25 Bold Predictions for the 2015 January Transfer Window

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentDecember 31, 2014

25 Bold Predictions for the 2015 January Transfer Window

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    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    Here are 25 bold and speculative transfer predictions for the 2015 January transfer window.

    What is the point of this slideshow?

    The aim is to give you hypothetical transfer deals which have not been repeated ad nauseam by the media. 

    The 25 players will be subjectively ranked via a combination of two standards:

    • Career accomplishments.
    • Name recognition.

25. Tomi Juric

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    Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

    Bold Prediction: Western Sydney Wanderers' Australian centre-forward Tomi Juric, 23, signs for Zulte Waregem. 

    Juric at times looked like an elite No. 9 in the Asian Champions League yet has been inconsistent in the A-League. 

    He has a playing style comparable to Mark Viduka: holds up the ball, technically excellent and a powerful shooter. 

    Juric is a player who rises to the occasion, so playing in a stronger competition like the Belgian Pro League may help him realise his potential. 

    Linking up with fellow Aussie James Troisi at Zulte Waregem could ignite Juric's career.

24. Doria

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    Jonne Roriz/Getty Images

    Bold Prediction: Marseille's Brazilian centre-back Doria, 20, signs for Arsenal on loan.

    When you factor in Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger signing an injured Kim Kallstrom on loan from Spartak Moscow during the 2014 January transfer window, taking a punt on Doria doesn't seem as far-fetched. 

    Doria is caught in an awkward situation since he was not a player Marseille manager Marcelo Bielsa wanted.

    "[Bielsa] made it clear that the whole story had nothing to do with me personally," Doria said, per Ligue 1's official website. "It was a problem between him and the club's directors."

    Consequently, Doria has spent the first half of this season in and out of the matchday squad.

    Wenger should consider signing Doria as short-term cover.

     

23. Marc Stendera

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    Michael Probst/Associated Press

    Bold Prediction: Eintracht Frankfurt's German central attacking/central midfielder Marc Stendera, 19, signs for Chelsea.

    Stockpiling talent and hoping to make a substantial profit of prospects is an income stream Chelsea are hoping will burgeon in the advent of the financial fair play era.

    Stendera is a midfielder with an all-round skill set, who has the ability to develop into an elite No. 8 or 10.

    He is one of the top talents in Germany, so you presume Chelsea will take a punt on him, loan him back to Eintracht Frankfurt and watch his transfer stock grow. 

22. Andrej Kramaric

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    Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

    Bold Prediction: Rijeka's Croatian centre-forward Andrej Kramaric, 23, signs for RB Leipzig.

    Kramaric is considering regular starts at Leicester City or being paid to be on the books of Chelsea, per Sportske Novosti (h/t ESPN FC)

    If Leicester City is an option for Kramaric, what about RB Leipzig?

    Funded by Red Bull, RB Leipzig are desperate to become a top-flight club, per Philip Oltermann at the Guardian

    RB Leipzig is fast on the way to becoming the most controversial club in [Germany].

    To their supporters, they are a rare beacon of hope in the bleak landscape of east German football.

    But their opponents fear the team's success could unravel the foundation of the Bundesliga's recent successes.

    [...]

    The former Schalke coach, Ralf Rangnick, was installed as sporting director and was handed a transfer kitty of €100 million.

    RB Leipzig has been gradually climbing up the leagues since.

    RB Leipzig have hit a stumbling block, currently seventh in the 2. Bundesliga. 

    Kramaric's 21 goals in 18 Croatia Prva HNL games for Rijeka and five goals in six UEFA Europa League games could be the tonic RB Leipzig are searching for.

21. Alan Carvalho

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    EuroFootball/Getty Images

    Bold Prediction: Red Bull Salzburg's Brazilian centre-forward Alan Carvalho, 25, signs for Wolfsburg.

    You know that Wolfsburg, the Bundesliga's second-best club, are a great team when Naldo, a centre-back, has as many goals (five) as No. 9 Ivica Olic this season. 

    Jonathan Soriano may at times score at a rate comparable to Franz Binder, but Alan is the Red Bull Salzburg player that possesses a playing style, which can transition to Europe's elite leagues.

    Alan can poach goals, possesses outstanding technique, is good in the air and has the capability of testing opposing goalkeepers with mid-range and long-range shots. 

