Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert won't thank me for saying this but as things stand two of his star men in Ron Vlaar and Fabian Delph are free to talk terms over a Bosman transfer from January onwards.
Vlaar and Delph are waiting for Villa to open talks over a new contract, but in the meantime you can hardly blame some of the Premier League's leading lights for courting a duo who could instantly improve their options next season for absolutely nothing.
When you look at some of the defensive deficiencies at clubs competing for Champions League football though you wonder if they can afford to wait.
United look dire defensively
Manchester United's frailties look the most alarming, even when you take into account an injury crisis which left Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal with just one fit defender for yesterday's 2-1 win over West Ham United.
Unknown youngster Paddy McNair stepped up and help fill the void against West Ham, but if United's problems continue over Christmas then surely Van Gaal will have to pick up the phone and ask Villa to name their price for Vlaar, six months before the end of his current deal.
Arsenal also must make early move in January market
Similarly Arsenal are desperately short of cover in key areas, so much so that paying a small price for someone like Delph looks a no-brainer as things stand.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger likes to play the long game in the transfer market and that's worked to a certain degree, but there's five players in our countdown with uncertain futures and he is among the manager's that must take advantage as a matter of urgency.
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