20 Players Set for January Transfer Window Moves

Karl MatchettFeatured ColumnistOctober 7, 2013

20 Players Set for January Transfer Window Moves

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    The January transfer window might still be three months away, but make no mistake, clubs and players will already have cast their minds forward to that date when new moves might be sought.

    Whether it's because a star is underperforming, a player is out of favour, or a player is simply so much in form that new clubs are chasing his signature, there will be moves aplenty when the window opens.

    Here are 20 names from around the globe who could be primed for a transfer in January.

Iker Casillas

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    World Cup winners don't usually spend an awful lot of time on the bench in the prime of their careers—not counting the likes of Bernard Diomede, that is—and much less when they are a Real Madrid icon.

    But that is the fate which has befallen goalkeeper Iker Casillas.

    He has now been out of the Madrid starting XI for 26 league games in a row, going back into last season.

    For years the idea of Casillas leaving the club would have been dismissed as pure fantasy, but Diego Lopez has been firmly established ahead of him now under successive managers. Iker must be considering his options, especially with the World Cup in Brazil around the corner.

    He will want a shot at a second world title, but he is unlikely to hold down his Spain place after 18 months of not being a regular starter for his club.

Kevin de Bruyne

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    Despite starting the season as part of Chelsea's XI in the Premier League, Kevin de Bruyne has quickly fallen out of favour at Stamford Bridge.

    He has played just six minutes in the Blues' last four league games. He has also not played in the Champions League after being left out of the named squad and has yet to complete 90 minutes in any competition this term.

    All in all, it hasn't been the happy start he had hoped for as a first-teamer at Chelsea after several loan spells abroad. It could well be that another temporary stint away is required to regain his confidence and productivity.

Nikica Jelavic

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    After a great start to life at Everton, Nikica Jelavic's career has fizzled out on Merseyside over the past 18 months.

    With loan star Romelu Lukaku now established in the team ahead of him and fellow forward Arouna Kone being a Roberto Martinez signing, it will soon become apparent that Jelavic is a third-choice striker in a team which usually plays with just one up top.

    Jelavic has scored just one league goal in 2013—just once, in fact, since December 9, 2012, a far cry from his first half-season after joining from Rangers.

    After playing all but one league game in 2012-13, Jelavic has missed both of Everton's last two league fixtures with Lukaku playing a leading role.

    A move away from Goodison Park beckons.

Jucilei

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    In all the madness and mayhem of the summer at Anzhi Makhachkala, one man got left behind in the Great Clearout 2013: Brazilian midfielder Jucilei.

    While a dozen of his teammates were sold or returned from whence they came, he remains one of the few imports at the club who are, unsurprisingly, struggling immensely in the Russian Premier League this season.

    Anzhi haven't won this season and are bottom of the table.

    He should almost certainly have suitors in January, and Anzhi will no doubt be willing sellers once again.

Stephan El Shaarawy

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    Italian starlet Stephan El Shaarawy is currently sidelined through injury, but there have already been rumours about him departing AC Milan in January.

    Dave Kidd of the Mirror reports that Spurs are interested in signing him.

    Under a long-term contract, the wide forward would doubtless be an extremely expensive addition, but Spurs barely had any outlay at all during the summer thanks to their world-record sale of Gareth Bale.

Mohamed Salah

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    Egyptian winger Mo Salah was showcasing his skills in the Europa League last season, but this term he has stepped up with his team, Basel, into the Champions League.

    At 21 years of age he has great pace and technique. He does not lack for confidence.

    He needs work on his end product when in good positions in the box perhaps, but he has plenty of potential to make the step up to a more competitive league than the Swiss top flight.

    There will be plenty of sides eager to take his signature in January. Basel might be willing to accept a bid if they fail to make the knockout stages of the Champions League—a tough ask, with Chelsea and Schalke in their group.

Demba Ba

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    With Fernando Torres and Samuel Eto'o competing for one striker's role in the team, Demba Ba's opportunities are likely to be limited at Stamford Bridge this season.