    Wolfsburg need a talented centre-forward.

    Alan's dominance in the UEFA Europa Leagueeight goals, two assists in five games—may sway Wolfsburg to punt on his ability, like when they signed compatriot Grafite from Le Mans in 2007.

20. Everton Ribeiro

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    Pedro Vilela/Getty Images

    Bold Prediction: Cruzeiro's Brazilian right/central attacking midfielder Everton Ribeiro, 25, transfers to Wolfsburg.

    The signings of Fagner Conserva (Vasco da Gama; 2012), Rever (Gremio; 2010), Caiuby (Sao Caetano; 2008), Josue Anunciado (Sao Paulo; 2007), Abuda (Corinthians; 2005) and Fernando Baiano (Flamengo; 2003) show you that Wolfsburg have been taking calculated gambles in the Brazilian transfer market for over a decade. 

    Everton reached double-digits in assists (10) in the Brasileirao for Cruzeiro this season.

    In theory, Everton can lessen Kevin De Bruyne's increasing workload as Wolfsburg aim to maintain their second place standing in the Bundesliga.

    Luiz Gustavo and Naldo should be able to help Everton, their fellow Brazilian, settle at Wolfsburg.

19. Tommy Oar

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    Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

    Bold Prediction: Utrecht's Australian left-forward Tommy Oar, 23, signs for Hamburg.

    Oar is a pass-first midfielder who can swiftly accelerate past his marker.

    This method of operation has enabled him to produce 45 scoring chances for his team-mates. Oar has more assists in league-play (seven) than all of Hamburg's players combined (four).

    Hamburg average an anaemic 0.53 goals per game, so Oar's creativity would be welcomed. 

    In the past decade, Hamburg have used the Eredivisie as a source for talent.

    • Marcus Berg (Groningen; 2009).
    • Eljero Elia (Twente; 2009).
    • Romeo Castelen (Feyenoord; 2007).
    • Joris Mathijsen (AZ; 2006).
    • Nigel de Jong (Ajax; 2006).
    • Rafael van der Vaart (Ajax; 2005).

18. Marko Vejinovic

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    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    Bold Prediction: Vitesse's Dutch central midfielder Marko Vejinovic, 24, signs for Southampton.

    Vejinovic has gone from an Eredivisie-standard player to one of the most complete footballers in the Netherlands.

    He leads Vitesse in goals (eight), assists (five) and tackles per game (3.2).

    He would upgrade Southampton's midfield. 

17. Raphael Guerreiro

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    Lionel Cironneau/Associated Press

    Bold Prediction: Lorient's Portuguese left-winger/left-back Raphael Guerreiro, 21, signs for Newcastle United.

    Guerreiro is a fast and forward-thinking left-sided footballer, who can interchange from defence to midfield. 

    Newcastle United chief scout Graham Carr is looking for under-the-radar players, who have a high chance of being a profitable signing.

    Guerreiro fits into that category. 

16. Jordan Amavi

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    Alexis Boichard/Agence Zoom/Getty Images

    Bold Prediction: Nice's French left-back Jordan Amavi, 20, signs for Juventus.

    • Kwadwo Asamoah: Great utility player, though not a specialist left-back/wing-back.
    • Patrice Evra: Seasoned veteran, but a stop-gap measure.
    • Simone Padoin: Cult hero, and that is about it. 

    Juventus targeting Amavi when he is attainable is concurrent with the Bianconeri's theme of signing French prospects: Kingsley Coman (Paris Saint-Germain; 2014) and Paul Pogba (Manchester United; 2012).

15. Pedro Obiang

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    Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

    Bold Prediction: Sampdoria's Spanish central midfielder Pedro Obiang, 22, moves to Schalke.

    Obiang is a ball-hawk who plays with intensity and would enhance a Schalke squad that is aiming for a top-four finish in the Bundesliga.

    Obiang averages 3.1 tackles and 1.2 interceptions per Serie A game this season.

14. Fabian Frei

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    Jon Super/Associated Press

    Bold Prediction: Basel's Swiss central midfielder Fabian Frei, 25, transfers to Borussia Monchengladbach.

    Borussia Monchengladbach need to plan for life post-Christoph Kramer, who will be moving back to Bayer Leverkusen. 

    Frei is a passing outlet in midfield, he is a creative passer and possesses expansive vision. 

