The myth that there's no value in the January transfer window is still frequently peddled, but it's just a case of looking. With World Cup places at stake and marginalised players keen to play, that promises to be the case even more this time around. Here are half-a-dozen players who could work out to be real bargains if they get snapped up.
Estimated price: €2m or loan
It is rare that an attacker as versatile and explosive as Menez is on the market, but he is clearly on the periphery of Laurent Blanc’s plans and Lyon, Saint Etienne and Fiorentina are all interested.
The sense had been that Menez might hold on until summer, waiting for his deal to expire to cash in and collect a hefty signing-on fee, but PSG are keen to get him off the books this month. It remains to be seen whether a club can convince Menez that they can give him the platform to gatecrash France’s World Cup squad.
Estimated price: €7m or loan
Perhaps the most notable feature of Borussia Moenchengladbach’s season is that their attacking dazzle has not included de Jong. The Dutchman has played just 72 minutes this season after failing to reproduce the form with which he scored 25 times in his final Eredivisie season with FC Twente.
Gladbach will struggle to recoup the €15m they paid Twente for de Jong 18 months ago, so a loan is the most likely option for now, with Newcastle again interested having originally lost out to the Bundesliga side for his signature.
Estimated price: Free
If there’s any reason to move in this winter window, it’s for players looking to get game time ahead of the World Cup. That is certainly the case for Mexes, who may struggle to get on the aeroplane for France with new Rossoneri boss Clarence Seedorf not thought to be a fan.
His estimated €5m annual wages mean Milan are desperate to move him on, though they may have to agree to a pay-off; it seems unlikely that Mexes’ pay packet would be matched elsewhere. Linked with a move to Trabzonspor, Mexes’ strength and experience helps to make up for variable decision-making.
Estimated price: €1.5m
Another player out of contract at the end of this season, Ebert’s time at Valladolid is all but over. He wasn't in the 18 for their weekend win over Villarreal and has been training on his own, while the club’s board and even team-mate Javi Baraja (as reported here in Marca, in Spanish) have criticised his “unprofessional” attitude.
It’s a shame his time at the Nuevo Jose Zorilla is ending like this. The German midfielder has been excellent for Valladolid. He is two-footed, industrious and good from set-pieces. In short, somebody will be picking up a real steal when they end the deadlock—perhaps before Friday.
Estimated price: €4m or loan
The unprecedented success of Sporting’s season to date has caught plenty of people unawares, and Slimani is one of them. It was expected that this burly target man would have established himself in Leonardo Jardim’s XI by now, but chances have been few and far between.
It’s not Slimani’s fault—Jardim plays with one up top and Fredy Montero has been on fire, so Slimani has been marginalised despite a good scoring rate of one every 69 minutes in the league. Slimani’s patience is wearing thin with Algeria’s World Cup finals campaign on the horizon, and his physical style could suit the Premier League.
Estimated price: €5m or loan
Canales was hailed as a Spain star of the future when he made the breakthrough into the Racing Santander first-team as a teenager, but he has been derailed since by an unsuccessful move to Real Madrid and a series of injuries. Unwanted by new Valencia coach Juan Antonio Pizzi, it’s heartbreaking to consider that a player of Canales’ ability is struggling to find his place at the top level.
Blessed with an excellent left foot and good acceleration, Canales can play wide on either side or behind a lone striker and can score goals. A loan move to Fulham has been mooted as Valencia seek to put their player in the shop window. Given a chance, he could do just that.