As we venture into the second half of our countdown, players mentioned are of a notably higher caliber than previously mentioned in our list. Inevitably, these deals all involve clubs of an accordingly higher standard but are no less likely to happen this month, so let’s begin:
10. Mesut Ozil
Bang on the halfway mark in our chart sits a player who’s manager has recently stated that he’s hoping for no January departures in 2012, but even statements like this won’t stop the relentless cycle that is transfer specualtion.
Mesut Ozil is a surprising feature in this year’s transfer talk but the midfielder has nevertheless been linked with a move away from the Santiago Bernabeu.
Since completing his switch from Werder Bremen 18 months ago, the German star has accrued over 70 Real Madrid appearances, netting 12 goals as well as contributing 33 assists.
On paper, the 23 year-old seems a consistent cog in the La Liga side’s clockwork, however December reports claimed that the playmaker could be shifted on by his Portuguese boss if early-season form wasn’t improved upon.
Manchester United were one side being associated with Ozil at the time of his Madrid transfer and if any deal was to be made for the maestro, the Red Devils would no doubt be in with a shout when considering the amount of absentees their midfield is currently suffering.
The Premier League champions were reportedly close to signing Wesley Sneijder over the summer and are still to sign a trademark creative midfielder, which some critics feel the side is in desperate need of.
Another side said to be interested in Gelsenkirchen-born Ozil is Kenny Dalglish’s Liverpool.
The Merseysiders are also lacking a creative edge this season despite investing over £50m in their midfield over the summer transfer window.
Some have commented – and with substance to the claim – that the Anfield side have never really recovered from the loss of Xabi Alonso, and with Steven Gerrard missing so much of 2011 due to injury, reinforcements may be needed.
Whilst United are the more likely of the two to sign Ozil given their heavy 2010 interest, anything is possible under the relatively new Liverpool ownership and a deal could be within their reach when it comes to the £25m-rated Ozil.
Sticking with the theme of possible Real Madrid departees, we have a player who is all that much lower in Mourinho’s estimations and all that much more likely to leave the club.
Since breaking the world record transfer fee in the summer of 2009, things couldn’t have gone too much worse for Brazilian playmaker, Kaka, who is understood to on the ‘For Sale’ list at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Again, it’s all well and good for manager Jose Mourinho to state his intentions of hanging on to every single player in his squad, but it wouldn’t exactly boost morale if he were to start reeling off every disappointment that he wants off of his wage bill.
At 29, Kaka doesn’t hold the same promise he did in the last decade but could be a very valuable bargain having won the Ballon d’Or just over four years ago.
Far from his £56m fee of 2009, numerous statements from the Spanish side have revealed that the attacking midfielder could be available for just over £20m, putting the likes of Tottenham and Arsenal on high alert.
Arsene Wenger is still looking to replenish his creative ranks after losing Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri over the summer and could get just that out of Kaka if he could return the midfielder to his best form.
Harry Redknapp is another Premier League manager looking to add to his squad and Kaka could fit the bill with Redknapp stating just last month that Spurs are preparing to make a ‘major signing’ in January.
Tottenham will need to offload some bench players if they are to gain the funds necessary to purchase the Brazilian but with the player failing to gain few starting places at Madrid, a January move away from the side is a big possibility.
8. Emmanuel Adebayor
Number Eight on our list has the privilege of being the only player of the 20 who is already featuring for the side he’s rumoured to be moving to.
The enigma can of course only be Emmanuel Adebayor, who has spent the last five months on loan at Tottenham Hotspur and is loving life in his new role.
The Togolese international famously fell out of favour with the Manchester City hierarchy, and was even relegated to training with the Spurs reserve team at a particularly low point of his two year stay at the club.
It seems unlikely that the 27 year-old will ever feature in a Manchester City shirt again and Harry Redknapp appears intent on making sure that is case by signing the forward on a permanent basis this month.
Adebayor has scored nine goals in fifteen appearances for Spurs and doesn’t seem likely to relax anytime soon, stating himself that he would like to convert his loan spell at White Hart Lane into a permanent move.
Although it’s completely feasible that the deal could be made in the summer, Redknapp also runs the risk of opening Adebayor’s possibilities up to the rest of the world’s elite.
