end of the season?
If so, keep Cvitanich because UEFA Champions League football is lucrative.
If not, which they probably won't, sell him now because his transfer value is at its highest.
A few years ago, Nice made the right call to sell Ederson during the January transfer window to Lyon for €15 million.
If a transfer fee for that amount comes in for Cvitanich, Nice should accept.
What Oliver Baumann Offers
Stability in goal, a model of consistency and the potential to be an elite goalkeeper.
If you follow the Bundesliga, you're probably thinking, "Well, Kevin Trapp and Fabian Giefer are better."
I agree with you, but the circumstances that Trapp and Giefer are in means being sold in January is less likely compared to Baumann.
Trapp is playing for an Eintracht Frankfurt team that is good enough to qualify for the UEFA Champions League.
Giefer owes a lot to Fortuna Düsseldorf and he's unlikely to turn his back on them any time soon. He needed a fresh start after what transpired at Bayer Leverkusen and Düsseldorf was that place.
Since Fabian was 13, he dreamt of being Bayer's No. 1.
He was finally given a clear opportunity with René Adler out of the picture due to a knee injury.
Giefer was up against journeyman David Yelldell, but Robin Dutt went for experience in a league known for its blind faith in choosing young over old.
However, Yelldell went down with injury, and Fabian was given the job by default.
In his first game against Mainz, he suffered a concussion so bad that he lost about a month's memory.
Leverkusen arranged a hasty emergency loan for Stuttgart's Bernd Leno, who was lights out during the season, winning him a long-term contract at Bayer.
This is the perfect video to describe how Giefer felt last season.
Why Might Baumann Be Available?
Freiburg's success this season has been in part due to his great saves. His club is fifth in the Bundesliga right now and if one of Europe's elite clubs want a keeper with high upside, Baumann is their guy.
What Zvjezdan Misimović Offers
Experience and championship pedigree—he was part of the vaunted Wolfsburg triumvirate with Edin Dzeko and Grafite.
Misimović can unlock defences with sublime through balls. At one point in time, he was arguably the best passer in the world.
Why Might Misimović Be Available?
It seems he has gone for easy cash while still playing at a competitive level with stints in Turkey and Russia.
Dynamo Moscow don't want Misimović, so whichever club gets him—granted that they give him the keys to the team—will benefit greatly.
What Iago Aspas Offers
The Spanish Wayne Rooney? Like Wayne, Aspas splits his time operating as a No. 9 but also has duties of a No. 10—in other words, the nine-and-a-half role, as explained by Robin van Persie.
Aspas' 2.6 shots created per game is better than Rooney (1.8) and RVP (1.9). Iago can also dink his way past opposing players, drop deep into midfield and send a perfect long pass. He has also found the back of the net six times.
Bleacher Report La Liga columnist Michael Cerna accurately predicted Aspas' rise before the season even started.
Why Might Aspas Be Available?
Iago isn't just a good La Liga player, he is one of the league's best players. His stats would be significantly better if he played with the likes of Lionel Messi, Falcao and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Aspas deserves to play for one of Europe's elite clubs.
Connect with +allanjiang
Statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com