The January transfer window is only a couple of months away and no doubt clubs are already plotting potential moves. There are some high profile players whose contracts will be up at the end of the season, most notably Sami Khedira, Dani Alves, Giorgio Chiellini and James Milner, to name but a few.
However if a club’s scouting department has done their homework they would have identified a number of high quality players at potentially bargain basement prices.
Here are a few names who could produce some bang for their buck.
1. Stephan Lichtsteiner – Right Back – Juventus
The Swiss international has already been linked with Arsenal and it’s not hard to see why. A quick, energetic full-back, the Swiss defender could be the perfect cover that Arsene Wenger requires for Mathieu Debuchy. Indeed Arsenal is just one of many potential suitors for the talented right back who already has a goal and two assists to his name in Serie A this season whilst Juventus have kept seven clean sheets.
The bianconeri have stated their determination to keep hold of Lichtsteiner but the Swiss international possesses a stronger hand with respect to negotiating terms. A move to La Liga or the Premier League could be in the offing this January for player nicknamed Forrest Gump.
2. Yoann Gourcuff – Attacking Midfielder – Olympique Lyonnais
Gourcuff was meant to be France’s next big thing when he burst onto the scene with Rennes. Unfortunately, he has struggled to live up to the hype after suffering a disappointing spell at Milan.
At Bordeaux he showed what he was capable of scoring a wonder goal against Paris Saint-Germain.
Gourcuff then moved to Lyon but his time at Lyon hasn’t been an unqualified success having struggled with injuries and poor performances. He has though appeared to recaptured the form that at one time saw him labeled the successor to Zinedine Zidane. Playing in the number 10 position he has dictated the pace of games and has scored big goals already including a strike that ended Marseille’s winning streak.
A classy and creative player Gourcuff at his best can produce moments of genuine magic. The problem is that he hasn’t been able to produce on a consistent basis. That said he could be worth a gamble and could be available at a cut-price deal. Juventus has been linked with similar players such as Juan Mata but if they are looking for a cheaper yet high-quality alternative Gourcuff could be the man for the Turin club.
3. Lasse Schöne – Attacking Midfielder – Ajax Amsterdam
The Danish midfielder has said he’s in no rush to leave the Dutch giants despite being in the final year of his contract. Schöne, Ajax’s player of the year last season, is a creative and versatile player who is comfortable making and scoring goals. Last season he scored 15 goals and had nine assists in all competitions and this term he’s already notched up seven strikes and three assists.
Schöne is a fantastic striker of a dead ball and is a goal scoring threat from great distances. His set-piece ability would be an asset to any side.
Schöne has been linked with a move to Borussia Mönchengladbach and could be tempted to test himself in a new league as he doesn’t have much more left to prove in the Eredivisie.
4. Winston Reid – Center Back – West Ham United
West Ham may have entered a brave new world under Sam Allardyce playing dashing, attacking football but they’d be well advised to get Winston Reid’s signature on a new contract. He did have a somewhat indifferent start early in the season but he has grown with each game and could be open to a move in January.
Strong in the air and adept on the floor as well the 26-year old New Zealand International wouldn’t be short of suitors. Young yet battle hardened a few of the so called ‘bigger’ teams in the Premier League could do with his presence in the backline. Arsenal and Manchester United have been linked but reports have suggested that Reid has his heart set on a move to Anfield at the end of the season. Brendan Rogers could make a move in January though if Liverpool’s defense continues to look fragile.
5. Sebastian Giovinco – Attacker – Juventus
The Italian international has not had the happiest times at Juventus over the last couple of seasons. This term he has only made fleeting appearances in Serie A starting just twice for the Turin club this season.
His goal and assists record isn’t what it should be and perhaps a move could be just what the forward needs to get his career back on track.
Giovinco’s agent admitted that the player is a little disillusioned at Juventus stating to Mediaset Television:
“Obviously he’s a bit disappointed about this. He’s only played a few minutes and he’s practically played more for Italy [than for Juve]. He wants to be able to do more for the cause.”
Giovinco’s most productive season came on-loan at Parma in the 2011/12 season scoring 15 times for the club. They would almost certainly be in for the diminutive player if he were made available in January. Arsenal is also credited with interest.
It probably is in Giovinco’s best interest to move to a club that’ll give him a platform to re-establish himself again.
6. Nigel de Jong – Defensive Midfielder – AC Milan
The Dutch destroyer has been linked with a January move to Manchester United. It would be an understatement to say that United have been wobbly at the back but de Jong at the very least can help screen the fragile defence at United. His presence wouldn’t go amiss at Arsenal and arguably Liverpool either.
De Jong is not the most complicated player in the world but by the same token he is a reliable defensive midfielder whose link-up play is underrated. De Jong’s presence allows creative players in front of him the freedom to push forward with the knowledge that they have their back covered.
The Dutch international said that he is happy in Milan but no deal has been forthcoming as yet.
7. Andre-Pierre Gignac – Striker – Marseille
The French International has been in sensational form for Marcelo Bielsa’s Marseille scoring 10 goals in 12 Ligue 1 games. The frontman has been linked with both Newcastle United and Arsenal could be available in the new year with the president of Marseille, Vincent Labrune, admitting that his club could struggle to keep the striker beyond January.
From Arsenal’s point of view Gignac will deepen their pool of strikers and may well be an upgrade on Olivier Giroud.
Newcastle could also do with an effective forward as they look thin in the striking department.
Whether Gignac can keep up his amazing scoring streak remains to be seen but with the striker’s contract winding down he is a gamble worth taking.
8. Fabian Schär – Centre Back – FC Basel
Fabian Schär is a young defender tipped to have a big future ahead of him and at a reported £7 million represents good value.
His signature appears to be prized by a number of clubs including: Arsenal, Manchester United, Lazio, Inter Milan and Borussia Dortmund.
A calm and collected defender, Schär is good in the air and good on the ball the Swiss international is hot property and is capable of becoming a defensive rock for a top European club for years to come.
He also is a goal threat as which is a useful additional extra but don’t expect too many efforts like this.
In an age where top quality centre backs seem few and far between £7million seems to be a reasonable fee for a defender with as much potential as Schär.
There are other players to watch out for. Marseille’s André Ayew has attracted the attention of the Merseyside clubs. Dutch duo Ron Vlaar and Klass-Jan Huntelaar can provide good short-term solutions for clubs who are struggling in the defensive and attacking thirds respectively. Schalke has opened talks with Huntelaar though and will be keen to tie up his future before the January window opens.
There are bargains to be had in the January transfer window but clubs will need to act quickly. Chances are these players will be snapped up or sign pre-contract agreements sooner rather than later.
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