January transfer speculation has been rife for months and now, just days away, it is showing no signs of slowing down.
But fear not, soon the window will actually be open, trading will start and the rumour mill will cease operations until the summer, or at least February 2.
But which players are really on the move? It's going to be a crucial time for clubs who need to patch up threadbare squads, add key players and get rid of dead weight. For footballers, it could be a career-defining step, a breath of fresh air, or simply a fail-safe switch to ensure they play in next year's World Cup.
We can't look into the future so we don't know for sure, but over the following slides we present 20 top names who look likely to move in January, ordered from least to most likely.
As always, a list like this is purely subjective and we don't expect you to agree with all the choices—our criteria is based on which sources are the most reliable, which players have spoken out about a desire to move and which prospective deals just make sense.
Agree with the choices? Disagree? We love hearing from you, so let us know your thoughts below!
We kick-off our slideshow with Diego Costa. Without him, it's impossible to believe that Atletico Madrid would be enjoying such a stellar 2013/14 La Liga campaign.
The 25-year-old's goal tally is higher than the amount of games he has appeared in this season, with a huge 23 strikes across 20 domestic and Champions League appearances.
Costa's contract runs until 2018 but, like so many names that fill the gossip columns, there is a buyout clause in his current deal.
According to the Mirror's Alan Wilson, it would take a bid upwards of £32 million to prize the striker away from the club.
Wilson names Costa as Arsenal's number one transfer target in January, whereas the Daily Star's Nick Lustig reckons the Gunners will have to battle Chelsea for the forward's signature, however we find it fairly unlikely that Diego Simeone would consider letting him go.
Borussia Dortmund would be crazy to let Marco Reus go. There is, however, a small detail that might see him depart Signal Iduna Park this January.
His release clause.
The German international is the only player on BVB's books to have such a clause in his contract, according to club executive Hans-Joachim Watzke on SPORT1media, via Skysports.com.
In the Mirror, Alan Wilson reports of Manchester United's interest in the 24-year-old. Elsewhere, the Independent's Charles Reynolds suggests that Dortmund's faltering form could aid United's chances of getting their man.
Liverpool have made their interest known in Barcelona full-back Martin Montoya.
Last month, the Guardian's Andy Hunter reported that the Reds' managing director Ian Ayre was already in talks with the La Liga side about a possible January transfer.
Until quite recently, the 22-year-old was finding his chances limited at Camp Nou but, following injuries to Dani Alves, Jordi Alba and Adriano, Montoya has enjoyed a spell of five consecutive 90-minute games in La Liga.
According to Hunter, "The 22-year-old and his agent have both claimed recently that he hopes to sign a contract extension with the Spanish champions but Liverpool are exploring the prospect of a permanent deal in January."
The Spaniard's current contract runs out in June, 2014.
According to the Mirror's David Maddock, Manchester United are poised to make a "£30 million raid" for Jorge Resurreccion when the transfer window opens.
Otherwise known as Koke, the 21-year-old ticks just about every box on United's midfield wish list and it's easy to see why David Moyes is a fan. A little harder to compute, however, is why Atletico Madrid would let him go and why Koke would want to leave a team seemingly poised on the cusp of greatness.
Yet, as we all know, the Premier League and a £30 million price tag hold obvious allure and there is always a chance that the midfielder may bid farewell to the Vicente Calderon in January.
Maddock certainly seems to think so. He writes:
David Moyes will make a stunning £30m raid for Spanish sensation Koke as soon as the transfer window opens next week.
The Manchester United manager made two personal checks on the 21 year old, and was so impressed that he has sanctioned a massive bid to land the attacking midfielder on January 1.
Moyes jetted out last week to watch the Atletico Madrid midfielder in person for the second time, after making the 21 year old star his number one target in the New Year.
It was the second time he has personally checked out the player, and the Mirror can reveal he has had Koke checked out seven times in recent weeks, the latest last weekend.
This will be one to watch.
No one can doubt the Bosnian's ability, as in 128 games for the Citizens he has notched 49 goals. Considering he has only started 75 of these games, it's a pretty impressive return.
His record at Wolfsburg was even better—in 142 games for the Bundesliga side, he scored 85 and bagged 36 assists.
At 27, he's entering his peak years as a striker and he's just too good to warm the bench. Dzeko has been linked with a move away from the Etihad of late, with Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund linked to the hitman by the Telegraph's Mark Ogden.
City claim that the striker will be going nowhere in January. However you may remember that they said the same thing about Mario Balotelli last season, seen here on BBC Sport. The next day, Balotelli was on his way to AC Milan...
Newcastle United will be at pains to keep hold of Yohan Cabaye in January, but whether they can is another matter.
The Magpies had to beat off interest from Arsenal over the summer and manager Alan Pardew is hopeful that they can retain the attacking midfielder's services beyond January.
Pardew told the Independent this month, "He's a great player, there are always going to be big clubs sniffing around him. We are fortunate to have him, we are enjoying him while he is here and long may that continue."
