Ah yes, the transfer season is upon us again.
Considering how busy (and, dare I say, popular) Soccerlens was during the last transfer period (with 700,000+ pageviews in July and August), I’m hoping that January will be the same.
With that in mind, let’s do what we do best – speculate on the big deals expected to go through this month.
The transfers discussed below are the ones generating the most media speculation – not the ones ‘guaranteed’ to go through.
With that in mind…
1. Mathew Upson
Newcastle and Chelsea’s defensive frailties have made Upson a top target for the Premiership moneybags. Birmingham and Bruce have said that they won’t sell their star defender, but Upson wants a move and if he doesn’t get it in January he surely will in July this year.
I don’t think Chelsea will spring for Upson – they want the best, and Upson is not the best.
Upson to Newcastle?
2. Micah Richards
Strong, future England prospect, and not afraid to get forward. Richards is a target for several Premiership teams but Chelsea seems the most likely destination given their weakness at right-back. Manchester City won’t roll over though, and Richards will have SWP’s sorry example in front of him as well.
Still, money talks, so its only a matter of time before the lure of Champions League football becomes too strong for Richards.
3. Shaun Wright-Phillips
West Ham, Newcastle, Aston Villa, Manchester City, Portsmouth. Of these, Portsmouth will be the best bet considering their high-flying status, although West Ham and Manchester City are expected to be the most keen suitors. Chelsea will sell, as long as SWP wants to go.
4. Gareth Bale
Arsenal were the first team to be linked to Bale, and Chelsea and Manchester United, not to mention Tottenham, have been linked as well. United already have two quality left-backs in Heinze and Evra, although with Silvestre and Heinze getting old Bale could be a good investment. Arsenal have Clichy running into good form, but backup is always good.
Not likely to be sold in January, but he will be a major target.
5. Craig Gordon
His form for Hearts and Chelsea’s goal-keeping crisis has pushed Gordon to the top of many transfer lists. Arsenal are also potential recruiters, although Liverpool could be prompted to jump as well.
Gordon is another one of those players that are more likely to jump in July than January, but he’ll be closely watched too.
6. Nigel Reo-Coker
West Ham’s form means that if Arsenal or United come calling, Reo-Coker will find it very hard to ignore them. Magnusson’s money means that West Ham don’t need to sell but if a player wants to go, he wants to go.
7. Owen Hargreaves
Bayern’s hard stance on Owen has softened a bit, with the club indicating that they’re looking for cover to replace Hargreaves before he can be sold. United WILL move for him in January, and Bayern may just sell.
8. David Beckham
He’ll be bought to sell shirts, not to play (or so the critics say). Having said that, Becks doesn’t want to go to a non-CL club. He also wants to play, and he has a lot of pride, so there’s little choice for him in the Premiership.
That won’t stop people from talking though.
9. Jermaine Defoe
Popular target for United fans (albeit as a distant alternative to Torres). Defoe is unlikely to leave unless Champions League football comes calling, so unless a big four club moves for him, not going to happen.
He might just move in July though, if Robbie Keane stays.
10. Lucas Neill
Has been linked with Newcastle and Liverpool for a long time, and will most likely move this month.
Peter Crouch, Nani, Sylvain Distin, Joey Barton, Wes Brown, Alan Smith, Sidwell, Nugent, Eastwood….just a few of the names bandied about as possible transfer targets for January. From past experience, I’d prefer not to believe anything until there’s something more reliable than online banter (after all, I started the Klose for Manchester United rumour :P).
Having said that, I’ll be putting up a list of potential transfer targets for each club (along with an analysis of who and what they really need) soon. Like, this week.