January is just around the corner, and the silly season of transfer rumours has reached fever pitch.
Every Premier League manager is hoping to strengthen their squad, and they will all have handed in their wishlist to Santa – or their club chairman – in recent weeks.
We’ve gone team-by-team to preview every club’s January. Who will they buy? Who will they sell. Read on for a special edition of our Rumour Mill!
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There could be plenty of exits from the Gunners.
Lucas Torreira is wanted by AC Milan and Napoli.
Shkodran Mustafi and Mesut Ozil are both on huge wages and underperforming, and new coach Mikel Arteta is reportedly sharpening his axe.
Even ex-captain Granit Xhaka looked like he’d be out the door, with Newcastle and Hertha Berlin linked – but coach Mikel Arteta has made it clear he wants to keep the divisive figure.
Arteta’s also looking to add reinforcements, but expect quality over quantity.
Wilfried Zaha is the Gunners’ biggest target, but having broken the club’s transfer record in the off-season for Nicolas Pepe, it’s unlikely they’ll be willing to break it again for Zaha – particularly with competition from Everton and Chelsea.
In defence, Arsenal has reportedly made contact with Napoli over highly-rated central defender Kalidou Koulibaly. The Serie A side reportedly want around £55m for their defensive linchpin. But Napoli is apparently interested in Arsenal’s Sead Kolasinac, so a cash-plus-player swap could be on the cards. We still see a deal as unlikely, especially if the Gunners can outbid their rivals for Zaha’s services. Given Arsenal’s financial situation, it looks a case of either/or.
Midfielder Dejan Kulusevski is a more likely buy, if they can see off Wolves and Man Utd.
Otherwise, Arsenal’s easiest option in January might just be Antonio Zarzana, a 17-year-old Sevilla ace. He’s never played a senior game, but already rejected a move to Real Madrid last window and has since been linked with Bayern Munich and Liverpool. Stuck in Sevilla’s reserve side, he could be tempted by a promise of future minutes in a revamped Arsenal midfield. He might not be the short-term fix Arsenal fans are hoping can revive their season, but his future potential is very exciting.
It could be a big transfer window for Aston Villa. Hit by a three-month injury to key midfield cog John McGinn, and dropping into the relegation zone with defeat to Southampton on the weekend, the club is convinced they need fresh faces.
It seems unbelievable that after a pre-season transfer spree that saw a dozen players depart and were replaced – for some £130m ($A244m) – that coach Dean Smith would be backed for more signings. But, remarkably, the club is reportedly set to back Smith rather than sack him.
A striker is the most obvious need, with a loan move for Liverpool’s Rhian Brewster probable. Striker Keinan Davis could go out the door if that happens, having not started a league game for the Villans this season.
Less likely to arrive is Hull’s £15m ($A28m) forward Jarrod Bowen. They must beat out Newcastle, Brighton and Southampton (and maybe even Leicester) for the 22-year-old Hull City star.
Chelsea winger Pedro is looking to leave Stamford Bridge, and the 32-year-old has been linked with Villa.
Villa are also reportedly in talks with Besiktas defender Vida, a versatile Croatian veteran who can play in the centre and on the right of defence. Turkish reports claim Besiktas has rejected bids in the past two transfer windows but must offload players to reduce their wage outlay this time around. Watford is also linked.
Earlier rumours said Milot Rashica of Werder Bremen was a top target for Dean Smith. The 23-year-old attacking midfielder is in lightning form in the Bundesliga, but Villa is likely to be priced out with a price tag potentially as high as £30m ($A56m). A move in the off-season looks far more likely.
Versatile midfielder Josh Brownhill of Bristol City has been linked, with Southampton and Brighton also sniffing around the £15 million ($A28m) man. Brownhill is a former Manchester United youngster who is known for his technicality and production. It could be time for him to step up from the Championship.
Bournemouth will be most concerned about central defender Nathan Ake leaving. With Chelsea boasting a £40m ($A75m) buy-back clause in his Bournemouth contract, there’s little the Cherries could do to stop his departure. They’ll do their best, but will be hoping Lampard opts not to exercise that clause. Man City are also interested in shoring up their defence with Ake’s signature.
