From Griezmann to Barkley: 10 January transfer targets
Who can snap up some of Europe’s top talent during the mid-season transfer dealings?
Ross Barkley, Nabil Fekir, Antoine Griezmann, Ryan Sessegnon. Photo: Getty Images
Thomas Lemar, Monaco
Despite Arsenal’s failure to secure the France international on the final day of the summer window after having a £92m offer accepted by Monaco, the size of the bid was an indication of how highly Arsène Wenger rates the versatile 22-year-old. He is not alone. Liverpool and Chelsea have also been keeping a close eye on his situation even if Monaco’s vice-president, Vadim Vasilyev, has insisted Lemar will not be sold in January following the big-money departures he sanctioned in the summer. But another bid in the region of £90m, particularly from either Jürgen Klopp or Antonio Conte, would probably be enough to persuade them to sell.
Estimated value: £90m.
Antoine Griezmann, Atlético Madrid
There was always a sense that the contract extension he signed in June was only ever going to delay the inevitable, and having admitted leaving Atlético in the summer as they prepared to move into their new home at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium would have been a “dirty move”, Griezmann appears likely to wave goodbye in January. Barcelona are the overwhelming favourites to pay his €100m (£88.4m) release clause despite being reported to Fifa by Atlético along with a suggestion that the timing of the transfer was designed to disrupt their chances in La Liga’s title race, although Manchester United could be tempted as well after coming closest to prising him away in June. A disappointing end to 2017 that has seen the 26-year-old find the net only five times this season should not dissuade suitors from pursuing a player who has proven he is one of the world’s best since moving to Atlético from Real Sociedad in 2014.
Estimated value: £88m.
Nabil Fekir, Lyon
It has been a long road to recovery for Fekir, who joined Lyon’s youth system at the age of 12. Having missed most of the 2015-16 with a serious knee injury, the 24-year-old showed glimpses of the talent that led to rumours Real Madrid were keeping tabs on him in the previous campaign but has emerged as his side’s key players since the sale of Alexandre Lacazette, having scored 13 times in Ligue 1 before Christmas. Arsenal have been mooted as a possible destination for the France international – along with most of Europe’s big-hitters – although Lyon’s chief executive, Jean-Michel Aulas, is known to drive a hard bargain and will not allow a player who is contracted for two more seasons to leave on the cheap.
Estimated value: £60m.
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Lazio
If you believe the reports in Italy, Manchester United, Liverpool, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain have been tracking the powerful midfielder this season after his impressive displays for Lazio in Serie A. Nicknamed “Sergente” for his imposing physique, the 22-year-old can play in several positions across midfield and scored five league goals before Christmas for the club he joined from the Belgian side Genk in 2015. Born in Spain but having won his first senior caps for Serbia this year, his value is only likely to rise with the World Cup on the horizon and that could explain why PSG are already said to be preparing an offer worth more than £100m through the super-agent Jorge Mendes.
Estimated value: £50m.
Many pundits in Brazil questioned Malcom’s wisdom in January 2016 when he decided to shun offers from clubs including Arsenal and Manchester City to sign for Bordeaux from his hometown club Corinthians, but he was cognisant of the French side’s history of providing South American players with their first step in European football, and the move has clearly paid dividends. A versatile forward capable of playing anywhere across the front line and in central midfield, the 20-year-old scored seven goals and provided four assists in Ligue 1 before Christmas and has attracted the scouts of most of Europe’s big guns. Manchester United appear the most keen at this stage and have been linked with a £30m bid, although the one-year extension to his contract signed back in September coupled with Bordeaux’s determination to hold on to their prized asset mean they may have to wait until the summer to get their man.
Estimated value: £40m.
Hirving Lozano, PSV
The Mexican is enjoying a brilliant start to his career at PSV after joining from Pachuca in the summer on a six-year contract, with 11 goals from 16 appearances making the 22-year-old top scorer in the Eredivisie at the halfway stage. That has attracted the attention of several big clubs, with Arsenal reportedly considering him as a replacement should Alexis Sánchez join Manchester City, and Liverpool also keeping tabs on him. “El Chucky” has put his excellent record in front of goal – he has also scored four for Mexico in 2017 – to the help of former Manchester United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy but it may take a few more goals like the individual effort against Venlo in December to convince someone to part with £40m.
Estimated value: £40m.
Ryan Sessegnon, Fulham
Fulham’s achievement of tying Sessegnon down to a three-year contract in the summer after he had scored seven goals in 30 appearances during his debut season was tempered by the realisation that the teenager probably would not see out that term. Six months on, the clamour for his signature has only increased after the defender-cum-winger’s brilliant performances for England at the European Under-19 Championship that saw him finish as joint top scorer. Scouts from Real Madrid have been to watch him in several of Fulham’s fixtures this season, with the goal against Cardiff on Boxing Day his fifth of the league campaign. But Manchester United and Tottenham are the frontrunners, having been informed the 17-year-old will be allowed to leave Craven Cottage for £30m.
Estimated value: £30m.
Ross Barkley, Everton
Expected to join Chelsea having repeatedly rejected Everton’s attempts to make him sign a contract extension, Barkley has still yet to return from the hamstring injury that he sustained on the eve of the new season but remains a target for last season’s champions. They should face competition from Tottenham, who were also keen to sign the 24-year-old in the summer and have earmarked him as a potential long-term successor to Mousa Dembélé in midfield. With only six months of his contract remaining, it is debatable whether anyone will be willing to pay more than £25m, although Everton may be prepared to accept less considering they will receive nothing in the summer.
Estimated value: £25m.
Steven N’Zonzi, Sevilla
Called up to the France squad for the first time in November at the age of 29, the former Blackburn and Stoke City midfielder has not played for Sevilla since being substituted at half-time of the Champions League draw against Liverpool at the end of November. The sacking of coach Eduardo Berizzo may offer N’Zonzi a way back to first-team selection, although his departure appears more likely given the number of English clubs who have registered an interest in the all-action midfielder. Everton’s Sam Allardyce and David Moyes of West Ham were among the first, with Arsenal also rumoured to be considering a bid. Anything north of £20m should be enough to tempt Sevilla into selling, having persuaded N’Zonzi to sign a contract extension in January to ward off Juventus.
Estimated value: £20m.
Firmin Ndombe Mubele, Rennes
When Mubele arrived in France last year, it was hoped that the forward who began his career at Congolese side Vita before moving to Qatar could go some way to replacing Ousmane Dembélé after his move to Borussia Dortmund. But while Dembélé now finds himself the second most expensive player in history following his switch to Barcelona, the DRC international took time to settle in Ligue 1 yet has now established himself as a key component of Sabri Lamouchi’s side having scored five goals in just 12 league starts, including one against Paris Saint-Germain. That has attracted interest from several clubs at the lower end of the Premier League, with Newcastle, West Brom, Swansea and Bournemouth among those keen on signing him. With goals at a premium in the fight against relegation, promising Young Boys striker Jean-Pierre Nsame could be another option for any of them.
Estimated value: £10m.