Here are the hottest English Premier League January transfer rumours for every club.
Two clubs are in the running to sign Juan Mata. Another team could sign one of the best dribblers in the world. Also, the McGeady spin could be making a Premier League debut, but at which club?
If there isn't a new rumour, the slide will talk about a relevant transfer scenario or discuss the situation of a former transfer target.
Feel free to comment below with your view.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will target Getafe centre forward Ciprian Marica, a 28-year-old Romanian international, as a cheap squad player, according to Rob Shepherd at The Daily Mail.
The awkward moment when Wenger goes out and contradicts Shepherd's prognostication:
"I think we can win the title without signing a striker," Wenger said, via ESPN FC.
The key phrase Shepherd will point to is "I think," because Wenger then said, "If we lose (Olivier) Giroud today we have nobody with body weight up front. Look, I am not against (a January signing)."
You will read two things from Wenger's statement:
- Nicklas Bendtner is on his way out, because at 6'4" and with a penchant for headed goals (five of his last six goals were headers), he does add body weight up front.
- Should Wenger decide to flip-flop (something he has done in the past), he will aim to sign strikers who can lead the line, preferably 6'1" or taller.
When 6'1" Marica is on song, he can be a physical presence for his team, finish chances and create goals like Giroud.
At worst, Marica is a Liga-standard footballer. He went from being the 190th-ranked Bundesliga player in the 2007-08 season for Stuttgart, behind Mario Gomez and Cacau, to scoring 10 league goals two seasons later.
Marica did not push on to become a better striker. A combined five goals from 34 league games for Stuttgart and Schalke during his last two Bundesliga seasons will tell you his career has nose-dived.
Marica has netted once in seven league games this season for Getafe.
Arsenal do not need the Sebastien Squillaci of strikers.
Aston Villa are keeping tabs on Torino wing-back Danilo D'Ambrosio, a 25-year-old Italian, according to Danny Griffiths at The Metro.
Football Italia have reported, "D'Ambrosio is a more likely candidate for a transfer, as his contract with Toro only runs until June 2014. Negotiations for an extension have hit a brick wall so far and a January exit could also be on the cards for the right offer."
D'Ambrosio is an athletic wing-back, primarily playing on the left, racing down the flanks, cutting in and shooting.
Cardiff City are keen on signing Monarcas Morelia winger Jefferson Montero, a 24-year-old Ecuadorian international, according to Alan Nixon at The Mirror.
You have heard of the expression: Numbers never lie, but they don't tell the full story.
You cannot defend Montero's one goal and three assists in 32 league games on loan at Real Betis.
If you watched him, though, you would have been mesmerised by his electrifying first step, the step-overs and an insatiable desire to humiliate the opposing right-back.
For someone so confident, bordering on arrogant—staring into opposition players knowing they couldn't stop him—Montero's final ball was inexplicably bad. His solitary league goal for Betis came from 60 shots, and he misplaced 56 of 66 crosses.
Montero, an inverted left winger, is the showman Cardiff owner Vincent Tan craves. Cardiff management will be asking Tan, "Can Montero consistently score or create?"
Chelsea attacking midfielder Juan Mata, a 25-year-old Spanish international, will seek loan moves to either Atletico Madrid or Juventus, according to Tom Hopkinson at Mirror Football.
"Juan Mata fears for his World Cup chances after being sidelined at Chelsea," Hopkinson wrote. "(Jose) Mourinho has questioned the 25-year-old’s defensive work-rate."
Defensive work-rate? Rule out Juventus, a team that plays two wing-backs, two box-to-box midfielders and a deep-lying playmaker in the "5" of a 3-5-2.
How about Mata as a deep-lying forward?
The Carlos Tevez-Fernando Llorente partnership, two goals and an assist in their last three games, is why Mata going to Juve is nonsensical.
Name the team that averages the second-most tackles per league game in Europe's top league.
Atletico manager Diego Simeone prefers a 4-4-2, meaning there is no No. 10 position for Mata.
Mata, Chelsea's Player of the Year for two successive years, is a world-class passer but has only registered one league assist this season.
His irregular playing time is affecting him. Sometimes he doesn't even come off the bench, so while he isn't producing for the Blues, his relationship with Mourinho (or lack thereof) is a big problem which may lead to Mata's exit.
Hull City centre forward Sone Aluko, a 24-year-old English-born Nigerian international, is a transfer target for Crystal Palace, according to Sky Sports.
In reaction to mounting speculation of a move away from Hull, Aluko tweeted, "I saw that story Monday. I laughed. Read many tweets and laughed a bit more. Carried on with my life. The truth and a good story don't mix."
