Predicting the 15 Biggest Transfer Rumours for January 2015

Laura Greene@@Greene_LFeatured ColumnistOctober 8, 2014

Predicting the 15 Biggest Transfer Rumours for January 2015

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    The 2015 January transfer window is still months away but, for lovers of speculation (and those bored by the international break), thoughts have already turned to who could be going where this winter.

    As always, there will be gossip aplenty—but which players will be the subject of the biggest rumours as the new year approaches? Over the following 15 slides, we make our predictions.

    These choices are purely speculative and have been arranged in an ascending order that we feel best reflects who will attract the most column inches between now and January.

    Anyone you would add to the list? Let us know in the comments section below.

15. Wayne Rooney

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    Despite his recently inked five-and-a-half year deal with Manchester United, expect Wayne Rooney's name to become a regular fixture in the rumour mill this winter.

    The 28-year-old has already been linked with a potential move to Ligue 1 side Monaco, as reported by Oliver Brown in The Telegraph:

    Vadim Vasilyev, vice-president of AS Monaco and the closest adviser to the Russian billionaire owner Dmitry Rybolovlev, has given the strongest indication yet that the club still hope to sign Wayne Rooney.

    Louis van Gaal's history with Netherlands striker Robin van Persie, coupled with United's summer capture of Radamel Falcao—who is on loan from Monaco—will add to speculation that Rooney's Old Trafford days are numbered.

14. Karim Benzema

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    Karim Benzema is no stranger to transfer talk—the Real Madrid striker is seemingly always on the brink of a move away from the Bernabeu.

    This January will be no different.

    The 26-year-old, who has notched five goals and five assists in 11 games so far this season, is already being linked with a £38.8 million move to Liverpool, according to Spanish website Fichajes (h/t Metro).

    Of course, when Daniel Sturridge returns to action and if Mario Balotelli finds his scoring boots at Anfield, these rumours will quietly die down.

    Expect Arsenal to be strongly linked with the France international by the time January rolls around. 

13. Raheem Sterling

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    Raheem Sterling's Liverpool contract runs until 2017, but if a long-term deal is not penned between now and January, he will find himself heavily linked with a move away from Anfield.

    According to Brendan Rodgers, the 19-year-old is currently engaged in contract talks, with the Reds boss claiming that he is "calm" about keeping Sterling at the club, as reported by Phil Kirkbride in the Liverpool Echo.

    Paris Saint-Germain are already interested, according to Paul Smith in The Independent, who suggests that the French side "are ready to triple Raheem Sterling's wages in a bid to exploit his contractual stand-off with Liverpool."

12. Ron Vlaar

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    Since leaving Feyenoord in 2012, Ron Vlaar has made 62 appearances for Aston Villa in the Premier League.

    However, it was the defender's performances for the Netherlands at the 2014 World Cup that alerted many top sides over the summer.

    Vlaar's current contract at Villa Park will expire in summer 2015, which may mean the Midlands club cash in on him this winter, rather than let him leave for nothing at the end of the season.

    The lack of available top-level defenders in the European market will also see the 29-year-old given heightened attention in the rumour mill during coming months.

    There are reports that new contract talks with Villa have "hit a standstill," with Manchester United keen on signing him up, as reported by Neil Moxley in the Sunday People (h/t the Mirror).  

11. James Milner

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    Could James Milner be on his way out of Manchester City this winter?

    As it stands, the 28-year-old will have just six months remaining on his current contract by the time January arrives, and there promises to be a handful of clubs who would like to tempt him into signing with the promise of regular first-team football.

    Milner started only 12 Premier League games for Manuel Pellegrini's side last term and played a full 90 minutes on just nine occasions in the top flight.

    This season, the midfielder has already started four league games, yet has spent two fixtures on the bench and was involved in just 12 minutes of City's season opener against Newcastle United.

    Over the summer Stuart James reported in The Guardian that:

    All the indications are that Milner will use the first half of the season to see if he can play his way into the starting XI. If he succeeds in doing so, the midfielder is likely to sign a new contract with City.

    Milner was linked with Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Everton before the current season kicked off, as reported by Daniel Taylor in The Guardian

10. Juan Cuadrado

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    With his performances for Fiorentina in Serie A, not to mention his impressive displays for Colombia at the 2014 World Cup, Juan Cuadrado's reputation continues to rise.