Another bottom-half squad not expected to do much damage this window. Javier Manquillo, the Newcastle fullback, is on the shopping list.
Another fullback is French 22-year-old Enock Kwateng, currently playing for FC Gironidins Bordeaux in Ligue 1. But he’s on the fringes at Bordeaux, having made just eight appearances this season. Recent reports say West Ham are also keen, as are West Bromwich Albion. He’s very much a raw talent and would be a risk as a January buy, given how difficult it can be for youngsters to adapt to life in England’s top flight.
As we just said, Josh Brownhill from Bristol City is on the shopping list, but Southampton and Bournemouth are ready to rival the Seagulls for his signature.
All told, we’re not expecting too much from Brighton this time out.
Burnley are one of many interested in Ollie Watkins, the 23-year-old Brentford striker. At £25m ($A47m) and with 13 league goals this season, Crystal Palace and Sheffield are also keen – although the latter have reportedly been scared off by the asking price. Even Aston Villa could dig into their pockets for a bid, so where he ends up is anyone’s guess – and sticking with Brentford is just as likely.
A right-back and a winger are the greatest areas of need for the Clarets, but they’ve never been a side to spend wantonly in the January window. Derby County’s Jayden Bogle is just 19 years old but rose to prominence at right-back under former Rams boss Frank Lampard last season. He’s offensively talented but recently copped a six-week injury lay-off. Multiple PL clubs are interested.
Burnley striker Chris Wood, the New Zealand veteran, has been in fantastic form and is being targeted by Villa. Why on earth he would want to leave the club when he’s enjoying such a great season is beyond us, so we’re laughing this deal out the door.
More likely are exits for Ben Gibson, Joe Hart and Matej Vydra. Gibson was a £15 million ($A28m) record signing from Middlesbrough 18 months ago, but hasn’t had a single PL minute this campaign. Neither has keeper Joe Hart, while Matej Vydra has only come off the bench. Gibson and Hart are reportedly frustrated at the situation and could push for an exit. But Burnley have a thin squad and will want to hold on to as many players as possible.
The club hierarchy has reportedly offered Frank Lampard a hefty £150 million ($A281m) transfer budget for January – and he isn’t afraid of spending every penny.
One area targeted for reinforcements is the wing, where Chelsea reportedly has drawn up a four-man shortlist: Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho, Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha, as well as Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey and Villareal’s Samuel Chukwueze.
Sancho and Zaha are the big names, and both would command hefty fees. There’s plenty of competition for their signature – Sancho in particular. Some reports have estimated an asking price as high as £100 million ($A187m).
Palace are under no pressure to sell Zaha, having held out in the off-season. If Chelsea offer £80m or more ($A150m), it will be a done deal in a matter of hours. Unless that happens, we’re predicting this one could roll on for weeks – if not another six months.
Chelsea wingers Pedro and Willian could depart, the former being most likely.
In the midfield, reports have claimed that Real Madrid has offered Isco to the Blues for £44m ($A82m) – mostly so the Spaniards can create space for Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen.
Olivier Giroud is almost guaranteed to leave, with Inter Milan the likely destination. Red Bull Leipzig striker Timo Werner has been linked to a host of PL big guns, particularly
And Bournemouth’s Nathan Ake could arrive – Chelsea has a £40m ($A75m) buyback clause in Ake’s contract that could see the 24-year-old defender return to Stamford Bridge. Ake is wanted by a number of Premier League sides, including Man City, and Manchester United were interested before they opted for Harry Maguire in the off-season.
To sell or not to sell? Wilfried Zaha, that is. Palace held on to their talisman last transfer window, rejecting a transfer request from the player and significant offers from Arsenal and Everton.
Throw Chelsea into the mix, and there’s every chance Zaha could be off to a rival in January … if someone stumps up around £80m ($A150m).
Palace manager Roy Hodgson is desperate for reinforcements. “We don’t really go into transfer market,” Hodgson told reporters. “I’m trying to persuade the American owners in particular that this is something we really need to do.”
The club is one of many keen on Brentford’s Ollie Watkins to add striking depth, and a fullback is also on the shopping list.
That is likely to be Joakim Maehle, a 22-year-old marauding right-back from Genk. Southampton is also interested.