Aluko keeps his passing relatively simple. He can get past players and is a zippy threat throughout the game.
His one goal from 15 shots this season is not a statistic Crystal Palace, a team that has scored the fewest Premier League goals this season, want to see.
Hull manager Steve Bruce does not understand why teams would want to sign an inactive player.
"I don't think he's going to be fit in January so I don't see any prospect of anyone coming in for him," Bruce said, via the Hull Daily Mail. He added, "I've got no intention of letting him go anywhere in January."
Everton will make a move for Spartak Moscow right winger Aiden McGeady, a 27-year-old Irish international, according to Joe Mewis at Mirror Football.
"When I am with the Ireland squad sometimes I look at the guys who are playing in England and feel a bit jealous," McGeady said, via Ewan Murray at The Observer. "People ask me: 'Where are you playing now?' 'Oh are you still there [Spartak]?'"
Kevin Mirallas, Everton's current right winger, has scored once and created five goals in 12 league games, while having great chemistry with compatriot Romelu Lukaku, a Chelsea loanee.
This is why Everton is not the best Premier League destination for McGeady.
Manchester United midfielder Anderson, a 25-year-old Brazilian international, prefers not to move on loan to Premier League club Fulham, according to The Metro.
Anderson, who once won the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Cup Golden Ball as a No. 10, has yet to play the pivot or box-to-box midfielder position consistently enough to validate the £20 million transfer fee.
He needs to play at a club that is willing to play him in a central attacking midfield role, which may limit the number of injuries he has suffered trying to win back possession.
West Bromwich Albion centre forward Shane Long, a 26-year-old Irish international, is a Hull City and Newcastle United transfer target, according to James Cambridge at The Daily Star.
West Brom manager Steve Clarke said Long is an important member of the team even though he was on the trading block in the summer.
"I've said all along that Shane will play a big part for us this season," Clarke said, via Aidan Fitzmaurice at the Evening Herald. He added, "His performance levels are good. He needs to concentrate on keeping those performance levels and the future will take care of itself."
Hull were unsuccessful in a summer transfer deadline day move for Long, while Newcastle need support for Loic Remy, whose eight goals in 10 league games have covered Papiss Cisse's goalless start to the Premier League campaign.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers announced the club was not going to sign Derby County midfielder Will Hughes, a 18-year-old English youth international, suggesting some around the prospect did not have his best interest at heart.
"I read we had put in a bid or something had been agreed but there has been nothing," Rodgers said via BBC Sport, adding, "either a person or a group of people aren't doing (Hughes) any favours whatsoever by constantly linking him with coming to Liverpool."
In August, then-Derby manager Nigel Clough, now Sheffield United manager, said what Rodgers is saying right now—Liverpool have not lodged a bid.
Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas, a 32-year-old Spanish international, is contemplating life after Real Madrid, so Manchester City are a viable destination, according to Spanish media sources via talkSPORT.
Casillas has played four UEFA Champions League games but has yet to start in La Liga this season, watching Diego Lopez keep in a Madrid derby and an El Clasico.
Replacing Joe Hart, a confidence-stricken goalkeeper, with another confidence-stricken goalkeeper in Casillas is asking for trouble.
If Manchester United manager David Moyes wants to be reunited with Everton left-back Leighton Baines, a 28-year-old English international, United will have to pay £20 million, according to David Wright at The Daily Star.
£20 million is not a fair fee to United for a left-back in his late 20s with no re-sell value, who was one of the worst players on the field for England during their defeat to Chile and is only a target because of Moyes.
Manchester United CEO Ed Woodward only needs to say one word if Moyes wants Baines: no.
PSV Eindhoven attacking midfielder Ola Toivonen, a 27-year-old Swedish international, will be a prime January transfer target for Newcastle United, according to Lee Ryder at Chronicle Live.
Yes, PSV do line up in a 4-3-3 with Toivonen theoretically a central midfielder, but in reality it's more a 4-2-1-3 as Adam Maher and Stijn Schaars protect the back four.
Toivonen is a tall and stylish midfielder who is a significantly better passer than shooter (his last three games: no goals from 13 shots; three assists).
Newcastle needs another player who can score who isn't named Loic Remy, so Toivonen is not the ideal transfer target.
Juventus forward Fabio Quagliarella, a 30-year-old Italian international who was a summer transfer target for Norwich City, will not be moving in January, according to his agent Giuseppe Bozzo.
