Into the crystal ball...
The January transfer market is now open for business as Premier League managers look to strengthen their squads for the second half of the season. With several sides requiring reinforcements and numerous fringe players seeking more regular first-team football, we can expect plenty of movement in the next few weeks.
In this slideshow we pick out 10 transfers we expect to happen before the window slams shut at the end of the month...
Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal to Leicester)
Leicester are set to let Adrien Silva, Andy King and Vicente Iborra go this month – perhaps even Matty James too – which would leave them with only three senior central midfielders to select from.
Arsenal's Elneny has been on the Foxes' radar for a while now and, given his lack of football under Unai Emery this term – just 59 minutes in the Premier League against Burnley – it seems likely that the Egyptian could be on the move this month.
Claude Puel unsuccessfully tried to woo the 26-year-old last summer, but there may be a change of heart if Elneny accepts that his first-team prospects remain bleak in north London.
Miguel Almiron (Atlanta United to Newcastle)
Mike Ashley isn’t one to put his hands in his pockets too often, but this move would make sense on both a financial and footballing level. Rumours linking MLS’s best player with St James’ Park hardly eased when it was revealed that Arthur Blank, co-owner of Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United (where Almiron plays), was interested in buying Newcastle.
Almiron moving would be massive for MLS: he’d represent the first player since Clint Dempsey to truly establish himself in the US before moving to a top five league in Europe. Newcastle, meanwhile, would benefit from his ability to make things happen in the final third.
Michy Batshuayi (Chelsea to Crystal Palace)
Roy Hodgson conceded on Wednesday night that a deal to sign Dominic Solanke has fallen through, so Palace will turn their attentions elsewhere. Jordan Ayew may have scored his first goal for the club against Wolves last time out, but the south Londoners desperately need more firepower if they’re to steer clear of the bottom three.
Batshuayi has been a Palace target since 2016, and his lack of minutes on loan at Valencia could see him swap Mestalla for Selhurst Park. No one is benefiting from the Belgian’s current situation in Spain, where he’s made just four La Liga starts all season.
Jarrod Bowen (Hull to Tottenham)
Tottenham pushed to sign Jack Gealish in the summer, but Aston Villa dug their heels in and refused to sell their prized asset. Dean Smith won’t want to lose the midfielder in January either, so Spurs could look elsewhere in the Championship as they look to bring in another attacking option.
Tottenham would be the ideal destination for Bowen, a gifted forward who’s scored 11 league goals this season. He’d be surrounded by excellence in north London and would benefit from playing under a manager who’s earned a reputation for developing young talent. At just 22 years old, Bowen has a bright future ahead of him.
Adrien Silva (Leicester to Sporting CP)
In 10 years, the saga of Adrien Silva and Leicester will be the subject of a 1,000-word retrospective think piece about terrible football club administration. In August 2017, a £22m deal was agreed for him to move from Sporting to Leicester, but the documents were registered with FIFA 14 seconds after the deadline. Silva was forced to spend five months on the sidelines.
By the time Silva was eligible to play for the Foxes, the manager who signed him had departed. The Portuguese hasn’t impressed Claude Puel and is now left on the shelf at the King Power Stadium. Having played only 88 minutes in the Premier League this term, a return to Sporting looks likely.
Brahim Diaz (Manchester City to Real Madrid)
The Premier League’s top clubs have a problem. The financial elite have spent several years hoovering up the best young talent at home and abroad, with the intention of integrating them into the first team and creating home-grown superstars. But the pressure to deliver results and trophies in the short-term makes it easier to sign players than develop them.
Manchester City have already lost Jadon Sancho to Borussia Dortmund, for whom he’s been a revelation this season. Diaz has clearly taken note of his former team-mate’s progress and is now angling for a move away from the Etihad Stadium, with Real Madrid in pole position to sign him.
Danny Drinkwater (Chelsea to Fulham)
Drinkwater has had plenty of time on his hands this season, having made just one of Maurizio Sarri’s matchday squads in the Premier League (he was an unused substitute against Cardiff in August). The Chelsea boss has explained that he sees no future for the midfielder at Stamford Bridge, so Drinkwater is likely to seek an exit before the month is out.
A loan move is most probable given his £100,000-a-week wage packet, and a temporary switch to Fulham would allow Drinkwater to stay put in west London. Claudio Ranieri got the best out of the ex-Manchester United man at Leicester and is looking to strengthen his squad as the Cottagers battle against the drop.
Neal Maupay (Brentford to Huddersfield)
Still only 22, Maupay has already proved himself to be the complete Championship centre-forward. Given that Brentford won’t be promoted this season, they’ll have expected significant top-flight interest this month.
And no team needs a goalscorer more than Huddersfield. Not only do David Wagner’s team have the lowest shot conversion rate in the Premier League at 5.2%, their top scorer this season is a central defender with fewer than 20 career league goals at the age of 28. But even if they do go down this season, Maupay is the type of striker who could help the Terriers return to the top tier at the first time of asking.
Gary Cahill (Chelsea to Arsenal)
Few Premier League players have suffered such a fall in status over the last 12 months. Cahill played 37 league games as Chelsea lifted the title in 2016/17 and 27 more last season, but he’s featured just once in the league under Maurizio Sarri this time around. The redemption of David Luiz has hit him hard.
Cahill turned 33 last month, but he’s never relied on pace and Arsenal are desperate for a central defender so that Shkodran Mustafi can be bundled into a cupboard marked ‘do not open’. The only question is whether Chelsea consider it foolish to let a player join a top-four rival, or allow Cahill to join Arsenal as a mark of respect for his service a la Petr Cech.
Tammy Abraham (Chelsea to Wolves)
Wolves are in the market for a striker to provide competition to Raul Jimenez, Chelsea will be happy for Abraham to score goals against their top-four rivals and Abraham gets the Premier League minutes he craves. Wolves getting to harm West Midlands Aston Villa in the process is a happy little bonus.
There’s a caveat here, though: while FIFA rules allow a player to be registered to three clubs in a season, they only allow them to play for two of those. Hatem Ben Arfa was denied the chance to play for Nice this time in 2015, having already turned out for Hull and Newcastle’s U21s – considered an official match. Abraham has played for Villa and Chelsea’s U23s, which could represent a stumbling block.
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