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Top 25 Players and Rumours to Watch in the January Transfer Window

Laura GreeneFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 2, 2017

Top 25 Players and Rumours to Watch in the January Transfer Window

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    The January transfer window is drawing closer, and with it, rumours and gossip are increasing by the day.

    A lot of speculation can be difficult to believe. Some stories sound credible, whereas others appear to be downright crazy. However, part of the fun of the transfer period is trying to separate the truth from the tattle.

    Be they fanciful notions or plausible reports, over the following slides we look at 25 of the biggest rumours surrounding players who could be on the move in January, arranged in no particular order.

    With a World Cup approaching and some players desperate to nail down a place in their international squads, this could make for a very interesting winter.

    Which transfer story will you be watching out for this January? Let us know your thoughts below.

Demba Ba, Chelsea

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    According to Tony Stenson in the Daily Star, Arsenal are lining up "a shock bid" to buy Demba Ba.

    The striker signed for Chelsea last January after impressing for Newcastle but has failed to make an impact for the Blues.

    This season, under Jose Mourinho, Ba has made just three appearances in the Premier League. The Gunners are in need of a striker as backup for Olivier Giroud, but whether they will try to sign Ba or someone who has been more prolific during the 2013/14 campaign remains to be seen. 

    These rumours are not new, Ba was also linked with a move to the Emirates over the summer—as reported on SkySports.com.

Konstantinos Mitroglou, Olympiacos

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    According to David Mattock in the Mirror, Olympiacos striker Konstantinos Mitroglou is a January transfer target for Liverpool. 

    The 25-year-old has scored 26 goals in 18 Super League performances this season and has also registered three goals in four Champions League games for the Greek club in 2013/14.

    Mattock claims that Reds boss Brendan Rodgers has his sights set on Mitroglou, who could come to Anfield for as little as £6 million.

Saido Berahino, West Bromwich Albion

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    West Bromwich Albion and England U21 international Saido Berahino is having a great season. Not only has he scored a match-winning goal against Manchester United at Old Trafford, but he is also said to be on the brink of breaking into the senior England squad, as seen on the BBC Sport website. 

    Also, if the rumours are true, the 20-year-old has attracted interest from a number of clubs. 

    As Darren Lewis reports in the Mirror, Monaco are interested in the striker, with Arsenal and Everton also said to be impressed by his progress. 

    Elsewhere, on ESPNFC.com, the Baggies are confident in signing Berahino to a deal beyond his current contract, which runs out next summer.

Eliaquim Mangala, FC Porto

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    Eliaquim Mangala's defensive performances for FC Porto have attracted many suitors across Europe.

    Last month, the Express' Ben Jefferson reported that Manchester United are readying a January bid for the 22-year-old, with Anderson a rumoured makeweight in the deal. 

    More recently, Metro's Jamie Sanderson claims that Chelsea are also lining up a move for the centre-back, having had an offer turned down for him over the summer. According to Sanderson, Barcelona are also interested in securing Mangala's services this January.

    Mangala has won consecutive Primeira Liga titles with Porto over the last two years. He also won the Belgian Pro League, Belgian Cup and Belgian Super Cup during his time with Standard Liege.

Gaston Ramirez, Southampton

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    Southampton may be riding high in the Premier League after an impressive start to the season, but not everyone seems to be happy at St Mary's.

    Gaston Ramirez has played just 99 minutes of football for the Saints this season in five substitute performances.

    It's been made public by the midfielder's agent, Pablo Betancourt, that Ramirez does not see eye-to-eye with manager Mauricio Pochettino, as reported on Napoli Calcio Live, via ESPNFC.com, last month.

    The Mirror's Ed Malyon suggests that a move back to Italy might be on the cards, with Napoli, Inter Milan and Lazio all monitoring the Uruguayan's situation. 

    In the Daily Mail, Simon Jones reports that Galatasaray are also interested in the 22-year-old. 

    If Uruguay win their World Cup play-offs against Jordan this month, expect Ramirez to be on the move in January to ensure he's part of his country's plans in Brazil.

Julio Cesar, Queens Park Rangers

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    To maintain both his fitness and his place as Brazil's No. 1 at the 2014 World Cup, Julio Cesar needs a move in January.

    Currently at Championship side Queens Park Rangers, Cesar is second-choice goalkeeper behind Rob Green and has not played a league game all season.

    It looked like the 34-year-old was going to leave Loftus Road over the summer amid rumoured interest from Arsenal and Fiorentina, as seen in Ben Jefferson's Express story, but he remained at QPR.