In November, both Liverpool and Arsenal were being linked with the Frenchman, seen here in a report by Ben Jefferson in the Express.
Ahead of the 2013/14 season, the Spaniard could do no wrong—a consistent performer for the Blues, he was a joy to watch, loved by the club's fans and admired by those of rival teams.
However, Mata has played a full 90 minutes just once in the Premier League this season—the player voted Chelsea Player of the Year for the last two seasons running is conspicuous by his absence.
This has led, inevitably, to a huge amount of speculation linking him with a move away from Stamford Bridge.
The biggest rumours seem to be coming from Paris Saint-Germain. According to L'Equipe, via the Daily Mail's Matthew Morlidge, the French club are keen on signing Mata next month.
Juventus and Atletico Madrid have also been rumoured as potential loan moves, seen here in an article by the Mirror's Tom Hopkinson.
Even though Mata has insisted that he is happy to fight for his place, as reported by the Guardian, it would not be surprising to see him go.
A move could be in the interests of both club and player—the 26-year-old's contract runs out in 2014 and if PSG move him on in January, they will avoid letting him leave for free. The Frenchman also needs to perform in order to get a place in Didier Deschamps' World Cup squad.
Menez has failed to secure a place in PSG's starting XI under Laurent Blanc, appearing in just nine Ligue 1 ties and three Champions League performances this season.
According to Gazzetta dello Sport, via Insidefutbol.com, the midfielder could be on his way to Juventus—with director general Giuseppe Marotta said to be lining up a €3 million bid. The article also suggests that Liverpool and AC Milan are interested in Menez.
Jackson Martinez's debut season for Porto was no flash in the pan. After transferring from Jaguares de Chiapas, the Colombian finished his first Primeira Liga campaign as top scorer in the division, with 26 goals.
This term, he's no less prolific with—at the time of writing—12 strikes in 14 domestic appearances for Paulo Fonseca's side.
The 27-year-old has a £37 million buyout clause in his contract, according to the Daily Star's Nick Lustig, who also suggests that a move to Arsenal or Chelsea could be on the cards in January.
Stories linking David Luiz with Barcelona were everywhere over the summer, with the defender claiming that he turned down an offer to join the Camp Nou side, as reported by the Express' James Dickenson.
Despite playing his part for Chelsea in the Champions League, Luiz has appeared in just eight Premier League games this season. At the same point last term, the Brazilian had featured 14 times in the top flight.
On Skysports.com, when asked about a Luiz departure, manager Jose Mourinho said:
Everything is clear. He's our player and we are happy he's back in a moment when we need him and John [Terry] in defence.
The market is open in January but I don't think we will be buying or selling. There has been no contact from other clubs or from his people.
As reported by Ben Jefferson in the Express, Barca are lining up another bid for the 26-year-old.
Inter Milan's Fredy Guarin has been cropping up a lot in January transfer talk.
The 27-year-old has added weight to the speculation, by revealing that his agent has been in talks with Chelsea, despite insisting he is happy to stay at the San Siro.
Guarin was quoted on Skysports.com, as saying, "There is a negotiation ongoing and I cannot deny it. I have not spoken with Mourinho, but my agent did it. Now I just think of Inter and I want to stay here, we'll see what happens."
The Colombian midfielder has reportedly been attracting interest from a number of other clubs—as Ben Jefferson wrote in the Express, Barcelona, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur are all keen on signing him in the new year.
Earlier this month, the Telegraph's Mark Ogden suggested that Walter Mazzari's side were hoping to sign Javier Hernandez from Man United, with Guarin a makeweight in the deal.
Guarin has appeared in 17 Serie A matches for Inter this season and would be eligible to play in the Champions League.
Although club president Jose Castro insists the 25-year-old will not be leaving, there are rumours that the club, who are experiencing financial constraints, may try to sell in January. In the Express, Castro said:
Ivan Rakitic has a year and a half of his contract remaining. I have absolutely no doubts that we're going to reach an agreement with him.
If anyone else is in a rush to have Rakitic, his clause is €40m (£33m) and we'll leave it at that.
Over the summer, the club saw a raft of players depart including Alvaro Negredo, Jesus Navas, Gary Medel, Luis Alberto and Antonio Luna—all of these players now play in the Premier League.
It's fair to say that Javier Pastore has not quite lived up to the £40 million price tag that accompanied his 2011 switch from Palermo.
He's gradually slipped down the pecking order at Parc des Princes and the arrivals of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Edinson Cavani have made first-team opportunities even harder to come by.
In fact, Pastore has played a full 90 minutes just three times in Ligue 1 this season and a January exit looks increasingly likely.
Still only 24, Pastore seems to have lots of options. In the Mirror, Alex Richards has spoken of interest from Liverpool, Lyon and Roma.
Perhaps the Argentine will be happy to stay and fight for his place in Laurent Blanc's side, yet if rumours linking Juan Mata with PSG turn out to be true, it could push Pastore into making a move.