    Indeed, the Chelsea man made his first start in five games at the weekend and, like De Bruyne before him, has not played a full 90 minutes for his club this season.

    The Senegalese striker has scored only five goals since signing from Newcastle United in January, four of which have come in the FA Cup and just one in the Premier League.

    He's unlikely to have a long-term future at the club. For his own career's benefit, he should look to move on sooner rather than later.

Cristian Tello

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    Barcelona forward Cristian Tello was thought to be a candidate to exit the Camp Nou last summer before eventually remaining at the club under new boss Gerardo Martino.

    While a regular in the match-day squad, Tello is very much a cover player right now, predominantly for new arrival Neymar. He is unlikely to get more than a handful of starts for Barcelona between now and January.

    A half-season loan where he gets to start and play 90 minutes regularly could do him a world of good.

Blaise Matuidi

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    Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Blaise Matuidi is a regular starter and important member of the team for the reigning Ligue 1 champions, so he's not necessarily a player you'd immediately consider a candidate for an early move.

    However, with his contract up at the end of the season and no new deal yet, PSG may opt to sell him in January. They don't need the money, but that doesn't mean they are happy to let a French international walk on a free transfer either.

    Matuidi would have plenty of admirers and could likely land a big contract.

Memphis Depay

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    Dutch teenager Memphis Depay is part of the PSV Eindhoven team which currently sits joint-top of the Eredivisie with Twente, despite having one of the youngest sides around.

    Phillip Cocu's team is built around youth, technique and speed, and Depay certainly has all of those attributes.

    Normally playing from the left flank of a front three, Depay loves to run with the ball at his feet and shoot from ridiculous distances, cutting in off the wing to attack on his right foot.

    He's a real talent with the footballing world at his feet. If he doesn't overrun it as he sometimes does in-game, he could become Dutch football's next big international star.

    He'll have teams from all over Europe watching him this season, and a move could easily materialise within months.

Casemiro

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    21-year-old midfielder Casemiro has started this season with Real Madrid, but he has yet to really break into the first team.

    He hasn't featured in the Champions League. After making three appearances off the bench in La Liga early in the season, he has not made an entrance in the last five games.

    With Luka Modric, Sami Khedira and Xabi Alonso ahead of him in the centre of midfield, plus Isco and assorted other talents in the attacking roles who can drop into midfield, chances will likely continue to be limited for the Brazilian—especially once Illarra regains form and fitness.

    Like Tello, Casemiro may benefit from a loan spell away over the second half of the season.

Ashley Young

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    Manchester United boss David Moyes has tried several combinations for his midfield wide men already, with Ashley Young looking perhaps the most peripheral figure of the lot.

    He has yet to make a full 90-minute appearance in the Premier League.

    The fans clamour for the inclusion of Shinji Kagawa, and the Japanese playmaker is only likely to get game time from the left side in Moyes' set-up—the same role Young prefers.

    Competition for places, variation of players' abilities within the squad, and Young's own lack of consistency mean he could well be forced out of Old Trafford by January.

Kim Young-Gwon

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    Guangzhou Evergrande centre-back Kim Young-Gwon is making impressive progress in the Chinese Super League under the guidance of manager Marcello Lippi.

    The Korea Republic international has just helped his side win the top flight, in fact. He will hope to cap a memorable season with victory in the AFC Champions League final, which Guangzhou will contest against FC Seoul in late October and early November.

    Winning that trophy, coupled with helping his nation qualify for next summer's World Cup final in Brazil, could point to the perfect time for the 23-year-old to move to a bigger club on the world stage, perhaps to Europe.

    B/R's Chris Atkins describes the defender as "calm in possession, an impressive distributor and a good organiser."

Leighton Baines

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    Everton full-back Leighton Baines is a man in demand, despite the failure of Manchester United to complete his signing during the summer transfer window.

    The left-back is recognised as one of the standout attacking full-backs in European football, noted for both his set-piece delivery and his ability to impact on his team's attack. He will likely fetch Everton above £12 million if they sell him in January.