    Manager Harry Redknapp recently said in The Independent

    It's a difficult situation with Julio and I'm surprised no one came in for him. He's a world-class keeper.

    His dream is to play in the World Cup in Brazil and I don't think this will affect his situation.

    The manager of Brazil thinks he's the number one man and I don't think anything that happens at QPR is going to change that for him.

    This week, Cesar has revealed that he might make a move back to Brazil in January, as reported in Xinhua, via IBNLive.com.

Diego Capel, Sporting Lisbon

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    Sporting Lisbon winger Diego Capel could be on his way to the Premier League, if reports are to be believed.

    Portuguese newspaper A Bola (via Ben Jefferson in the Express), claims that Sporting would like to get Capel off their books, as he is one of the club's highest earners.

    Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs were all credited with interest in the 25-year-old winger over the summer, with Liverpool said to have made a £3 million bid for the Spaniard during the last transfer window.

    According to Jefferson, Sporting value the player at £6 million. Elsewhere, the Mirror's John Cross suggests that the Portuguese side may let him go for a cut-price £5 million, due to ongoing financial problems at the Jose Alvalade Stadium.

Jay Rodriguez, Southampton

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    If this report from the Mirror's Matt Law is to be believed, Southampton striker Jay Rodriguez is being tracked by Liverpool and Arsenal.

    The 24-year-old has just received his first call-up to the England team after impressing for the Saints, who are third in the Premier League at the time of writing.

    Rodriguez has been at St Mary's since July 2012 and has scored 13 goals in 51 games for Mauricio Pochettino's side.

    It's hard to imagine that Southampton would let Rodriguez leave, but for the right price, you never know...

Ever Banega, Valencia

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    A raft of European clubs have been linked with Valencia midfielder Ever Banega.

    According to NapoliCalcioLive.com (via Ben Jefferson in the Express), agent Marcelo Simonian insists that Banega will be leaving the Mestalla in January:

    "I can only tell you that we are already talking with several clubs in relation to the next window. In the next few days I will be travelling to present all the options to Valencia."

    Jefferson says that Manchester United, Arsenal and Southampton could be potential destinations for the Argentina international, with Inter Milan and Napoli also credited with interest in the 25-year-old.

Joleon Lescott, Manchester City

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    According to this report from the Mirror's Matt Law, Joleon Lescott could be on his way to Stoke City in January.

    The Potters are now managed by Mark Hughes, who brought Lescott to City from Everton in 2009.

    The defender has featured in just five top-flight games for Manuel Pellegrini's side so far this season and has remained on the bench for all of the Citizens' Champions League fixtures.

    Back in September, there was talk about the 31-year-old leaving the club when he was linked to Aston Villa and Everton by the Daily Mail's Ian Ladyman.

Hulk, Zenit St. Petersburg

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    In an interview given to twentyfour7 Football magazine, Hulk sparked a series of rumours that he might be on his way out of Zenit St. Petersburg this winter.

    The Brazilian was quoted as saying:

    I learned a lot with Andre Villas-Boas at Porto. He is very intelligent tactically. He was almost so well informed about the opponents that we pretty much knew everything about them when we went out on to the pitch. It was scary how much we knew.

    I am really happy Villas-Boas is making a mark in England, and it would be fantastic to play under him again one day.

    Metro's Jamie Sanderson picked up on the quotes and ran with the story that Hulk could be on his way to Spurs in January to link up with his former manager. 

    The 27-year-old has scored eight goals and registered five assists in 11 Premier Liga games this season and has sat out of a further five league games.

    Spurs were linked with a loan move for the striker over the summer, as seen in this Independent article by James Orr, but a move failed to materialise.

    Should they act to bring him to White Hart Lane in January, Hulk should cost in the region of £25 million, according to Metro.

Thomas Ince, Blackpool

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    Widely considered as one of the most promising young players in England, Thomas Ince has been linked with a move to a number of clubs.

    Currently at Championship side Blackpool, Ince has less than a year remaining on his contract.

    In The Independent, Tom Collomosse reported last month that Tottenham are readying a January bid for the 21-year-old. 

    Collomosse also mentions that, due to FIFA rules, Ince could sign for a foreign club in January for a reduced fee, which has attracted interest from Serie A sides Juventus, Inter Milan and Napoli.

    More recently, the Mirror's Jim Hughes claims that Ajax could be a possible destination for the young winger, as seen here.

