An Early Look at Premier League Targets for the January Transfer Window

Dean Jones@DeanJonesBRFootball Insider at Bleacher ReportNovember 12, 2019

B/R Football

Liverpool are the runaway leaders in this season's Premier League, but we are approaching the winter schedule, when so much can change. The fixture list will test the depth of their squad to the max, and the January transfer window will then give them—and the chasing pack—a chance to address any squad issues.

It's an exciting campaign, with Manchester City sure to rise again and battle for top spot, while Leicester City have added a new edge to the battle for a top-four position.

The transfer rumour mill is starting to heat up now, so we are here to take a glance into what the top clubs might do in the new year.  

As it stands, Chelsea have a transfer ban, so we will save that conversation for another day. But here's a rundown of what Bleacher Report insiders and contacts see happening in the next transfer window.


AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - NOVEMBER 10: Hakim Ziyech of Ajax  during the Dutch Eredivisie  match between Ajax v FC Utrecht at the Johan Cruijff Arena on November 10, 2019 in Amsterdam Netherlands (Photo by Erwin Spek/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Currently in 14th position, but only three points from a top-six spot, Spurs are in a difficult situation. Mauricio Pochettino knows Christian Eriksen wants to leave in January, and a few others might be tempted to follow.

A creative midfielder is going to be high on the agenda, and a source close to Ajax told Bleacher Report that Hakim Ziyech is expected to move in the next year, with Tottenham, alongside Bayern Munich, one of his most likely landing spots. Contacts at Spurs have confirmed to B/R that the player has been discussed at board level, and that a firm move will be weighed up in the coming weeks. 

One concern from Spurs is how much it would cost to sign him. Last summer Ziyech had a gentleman's agreement over a £26 million release clause, but that is no longer the case, and he is contracted until 2022. 

Two other names put forward as potential targets for the winter window are Celta Vigo midfielder Brais Mendez and RB Leipzig centre-back Dayot Upamecano. Mendez would be a useful addition but might take time to find his feet in the Premier League. Upamecano is an interesting target as other clubs are also interested, but he would cost close to £50 million—that's how highly he is rated.


Manchester United

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 26: Declan Rice of West Ham United reaction during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Sheffield United at London Stadium on October 26, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Ima
Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has the green light to spend in January, but it is worth keeping in mind that two of the club's main priorities for 2020 are Declan Rice and Jadon Sancho—and deals like that are unlikely to happen midway through the season.

Of the two, there is more hope over Rice, according to insiders. But conversations have also taken place about trying to tie up an end-of-season deal for Sancho well before the summer window actually begins.

The combined spend on those two would likely to be in the region of £150 million. With that in mind, United perhaps will not spend as much in January as some fans might expect.

It's true they feel the need to add some experience in attack. Mario Mandzukic, 33, is a genuine option, but it is understood the chances of Zlatan Ibrahimovic returning are extremely unlikely.

Striker Erling Haaland, 19, from RB Salzburg has been heavily linked with a move and is more in line with what the club are trying to build long term. Moussa Dembele from Lyon continues to interest them, too, and United have been testing the water to uncover what kind of bid would be needed to take the former Fulham player back to England. A source has played down the link to Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha, which was reported by Dan King in The Sun.

B/R has been informed that Brescia's 19-year-old midfielder Sandro Tonali is an option being seriously considered for the future.  



Let's be honest, after signing Nicolas Pepe for £72 million last summer anything could happen from here!

I gave that deal no chance of happening. The reason? It made no sense, given everything insiders were leaking about the club's budget for that window. What we didn't know at the time was that the Gunners would find a way to structure the payments over the course of a five-year contract!

Anyway, this time we are being told by Arsenal individuals that their top priority will be a central defender, then central midfielders after that.

Upamecano—the 21-year-old defender mentioned in the Spurs section—is one of the names high on their list. They have scouted him for the past year.

Another is Turkish centre-back Merih Demiral, who only moved to Juventus last summer but has barely figured and is already starting to wonder if he needs a move. B/R sources say Arsenal are being kept abreast of any developments on him becoming available.


Manchester City

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 10: Pep Guardiola the head coach / manager of Manchester City reacts during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City at Anfield on November 10, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Robbie Jay
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

A new centre-back is the top priority for manager Pep Guardiola, who has seen his defence left with gaping holes this season thanks to Aymeric Laporte's injury and various problems with his full-backs. 

Trailing Liverpool by nine points is completely new territory for Guardiola, but it is understood he is being given the go-ahead to spend in January. It is expected he will make two signings, but it is difficult to know where the club will find value.

Last summer, they refused to push ahead with their interest in Harry Maguire because they felt his price tag was too extreme. It could be that Benfica's Ruben Dias emerges as an option this time around, although that they may seek a loan deal to see them through while Laporte makes his way back, according to sources in Manchester.

Leroy Sane could yet leave the club for Bayern Munich—opening up the possibility of signing Real Sociedad winger Mikel Oyarzabal. Leicester City's left-back Ben Chilwell, who almost joined earlier in the year, remains a top target in an area of the field they are struggling. But he is not expected to move in January. 


Leicester City

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - NOVEMBER 07: Alfredo Morelos of Rangers celebrates scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Europa League group G match between Rangers FC and FC Porto at Ibrox Stadium on November 07, 2019 in Glasgow, United Kingdom. (Photo by Ian Mac
Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

With a pairing of Jonny Evans and Caglar Soyuncu already in place at the back, it could seem a surprise to some that a new central defender is a priority for Brendan Rodgers in the new year.

However, that is where Leicester are focusing a lot of their attention right now, in light of the fact Harry Maguire left for United so close to the last transfer deadline. Two of the names they are looking at are Nathan Ake of Bournemouth and James Tarkowski of Burnley, but they are also casting the net wider than the Premier League in hope of finding better value for money. 

Expect Kelechi Iheanacho to be loaned out and a new frontman to be brought in. Glasgow Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos, who has 22 goals from 26 appearances this season, is on their radar, according to a well-placed source.



FREIBURG IM BREISGAU, GERMANY - OCTOBER 26: Timo Werner of RB Leipzig looks on during the Bundesliga match between Sport-Club Freiburg and RB Leipzig at Schwarzwald-Stadion on October 26, 2019 in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Im
TF-Images/Getty Images

Last summer Liverpool decided not to make any significant additions to the squad because they could not find any value in the market. It will probably be the same situation in this window. 

Jurgen Klopp has laughed off any chance they would have of signing Kylian Mbappe from PSG, but do not be fooled into thinking they are not interested. Players like Mbappe and Sancho are exactly who Liverpool are looking at in 2020 because they are at the stage when only players with very special talent can make any difference to their lineup. But at the same time, they will not move heaven and earth to sign them.

A new forward is of interest to them in January, and RB Leipzig's Timo Werner continues to be a man on their radar. Whoever comes in would have to be happy with a back-up role to this year's main men, but of all the rumours out there right now, he is at least a possibility.

Ryan Fraser has been linked with a move to Anfield by TalkSport's Alex Crook, but contacts close to Liverpool insist interest in the player has not reached an advanced stage yet.

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