Newcastle’s Javier Manquillo is another option at the right of defence, with West Ham and Brighton also linked.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, anyone? That’s the biggest rumour – and names don’t get much bigger than Ibra. Ibrahimovic previously played under Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti at Paris Saint-Germain, but don’t expect them to rekindle that relationship in January. Ancelotti completely rubbished the rumour in his first press conference as Everton, saying “I am going to call him. If you want to come to Liverpool, to enjoy, he can come. But not to play!”
But a couple of additions are likely, with Ancelotti claiming “one or two players” could arrive. Club Brugge striker Emmanuel Dennis is reportedly being scouted by the Evertonians as well as Manchester United and Arsenal, but the interest hasn’t materialised – yet.
Kalidou Koulibaly – the Napoli central defender – has a massive admirer in Ancelotti, who was only sacked from the Napoli job a fortnight ago. Ancelotti wants to reunite with the big back, but Manchester United and Arsenal are both keen. It could create a bidding war for the Serie A star.
Another target is John Egan, Sheffield United’s most impressive central defender. The Blades would be keen to hold on to him if they are to continue their sterling campaign, and they’re in no need to raise money with a quick sale. It’s an unlikely deal.
However, Everton’s versatile defender Mason Holgate is being reportedly targeted by Sheffield United, Newcastle and Bournemouth. The 23-year-old is apparently rated at about £14 million ($A26m), but the Blues have no real need to sell – unless they want to upgrade to the veteran Egan with a swap deal.
Another defensive option is Unai Nunez, a 22-year old Spanish defender who plays for Athletic Bilbao. Everton have been linked with the talented youngster for some time, but Man City, Arsenal and Bayern Munich are all tracking his progress.
Everton were previously interested in Nice central midfielder Adrian Tameze, who is in exile at the French club. Nice are reportedly actively shopping the 25-year-old out, so Everton could revive their interest at a reasonable price.
A new centre-back is the top priority for Brendan Rodgers’ Foxes. There have been almost a dozen defenders linked ahead of the January window, but we think Merih Demiral is most likely.
The Turkish defender is only 21, but already boasts 11 international caps. The highly-rated back has only featured three times for Juventus this season after arriving from fellow Italians Sassuolo.
Juventus paid €18 million ($A29m) for his services, and could turn it into a handy profit in just six months with Leicester expected to bid around €30m (£25m, $A48.5m)
Arsenal is also interested, but Leicester still has the cash from Harry Maguire’s mega-sale to Man Utd. And with a fellow Turkish star in Caglar Soyuncu already in the backline, the Foxes have the upper hand in this tussle.
Other options at centre-back include Chris Smalling (Roma on loan from Man Utd), Robin Koch (FC Freiburg), Salif Sane (Schalke), Kristoffer Ajer (Celtic).
Leicester has also been widely linked to reinforcements at striker. Hull City’s versatile forward Jarrod Bowen is valued around £15 million ($A28m) and is also wanted by Newcastle, West Ham, Aston Villa and Southampton. He’s very much the flavour of the hour – but we’re not sure Leicester can fill their glass with this deal.
No Deadline-Day panic here, with a deal for Takumi Minamino of Red Bull Salzburg already locked and loaded. That’ll be made official as soon as the window opens on January 1.
Liverpool opened discussions in early December and completed a medical on the 19th. His £7.25m ($A14m) release clause is pennies to a Premier League giant, but all the indications are that the Reds aren’t looking to splash the cash elsewhere this window.
On the other end, 22-year-old Pedro Chirivella is set to exit. A trio of youngsters could go out on loan – Rhian Brewster, Curtis Jones and Herbie Kane.
Expect winger Leroy Sane to move to Bayern Munich – if the Germans stump up enough cash. City are holding out for £100 million ($A187m), a reasonable amount if Sane hadn’t sat out the last six months with injury!
If Sane does depart, City could look to replace him immediately, with Real Sociedad’s 22-year-old Spanish winger Mikel Oyarzabal heavily linked. Bayern Munich’s Kingsley Coman could be part of a cash-plus-player swap deal.
