Crouch, De Rossi and 5 Other January Transfer Deals That Could Still Happen
Galatasaray have written some of the most compelling headlines during the current transfer period, what with the acquisition of Wesley Sneijder from Inter Milan and the now-threatened signing of Shanghai Shenhua striker Didier Drogba.
But with useful hours still left on the stopwatch, there will no doubt be some notable business conducted before the registration window slams shut.
Manchester City look to be buyers, having sold Mario Balotelli to AC Milan and then promptly drawing a blank at Queens Park Rangers.
QPR, for their part, would buy every player available if there was the funding to do it, and money is of little concern to them as it is. Nothing quite inspires a January signing—particularly the overpaid sort—as the spectre of relegation, something Fulham, Reading and Aston Villa will have on their minds as well, ahead of tomorrow.
There will be players moving on the continent, too. Turkish giants Fenerbahce don’t want Galatasaray to have all the fun, and moneybags Paris Saint-Germain could make one final splash before they attack both the Ligue 1 title and Champions League knockout stages over the next few months.
The following slides reveal seven players who could still make a club swap before this January transfer window ends in most of Europe on Thursday at 11:00pm GMT. Which, for those of you who are fussy about these things, is 6:00pm Eastern and 3:00pm Pacific.
Jack Butland, Goalkeeper, Birmingham City
The state of Birmingham’s finances means they’ll be offloading some of their more valuable assets over the coming hours, and foremost among them is 19-year-old goalkeeper Jack Butland.
Chelsea was thought to be among the more likely destinations for the up-and-coming England international, but Sky are reporting he might end up at Stoke. It’s no secret that Asmir Begovic is himself a transfer target of some of the biggest clubs in Europe and that the Potters seem resigned to losing him in the summer.
Butland has made 29 appearances for Birmingham so far this season. In 2011 he was one of the few Young Lions who impressed at the FIFA U-20 World Cup and was also part of the Great Britain squad at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Emre, Midfielder, Atletico Madrid
Galatasaray acquired Sneijder; Besiktas signed Dentinho. Now Fenerbahce, currently five points behind Galatasaray atop the Turkish Super Lig standings, are hoping to snap up Emre Belozoglu, who represented the club from 2008 to 2012.
Television outlet NTV Sport reported on Wednesday that a deal between Emre and Fenerbahce had already been reached—something Atletico have yet to confirm, as manager Diego Simeone is reluctant to shrink his side before adding reinforcement.
To that end Football Espana are saying Simeone could move for one of Jeremy Toulalan or Yohan Gourcuff, who are at Malaga and Lyon, respectively.
Tom Huddlestone, Midfielder, Tottenham Hotspur
With Lewis Holtby having joined Spurs from Schalke earlier this week, it looks as though Tom Huddlestone could be surplus to requirements at White Hart Lane.
The Daily Mail are reporting Fulham have already lodged a £5 million bid for the 26-year-old, and on the will-it-or-won’t-it-happen scale this one looks at least an eight out of 10 that it will go through.
Huddlestone, who has been capped four times for England, has made 13 Premier League appearances so far this season.
Peter Crouch, Striker, Stoke
QPR have already acquired Tal Ben Haim (unattached) and Loic Remy (Marseille) this month as they look to avoid the drop, and with Redknapp and Crouch having worked together at several previous clubs—not to mention the fact that Crouch was a QPR fan growing up—they could make a late swoop for the 32-year-old.
Crouch has played 21 times in the Premier League so far this season, scoring five goals and adding three assists.
Gary Hooper, Striker, Celtic
The English-born Hooper (he has never been capped internationally at any level) has been one of the most prolific goalscorers in Scotland in recent years, with 57 Scottish Premier League goals in 82 matches over three seasons.
Norwich and Tottenham have made little secret of their interest in him, although on Wednesday the Daily Mail reported Celtic’s £10 million valuation may have scared off his suitors.
But with his contract coming up in the summer of 2014, Hooper will almost certainly be cashed in by the Glasgow giants, whether today, tomorrow or in July.
David Villa, Striker, Barcelona
When Roberto Mancini withdrew Carlos Tevez on Tuesday at Loftus Road his Manchester City side looked almost harmless in the attacking third, having neither a Tevez nor a Balotelli on the pitch. (Balotelli arrived at AC Milan earlier in the day to complete his move to the San Siro.)
The two points conceded by City further damage their chances of retaining the Premier League title, and with Mancini exasperated by a lack of summer signings, he may be given £15 million with which to pursue Barcelona’s David Villa before Thursday evening, according to the Mirror.
Barcelona have previously rejected advances for Villa, but with the forward now 31 years old, they may see such an offer as too good to pass up.
In 14 Liga matches so far this season, Villa has scored five goals. His best season was in 2008-09, when he tallied 30 times for Valencia.
Daniele De Rossi, Midfielder, as Roma
It seems Daniele De Rossi, one of the more high-profile midfielders in Serie A, has long been on the auction block. Manchester City have made several attempts to sign him, but if he moves anywhere this month it’s likely to be Paris-Saint Germain.
Several outlets have claimed the 29-year-old is on the verge of swapping the capital of Italy for the capital of France, perhaps in a swap deal involving PSG midfielder Marco Verratti, but Roma sporting director Walter Sabatini denied the rumours (h/t Goal).
De Rossi could still be registered for the Champions League knockout stages—something that no doubt makes him even more appealing to the Ligue 1 side.