With the January transfer window upon us, we decided to take a look at some potential targets for each of the Premier League teams. Traditionally the January transfer window has thrown up a mixed bag of successes and failures in the transfer market, but if needs, must, teams will spend. It promises to be an interesting window…
Morgan Sanson – 22-year-old central midfielder, Montpellier
Sanson has been in scintillating form this season, scoring three and assisting seven for mid-table Montpellier. This has attracted the interest of Bournemouth, as well as European heavyweights Borussia Dortmund, Lyon and Ligue 1 leader Nice.
Alongside the passive and notoriously defensive midfield options, with the exception of Jack Wilshire, that Eddie Howe has available to him, Sanson would add the goals and creativity that are somewhat lacking in Bournemouth’s game right now.
The Frenchman who has 18 months left on his current contract would command a figure within the region of £15 million.
Olivier Ntcham – 20-year-old central midfielder, Genoa on loan from Manchester City
Even the biggest football hipsters or Football Manager fanatics cannot seriously know who this man is. Ntcham is another French central midfielder on this list, and his physical and lambasting style of play would be useful in allowing players like Harry After and Andrew Surman to dictate play with their passing.
The Frenchman who has represented the national team at every level up to Under-20, would not necessarily add goals or assists to the Cherries game, but a physical presence that is needed to thrive in the ever competitive Premier League, along the line of N’Golo Kante that is successfully deployed by Chelsea and Everton with Idrissa Gana Gueye – who has the most successful tackles in the league.
Ntcham would probably cost around £3 or £4 million.
Conor Chaplin – 19-year-old striker, Portsmouth
Due to the limited funds afforded to him, as a result of Bournemouth’s need to redevelop the Vitality Stadium, Eddie Howe may have to dip into the lower leagues in order to source the same sort of young British talent that personifies Bournemouth’s mantra and ethics.
With this in mind, Howe has sent scouts to watch 19-year-old Chaplin, who has scored five times for Portsmouth as they look to secure promotion from League two. Chaplin has also caught the eye of QPR, Fulham and Ipswich – but the lure of Premier League action would surely put Bournemouth in pole position were they to make an offer for the young Englishman.
The imminent departures of Glen Murray and Lewis Grabban will leave a place for which Chaplin can make his name, as record summer signing Lys Mousset continues to be starved of opportunities. While the long-term future of Callum Wilson is also up in the air, following reported interest from Newcastle. Chaplin will be hoping to make the same sort of impact as a certain Jermain Defoe when he first broke onto the scene as a youngster at Bournemouth – albeit on loan. Chaplin would probably cost upwards of around £500,000.
Daniele Rugani – 22-year-old centre-back, Juventus.
At just 22 years old Rugani is seen by many to be the next great Italian defender to grace Europe, following in the footsteps of Fabio Cannavaro, Alessandro Nesta and Marco Baresi. Learning his trade alongside fellow Italian stalwarts Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci and Andrea Barzagli, Rugani has built a reputation for his formidable aerial prowess and ability to play out from the back.
Having progressed through the Italian youth ranks, the young defender looks set to become a regular in the senior national team, making two appearances to date. Rugani is the perfect cover and eventual replacement for Laurent Koscielny, his pedigree at the highest level already makes him far more suitable than the inexperienced but burgeoning talent of Rob Holding and the capricious Brazilian Gabriel Paulista.
It would probably take a bid of around £20 to £25 million to secure the Italian’s services.
Bruno Peres – 26-year-old right-back, Roma.
Another entry from Serie A, but this time in search of cover for Spanish sensation Hector Bellerin, whose recent absence has seen a drop in performances and results as unnatural understudy Gabriel Paulista has deputised in his place.
With Carl Jenkinson set to leave on loan this January and Frenchman Mathieu Debuchy out of favour at the Emirates, rampaging Brazilian full-back Bruno Peres looks like the perfect player to come in and comfortably take the pressure off Bellerin.
Much like Bellerin, Peres is a brilliant attacking influence; crossing balls in and dribbling at opposition defences with consummate ease, harking back to his South-American footballing education, although his ability to retain possession and win aerial duels is somewhat lacking at times.
Peres is a very versatile player, however, and can operate at both right and left-back, as well as further up the field as a right winger. Roma would be looking for around £15 million for Peres.
Alvaro Morata – 24-year-old striker, Real Madrid.
Spanish forward Alvaro Morata is the ice cold finisher that the Gunners have been craving since the acrimonious departure of Robin Van Persie. Many believe he is criminally underused by Zinedine Zidane in his all-conquering Real Madrid team, despite his superior goals to game ratio compared to first choice forward Karim Benzema.
His strengths lie in his ability to thread key passes into his imperious Galactico heavyweights, and for a man who possesses such prolific streak in front of goal, Morata is surprisingly adept when it comes to shooting from range. He is also perfectly suited to Arsenal’s rapid counter-attacking style of play, whether it’s drawing fouls from the opposition, threading that killer through ball or firing one in from range Morata possesses an unpredictability not commonly associated with the notoriously physical presence of Olivier Giroud.