    It's likely he will remain in the Premier League, where he has many admirers. But both his price and the interest in him could soar considerably if he plays an important role in the upcoming World Cup qualifiers for England, where he is expected to deputise for the injured Ashley Cole.

Dario Conca

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    At 30 years of age, uncapped for his nation Argentina and playing his football in Asia, it would be permissible to think Dario Conca was not necessarily a noted name in the game.

    In fact, he's one of the highest-paid players in the world.

    Metro reported his former manager at Fluminense confirming that Conca would be amongst the "top 10" when he moved to Guangzhou Evergrande in 2011.

    His mega-deal expires in December, though, and he is expected to leave China to move back to South America, quite possibly back to Fluminense, as per an interview with biobiochile.cl (in Spanish).

Morgan Amalfitano

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    West Bromwich Albion signed Morgan Amalfitano on a season-long loan during the summer, but his early performances have given rise to the idea of making that deal permanent sooner rather than later.

    Steve Clarke, WBA's manager, has conceded that there is an option for the club to sign Amalfitano for £2 million, per ESPN. Considering his goals at the start of the season and his all-round play, that quickly looks like a bargain bit of business.

    But Clarke will also wait to see if the French midfielder can sustain his good start over the longer term.

    Even so, it would be a surprise to see them not conclude the deal by January.

Keisuke Honda

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    CSKA Moscow attacking midfielder Keisuke Honda is almost certain to move out of Russia in January 2014 after his contract with the Russian Premier League side comes to an end in December.

    Capable of playing anywhere across the second line of attack, Honda's left foot, dribbling ability and penchant for spectacular goals make him an excellent free transfer option for many sides in Europe. Sky Sports reported that he has at least one Serie A side and "a host" of Premier League clubs looking to sign him.

    Honda is a Japanese international with close to 50 caps, including featuring at the summer Confederations Cup and in several international friendlies since then, meaning a work permit should not be an issue if he moves to England.

Burak Yilmaz

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    One of last season's top scorers in the Champions League, Burak Yilmaz, was reportedly sought-after this summer after impressing with a huge goal haul of 32 strikes in 39 games last term. But he remained at Galatasaray in the end.

    The Turkish giants, however, are in absolute turmoil this season. A disastrous start has seen them win just once in the Super Lig, lie a lowly 13th place in the 18-team table, sack their manager, fail to entice Gheorghe Hagi to be their new boss, and, to top it off, sit bottom of their Champions League group.

    It can't go on for much longer domestically. Galatasaray are simply too big for that. But it might be that one or two star names think the time has come to move on.

    Yilmaz will have plenty of clubs willing to take him on in January if Galatasaray can be tempted to sell.

Alexandru Maxim

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    After just one year in Germany, Alexandru Maxim is quickly proving himself a most capable attacking midfielder.

    Maxim gradually worked his way into the Stuttgart team last season after signing in January, but this term has quickly made him one of the team's most important players.

    Playing in an advanced central role, Maxim has helped Stuttgart to a run of five games unbeaten, scoring three times and claiming four assists along the way. He ranks only behind Marco Reus for key passes per game at this point in the Bundesliga. He has already started to make his mark at the international level for Romania.

    Another couple of months of this form and plenty of the bigger sides, in Germany and beyond, will be taking notice of the 23-year-old.

Emmanuel Adebayor

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    No transfer window would be complete without an anticipated move for Togolese striker Emmanuel Adebayor.

    The 29-year-old is way down the order of merit at White Hart Lane these days, with Roberto Soldado and Jermain Defoe the established front options for Andre Villas-Boas. It is unlikely that Adebayor will play again for Spurs.

    Of course, part of the reason for him not featuring this season is that he has been on compassionate leave, but the expectation is that Spurs will let him leave in January without much of a fuss. Indeed, the biggest problem could be getting the striker to agree to the move after he reportedly turned down Besiktas, Schalke and QPR in the summer.

    Spurs will be happy to offload him and, presumably, the striker by that point will be happy to move on and try his luck elsewhere.

    Adebayor moving on in January is likely one of the safest bets for the entire winter transfer window.