Thursday, November 20, 2008

Top European clubs lining up their January transfer targets

We are quickly approaching that wholesale time of the year again when everyone is out for a bargain following the Christmas rush, the same going for the top clubs around Europe. Whilst many people will be looking for a cheap television every manager across Western Europe will be on the hunt for that missing element in their side.

That hunt has seemingly already begun, albeit probably never stopped, with top clubs being linked to a number of potential targets. The first player who seems destine to move, although seemed destine to move in the summer, should be Andrei Arshavin from Zenit St Petersburg with Real Madrid apparently the club in prime position to sign the Russian international.

Real Madrid will be without Ruud van Nistelrooy for the rest of the season and despite Higauin banging in the goals the club looks short of bodies up front. Arjen Robben looks like he could be permanently in and out of the side with Arshavin a good replacement for both of Madrid’s current Dutch sick notes.

However Arshavin seems to be doing the rounds when it comes to a number of clubs across the continent but whoever takes the plunge the 27-year-old seems certain to snap their hands off. It is a rare occurrence that a club makes more than one change normally, with clubs reluctant to change things too much if they are going well. Manchester City though could be the exception that proves the rule despite having not been linked with too many players so far.

One player who does look likely to move the short distance from Ewood Park to Eastlands is Roque Santa Cruz, with Mark Hughes looking to hook up with his former bargain buy. However despite Santa Cruz likely to cost four times as much as the £4.5million Hughes paid Bayern Munich it’s not like City are short of any cash.

I feel sure that Man City are likely to bring in any number of players if they want to boost their football odds in reaching a European place this season. Arsenal are another club who look like they need to invest in their squad if they want to retain their Champions League place for another season.

The Gunners have been linked been linked with the giant Daniel van Buyten from Bayern Munich to strengthen their shaky defence whilst Steven Defour from Standard Liege is being lined up to add some steal to the midfield. However Arsene Wenger has never heavily invested in the January transfer window so people shouldn’t expect massive changes at the Emirates Stadium.

One club who could be forced to sell when January comes around is Liverpool if co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett fail to agree deal to sort out the repayments of the loans they took out to buy the club. Whilst it seems unlikely talents such as Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard will leave the club those on the fringe could be involved in a clear out, Jermaine Pennant the prime candidate to be the first out the door.

So expect the transfer rumour to begin gearing up through December to go into overdrive by the time we arrive at January. I expect some big cash to splashed by some clubs so don’t be surprised if we see some kind transfer record broken.

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