Over the years, the January transfer window has had the reputation for being used for emergency reinforcements for various soccer clubs in Europe, with many clubs not even opting to sign players mid-season. But in the past few years, more and more players have moved during the winter transfer window. The likes of Philippe Coutinho, Alexis Sanchez, and Virgil Van Dijk all changed clubs during the January transfer window last season; the 2019 version is also poised to be full of drama.
There have been a lot of rumors circulating in the soccer world ever since the summer transfer window shut, and if they are to be believed, there will be a number of players moving after the turn of the year. Some blockbuster moves might go through in the January transfer window with heavyweights aiming to sign some highly-talented players to reinforce themselves during mid-season.
There are also some players who are rumored to move in January, who won’t actually move because of loyalty towards their clubs and hesitation in moving with half the season already being over. The January transfer window is poised to be a thrilling one, as we look at 10 players who will move during it and 5 who will stay put.
20 Staying Put: Mesut Ozil
Mesut Ozil hasn’t really experienced the best of starts to the season under new manager Unai Emery, as there has been difficulty in finding his role under the manager’s system. There have been rumors of tensions between them, but both Emery and Ozil have categorically denied as such. Ozil has underperformed for Arsenal so far this season, but with two goals in his last two games, he seems to be slowly finding back his touch. While rumors are rampant about him moving to Manchester United or elsewhere in the winter due to his “bad” relations with Emery, that won’t happen. Ozil himself doesn’t want to leave London and Arsenal will not let their star man go at any cost in the near future.
19 Will Move: Eliaquim Mangala
It is still surprising to learn that Eliaquim Mangala was signed by Manchester City for more than $40 million and was one of the most sought-after defenders many years ago. Since then, Mangala has really fallen off the grid and hasn’t been able to break into the City team for quite a while now. He couldn’t manage to find suitors in the summer transfer window because of him being persistent at regaining form for City, but he’s yet to make an appearance for them this season. Mangala would be wise to leave the Citizens, as staying at City could further hamper his career and with multiple Premier League clubs tracking him, he should go somewhere he’s valued better.
18 Will Move: Frenkie De Jong
Considered to be one of the most exciting up and coming midfielders in Europe, Frenkie De Jong’s excellent work for Dutch club Ajax and the Netherlands national team has attracted many clubs’ attention. De Jong has apparently been on the radar of both Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona, with the latter really pushing for a move. The young Dutch star is known for his excellent passing ability and creativity in midfield and is already proving himself to be a big-game player. Ajax won’t really be able to do much if either of the Spanish clubs pushes for a transfer and De Jong won’t budge at moving to a club like Real Madrid or Barcelona in January at all.
17 Will Move: Simon Mignolet
Simon Mignolet has fallen out of favor as Liverpool's goalkeeper in the past year, with the introduction of Allison completely neutralizing his chances of regaining a starting spot for Liverpool. Mignolet has become frustrated with his lack of opportunities at Liverpool and even spoke out against manager Jurgen Klopp for not allowing him to move in the summer. Klopp has indicated that Mignolet could go if he wants in the winter transfer window and Mignolet will finally get his move away. Mignolet is still a decent goalkeeper who is allegedly wanted by multiple European clubs like Besiktas and Napoli, and a move away from Liverpool seems to be the only option to save his professional career from falling apart.
16 Staying Put: Paul Pogba
Paul Pogba might have had a stunning start to the new season, but has become a highly polarizing figure among Manchester United fans after caught flirting with Barcelona. Pogba has been on Barcelona’s radar for a long time now, with the giants from Spain trying their best to sign the World Cup winner during the summer. Manchester United are not wanting to let go of Pogba at all and it seems like, despite heavy rumors of him leaving in the January transfer window, Pogba will stay at United beyond that. The Frenchman has stated that he’s currently happy at United and has agreed to stay for one more season at Old Trafford, as he wants to win something big with United before moving to Spain.
15 Will Move: Filipe Luis
Ever since the emergence of Lucas Hernandez after a stunning World Cup campaign with France, Filipe Luis’ days as Atletico Madrid's regular left-back has been cut short. Hernandez has proven to be a more agile, creative left-back than him, which has compelled coach Diego Simeone to keep him on the bench for most of the matches. Luis has made three appearances so far for Atletico but is considering a move away due to Hernandez’ presence. Luis is allegedly being chased by multiple clubs, including the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and Arsenal. Luis was close to an exit in the summer window and will push harder for a move away in January to a club which assures him a regular starting place.
