We are just hours from the winter transfer window sliding open, and already the sports media are full of hyperbole, rumour and conjecture as to who is going where and for how much.
But forget the bombast from Sky Sports News and the like: January is usually a quiet time for blockbuster transfers.
That said, you would certainly expect a few big-money moves to be made, and according to the bookies at least the five players listed below *could* all make headline-worthy transfers next month.
To stay at Arsenal (8/13), to leave Arsenal (6/5)
- Manchester City (7/2)
- PSG (12/1)
- AC Milan (25/1)
- Bayern Munich (25/1)
The bookmakers believe that Alexis Sanchez will stay at Arsenal in January, but at odds of 8/13 they are hardly suggesting they are certain of the fact.
The Chilean has intimated in the past that he is keen to leave the Gunners – the summer furore over his signature was evidence of that, and while January would be an unlikely time for him to move (summer 2018 is far more obvious), there are clear upsides to signing him.
He wouldn’t be cup-tied for the Champions League, meaning he could be added to any of the big boys’ squads, and of course with Arsenal down in sixth in the Premier League table they could be facing a second consecutive season without participation in the continent’s key competition.
You would think that Sanchez will be departing the Emirates in the summer, but as soon as January? It would be a huge surprise.
To stay at Leicester (4/6), to leave Leicester (11/10)
- Arsenal (5/2)
- Chelsea (9/1)
- Tottenham (12/1)
- Liverpool (16/1)
The bookies are also less-than-convinced that Riyad Mahrez will be hanging around at Leicester, even if they have made him odds-on to stay at the club for the time being at least.
The rumour mill was in overdrive in the summer that the Algerian would be swapping the East Midlands for the capital as he moved to Arsenal, but again that transfer was riding on the movement (or otherwise) of Sanchez.
The Gunners remain Mahrez’s most likely destination in January, should he leave the Foxes, but how about the speculative 25/1 on him to move to PSG?
That would probably depend on the actions of Neymar, who is said to be unhappy in Paris and longing for a return to former club Barcelona.
Although its not as if the Parisians are short of a few quid, so if they wanted to add Mahrez to their ‘portfolio’ of players then presumably they could and would!
To stay at Tottenham (10/11), to leave Tottenham (4/5)
- Manchester United (5/6)
- Any French club (12/1)
- Any Spanish club (12/1)
- Any Italian club (12/1)
The odds have it: there is a 50/50 chance that Danny Rose will leave Tottenham in the winter transfer window.
More pertinently, it appears as if a move to Manchester United – with the next player on our list moving in the opposite direction – is very much on the cards.
Jose Mourinho has made no secret of the fact that he seeks a high quality left back to add attacking punch as well as defensive solidity to his squad, and from that perspective Rose fits the bill.
But would he leave behind the fascinating project being built at Tottenham by Mauricio Pochettino to join Mourinho’s reign of terror at Old Trafford? It doesn’t exactly seem like a step forward for the England international, and while money talks he has always spoken fondly of his time at Spurs and his relationship with Pochettino.
Despite the paper talk linking Rose with a move to Manchester, we’d be inclined to back him staying at Spurs for the foreseeable future.
To stay at Manchester United (11/10), to leave Manchester United (4/6)
- Tottenham (5/4)
- Newcastle (7/1)
- Southampton (11/1)
- Chelsea (12/1)
That said, the fact that the bookmakers are pointing in the direction of Luke Shaw joining Tottenham in January suggests there’s another layer of intrigue to those ‘Rose to United’ claims.
It has never quite happened for Luke Shaw at Manchester United, whose long-term injury really did come at the worst time as he was beginning to find his feet at an elite level club. It’s also pretty apparent that Mourinho does not rate the stylish left back.
But there is history between Shaw and Pochettino. The latter wrote about the former in his recent book, stating that “I felt his [Shaw’s] head was not in the right place to make the sacrifices and decisions that are necessary at that age” when the pair worked together at Southampton. They say time is a great healer, but will it be enough for Poch to be convinced of a change in his former player’s psyche?
A surprising, but more likely, destination for Shaw is Chelsea. They have only Marcos Alonso as a recognised left-sided player, and while Shaw would have to make do with once again being the deputy, rather than the sheriff, he should still get plenty of game-time at a club still looking for trophies on four fronts.
Virgil van Dijk
To stay at Southampton (12/1), to leave Southampton (1/40)
- Liverpool (4/7)
- Manchester City (6/4)
- AC Milan (25/1)
- Chelsea (25/1)
Virgil van Dijk to Liverpool is all but a done deal according to the bookmakers. The Dutch centre back is an incredible 1/40 to leave Southampton, and the fact that Mauricio Pellegrini is preparing for life after van Dijk by dropping him from his first team squad speaks volumes.
Liverpool have drawn criticism for some of their defensive play this term, and so Jurgen Klopp is acting decisively by bringing in the ball-playing centre half. But can he be the answer to his new side’s prayers?