"Fabio has no intention to leave Juve in January," Bozzo said, from Corriere dello Sport via Sky Sports. "(Juve manager Antonio) Conte wants him to stay."
Quagliarella and Norwich No. 9 Ricky van Wolfswinkel both have scored once in league play this season, despite Quagliarella making five fewer starts.
Southampton attacking midfielder Gaston Ramirez, a 22-year-old Uruguayan international who has not started a single Premier League game this season, wants out, as Inter Milan and Napoli are possible suitors, according to Mirror Football.
When asked about Ramirez's situation, Saints manager Mauricio Pochettino was terse in his response.
"That's a private matter between us. He is fully obliged to fulfill his contract," Pochettino said, via Jacob Steinberg at The Guardian. "That's all he has to do as a Southampton player."
Stoke City manager Mark Hughes fears the collapse of Juan Agudelo's transfer to the club, due to his work permit being denied, could cost Stoke millions of pounds.
"No doubt somebody in Europe will pick (Agudelo) up and he will be a sensation somewhere else, unfortunately," Hughes said, via The Sentinel, adding, "If we were wanting to bring him to Stoke in the future, it could cost £10 million."
Tom Conn of Inside Spanish Football is reporting that Valencia will take advantage of the situation and sign Agudelo.
Wherever Paolo Di Canio is, he is smirking.
His successor, Gus Poyet, says he will quit the club if they attempt to overrule him during the January transfer window.
"One of the other two (selected by director of football Roberto De Fanti) was a definite no. If that one is coming, I won't be here," Poyet said, via Louise Taylor at The Guardian. "The player has to be the right one for me. If not, I'm not going to accept it."
Is Poyet really going to walk the walk? Or is it just an empty threat?
Swansea City may secure the signing of Espanyol centre-back Hector Moreno, a 25-year-old Mexican international, according to Dean Jones at Mirror Football.
"Swansea boss Michael Laudrup expects to land Espanyol defender Hector Moreno," Jones wrote. "The 25-year-old Mexican international is keen for a move to England and Laudrup hopes to add him to the Swans’ ranks in January."
With Ashley Williams, Chico and Jordi Amat, Swansea does not need to buy Moreno, assuming Jones' report is true.
You can just imagine the reaction of Tottenham Hotspur defender Jan "don't play me at left-back" Vertonghen when he read his manager Andre Villas-Boas' reply to a journalist asking if signing a left-back was a priority in the January transfer window.
"No, I don't think so. ... (Vertonghen) knows that as soon as Danny Rose comes back, the place as a centre-back is his again," Villas-Boas said, via Sky Sports.
Vertonghen's performance at left-back in the 6-0 defeat to Manchester City was Gilberto-bad.
Sure, Vertonghen was outclassed, outwitted and outpaced by a dangerous winger in Jesus Navas, but it's the same guy who did not dominate Equatorial Guinea.
This is just another example of Villas-Boas being stubborn.
Buy a left-back in January, so if Tottenham suffer another injury crisis at left-back in February and beyond, Villas-Boas does not need to deal with Vertonghen taking the current situation of being a temporary left-back as such a personal affront.
He plays left-back for Belgium, so why is he so vehemently against it at Spurs? He must grit his teeth when he plays for Belgium, and maybe being shifted to left-back at Spurs tipped him over the edge.
He is not handling the situation well.
But Villas-Boas is partly to blame, because while Benoit Assou-Ekotto was not an AVB player (tactics-wise), Assou-Ekotto would have gladly hopped off his couch after playing GTA V and filled in at left-back.
West Bromwich Albion forward Saido Berahino, a 20-year-old English youth international, is set to extend his contract at the club and reject more financially lucrative offers from major clubs.
"(Berahino) understands what we want to do: we want to help him, we want to give him a good contract and make him a better player," Steve Clarke said, via Chris Lepkowski at The Birmingham Mail. He added, "It's getting closer and I'd like to sit here and say it's done, but it’s not done, though it's getting close."
Short-term, Berahino will cost himself a couple of million pounds, but long-term, he ensures his career isn't wasted sitting on the bench at a major club.
West Ham United plan on signing Everton centre forward Nikica Jelavic, a 28-year-old Croatian international, on loan in January, according to The People via Fox Sports.
Jelavic has yet to score in the Premier League this season and has lost his place to Chelsea loanee Romelu Lukaku, currently Everton's top scorer in the league.
West Ham average below a goal per league game (0.8). Therefore, signing Jelavic, a player whose first impressions at Everton were elite with 11 goals in his first 16 games, could solve their No. 9 crisis.