Meanwhile, the fight over Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez could go down to the wire. Man United and Barcelona are all very keen on the 22-year-old Argentina star who has impressed in the Serie A this campaign.
Inter want £84m to £92m ($A160m to $A176m) for his signature – but given his consistent performances at such a young age, that’s no surprise.
Will it happen? The end of the season is the more natural time for him to leave, but given Inter have now dropped into the Europa League, a move to a Champions League club ahead of the knockout stages must be attractive.
City is one of a long line of clubs interested in Borussia Dortmund’s English star Jadon Sancho. Sancho joined Dortmund from City in 2017 for around £10m ($A19m), and City reportedly included a clause that allows them to match any rival bid for the player. That could be crucial in the race for his signature – but we’re not convinced City is desperate for Sancho’s signature.
Jadon Sancho, Christian Eriksen, Lautaro Martinez – there’s no shortage of big names United are keen on.
But the biggest deal of them all is Erling Braut Haaland, the Red Bull Salzburg striker. Coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has reportedly made the 19-year-old breakout star his top priority this window.
A host of European clubs are fighting for his £76 million ($A145m) signature, with Juventus apparently head-to-head with United in the race for Haaland.
On the other end, it looks as if Paul Pogba WON’T be leaving. Solskjaer revealed the France star could make his first start for United in months against Newcastle on Boxing Day.
Two players who could leave United in January are Nemanja Matic, 31, and Marcos Rojo, 29.
We’re not expecting a busy transfer window for Newcastle, after an off-season which saw five players arrive.
Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka appears the most likely arrival. Stripped of the captaincy in North London after a bad reaction to fan booing, he looked set for the exit door – until Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta said he is ‘right behind him’ and wants him to stay.
Reinforcements could also come in the form of Hull City versatile winger Jarrod Bowen. The 22-year-old is in hot demand given his goalscoring exploits in the Championship, and a number of Premier League clubs are lining up bids. His manager Grant McCann recently labelled him the best player in the Championship. But can Newcastle convince him to leave Hull? We doubt it, in the mid-season window at least.
Everton’s 23-year-old centre-back Mason Holgate is another target, but as we said earlier, Everton won’t want to lose the young talent.
Celtic are reportedly eyeing a return for Magpies’ midfielder Ki Sung-Yueng, the 30-year-old having only made three appearances this season. A departure in search of first-team football looks likely, and manager Steve Bruce admitted as much earlier this month.
Fullback Javier Manquillo is reportedly wanted by Crystal Palace, Brighton and West Ham.
A loan move for Chelsea’s Marc Guehi could shore up their central defensive options until the end of the season. The centre-back is vastly talented and captains the Blues’ under-23 team, with a couple of senior cup appearances this campaign. A number of Championship sides are also keen, as well as Southampton.
They are very keen to hold on to £15 million ($A28m) fullback Max Aarons, who is being targeted by West Ham and potentially Tottenham. Aarons is 18 and showing remarkable potential – and his pace is a sight to behold. We don’t expect him to leave in January, but if Norwich is relegated at the end of the season they’ll struggle to hold onto the youngster.
There haven’t been too many other strong links ahead of the January window, with Norwich never a club to indulge in panic purchases.
But attacking midfielder Mike Tresor Ndayishimiye could sign on, having impressed for Willem II in the Dutch Eredivisie. The Belgian 20-year-old is versatile, able to play as a creative midfielder or on the flanks. He’s on loan from fellow Dutch side NEC Nijmegen, who are reportedly only seeking £7m ($A13m) for a permanent sale.
Coach Chris Wilder has said “there are two or three positions where we are a little light and we need to strengthen”, so expect at least a couple of signings in January. We’d anticipate at least one defender – if not two – and probably a striker.
Everton’s 23-year-old centre-back Mason Holgate is versatile and composed on the ball, and a trio of Premier League sides are interested in a £14 million ($A26m) move.
Sheffield, Newcastle and Bournemouth will probably all bid, but it would be surprising if Everton were willing to sell, considering how light they are at the back.
They’re also keen on Brentford striker Ollie Watkins, the 23-year-old now being valued at close to £25m ($A47m) after starring in the Championship this campaign. He’s in lightning form, and Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and Burnley are all also keen. If Sheffield really believe they can challenge for a Europa League position (they’re currently fifth), Watkins could be an valuable addition. But at that price, it looks out of their reach.