    So, too, do rumours linking the 26-year-old with a move away from the Stadio Artemio Franchi.

    It seems that Vincenzo Montella's side are keen to tie Cuadrado down to a new deal. Fiorentina's sporting director Daniele Prade says that he is optimistic that the winger will choose to stay, despite interest from other clubs.

    "We're negotiating," said Prade, per Goal.com. "Both parties are discussing the situation and we want to do everything with the greatest serenity for everyone involved. We hope to soon find a point of agreement."

    According to David Wright in the Express, Manchester United are keen on securing Cuadrado's services in January, with Fiorentina said to be struggling to meet his wage demands. 

9. Edinson Cavani

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    Edinson Cavani has been at Paris Saint-Germain for little over a year. In that time, there have been several stories relating to the striker being unhappy at the Parc des Princes.

    In January 2014, it was reported that the Uruguayan wanted to leave the club after being forced to play out wide, as reported by John Edwards in the Daily Mail.  

    Amid summer speculation that linked him with Manchester United, Cavani insisted he was happy—telling L'Equipe (h/t James Andrew in the Daily Mail), "There were some small issues about the position I wanted to play but I feel very good about that now."

    Cavani has started all nine of PSG's Ligue 1 games this season, scoring three times. On the four occasions he has been deployed as a centre-forward, he has failed to find the back of the net.  

    Cavani needs to rediscover his goalscoring touch. As long as he lacks the confidence and form that saw him register 38 goals in 43 games in all competitions for Napoli in 2012/13, there will inevitably be a slew of rumours linking him with a move away from Laurent Blanc's side.

    Will he go? Probably not. However, expect to find plenty of column inches devoted to the 27-year-old this winter.

8. Frank Lampard

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    Frank Lampard promises to be a hot topic as the January transfer window approaches.

    The former Chelsea man, who has scored four goals and registered two assists in six games for Manchester City in all competitions this season, is currently on loan at the Etihad.

    Lampard is due to move to City's sister club and new Major League Soccer franchise New York City FC in January, but after making such a strong start to the 2014/15 season, the Citizens may be reluctant to see him go.

    As reported by Andy Hampson in The Independent, there is speculation that the 36-year-old could stay with Manuel Pellegrini's side until February at least. As quoted by Hampson, Lampard said:

    The temptation is to not get ahead of myself in my career. I am here until January 1, basically, so I will focus on that and see what happens then.

    There has been a lot said about when the season starts, but the only thing that can decide my future is how well I am playing. They will be kicking me out in January if I don't play very well!

    I am just looking game to game and trying to play as well as I can.

7. Adrien Rabiot

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    Adrien Rabiot looks to be on his way out of Paris Saint-Germain, and it would appear he is not short of potential suitors.

    Already a two-time Ligue 1 winner, Rabiot has appeared in 43 first-team games for Laurent Blanc's side. But with the likes of Yohan Cabaye, Blaise Matuidi and Marco Verratti ahead of him in the PSG pecking order, the 19-year-old has found his game time restricted at the Parc des Princes.

    This term, he is yet to play.

    Last month, the Mirror's John Cross reported that "PSG want to discuss a new deal, but if he does not sign by December, then they will sell him in the January window," with Roma and Arsenal both said to be keen.

    Elsewhere in the Mirror, Neil Moxley claims that Rabiot has already signed a pre-contract deal with Roma, amid interest from Manchester City and Chelsea.

    With his current contract due to run out in June 2015, Rabiot will continue to garner significant interest in the coming months.  

6. Jackson Martinez

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    Jackson Martinez's outstanding strike rate for FC Porto has seen him become a rumour-mill regular in recent seasons. 

    Since signing for the Portuguese side in summer 2012, the striker has put away 69 goals over the course of 102 games.

    In February 2014, Martinez told Colombian newspaper El Tiempo (h/t Football Italia):

    I feel good at Porto right now. I'm fine here at the moment, but I would like to play outside Portugal.

    The Italian League, for example, fascinates me. But so does the English, Spanish and German Leagues. I'll just have to wait and see what my future holds.

    According to Anthony Chapman in the Express, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur will be "battling it out" for the 28-year-old striker in January. Expect his list of suitors to have tripled by then.

