9 Serie A stars who could be Premier League January bargains
1. Simone Zaza (Juventus)
The striker arrived from Sassuolo in the summer after scoring 11 goals last season, but has struggled for minutes amid the competition of Paulo Dybala, Mario Mandzukic and Alvaro Morata. Two strikes in Juve’s 4-0 Coppa Italia win over Torino last Wednesday were a reminder of Zaza’s eye for goal and his figures this season are better than he’s given credit for – five goals in 10 appearances.
Juventus coach Max Allegri says he "can’t leave", but Zaza’s agent Christian Maifredi disagrees. He told Fantagazzetta last week that "the hypothesis of a loan is possible", and Crystal Palace, Stoke, Watford and West Ham have all been linked. The 24-year-old will want to add to his seven Italy caps at Euro 2016 and may need more game time to earn a place in Antonio Conte’s squad.
2. Rodrigo Palacio (Inter)
Continuous injury problems have also taken their toll, but Palacio’s talent has not completely deserted him yet.
Vastly experienced at club and international level, Palacio’s contract is up in the summer and a January exit looks likely. Inter are unlikely to offer the 33-year-old a new deal as he’s found himself lacking space and goals – the Argentine’s strike against Cagliari in midweek was his first in 12 games.
Continuous injury problems have also taken their toll, but Palacio’s talent has not completely deserted him yet. Eight goals and eight assists in last year’s difficult campaign was an impressive haul. A return to Boca Juniors has been touted, but the forward would still be a valuable addition to top-flight clubs across Europe.
3. Martin Caceres (Juventus)
Milan, Fenerbahce and Besiktas are among the clubs rumoured to be chasing Juve’s versatile defender in January, suggesting competition is fierce. The Uruguay international’s contract runs out in June and he has plenty of admirers, despite making only two league appearances this season.
Recent reports suggest the Old Lady are actively looking to sell in January in order to bring in a transfer fee, after four years and four league titles in Turin for Caceres. The Bianconeri may well be fed up with his hobby of crashing expensive cars (twice in the last year), but the Uruguayan’s ability to perform any role in a three, four or five-man defence makes him a rare and valuable option.
4. Yuto Nagatomo (Inter)
Nagatomo is likely to be part of the exodus given his expiring contract and Mancini’s preference for Alex Telles at left-back.
Roberto Mancini’s Inter revolution has come to fruition this season, but the squad overhaul looks set to continue into January. Nagatomo is likely to be part of the exodus given his expiring contract and Mancini’s preference for Alex Telles at left-back.
The Japan international was close to joining Leicester at the end of the summer and interest is now coming from Spain too, in the form of Levante, Espanyol and Sevilla. The hard-working full-back can play on either flank and still has several years left at the top level, having turned 29 in September.
With 87 international caps to his name he provides experience as well as an attacking threat – he’s contributed 11 goals and 18 assists during his time in Milan.
5. Giuseppe Rossi (Fiorentina)
Rossi’s name has unfortunately become synonymous with injuries rather than goals after a devastating string of setbacks during his career. However, he’s still held in high esteem due to the sensational form he's capable of when fully fit.
The 28-year-old missed all of last season with a knee injury and has failed to become a regular under Paulo Sousa this term. Liverpool have been linked with a January bid for the striker, although recent reports have suggested a loan is also being considered by the Viola to help him reach full fitness.
When he gets the chance, Rossi’s strike rate is impressive – he has 25 goals and 10 assists to in 50 Serie A appearances, and 54 La Liga goals for Villarreal. Is the Premier League his next challenge?
6. Jonathan de Guzman (Napoli)
The Premier League? There’s a lot of money there and several clubs fighting to avoid relegation who could think of him
Remember him? Netherlands international De Guzman starred for Swansea between 2012 and 2014, notching an impressive 15 goals and 13 assists from midfield. Unfortunately he hasn’t built on that impressive form in Italy, and the 28-year-old is almost guaranteed to be leaving the Vesuviani in January.
A move to Bournemouth was all but done in the summer before De Guzman rejected it, if reports are to be believed. However, a return to England seems to be on the cards, with his agent recently saying: “The Premier League? There’s a lot of money there and several clubs fighting to avoid relegation who could think of De Guzman.”
Like, oh we don't know... Bournemouth?
7. Keisuke Honda (Milan)
Disagreements with new coach Sinisa Mihajlovic, an underperforming Rossoneri and the loss of star status could make Honda one of Serie A’s most high-profile January departures. The attacking midfielder has had an unsettled season at San Siro, complaining publicly in October that "Milan’s problems are always the same", which ensured a frosty relationship with the Serbian tactician.
A move seems likely, as Honda has lamented that he’s "never been on the bench so much" and is linked with a number of clubs including West Ham and Valencia. However, last week reports emerged that he had turned down Everton and Tottenham as he doesn’t want to leave until June. Honda’s situation remains unclear, but with limited game time and no shortage of interest, a winter move could well be on the cards.
8. Roberto Soriano (Sampdoria)
A release clause of £8.7 million makes Soriano fair game for whoever deems the sum a worthwhile investment.
Soriano is much sought-after in his home country, with Milan, Napoli and Juventus all vying for the Italy international according to reports. Sampdoria’s terrible season so far could mean a January exit will be tempting for him, as Vincenzo Montella’s arrival for the sacked Walter Zenga hasn’t improved matters in Genoa.
A release clause of £8.7 million makes him fair game for whoever deems the sum a worthwhile investment. The 24-year-old former Bayern Munich trainee is an all-action midfielder capable of playing in the centre or a more advanced role, and he has three Serie A goals to his name already this season despite Samp’s plight.
9. Cristian Zapata (Milan)
Another with a contract due to expire next summer, Zapata could be on the way out of Milan if an acceptable offer arrives in the new year. Strong, fast and athletic, the Colombia international’s style would appear to suit Premier League football and the likes of Everton and Manchester United have been linked.
The 29-year-old struggled last season, struck by injury and out of favour when fit, but appeared to have bounced back under Mihajlovic after starting six of Milan’s first seven matches. However, Zapata has been benched ever since and with the days ticking down on his contract and no hope in sight of regular football, a move could suit both player and club.