14 Will Move: Cesc Fabregas
Cesc Fabregas has struggled to break into the Chelsea lineup ever since the appointment of Maurizio Sarri, with the new coach not really counting him as a key part of his system. Fabregas suffered a bad injury early in pre-season which hampered the start to his own season and has only made one substitute appearance for the Blues this season. The Spaniard still has a decent bit left in him to shine for other teams and might consider a move away from Chelsea in January. He could move to some other Premier League club or even back to Spain where he started, but if he wants his career to stop declining, Fabregas should leave Chelsea in the winter transfer window.
13 Will Move: Ruben Neves
The young Portuguese star Ruben Neves has been a revelation in the Premier League ever since being promoted with Wolverhampton Wanderers earlier this season, as he’s thriving in the difficult league. Neves has inspired Wolves to an impressive start to their season and has even scored 1 and assisted one in five appearances for them so far. Neves’ terrific work on the ball, creativity, and work-rate at the middle of the park has attracted attention from many big clubs, including Manchester City. The Premier League champions want to sign Neves in the January transfer window and knowing their financial strength and Neves’ passion for playing at a big club, his transfer to City could be sealed in January.
12 Staying Put: Neymar
Neymar is the kind of player who craves to have the spotlight on him all the time, with the dazzling winger from Brazil becoming a household name after his blockbuster move to Paris Saint-Germain last season. While Neymar has started the season brightly, scoring four goals in five games so far, rumors indicate he's wanted by Manchester United. The Red Devils are allegedly preparing a bumper $150 million+ offer for Neymar in January, but he won’t move then. Neymar wants to stick with PSG this season and win them the coveted Champions League title to prove himself as the best in the world, something which he won’t do if he gets transferred elsewhere in the winter transfer window.
11 Will Move: Mousa Dembele
Mousa Dembele has been a really effective outlet in Tottenham Hotspurs’ midfield over the years, with his physicality and steel helping Spurs maintain a strong base in the middle of the park. But Dembele surprised many with wanting a move away from Spurs in the summer, as he apparently couldn’t cope with the intensity of the Premier League anymore. Dembele is the final year of his contract with Spurs and could be sold off in January as a reason. Dembele is allegedly aiming to move to the CSL or the Serie A, with the clubs from China being really interested in him. Dembele leaving will deal a huge blow to Spurs, but the Belgian’s persistence at leaving could get him sold in January.
10 Will Move: Gary Cahill
Ever since the appointment of Maurizio Sarri, Gary Cahill has been one of the players who has become completely out of favor and is struggling to earn even a single start for the Blues. The former Chelsea captain has fallen horribly down the pecking order and even the mistake-prone David Luiz is being preferred ahead of him right now. Cahill has not played even a single competitive match for Chelsea this season and will push for a move away from the club in January. The likes of Watford and Aston Villa are keen on signing the former England International and Cahill will happily move to a “smaller club” if he is guaranteed a regular starting place at his weary age.
9 Will Move: Carl Jenkinson
Carl Jenkinson had a few decent loan tenures at different clubs over the years, which indicated that he could find a place in the Arsenal lineup under new coach Unai Emery. But Jenkinson has become a really isolated figure at Arsenal, failing to impress his coach and being kept out of the squad permanently. Jenkinson hasn’t even played a minute of football with the senior team this season, which proves his horrible situation. The English right-back will definitely want a move out of the club in January and aim for a permanent move somewhere else. There could be many English sides who could do well with his services, and the Gunners won’t really hesitate at selling him either.
8 Staying Put: Paulo Dybala
Paulo Dybala’s influence at Juventus has been dampened ever since the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo, who has taken much of the spotlight for himself and left the Argentine in the dark. Dybala has not been able to make an impact this season due to Ronaldo’s involvement and has only made two appearances so far. Despite being a dazzling, terrorizing striking outlet, Dybala doesn’t seem to fit in the same system as Ronaldo and there’s been a lot of rumors linking him away from the club., with Manchester United allegedly being really keen on him. But Dybala is not someone to surrender so easily and will look to create a terrorizing partnership with Ronaldo which can help retain his place as a regular starter for Juventus.