Javier Hernandez, Manchester United

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    Speculation linking Javier Hernandez with a move away from Manchester United comes as no surprise. The Mexican, nicknamed "Chicharito," is admired by fans of the Old Trafford side, but up against Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney, he is finding his playing time limited.

    According to The Telegraph's Jason Burt, Tottenham Hotspur are eager to sign the striker, if they can offload Emmanuel Adebayor in January.  

    Burt goes on to mention that Arsenal have also shown their interest in the 25-year-old, with United said to be reluctant to sell to a direct rival.

    Hernandez has started just one game in the Premier League so far this season.

Nicolas N'Koulou, Olympique Marseille

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    It appears that several clubs are interested in signing Olympique Marseille centre-back Nicolas N'Koulou.

    According to talkSPORT, the 23-year-old is "one of the outstanding performers in the French side and has been tipped as a star of the future," and is being tracked by Arsenal, Napoli and Monaco.

    N'Koulou has made 40 appearances for Cameroon and spent three seasons at Monaco before signing for Marseille in 2011. 

    Metro's Jamie Sanderson reckons that Arsenal may be lining up a bid for the defender, with Arsene Wenger said to be "a long-term admirer" of the player.

Yohan Cabaye, Newcastle United

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    Over the summer, it looked like Yohan Cabaye might have been on his way out of St James' Park.

    The playmaker had reportedly been targeted by Arsenal, who had their bid turned down by Newcastle. When asked about the failed move, Cabaye was quoted by David Wright in the Express as saying:

    Was my failed transfer to Arsenal difficult to swallow? At first, yes.

    But you have to quickly get focused again, because if you go on thinking about it you have a grudge against a lot of people and that is useless.

    The only person who can explain what happened is Joe Kinnear. If he is honest, he will tell it. Otherwise it will not get out of my mouth.

    After buying Mesut Ozil on deadline day, it's unlikely that Arsene Wenger would invest in another No. 10 in January. However, Cabaye is still being linked with a move to the Emirates in the Express, where Ben Jefferson claims that Liverpool are also interested in the 27-year-old.

Karim Benzema, Real Madrid

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    Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema is said to be a target for Arsenal this January.

    The Frenchman looks like he has found form after a slow start to the season. At the time of writing, Benzema has scored four goals and registered three assists in his last three games in La Liga. 

    As the Mirror's Paul Smith writes: "Arsenal are closing in on a £22million January deal" for the 25-year-old.

    Madrid's decision to let Benzema leave would likely hinge on their success in bringing another striker to the Bernabeu in the new year.

Koke, Atletico Madrid

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    The Daily Mail's John Edwards has suggested that Manchester United might make a move for Koke in January.

    The 21-year-old, who has been dubbed "the new Xavi" in some quarters, was apparently being tracked by Sir Alex Ferguson when he was in charge of the Old Trafford side.

    Koke has featured in every La Liga game for Atletico Madrid this season and shares top spot with Neymar as the division's top assist provider, and Diego Simeone's side currently occupy second spot in the table.

    With Atletico in such rude health, Koke may not want to leave, but for Manchester United, he must be a very attractive proposition. According to ESPN.co.uk, the Spaniard has a £16 million release clause in his contract.

Sami Khedira, Real Madrid

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    Manchester United were very public about their search for new midfielders over the summer. One of their targets was Real Madrid's Sami Khedira.

    The move did not materialise ahead of the start of the 2013/14 season. However, it looks like United may be stepping up their interest once again this January.

    According to ESPN.co.uk, David Moyes' assistant and former Red Devils player Phil Neville has been scouting Khedira in recent weeks, with Moyes said to be weighing up a £35 million bid.

    The ESPN report also claims that Khedira feels he is undervalued at the Bernabeu, which may see him looking for a switch. The German international was quoted as saying:

    I'm not a Spanish player, I did not cost a lot of money and I am one of [former manager Jose] Mourinho's disciples. I started the season on the bench or in the stands. Even if I play well, I am the scapegoat and so will not be properly valued.

Stephan El Shaarawy, AC Milan

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    Italian international Stephan El Shaarawy is thought to be a transfer target for a number of clubs in January, including Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs, according to Jack Wilson in the Daily Star

    El Shaarawy has played just 67 minutes of Serie A football this season after fracturing his toe in early September. 

    However, last season the 21-year-old bagged 19 goals in all competitions for the Rossoneri. 

    According to Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport, via InsideFutbol.com, Milan are willing to listen to offers for El Shaarawy.