    He is an experienced footballer, who can slot in immediately for a solid Borussia Monchengladbach side.

    There is a trend of Borussia Monchengladbach signing players from Basel:

     

13. Abdul Rahman Baba

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    Gero Breloer/Associated Press

    Bold Prediction: Augsburg's Ghanaian left-back Abdul Rahman Baba, 20, signs for Bayern Munich.

    Without a fit top-flight backup left-back to Juan Bernat, Bayern Munich need to sign an in-form left-back, so one option is Baba.

    2014-15 BundesligaAbdul Rahman BabaJuan Bernat
    Tackles Per Game4.12.1
    Tackles Per Foul4.46.0
    Interceptions Per Game2.71.4
    Goals/Assists0/40/0
    Key Passes Per Game0.90.7
    Passes Per Game37.355.6
    Pass Success %66.188.9
    Dribbles Per Game1.11.8

    Bernat is a more polished player than Baba, but the Ghanaian possesses world-class upside. 

    Given Bayern Munich's wretched injury record, it would be foolhardy to not pre-plan the possibility of David Alaba re-injuring himself when he returns. 

    It is smarter for Bayern Munich to be safe than sorry.

12. Tony Jantschke

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    Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images

    Bold Prediction: Borussia Monchengladbach's German centre/right-back Tony Jantschke, 24, signs for Manchester United.

    Jantschke has high character, is a leader on the field, has been a starter since the 2011-12 season and is versatile. 

    He can seamlessly interchange across the backline and would bolster Manchester United's defensive stocks.

11. Franco Vazquez

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    Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

    Bold Prediction: Palermo's Argentinian central attacking midfielder Franco Vazquez, 25, moves to Borussia Dortmund. 

    Vazquez is one of the most entertaining footballers in Europe's elite leagues. 

    He effortlessly glides past opposing players and has the audacity of a Matt Le Tissier.

    Borussia Dortmund need creators and Vazquez would complement Kevin Kampl.

10. Allan Marques

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    Dino Panato/Getty Images

    Bold Prediction: Udinese's Brazilian central midfielder Allan Marques, 23, signs for Arsenal.

    Allan is an immensely-gifted midfielder.

    He is a prolific ball-winner completing 75 tackles in 15 Serie A games and can turn defence into attack via his direct running.

    He is the all-action midfielder Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger should be seeking in the transfer market.

9. Luciano Vietto

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    Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

    Bold Prediction: Villarreal's Argentinian centre-forward Luciano Vietto, 21, moves to Manchester City.

    Instead of being reactive and hoping Sergio Aguero is given a clean bill of health, Manchester City need to be proactive and sign Vietto.

    He can operate as a starter or super-sub.

    Explosive, skilful and prone to shredding opposing defences, Vietto is one of the most promising No. 9s in European football. 

8. Moussa Sissoko

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    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    Bold Prediction: Newcastle United's French central/right attacking midfielder Moussa Sissoko, 25, joins Dynamo Moscow. 

    Alan Pardew walking out of 10th placed Newcastle United suggests Mike Ashley will be open to selling the team's most valuable assets.

    Sissoko flashes moments of a world-class player, though he is not a prolific tackler (1.1 tackles per game), nor is he a productive attacking player (one goal, one assist) in the Premier League this season, despite constantly getting himself into advantageous positions.

    Sure, Sissoko would not be a big target for major European clubs, but he could become a key player for Dynamo Moscow, teaming up with compatriots Mathieu Valbuena and William Vainqueur.

7. Saido Berahino

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    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    Bold Prediction: West Bromwich Albion's English centre-forward Saido Berahino, 21, moves to Bayer Leverkusen. 

    Berahino to Bayer Leverkusen still would not be as weird as Dale Jennings to Bayern Munich

    There is a clear opening for Berahino to win a starting position at Bayer Leverkusen.

    Long-serving No. 9 Stefan Kiessling has only scored three goals from 1,385 minutes of Bundesliga play. Meanwhile, Josip Drmic has been unconvincing when he has been afforded chances. 

    Berahino would be emulating Tony Woodcock and Kevin Keegan.

6. Ralf Fahrmann

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    Jan Kruger/Getty Images

    Bold Prediction: Schalke's German goalkeeper Ralf Fahrmann, 26, is signed to become Liverpool's No. 1.