7 Will Move: Danny Drinkwater
Danny Drinkwater hasn’t really taken kindly to the appointment of Maurizio Sarri as Chelsea's manager, as the midfielder has not been able to impress the coach at all. Drinkwater has fallen off to the absolute back of the line in the Chelsea pecking order and is wishing for a move out of the club to save his career. Drinkwater is yet to make an appearance for Chelsea this season and can’t even make the Blues squad on most matches. He is looking for a move out to a Premier League side and will probably have his wish granted in January. Drinkwater may move back to Leicester City, but there are many clubs abroad who are also keen on signing him in January.
6 Will Move: Matteo Darmian
Despite being close to an exit from Manchester United in the summer, Matteo Darmain stuck with the club for a few more months due to their defensive crisis. Darmian featured in United’s first few games in the Premier League as well as featuring heavily in their pre-season campaign. But with club captain Antonio Valencia fit again, Darmian has again fallen into the bottom of the pecking order at United. He’s not getting any game-time anymore and will push for a permanent move away in January. The likes of Juventus, Inter Milan were pushing for his acquisition in the summer transfer window and will return if Darmian is available again in January, and the Italian right-back will love a return to Italy soon.
5 Will Move: Adrien Rabiot
Adrien Rabiot has been the talk of the town in recent weeks, as he’s opined not to renew his contract with Paris Saint-Germain and is expected to leave the club next year. While he is still legally contracted to PSG till about the summer of 2019, the club would be wise to sell him in January to gain some profit rather than let him go for free in the summer. Rabiot has maintained professionalism at PSG this season, making six appearances and giving some great performances. But he’s currently being chased by many clubs, including Barcelona and Liverpool who are highly interested in him and could force PSG to sell him, in what would be a blockbuster transfer in the winter transfer window.
4 Staying Put: Marcelo
Ever since his buddy Cristiano Ronaldo moved to Juventus, Marcelo hasn’t really seemed the happiest of figures at Real Madrid and was really affected by Ronaldo’s move away from the club. There were some rumors of him even leaving in the summer, something which didn’t transpire. Marcelo has played every game for them so far, but when he was prematurely substituted in one match and displayed frustration after it, rumors of him leaving in January were rampant. While Marcelo definitely wants a reunion with Ronaldo, his respect and love for Real Madrid won’t let him go away. Marcelo will not push for a move in January and try to help Madrid win more titles this season and prove their ability to win even without Ronaldo.
3 Will Move: Ruben Loftus-Cheek
Ruben Loftus-Cheek finally seems to have avoided a loan move away from Chelsea this season, but under new coach Maurizio Sarri, he hasn’t really been able to assert himself that well. While the young midfielder has made two substitute appearances for the Blues so far this season, he is still not being considered ahead of the likes of Ross Barkley and Mateo Kovacic in the starting lineup. Loftus-Cheek must be frustrated with his role for Chelsea and recently even stated how annoyed he was at the club loaning him every season. With limited opportunities at Chelsea, he’ll look for a permanent move in January and go somewhere he can be a regular starter and improve himself as a top soccer player.
2 Will Move: Toby Alderweireld
The transfer saga involving Toby Alderweireld and Manchester United was one of the longest-stretched ones in the Premier League, but at the end of all the drama, Alderweireld remained a Tottenham Hotspur player. The Belgian defender has appeared in almost all Spurs matches this season but attained only a single clean-sheet at that. But, United will be back for the Belgian once the January transfer window open due to their immediate need of a central defender, and knowing his want for a move to Old Trafford, Alderweireld could push for a move. He is in the final year of his contract with Spurs and if his club gets a solid offer for him, Alderweireld could well and truly become a United player in January.
1 Will Move: Nabil Fekir
Liverpool seemed to have sealed the deal of Nabil Fekir during the summer transfer window, as the French winger even completed his medical at the club before the deal broke down. Fekir has kept on playing well for Olympique Lyonnais because of his respect for the club, scoring 2 and assisting one in four appearances for them so far. But the winger definitely has a move to Liverpool on his mind and has not signed a new contract with the French side. Fekir will be again seeking a move to Anfield in January and despite not being able to play in the Champions League, Fekir will look to dazzle the Premier League and finally win the championship with Liverpool.