Morata is also able to play on both the left and right wings, so would be able to interchange with makeshift centre-forward Alexis Sanchez. Morata will cost a significant sum of money to lure him away from La Liga title favourites Real Madrid, but if Arsene Wenger is willing to shell out around £50 million for the forward then he will surely see a sizeable return on his investment, as he goes in search of a first league title in 12 years.
Joey Barton – 34-year-old central midfielder, free agent
Having been released by Rangers, the club for whom he left Burnley at the end of last season, Joey Barton has all but re-signed for the Clarets in a dramatic U-turn. Despite all of Barton’s off the field issues, from fighting with former manager Mark Warburton at Rangers to a domestic ban for gambling on football matches, the form Manchester City man has Premier League pedigree, and was voted Burnley’s player of the season last year as they snatched the Championship title from Middlesbrough on the final day of the season. Barton has the ability to dictate play with his range of passing and dogged defensive work.
Scott Hogan – 24-year-old striker, Brentford
Scott Hogan is being eyed up by a plethora of Premier League clubs this January, and as a result, Brentford have placed a hefty £15 million price tag on their star man. Hogan has an incredible record for the Bees since moving to South-West London in 2014 from Rochdale, notching up 20 goals in just 31 league appearances.
Having scored seven goals in seven games last season, as a result of injuries, Hogan has taken his game to the next level – ridding himself of any injury concerns and scoring 13 goals in the process. Despite his clear predatory instincts, the Republic of Ireland international is known for his lack of awareness when it comes to offsides, whilst his passing and ability to hold on to possession are also areas in which he is lacking.
Ben Gibson – 23-year-old centre back, Middlesbrough
The perfect defensive partner for fellow highly rated English defender Michael Keane, Middlesbrough captain Ben Gibson has been a huge success since breaking through their academy system just a couple of seasons ago. Boro have only conceded 22 goals this season, and whilst they may be failing to score, Gibson has successfully seen through draws away to both Arsenal and Man City, the first of which they kept a clean sheet.
Gibson knows where his weaknesses lie (tackling and aerial duels) and has adapted his game to suit this, contributing to the fact that the rookie defender has made no defensive errors the season. Due to the fact that Gibson is the captain of the club, it would take a large amount of money to persuade him to move, and as a result, Burnley may have to cough up around £20 million to sign the English defender.
Alessandro Florenzi – 25-year-old right-back, Roma
The perfect cover for Victor Moses, and at 25 he is just about to hit his peak. Florenzi is formerly a right winger, like Moses and therefore possesses the same sort of attacking intent shown by the rejuvenated Nigerian- with a strong crossing and passing ability, the Italian has already laid on three assists for his teammates this season.
Antonio Conte has prior experience of working with Florenzi during his time as coach of the Italian national team, and so if anyone is to get the best out of him then you would think Conte could do just that – especially considering the work he has done to remould Moses into one of the league’s best wing-backs.
£25 million should be enough to sign Florenzi from Roma.
Arturo Vidal – 29-year-old central midfielder, Bayern Munich
Despite the superb form of Nemanja Matic, N’Golo Kante and Cesc Fabregas, Conte is reportedly looking to bring Chilean powerhouse Arturo Vidal to Stamford Bridge, having failed to capture Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan.
Vidal was signed by Conte, during his time at Juventus as they won three successive Serie A titles, and he could be tempted by the idea of linking up with his former manager. Superb in the tackle and all round defensive contribution, Vidal also offers goals and assists – a role that is not the strong suit of either Matic or Kante.
The signing of Vidal may once again resign chief creative midfielder Fabregas to a place on the bench, as Vidal offers more defensively than the Spaniard, whilst still being able to create chances at a similar rate. Injuries have limited Vidal to just nine starts this season, but having said that the Chilean has still managed three goals in that time.
Bayern Munich would be looking for around £40 million to secure his services. A move for Vidal would be seen as a disappointing step back in my opinion, however, as players such as Mario Pasalic are currently playing superbly on loan.
Riccardo Orsolini – 19-year-old right winger, Ascoli
Chelsea have already reportedly offered £5 million for the young Italian winger, who’s also attracting interest from AC Milan. Orsolini has only scored four goals in Serie B this season, but the potential is clearly there, and as I have previously stated if there is one coach who can help get the best out of players it’s Conte.
Orsolini would be a solid investment for Chelsea, as attacking talents such as Charly Musonda and Kennedy operate predominantly down the left wing instead of Orsolini’s preferred right wing position.
Bundles of pace and a fantastic cross, the Italian U-20 could well be a fantastic signing for Chelsea, but don’t expect him to make many appearances this season – as both Willian and Pedro have hit some incredible form of late.