Clubs up and down the country, continent and indeed the world will now have both eyes set on the upcoming January transfer window. The month tends to be a sellers market, as managers who are in dire need of reinforcements are forced to pay top dollar to address the gaps in their squad.
Sir Alex Ferguson famously did very little business in January, preferring to get his deals sorted out in the summer, going into the season with a solid squad that he felt had the quality and depth to stick around at the top of the table.
Today, we were going to look at 7 players who deserve transfers this January, but since we recently did three videos looking at players who we feel are too good for their current clubs, we thought there’d be too much of an overlap. Instead, one of our followers on Twitter suggested that we do 7 players who need transfers this January, either because they might not get another chance to get a hugely beneficial move, or because they need to seek out pastures new in order to push on and kick start their careers. So that’s what we’re going to be looking at today!
Here are 7 footballers who need January transfers:
7. Josef Martinez – Atlanta United
Prolific Venezuelan hit man Josef Martinez has been absolutely relentless in front of goal since signing for Atlanta United in 2017. During two seasons in the MLS, the 25-year-old has bagged a remarkable 50 goals in 54 games in the league, and 55 goals in 61 games in all competitions.
Quick, neat on the ball and precise in the finish, Martinez likes to play off the shoulder, providing a constant threat in behind and often veering out onto the left flank. He was Major League Soccer’s top scorer for the 2018 season, as Atlanta United lifted the MLS Cup, with Martinez inevitably scoring in the final.
Also named as the MLS’ Most Valuable Player for 2018, it’s little wonder people are talking about the possibility of a move away from the Mercedes-Benz Stadium for Martinez. The player himself stated that he had no desire to play in Europe earlier this month, claiming that he was happy in Atlanta and would only leave if the club no longer wanted him.
Another stumbling block could be Martinez’s previous record in Europe, having failed to score prolifically during his three years in Switzerland and Italy. Nevertheless, goal scorers are a precious commodity, and for a desperate team, Martinez could prove an attractive risk.
For Martinez himself, it’s great if he is settled in Atlanta, but if he has long term aims to play at the highest level, there may well never be a finer time for him to move than next month.
6. Taison – Shakhtar Donetsk
I think we might do a video on seven footballers who are older than you think next month, and if we do, this man could well be in it. The Brazilian international made my shortlist for this seven, and sealed his place among the top seven when I found out he was 30 years old.
Although he is reportedly the best paid player at Shakhtar Donetsk on almost £40,000 a week, he could easily double that with a move to one of Europe’s elite leagues, and maybe even treble it in the Premier League.
Beyond the financial implications though, at the age of 30, Taison may not get many more chances to join a top club after this January. A quick, tricky and versatile footballer who tends to come in off the left flank, Taison has quick feet and a cannon of a right foot.
He has been with Shakhtar for more than five years now, and in that time he’s seen the likes of Fred, Bernard, Douglas Costa, Fernandinho, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Willian leave the club. Sampdoria were said to be interested over the summer, whilst the British media linked Manchester United with the player, but with a supposed €20-25 million price tag on his head, you’d think one or two clubs might take a chance on the former Internacional man this January.
5. Callum Hudson-Odoi – Chelsea
It seems ridiculous that at the age of 18, we are suggesting that Callum Hudson-Odoi needs to move away from Stamford Bridge. However, we’re seeing players in his age group like Jadon Sancho and Reiss Nelson going over to Germany and getting bags of experience at a really good level and even breaking into the national team in Sancho’s case.
We think Hudson-Odoi is one of the brightest prospects in the British game, and is comfortably good enough to replicate the success of those two either outside of the Premier League or at a club capable of giving him more first team football.
The counter-argument, perhaps, might be that there’s a good chance Chelsea could lose Eden Hazard this summer, if the comments coming from the Belgian himself are anything to go by, in which case Hudson-Odoi’s first team prospects could look rather rosier.
Chelsea have a pretty dreadful track record when it comes to promoting their youth products, however, despite having a fantastic academy, and we suspect that if Hazard was to leave, another big name forward would come. With that being the case, we’d personally love to see Hudson-Odoi become the latest to force the issue and get himself game time, even if it was just a loan move.
Quick, skillful and confident when committing defenders, Hudson-Odoi is comfortable on either flank, and with the right nurturing, he could reach the very highest level. He has recently been linked with a £25 million move to Bayern Munich.
4. Thorgan Hazard – Borussia Monchengladbach
A man who used to take FIFA Ultimate Team players from pure to joy to absolute agony when they saw the Belgium flag and the name Hazard pop up, only for it to be Eden’s lesser known brother Thorgan sitting in their pack.
