As the January transfer window fast approaches, many of Europe’s biggest clubs will have already begun the process of shaping their squads for the rest of the season.
With players on the move for a variety of reasons – a lack of game time, good form alerting a bigger club or simply having no future at their current club – next months promises to be one of the most fascinating January windows in years.
From players who have yet to feature for a single minute this campaign to one of Europe’s top goalscorers, here are 12 players – in no particular order – who could be on the move in January.
The former Manchester City youth academy star has struggled to hit anywhere close to the numbers that made Manchester United invest £73million in him from Borussia Dortmund.
Sancho made the switch to United in the summer of 2021 while Ole Gunnar Solskjær was still at the helm and was followed through the door by Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo.
In his debut campaign at Old Trafford, Sancho scored five goals and registered three assists in 38 appearances in all competitions for the Red Devils. In comparison, the season prior at Dortmund in the same number of games, he scored 16 times and registered 20 assists in all competitions.
The arrival of Erik ten Hag has failed to reignite his career and arguably he has regressed even further, being dismissed from first-team training after a disagreement with the manager at the beginning of this campaign.
With only 76 minutes for the first team so far this season, it is likely that Sancho will seek greener pastures to rekindle what was an electric start to his professional career.
After his form with Leeds United in the Championship earned him an England call-up, Kalvin Phillips seemed to have the world at his feet.
Under Marcelo Bielsa, the defensive midfielder would take his game to a new level as his boyhood club earned promotion back to the Premier League after a prolonged absence from the top flight, where Phillips would make it into the PFA’s Championship team of the season in 2019/20.
A £45million move to Manchester City would materialise in July 2022, but the now 28-year-old would only feature for 593 minutes in all competitions as City recorded a famous treble.
This campaign, he has featured just as sporadically, appearing in only 318 minutes in all competitions so far.
Newcastle and Juventus are said to be interested in the Englishman, but the Yorkshire native is said to want assurances of game time before he makes any such move.
PSG added an array of attacking talent in the summer including Randal Kolo Muani, Goncalo Ramos, Ousmane Dembele, Bradley Barcola and Kang-in Lee, but have seemingly forgotten about Hugo Ekitike.
At just 19, the Frenchman scored 10 and assisted four times in Ligue 1 for Reims as they recorded a 12th-place finish, ending the season as their top goalscorer.
After rejecting a move to Newcastle United in 2021, Ekitike moved to PSG on loan last season with an option to buy for around £35million, which PSG duly triggered.
Failing to complete a full 90 minutes in the league in his first season hasn’t helped his cause, with Ekitike appearing just once in the league this season and being omitted from the Champions League squad by manager Luis Enrique.
Newcastle still reportedly hold an interest in the 21-year-old, as do West Ham,and it is hard to see him sticking around in Paris for much longer given his lack of minutes.
The English international was signed for Arsenal in the summer of 2021 and replaced Bernd Leno as Mikel Arteta’s number one despite suffering back-to-back relegations from the Premier League with Bournemouth and Sheffield United.
After being the Gunners’ undisputed number one for the past couple of seasons, this year has seen him lose his starting birth to the on-loan David Raya from Brentford.
Raya is lauded for his ability with the ball at his feet – something that Ramsdale is less comfortable with – and despite starting the first four games of the season Ramsdale has only started one of Arsenal’s Premier League games since then, a 1-0 away victory at Brentford where Raya was ineligible.
Ramsdale, 25, will undoubtedly be growing frustrated with his lack of game time in London. Chelsea were recently linked, though TEAMtalk reported that the Blues will not be signing the Englishman in January.
With Nick Pope out until April, Newcastle United have also been linked with Ramsdale, with deputy goalkeeper Martin Dubravka serving as the Magpies’ number one in the meantime.
With natural goalscorers becoming increasingly difficult to purchase nowadays, Ivan Toney will likely be in high demand this upcoming window with his contract expiring in 2025.
The 27-year-old hasn’t played a single minute this campaign due to being banned for betting breaches, but his ban is due to end in January. Right in time to join a new club, maybe?
Toney has an outstanding record at Brentford, claiming 41 goals and assists as Brentford achieved promotion from the Championship via the playoffs in 2021.
Last season alone, he hit 20 goals and recorded four assists in 33 Premier League matches for the Bees.
Arsenal have been prominently linked with the striker in recent times, with neither Gabriel Jesus nor Eddie Nketiah being as prolific as Arteta would have hoped.
