Transfer gossip: United and Arsenal to battle it out for Atletico star, Subotic poised for Premier League
Arsene Wenger has predicted that this will be a busy transfer window for Premier League clubs, but who do the title chasers need to target as they look to sign a player that could transform their season?
Gareth Bale, Neymar and the other A-listers who may pop up on the back pages of newspapers as transfer targets in the next three weeks will not be moving in this transfer window, so managers and club owners need to be inventive when they target their marquee signings.
Here is your Independent.ie guide to the players the top clubs should be looking to target this month:
FELIPE ANDERSON (Lazio)
Linked with: Manchester United, Bayern Munich
This Brazilian is being hyped as one of the most sought-after players in this transfer window, with Lazio raising the stakes by publicly declaring they turned down a €50m bid from Manchester United last summer.
That appears to set a bar for the kind of offer that would be required to get this 22-year-old out of Lazio, with his untapped promise meaning his value is likely to soar before he gets his move.
Is he worth around €60m? Probably not, but in a transfer window when English clubs are prepared to spend big with a lucrative new TV deal on the horizon, don’t be surprised to see Anderson moving before the February 1st deadline.
ALEX TEIXEIRA (Shakhtar Donetsk)
Linked with: Chelsea
This transfer was expected to go through in the early days of the transfer window, but a deal has yet to be finalised as haggling continues over the fee for this attacking midfielder.
Chelsea may be wary of splashing the cash in the January transfer window after their disastrous deals to sign Fernando Torres (£50m in 2011) and Juan Cuadrado (£23m last year) confirm that mid-season transfers are not guaranteed to succeed.
He hardly seems to be the player they need at a time when defensive restructuring and additional striking power is required, but Teixeira seems to be a player Chelsea have been eager to sign for some time now.
SAUL NIGUEZ (Atletico Madrid)
Linked with: Manchester United, Arsenal
There is growing speculation that the fees being offered for Spanish starlet Niguez from Premier League clubs could see Atletico buckle and sell a 21-year-old who deserves to be recognised as one of the finest talents in European football.
Whether he would be ready to make a move to England is a different issue, with this talented performer still a little raw and possibly requiring another year or even two before he realises his full potential.
If United or Arsenal are looking for a player who will instantly give their team a fresh dimension, Niguez may not be their man. Yet their investment will be in youthful promise and this kid has those qualities in abundance.
NEVEN SUBOTIC (Borussia Dortmund)
Linked with: Liverpool
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has shown a degree of desperation by signing Steven Caulker on loan from QPR as he looks to plug gaps in his injury-hit defensive line and he would relish the chance to add his former charge Subotic to his options if possible.
Borussia Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel has insisted the experienced Serbian enforcer will not be allowed to leave this month “if it was his decision”, but Subotic is out of favour and not getting regular action and may feel compelled to look for a move.
If Klopp could get this powerhouse performer fully fit and firing, he would be a great addition to the Liverpool squad.
ALEXANDRE PATO (Corinthians)
Linked with Liverpool, Tottenham
This Brazilian starlet was being hailed as one of the rising stars of the world game not so long ago as he burst through at AC Milan, but his star has fallen somewhat and he has spent some time back in his homeland of late as he looks to kick-start his career.
Spurs have been heavily linked with a move for a 26-year-old who would have much to prove in the Premier League and with Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp ruling out a move for Pato on Tuesday, they appear to be favoruites to sign him.
With attacking talent in short supply right now, Pato would be an interesting back-up to Harry Kane and Son Heung-min as they plot an improbable push for the Premier League title.
ISCO (Real Madrid)
Linked with: Manchester City, Arsenal
Spanish football pundit Guillem Balague has insisted there is “no chance” of Isco moving to the English Premier League in this transfer window, yet his Sky Sports colleague Graham Hunter has claimed that a £30m offer would seal a deal for the Spaniard who has rumoured to be unsettled at Real Madrid for some time.
This classy performer would add to any side he was a part of, but his new boss Zinedine Zidane will been keen to hang on to all his best players as he plots a route to success in the second half of this season.
ODION IGHALO (Watford)
Linked with: Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea, Crystal Palace
This Nigerian forward has been one of the shining stars of this Premier League season and while Watford are insisting he is not for sale, it would be interesting to see how an offer in excess of £25m would be greeted by the Vicarage Road club.
With their top-flight status all but secure after a sparkling first half to the season, Watford may decide the time is right to cash in their chips at a moment when this livewire forward is such hot property.
A one season wonder or the real deal? We may only have the answer to that question if Ighalo is thrown into the mix at a top club.