5. Dani Alves

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    Dani Alves will be leaving Barcelona in 2015, that much is already clear.

    Between now and January, prepare yourself for endless speculation about where the full-back will end up next. 

    According to Brazilian publication O Globo (h/t Pete Jenson in the Daily Mail) the 31-year-old said: "This will be my last season at Barcelona. Next year I will move to England. I want to play in the birthplace of football."

    However, Jenson also reported that: "Sources close to the player told MailOnline that the player was simply expressing an interest in England and stressed that the interview was given at the end of last season."

    Manchester United and Liverpool are said to be on "red alert" for Alves' signature, according to David Wright in the Express.

    Elsewhere, Alves' agent and ex-wife, Dinorah Santa Ana, told Catalunya Radio (h/t Goal.com): "His future is uncertain. Right now, we're not negotiating with anyone—not with Barca nor any other club." 

    Alves has been at Camp Nou since 2008, where he has won a haul of honours, including two Champions League titles, four La Ligas, two Copa del Reys and two UEFA Super Cups.   

4. Marco Reus

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    These days, no transfer window is complete without Marco Reus being linked to at least five top-level clubs.

    Last January, the Borussia Dortmund man was rumoured to be on his way to both Manchester City and Arsenal, according to Nick Lustig in the Daily Star

    The 25-year-old's name is appearing in the rumour mill already, with Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United all said to be keen on acquiring his services in January, as reported by Jamie Anderson in the Express.

    As Anderson writes: "The German superstar is contracted until 2017, but a £20m buy-out clause is set to kick in during the summer of 2015."

    The winger has made just two appearances in the Bundesliga this season, with an ankle injury keeping him on the sidelines for Dortmund's last five league games.

    No matter what his injury status—reports of Reus' release clause will whip speculation into a frenzy this winter.

3. Petr Cech

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    It's easy to understand why Petr Cech may be keen on a move away from Chelsea, following 10 successful years with the club.

    At 32, Cech remains one of the best goalkeepers in the world and still has years ahead of him. However, at Stamford Bridge, he must now play second fiddle to Thibaut Courtois, who is 10 years his junior.

    This season, Cech has played just 66 minutes of Premier League football for Jose Mourinho's side.

    As the 'keeper recently told Czech radio (h/t Goal.com):

    I have not spoken to anyone, but I think they know me well enough at the club to know that the situation is definitely not the way I would imagine.

    With the Euros [in 2016] and the national team in mind, there is no time for me to sit on the bench and not to play.

    If the situation will not start to improve for me, then I will want to solve it.

    Over the summer, Cech was linked with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco, according to the Mirror's Darren Lewis.

2. Kevin Strootman

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    Kevin Strootman to Manchester United is a rumour that refuses to go away.

    By January, you may want it to.

    In summer 2013, the Dutch midfielder was being linked with the Old Trafford side before opting to join Roma, as seen on ESPNFC.com.

    Ahead of the January 2014 window, Strootman was again linked to United, this time by Paul Hetherington in the Daily Star.

    Despite the cruciate ligament injury that ruled him out of action for the latter stages of last season's Serie A and the World Cup, Strootman was rumoured to be on his way to Louis van Gaal's side again over the summer, as reported by John Richardson in the Express

    Will these rumours resurface as 2015 beckons? Actually, they already have, and it's been mooted that the 24-year-old is the target of a £30 million January bid, according to Jamie Jackson of The Guardian

    Strootman has not played for Roma since April 2 and, according to Transfermarkt, is not expected to make his return until November 19. 

1. Sami Khedira

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    If you want to find a player with all the perfect ingredients to make a tasty transfer story, then look no further than Sami Khedira.

    The 27-year-old is a World Cup, Champions League, La Liga and Bundesliga winner. He's also young, plays in an in-demand position and—the most crucial factor of them all—will be out of contract with Real Madrid at the end of the 2014/15 season.

    In order to avoid letting him leave for nothing next summer, Madrid may sell the Germany international during the winter.

    Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea are the familiar names that are being linked with the defensive midfielder, as reported by Pete Jenson in the Daily Mail.

    In August, it appeared that Khedira had turned down a new contract at the Bernabeu, as seen in The Guardian