    Simon Mignolet is to Brendan Rodgers what Sander Westerveld was to Gerard Houllier: talented shot-stopper, but prone to mistakes. 

    While Brad Jones is a dedicated professional, his ceiling could be just a No. 2, which means Rodgers needs to sign a top goalkeeper in the January transfer window.

    Fahrmann is in the middle of a magnificent season for Schalke making 71 saves in 17 Bundesliga games. 

    • Ranked as the second best player in the Bundesliga, per Kicker.
    • Ranked as the seventh best player in the Bundesliga, per Bild.

     

5. Matija Nastasic

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    Pete Norton/Getty Images

    Bold Prediction: Manchester City's Serbian centre-back Matija Nastasic, 21, transfers to Hoffenheim on loan.

    Niklas Sule tearing his anterior cruciate ligament leaves Hoffenheim relying heavily on Ermin Bicakcic and Tobias Strobl. 

    Nastasic has talent, but he only plays well when his confidence is up.

    It would be better for his ego to try and break into Hoffenheim's starting XI than continue wondering why his career has slumped at Manchester City.

4. Jan Oblak

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    Andreas Hillergren/Associated Press

    Bold Prediction: Atletico Madrid's Slovenian goalkeeper Jan Oblak, 21, signs for Everton on loan. 

    Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone does not care that Oblak is the most expensive goalkeeper in La Liga history. 

    Simeone has motivated and helped Miguel Angel Moya to overachieve, which has left Oblak on the sidelines.

    Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard is out for six weeks, so signing Oblak—a shot-stopper with world-class pedigree—would be a luxury loan.

3. Morgan Schneiderlin

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    Bold Prediction: Southampton's French central midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin, 25, signs for Real Madrid.

    If Real Madrid cut their losses with injury-prone Sami Khedira and plans to sign Cruzeiro's Lucas Silva fall through, then you can envision Schneiderlin at the Bernabeu.

    There are already two French footballers in Karim Benzema and Raphael Varane to help Schneiderlin smoothly transition to life in Madrid.

    Schneiderlin is one of the top midfielders in the Premier League and can bolster Real Madrid's squad depth.

    That said, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez may view Schneiderlin as another Flavio Conceicao-type transfer: great signing in theory, but not practical.

2. Xherdan Shaqiri

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    Bold Prediction: Bayern Munich's Swiss central/right/left attacking midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri, 23, moves to Valencia.

    Shaqiri's inability to make a meaningful impact at Bayern Munich may cause him to hesitate should another major European club attempt to sign him.

    Therefore, signing for an up and coming Valencia team, funded by Singaporean billionaire Peter Lim, might be an ambitious project Shaqiri is willing to take.

1. Mario Balotelli

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    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    Bold Prediction: Liverpool's Italian centre-forward Mario Balotelli, 24, is loaned out to Olympiakos.

    Balotelli's agent Mino Raiola called it.

    "Either it works here [at Liverpool] or it's a bust," Raiola said, per Corriere della Sera (h/t Joe Rimmer at the Liverpool Echo). "Mario needs to get this pressure off his shoulders. He must feel free to score goals ... he no longer has the alibi of his age."

    The pressure is mounting on Balotelli, who has yet to score or create a goal in 737 minutes of Premier League action.

    Raheem Sterling starting up front for Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers and playing more like a deep-lying forward than a centre-forward shows you how marginalised Balotelli has become. 

    It is imperative for Raiola to help Balotelli out by orchestrating a move to a second-tier competition like Greece, the 13th best league in Europe, per UEFA.com.

    Why Olympiakos?

    It is Raiola's go-to team for his clients, who have the ability, but lack the consistency to sustain good form throughout the duration of their contract at a club in Europe's elite leagues. 

    • Players such as Ibrahim Afellay and Pajtim Kasami, per Transfermarkt.com.
    • Olympiakos have another Raiola represented player in Gevorg Ghazaryan, per the Armenpress.
    • In 2013, Raiola arranged Vladimir Weiss' transfer from Pescara to Olympiakos.

    Balotelli needs to score goals week in, week out.

    He is more likely to achieve that playing (hypothetically speaking) at Olympiakos than Liverpool.

    +allanjiang.

    When not specified, statistics via WhoScored.com. 

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