If the Gunners have serious title ambitions, expect a forward to feature high up on Arteta’s shopping list.
Before this campaign, Serhou Guirassy was not a household name across Europe. This season though, that has drastically changed.
Guirassy made an initial loan move to Stuttgart last season from Rennes, scoring 11 times in 22 games – enough for the German side to make the move permanent for roughly £7million.
This campaign, he has netted 17 times in 14 matches for Die Roten – including 10 in his first five – behind only Harry Kane in the Bundesliga scoring charts.
His lethal goalscoring form has seen him linked with the likes of Man United, West Ham and Tottenham in recent weeks, but after only signing for Stuttgart permanently in the summer it is unlikely that he will come cheap.
A name you will likely be hearing a lot shortly is Benfica prodigy Joao Neves.
Only 19 years old, Neves has already locked down a starting place in the Portuguese champions’ starting 11 this campaign, featuring in each of Benfica’s league games as they currently sit in second, just a point behind Sporting Lisbon.
The £100million sale of Enzo Fernandez to Chelsea has barely gone noticed in the Portuguese capital as Neves has seamlessly adapted to life at the highest level.
Manchester United have been the club most prominently linked with the midfielder, though Manchester City are also said to have taken an interest.
However, any move will not be cheap with Benfica reportedly demanding upwards of £105million for their academy product.
Joining Man United for upwards of £70million from Real Madrid in the summer of 2022, Casemiro is reportedly already ready to quit Man United after just 18 months in England.
The Brazilian, who turns 32 in February, hasn’t featured for the Red Devils picking up a knock in the victory over Brentford on October 7.
The seemingly constant turmoil on and off the pitch at Man United these days has increased the likelihood of Casemiro’s exit, with clubs in Saudi Arabia naturally linked due to his financial demands being in the region of £300,000 per week.
A swap deal with Bayern Munich for young forward Mathys Tel has also been touted in recent times, as it is looking increasingly likely that the defensive midfielder will cut his time in Manchester short in January.
Donny van de Beek
The first confirmed departure from a seemingly long list at Old Trafford is Dutch midfielder Donny van de Beek.
The 26-year-old has endured a torrid time in Manchester and his days at the Red Devils are numbered with a loan move to German side Eintracht Frankfurt already being confirmed ahead of the opening of the January window.
Van de Beek has appeared just 62 times in all competitions for United since joining the club for £35million in the summer of 2020, scoring and assisting on just two occasions each in that period.
A loan move to Everton in the second half of 2021/22 brought no joy for the Dutchman, who will hope a move to Germany can revitalise what looked like a once-promising career – just as Marip Gotze has enjoyed a renaissance with the Eagles.
The final Man United player on this list, Anthony Martial‘s career will more than likely go down as a huge ‘what if?’
The Frenchman joined United in the summer of 2015 for upwards of £50million from Monaco and scored a memorable goal on his debut, coming on as a substitute in a 3-1 home win over Liverpool in which he scored United’s third goal.
Since then, Martial has played under four different permanent managers at United but has failed to truly live up to his potential under any of them. He has appeared over 300 times for the Red Devils in all competitions but has been plagued with injury throughout his time in Manchester.
With his contract expiring at the end of the season, United may want to cash in whilst they can, with Inter Milan reportedly interested in acquiring his services.
Chelsea has suffered something of an injury crisis in defensive areas this campaign, with Trevoh Chalobah being one of many in the treatment room.
Able to deputise as either a defensive midfielder or a centre-back, Chalobah has been at the Blues since 2007 and has made his way through the youth setup to the first team, with loan spells at Ipswich, Huddersfield and Lorient all having come before his debut in west London.
The English youth international has been out with injury this entire campaign and has yet to appear in a league match for Chelsea since May.
With Axel Disasi, Wesley Fofana, Thiago Silva, Benoit Badiashille and Levi Colwill all able to play centre-back, it seems likely that upon shortly returning to fitness Chalobah will be heading to the exit door in January, with Jose Mourinho’s Roma reportedly having reached an agreement to sign the 24-year-old.
Rounding off this list is another Chelsea player, this time in the form of English winger Noni Madueke.
Madueke joined Chelsea in January 2023 for around £28.5million off of the back of a fruitful spell at PSV, signing a seven-and-a-half-year contract in west London.
Since then, Madueke has only managed to accumulate 18 league appearances for the Blues, failing to complete 90 minutes on any of those occasions.