Activity in the transfer market is almost certain.
They’re set to rival Norwich for a loan move for 19-year-old Chelsea defender Marc Guehi.
They’ll try their hand in the bidding war for Hull’s Jarrod Bowen, too. It’s anyone’s guess where Bowen will end up, so we won’t even try to answer that one.
Bristol City’s Josh Brownhill could arrive as central midfield reinforcement. Burnley, Bournemouth and Brighton are all reportedly keen on the 24-year-old, who has impressed both with his skill and leadership this season, where he has often captained Bristol.
In the selling pile is Cedric Soares, with West Ham interested in the fullback. His contract expires at the end of the season and an early sale is viable. Striker Che Adams could go out on loan, probably to a Championship side (Nottingham or Leeds).
Jose Mourinho promised he wouldn’t seek to spend big in his first transfer window in charge of Spurs, but that hasn’t stopped rumours around some cheaper deals from flying.
The biggest move for Tottenham would be selling Christian Eriksen. The 27-year-old Danish midfielder is out of contract at the end of the season and Spurs are reluctant to lose him for free. United is the likeliest landing place for the out-of-favour star, though Real Madrid remain very keen.
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy said “We are honestly not scared to trade with our rivals,” so this deal could – finally – happen.
West Ham defender Issa Diop, 22, is reportedly a target. At £50m ($A94m), Tottenham could be tempted – particularly if they cash in on Eriksen.
Watford is looking for a right-back in January, with Ghanaian 29-year-old Daniel Opare in their sights. Opare is one of those names that turns up in gossip columns every window, and has been linked to a dozen Premier League clubs in the last couple of years. But here’s why this time it could actually happen: Opare hasn’t played a single game this season for Belgium’s Royal Antwerp. Burnley have also been linked, but Watford is surely more desperate, considering they’re in last place!
Croatian defender Domagoj Vida is also heavily linked, the Besiktas 30-year-old also being targeted by Aston Villa. Besiktas need to reduce their wage bill, and the versatile defender is likely to head to England in January.
One man almost certain to move on is Dimitri Foulquier, the right-back having made just one PL start for the Hornets this season. Nantes from France are reportedly keen, as is an unnamed La Liga side.
Holding onto 25-year-old forward Gerard Deulofeu could be tricky, with AC Milan interested. But that’s unlikely in January.
Another case of a struggling side desperate to hold onto their star player! This time, it’s French central defender Issa Diop. Just 22, he’s being targeted by Jose Mourinho’s Spurs. The Hammers have slapped a £50m ($A94m) price tag to ward off their London rivals, but even that might not be enough.
Bordeaux fullback Enock Kwateng, Hull winger Jarrod Bowen and a pair of Flamengo strikers – Gabriel Barbosa and Bruno Henrique – are the four main targets linked to the Hammers.
But we’re not sure if West Ham’s board will back under-fire manager Manuel Pellegrini to spend so much cash, especially with Pellegrini on the brink of sacking.
Another fullback option is Norwich’s Max Aarons, just 18 years old. But Norwich are desperate to hold onto the speedy £15 million ($A28m) defender.
What to expect in January? At least one striker will arrive. Pellegrini (if he’s still there!) will look to do more business, but it could be a case of more frustration for fans.
This window is all about holding on to the star Wolves.
Raul Jimenez, Ruben Neves, Adama Traore and Joao Moutinho have all impressed, and there’s interest from around England and Europe in the attacking quartet.
But Wolves are desperate to hold on to all four, and given the side’s close-knit nature and ongoing success, we see it as unlikely any will depart – at least in January.
Wolves will likely wade into the waters of the transfer market, needing reinforcements as they try to manage a Europa League campaign and a Premier League top-six chase.
Southampton right back Cedric Soares is likely, and with his contract expiring at the end of the season Wolves could tempt the Saints to sell him early. Freiburg defender Robin Koch is another possibility.
Midfield pair Dejan Kulusevski (Parma on loan from Atalanta) and Franck Kessie (AC Milan) are also on the radar.