Leighton Baines, Everton

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    Over the summer, Everton made repeated claims that Leighton Baines was not for sale despite interest from Manchester United.

    Reported by Sam Wallace in The Independent, Toffees coach Alan Stubbs admitted in September that Baines wanted to swap Goodison Park for Old Trafford but was refused a transfer. 

    United are expected to make a renewed bid for the left-back in January. As seen in John Richardson's article in the Express, David Moyes could sign the 28-year-old for £15 million.

Fabio Coentrao, Real Madrid

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    Fabio Coentrao has appeared in just five La Liga games for Real Madrid this season and is being heavily linked with a move away from the Bernabeu in January.

    The Portugal international is rumoured to be on his way to Spurs during the winter transfer window—Andre Villas-Boas' side are in need of a player in his position, following injuries to Kyle Naughton and Danny Rose.

    John Edwards of the Daily Mail has also made the claim that Manchester United are set to battle with Spurs for Coentrao's signature.

    The Red Devils are also in need of a new long-term prospect at left-back and are keen on the 25-year-old, having tried to sign him over the summer, as seen on the BBC Sport website.

Marco Reus, Borussia Dortmund

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    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    It's hard to imagine that Borussia Dortmund would consider letting one of their brightest talents leave. However, Marco Reus' name keeps cropping up in transfer gossip, linking him with a move away from the Westfalenstadion.

    In Metro, reports claim that the Germany international is being pursued by Manchester United, who are working on a £25 million deal to bring him to Old Trafford.

    When the last transfer window closed, the Daily Mail's Sami Mokbel suggested that Arsene Wenger was targeting Reus, along with the 24-year-old's Dortmund teammate Ilkay Gundogan and Bayer Leverkusen's Lars Bender.

    In the Daily Star, Nick Lustig wrote last month that Arsenal and Manchester City are both weighing up a January bid for Reus.

Wayne Rooney, Manchester United

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    Wayne Rooney has been one of Manchester United's standout performers so far this season. However, the 28-year-old still seems to be a transfer target for Chelsea.

    The Blues made repeated efforts to bring him to Stamford Bridge over the summer but had their bids rejected by the Old Trafford side, as seen on ESPNFC.com

    David Moyes will be keen to keep hold of the striker, whose current contract expires in 2015, but as we head closer to January, don't expect to see a halt in stories like this, from Metro's Daniel Jones.

Robert Lewandowski, Borussia Dortmund

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    Robert Lewandowski is still a Borussia Dortmund player, but not for long.

    The Poland international was widely expected to make a switch to Bayern Munich over the summer—the player's agent Cezary Kucharski even saying to Poland's TVN24 (via SkySports.com): "There is no point in pretending that he will not move to Bayern. Robert wants to leave and that is what will happen."

    It all looked fairly clear-cut, but as the summer progressed, a move failed to occur. Lewandowski then committed himself to Dortmund until the end of his contract in June 2014, as seen in this article by the Mirror's David Raven.

    Last month, the striker denied rumours that he already had a pre-contract deal with Bayern and appeared to suggest that he'd like to play in the Premier League: "I will be able to sign a contract [with any club] in January, but I have never said that I will sign a contract with Bayern," he said in this piece by The Independent's Jack de Menezes.

    Now, it looks likely that Lewandowski will reveal his next club in January, as the 25-year-old appears to have decided where he will be going, as reported in Sport Bild (via Goal.com).

    According to Jack Wilson in the Express, Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal are all considered to be possible destinations. 

    It may be one of the most protracted transfer stories of the year, but it will still be one to watch in January.

Luis Suarez, Liverpool

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    After a blistering start to his 2013/14 Premier League campaign, in which he has scored eight goals in six games, Luis Suarez in one of the hottest properties around.

    The Uruguayan striker was known to be on Arsenal's radar over the summer, when the Gunners ultimately failed in their bid to bring him to the Emirates for £40 million plus £1, as seen on the BBC Sport website.

    The 26-year-old appeared keen on a move to Real Madrid, as reported by the Express' James Dickenson, but that, too, did not happen. 

    Liverpool fans will be hoping that a January move fails to transpire, and Suarez has played down talk of renewed interest from Madrid. He told Uruguayan radio station Sport 890, via The Independent's Simon Rice:

    I know nothing of any interest from Real Madrid, and I am happy with Liverpool.

    In the team we are all really excited, and looking forward to a good season. We have been at the top so far and we are still aiming at the top.

    However, the former Ajax man continues to be linked with a move away from Merseyside. This will be one to watch.

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