If the first half of the season is anything to go by, the striker is back to his playing best and if Spurs were to wait until July to strike a deal, many other clubs are sure to state interest in the £15m-rated forward.
However, if January talks are held regarding a permanent switch, Adebayor would be expected to take a hefty pay-cut, with City currently financing over half of his £170,000-a-week salary.
Daniel Levy is known to have a tight grip on the Whites’ pay structure, and only now are the club considering breaking their wage cap in order to hang on to talisman, Luka Modric.
Both parties seem intent on the African hitman staying at White Hart Lane for the long run, and we wouldn’t surprised if the deed gets done very soon.
Depending on City’s eagerness to get rid of their outcast, the striker’s price may also drop dramatically and wheeling-dealing Harry could be on to another bargain in January.
7. Luka Modric
Although they say that good things come in threes, we at Footybunker have always felt that twos are far more convenient, especially so since this chart started.
To make up the Tottenham transfer pair comes talismanic midfielder Luka Modric who can’t get away from the rumours no matter how hard he tries.
The midfielder stated last week that he was ‘almost certain’ that he’d be staying at White Hart Lane until the end of the season, and it’s exactly that little adverb, ‘almost’, that keeps the hopes of Chelsea and Manchester United alive.
Chelsea have proven unsuccessful in the their attempts at signing the 24 year-old over the last two transfer windows and are understood to have had their last bid of £35m rejected by the Tottenham boardroom.
Despite this stout defence over their most prized asset, Spurs should be preparing for another onslaught of offers because since the summer deadline passed, the Chelsea link has done nothing to suggest they won’t return for the player.
United have an arguably more dire need for the Croatian maestro as they find themselves considerably short-handed in the middle of the park.
Darren Fletcher has taken an indefinite break from the game as he battles against a stomach illness while starlet Tom Cleverley is out with an ankle injury.
That leaves Sir Alex Ferguson with very few choices in the centre, with Ryan Giggs, Park and Anderson proving the most likely candidates.
After missing out on Wesley Sneijder in August, many have commented on the side’s need for a creative midfielder which is certainly one of their weaker areas given the squad’s current state.
Harry Redknapp certainly hasn’t loosened the grip on his star either, and appears to be more reluctant than ever to let him go as he searches for a top three finish in the Premier League.
One thing for sure is that bids will certainly be submitted for the attacking midfielder this month, and if an offer of £40m+ goes in, Spurs could find it hard to hold on to their creative constant.
6. Marco Reus
Just falling short of the top five possible January transfers is Marco Reus who, after a standout 2011, seems destined to be playing for a new side by the time 2013 rolls around.
Bundesliga telegrams have been in full action regarding the transfer of the Bavarian following his exploits this campaign that have helped Borussia Monchengladbach to their current position of fourth place.
The starlet, who start the season as an out-and-out winger, has shown his versatility this season and done a magnificent job sitting behind the strikers at times, contributing to his goal tally which, as I write, sits at ten.
After playing such a pivotal role in Gladbach’s overwhelming start to the Bundesliga season, it was inevitable that teams would come calling regarding his signature but nobody could have foretold what high grade interest it would be.
On the domestic front, Bayern Munich have arisen to enquire as they always do when a Bundesliga sensation pops up, while Borussia Dortmund seem just as keen to re-sign the attacker.
The German league title holders let Reus leave the club as a teen, thinking his physical stature would inhibit his growth; how wrong they were.
‘Rolls Reus’, as he is known, may be at the top of the duo’s shopping lists but neither are expected to make a move for him just yet, and are likely to wait until the summer to pounce when a release clause means he will be available for only £14m.
This brings his Premier League interest to the plate where, as the division has shown in the past, money can be readily available to a select few clubs.
Manchester City and Arsenal have both reportedly targeted Reus as January targets and will be looking to sign the hitman in a pre-emptive striker before their German counterparts have a chance to make their summer offers.
It’s understood that the 22 year-old would prefer to stay in Germany but he is yet to rule out a move abroad and may opt for the switch if either side is willing to stump up the £25m valuation.
Final part to follow…
West Brom offering player-plus-cash deal for European goal machine