According to a report from the Mirror's Jonathan Symcox, Liverpool are 99 percent certain to sign Mohamed Salah in January.
The Basel winger may be familiar to English fans for his exploits against Premier League sides in Europe. This season, he scored against Chelsea both home and away in the Champions League and, last term, notched against both Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea in the Europa League.
Dubbed "the Egyptian Messi" the 21-year-old has also attracted interest from Chelsea and Manchester United. However, when asked about the rumours linking him with Liverpool, former teammate Mohamed Zika told the Mirror:
Yes, I am 99 percent sure this will happen. He makes us and all of Egypt proud. Everybody talks about Mohamed Salah now – and aside from that he's my friend.
I'm very happy for him.
When February arrives, it's hard to imagine that Kevin de Bruyne will still be at Chelsea.
After returning from a loan with Werder Bremen, the 22-year-old has found his first-team appearances limited at Stamford Bridge, with just two Premier League starts under this belt all season.
As a key component of the Belgian national team, De Bruyne may have to look elsewhere if he is to nail down a spot in Marc Wilmots' 2014 World Cup squad.
In the Mirror, Neil McLeman names Bayer Leverkusen as a potential January destination, with Schalke also mentioned as a possibility.
Lacina Traore saw 12 of his Anzhi Makhachkala teammates depart over the summer, as a result of significant budget cutting by owner Suleyman Kerimov.
In January, it's likely that he will follow them out of the Anzhi Arena.
Last season, the towering 6'8" striker put away 17 goals in 36 games, seemingly finding his feet after signing for the club in summer 2012. This term, things haven't gone so well, with Traore's appearances limited to just seven games.
According to David Kent in the Daily Mail, the 23-year-old has been told that he can leave the club.
On talkSPORT the Ivory Coast international has been linked with Manchester United and Liverpool, however it is Monaco who seem to be front-runners at this stage.
In October, Iker Casillas admitted that he might be forced to leave Real Madrid if he didn't get more game time.
The goalkeeper said on BBC Sport, "If the situation doesn't change within three months, I'd say that I'll be looking to leave. I have been here since I was a small boy but the day will come when maybe a decision will have to be made."
Since then the Spaniard has appeared in a grand total of zero La Liga games, with Diego Lopez as Carlo Ancelotti's favoured choice between the sticks.
Casillas has played six times in the Champions League this term, however a domestic berth is proving elusive. With one eye on the approaching World Cup and, if the 32-year-old stays true to his word, we could see a number of suitors vying for his signature in the new year.
According to John Cross in the Mirror, both Manchester City and Arsenal have already made their interest known.
Cagliari president Massimo Cellino may grant Juventus their wish to sign Radja Nainggolan in January.
According to Gazzetta dello Sport, via Skysports.com, Juve have been tracking the 25-year-old for some time and it seems Cellino will not stay in the midfielder's way if he wants to leave:
It has been about two years now that (Giuseppe) Marotta and (Fabio) Paratici have been asking me about him and I must say that they have behaved impeccably.
They have never put pressure on us, and I appreciate that. If they were to ask again in January, I would leave Radja free to decide what happens.
He has always given everything, maybe he deserves a new challenge. At Cagliari we appreciate the situation we are in.
Nainggolan has made 136 appearances for Cagliari and he has been described as "ideal" for Juventus by the club's director Guiseppe Marotta on Sky Italia, via Goal.com.
It's looking increasingly likely that Dimitar Berbatov will be on his way out of Craven Cottage next month.
The Fulham striker could potentially move to another club in the Premier League, according to quotes that agent Emil Dantchev made in the Guardian:
I don't usually speculate as nobody knows what will happen in January but what I can tell you is he [Berbatov] is not happy at Fulham. He would like, if possible, to find another option.
I cannot comment [on whether there has been any approach] but the priority is to find a solution to stay in England.
The Express' James Dickenson has reported that Arsenal and Spurs are possible destinations, with Galatasaray also credited with interest in the 32-year-old.
The former Manchester United man has scored just three goals in 14 top-flight appearances this season.
Julio Cesar is Brazil's No. 1 and a Champions League winner—but he can currently be found warming the bench for Queens Park Rangers in The Championship.
It sounds ludicrous, but that's the situation currently facing the 34-year-old, whose last run-out in club football was on April 13.
Since then, Rob Green has been Harry Redknapp's preferred choice—leaving Cesar, well, nowhere.
Redknapp told Skysports.com earlier this month:
I would think there is every chance that Julio will go. He wants to play in the World Cup for Brazil and he needs to be playing.
He's a fantastic goalkeeper, for me he's a goalkeeper for the top level anywhere in the world. Hopefully, something will come up for him in January.
We've had a few clubs interested in him, which is not a surprise to me because, if you were at a big club, he'd be right there on your shopping list because he is top class.
We've had a Premier League club on and also several from abroad, big clubs as well. There will be interest in him for sure.