The German Bundesliga may be on its winter break with a deathly silence across the football landscape as it burrows down in to its December hibernation for the winter months.
Yet the hustle and bustle of anticipation toward the coming transfer window in January is nearing boiling point as clubs up and down the country prepare themselves for an avalanche of bids for a range of players.
English Premier League leaders Arsenal bolster a whole host of German talent and their success from such exports hasn't gone unnoticed amongst their domestic opponents and those further afield. The Bundesliga is a gold mine for quality footballers and the rest of Europe knows it.
Here are the top players who could well be on their way out of Germany next month.
On the face of it, this sounds like a ridiculous suggestion. Mario Mandzukic, a fully fledged Croatian international striker, the only of which at Bayern at the moment, who would surely be considered one of the most sought-after strikers on the continent at the moment. So what gives?
Well in two words: Pep Guardiola. As we all know, Robert Lewandowski is a striker who could well be playing in the dark red of Munich very soon, and as such, Mandzukic may well find his position at the club incredibly fragile. Due to the new coach’s clear preference for the Polish talisman.
Most would suggest that Mandzukic would be better handling this tricky situation in the summer, yet with a ban ruling him out of Croatia’s potential World Cup run, he may not get a better opportunity before the arrival of Lewandowski to put on a show for any potential suitors.
In one of the more depressing tales of the current Bundesliga season, Ilkay Gundogan’s unfortunate long-term injury has been benched to second place in Borussia Dortmund fans’ current list of worries due to the young midfielder’s reluctance to sign a new contract with the former German champions.
The situation has really began to heat up over the past few months, with Dortmund chief Hans-Joachim Watzke coming out this week putting pressure on the player, in the hopes that the club could avoid another Lewandowski situation and at least cash in on the talent before his contract expires. A sly move in January isn’t entirely off the table.
Another big Bundesliga star who wouldn’t initially strike minds as a possibility to leave this January, yet Julian Draxler’s stock has fallen ever so slightly since his bursting on to the scene last season. This is in no small part related to his turning opinion of the club at this moment in time.
The fallout of sorts arises from the arrival of Kevin Prince Boateng, a central midfielder from AC Milan, who was added as something of a marquee signing in the hopes of raising moral at the forever imploding club.
Yet his signing then meant the unwelcome task of finding a spot for him in the side that was inconveniently exactly where Draxler used to play and thrive last year. Boateng has come in, stole Draxler’s spot and left the youngster pretty disillusioned in Gelsenkirchen.
With the right money, a big club may well force Schalke’s hand before the summer.
Xherdan Shaqiri comes in to this list as another Bayern Munich player who really has no right worrying about his club shipping him off in January.
Yet the concept of a loan move to a similar-sized club are all too appealing to some corners of the press, and as such, the young Swiss prodigy may have a few options on his table come the turn of the year.
Jan Kirchhoff made his way to Schalke on a loan deal for 18 months just a few days ago and Pep Guardiola may consider a similar task for Shaqiri to keep him busy until the summer.
Robert Lewandowski will be a Bayern Munich player next summer. Although no official announcement has been made from the player or either club, it’s a secret that has been happily banded about Germany and the wider continent for the better part of eight months now.
The real question that needs to answered is when the Polish international will make that move to Bavaria. Most think it’ll be next summer when his contract officially runs out at Dortmund, yet the potential of an early move next month isn’t completely out of the question.
Bayern and Pep Guardiola in particular seem all but disillusioned with Mario Mandzukic as their sole striker in the side and instead of investing in a quick fix, a cash offer to push forward the deal may suit both parties as Dortmund begin their search for a replacement.
As is always the case, transfer sagas are usually entirely dependant on other deals and transfers from Club A for Player B and so forth. As such the prospect of Vedad Ibisevic, Stuttgart’s 29-year-old Bosnian striker, making any moves this January are all but entirely dependent on the transfer of another player: Robert Lewandowski.
The Stuttgart striker has long been tipped as a potential replacement for the Polish striker, and if Lewandowski decides to push for a deal to Bayern next month, be sure to keep tabs on Dortmund’s subsequent moves for this talented goalscorer.
As the bad news continues to build up for Dortmund fans, the next player on our list is none other than Dortmund boy-wonder, Marco Reus.
Yet of all the players linked with a move out of Jurgen Klopp’s side, it is Reus who fortunately seems like the most unlikely of the three to actually favour a move from western Germany. The youngster is settled well in Dortmund and as a regular shoe in for the national side ahead of the World Cup this summer, it would seem quite peculiar if he were to suddenly dig that all up for six months in the Premier League.
The English press have had a field day suggesting potential buy-out clauses in the German international's contract that could quite feasibly be matched by Manchester United. Yet a move in January seem just a little too presumptuous.
Image Courtesy of Bundesliga.com
Since his arrival at Hoffenheim, Roberto Firmino has always been something of a raw gem in the deep jungles of Bundesliga football. Yet this season we have seen the Brazilian playmaker truly shine, with eight goals and six assists in just 16 games for Markus Gisdol's side, and cement himself as one of the most creative players in the entire league.
There are plenty of English sides who could, and possibly should, make a bid for this big fish in the smallest of ponds.
In a similar situation to that of Robert Lewandowski, Gladbach goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen seems fated to make his long-awaited move from Germany to one of Europe’s biggest clubs.
Yet unlike the Dortmund goalscorer, Ter Stegen has yet to strike a deal with any clubs despite the likes of Barcelona, Juventus and Arsenal all sniffing around the shot-stopping wonder-kid.
Although Gladbach will be keen to keep a hold of him till the off-season in summer, very few clubs can truly stop a deal such as this when a promising player is courted so well by some of Europe’s most alluring outfits. We await to see if Barcelona et al make their move next month.
Wolfsburg fans will be in a joyous mood over the festive period this year as new coach Dieter Hecking’s current revolution has seen the club move up to fifth in the Bundesliga table, where they currently sit over the winter break.
Yet trouble is always around the corner, and if rumours are to be believed, the Wolves' key defensive midfieder, Luiz Gustavo, could well be on his way to Barcelona in the midst of the club’s push for Champions League football.
Image Courtesy of Bundesliga.com
Another Wolfsburg player that has been linked with a move out of Germany is backup striker Bas Dost.
Yet one suspects most Wolves fans would be more than happy to see the out-of-form forward move on to pastures new as Dutch side Feyenoord continue to sniff around the player as a potential replacement for want-away goalscorer of their own, Graziano Pelle.
If Pelle was to make a move in January, we could assume it would take no more than a respectable offer to see the Wolves part ways with the Dutch player. Andre Ter Stegen