At the age of 25, the middle child of the Hazard brothers is starting to emerge from his brothers rather large shadow. Having joined Chelsea in 2012 at the same time as Eden, Thorgan left the club to join Borussia Monchengladbach on a permanent deal in 2015.
Since then, he has racked up more than 150 appearances, 43 goals and 37 assists for the Bundesliga outfit, including 10 goals from 12 games so far this season. Form like that doesn’t go unnoticed, and the Belgian internationals combination of technique and footballing intelligence would make him a welcome addition to almost any team.
Ironically, he would make an excellent replacement for Eden Hazard at Chelsea should the Blues lose their star man, but it’s unclear whether they put a buy-back clause into his deal with Monchengladbach three years ago.
3. Miguel Almiron – Atlanta United
Making it two Atlanta United players in this seven, and the only player from our ‘too good for their clubs’ series to feature in this seven, regular viewers and subscribers to this channel may be sick of hearing about Miguel Almiron.
Josef Martinez might have been named as the MLS’ MVP for 2018, but we think this man is the superior footballer. Almiron has a fantastic burst of pace, he’s excellent on the ball, really creative and capable of playing in central or attacking midfield.
Still only 24, the Paraguayan international has never previously played in Europe, but he has been heavily linked with January moves to both Arsenal and Newcastle United. Unlike Martinez, Almiron has been a little more coy about those transfer suggestions, and we think Atlanta could have a hard time hanging onto him next month.
2. Ruben Loftus-Cheek – Chelsea
Three of the seven players featured in this video are either current or former Chelsea players, and in second place is the second player in this seven who is currently at Stamford Bridge. Ruben Loftus-Cheek is a player who we like a lot, and unlike Hudson-Odoi, he isn’t a boy anymore… He’ll turn 23 next month.
At that age, a player as talented as Loftus-Cheek simply has to be playing week-in, week-out, and right now he just isn’t. He hasn’t let Maurizio Sarri down when called upon this season, even scoring a hat-trick in the Europa League, but just faces a battle for a spot in midfield with the likes of Jorginho, N’Golo Kante, Ross Barkley, Mateo Kovacic and Cesc Fabregas for competition.
Loftus-Cheek has all the attributes to be an absolute monster in the middle of the park. He’s so strong on the ball, he can beat players with pace, power or technique, his control is very good and clearly he could be capable of scoring plenty of goals.
He has been linked with January moves to both Bournemouth and West Ham, with sources suggesting he’d prefer a loan move to a permanent transfer. Loftus-Cheek’s desire to break into Chelsea’s first team is admirable, but it could be seriously damaging to his career if he isn’t playing regular football in the imminent future.
0. Honourable Mentions
There were plenty of players who made our shortlist for this video but didn’t quite make the final seven for one reason or another. Among them was Wales centre-back James Chester, who is the best defender in the country outside of the Premier League in our eyes. At the age of 29, Chester really ought to be playing top flight football, but he just missed out on the grounds that Villa aren’t far off the play-offs, so there’s still a slim chance he could be back in the Premier League with the club next season.
Staying in the Championship, Bradley Dack is working wonders at Blackburn Rovers having inspired the club to promotion from League One last season. A fairly slow and slightly rotund looking attacking midfielder or second striker, Dack is clever, skillful and a menace in front of goal. He has averaged almost a goal every other game since signing for Blackburn from Gillingham, and only misses out because we think he might be better off holding out for a move in the summer.
Other players who made our shortlist but didn’t feature include the likes of Stuttgart defender Benjamin Pavard, Napoli’s rock at the back Kalidou Koulibaly and stubborn Gremio star Luan.
That’s it for the honourable mentions, so now we come to top spot…
1. Andreas Pereira – Manchester United
One or two players might be quite content to get away from Manchester United in January the way things are going at Old Trafford right now, but not for the same reasons that we think Andreas Pereira has to move on from the 2017 Europa League winners.
Aged 22 and enormously talented, Pereira is a full Brazilian international, but he couldn’t get a look in under Jose Mourinho. Whilst Loftus-Cheek isn’t getting enough game time for his age, he’s a bonafide first team regular compared to Pereira, who has only started 3 games and has only played 264 minutes of football in all competitions this season.
That’s just not acceptable for a player with his talent and potential. Pereira has made 66 appearances in La Liga on loan at Granada and Valencia in the last two seasons, but Manchester United are desperate for points, and that isn’t a position which tends to lend itself to giving youngsters more opportunities.
We think Pereira’s career is in real danger of stagnating, and currently being linked with a January move to West Ham United, he is the man who we think is most in need of a transfer next month.