The transfer window is now open! Here are the top five stories you need to know from the past 24 hours as 2014 begins...
1) Liverpool have 'agreed' a first option deal to sign Derby County midfielder Will Hughes, report The Mirror. The future of the England under-21 international has been agreed amid a deal to send Andre Wisdom to Derby for the rest of the season on loan. However the transfer will only happen 'if' Derby decide to sell, with financial terms unlikely to have been agreed. Derby's promotion push under Steve McClaren could complicate a switch in the summer if the Rams secure Premier League football.
2) A new left-back linked with Manchester United is Zenit St Petersburg defender Dominico Criscito. The Mail claim the Red Devils are monitoring him in addition to regular names Leighton Baines, Fabio Coentrao and Luke Shaw. Alexander Buttner continues to be linked with an exit. Criscito is interesting because he is keen to leave Zenit. He is thought to prefer a return to Italy, but clearly playing abroad is a move he would not consider. The 27-year-old is valued at £14 million and has 21 caps for his country, with four goals.
3) Michael Essien's agent has been talking about his client's future again, this time confirming he 'will' leave Chelsea in January. Speaking to Tuttomercatoweb in Italy Fabien Piveteau denied a deal to French side Bastia was on the cards, but added a move to Serie A interests the midfielder. Essien, 31, has made just two Premier League starts this season. His possible departure, with Marco van Ginkel out for the season, would be a clear sign Chelsea intend to sign a new midfielder this January.
4) Liverpool are poised to sign Barcelona winger Cristian Tello on loan, write Spanish newspaper Marca. They report the deal to be 'imminent', adding the player has 'one foot in Liverpool'. Liverpool presently have Victor Moses, also on loan, and Raheem Sterling as options out wide, but Brendan Rodgers is keen to add depth, and also wanting not to overuse the Englishman. Signing Tello would be ideal, and the player is said to be keen, having started just two La Liga games this season for Barcelona. It is suggested that the loan deal could even turn into a permanent one.
5) West Ham are prepared to meet Southampton's £8 million asking price for striker Rickie Lambert, report The Mirror. The England international has fallen behind Jay Rodriguez and Daniel Osvaldo in the Saints pecking order and the Hammers, desperate for a striker, are hopeful of convincing him to sign. Lambert's intentions are unclear, but the fee is a sizeable one for a 31-year-old. Lambert has scored six goals this season in the Premier League and provided five assists, with West Ham prepared to offer the money up front.
image: © Eamon Curry