It’s almost that time again, as agents, clubs and players all position themselves to try and engineer transfer deals during the mid-season window.
Normally quite a bit less busy than its summer counterpart, there are enough players across the divisions that will become free to talk to other clubs on January 1, 2019. Some have become disillusioned at their current clubs or have low enough buyout clauses to tempt potential suitors.
With some teams still having a lot to play for in the second half of the campaign, there’s every reason to think that a handful of big moves will make it over the line.
Some La Liga players could be persuaded to swap sunnier climbs for the cut and thrust of the Premier League too…
Andre Gomes appears to be enjoying his loan spell at Everton, and the Toffees are similarly impressed with the central midfielder.
With that in mind, one might suspect that he would see out his season on Merseyside, particularly as he didn’t make his debut until October. But Tottenham are circling.
Into the Champions League knockout stages by the skin of their teeth, thanks in part to Gomes’ parent club Barcelona, Spurs will need to strengthen in the early part of the New Year after not bringing in anyone during the past summer window.
Still hanging on in the Premier League title race by their coat tails, the north Londoners also have the FA Cup to contend with.
Quite simply, they need strength in depth in certain positions and that’s where Gomes fits the bill.
Strong, physical and quick, he’s already shown that his game is far more suited to the English top flight than Barca’s short, sharp passing carousels.
His biggest selling point is that he remains available for the Champions League, whilst Tottenham need only to show him their new stadium for Gomes to realise the size of their ambition.
Initial interest needs to be followed up with cash, but Barcelona will do business if the price is right.
Comfortable at both centre-back and left-back, Atletico Madrid’s Lucas Hernandez only enhanced his credentials with France during the World Cup last summer.
Manchester United did come in with a sizeable offer for the player, one which triggered his release clause of €80 million, however, the player stayed put despite admitting to being flattered.
Given how poor the Red Devils back line has been this season, don’t expect United to go quietly - despite the change in management at the club.
They will do everything in their power to ensure the 22-year-old, who will surely be the world’s best in his position in due course, signs on the dotted line before January is over.
Another Barca player on his way out of the Camp Nou is Denis Suarez.
Since Ernesto Valverde has been in charge the midfielder has barely had a look in, and it’s only been in the last couple of weeks that the Galician has been given significant minutes on the pitch.
For anyone believing that’s nothing but a shop window exercise, they’re probably right.
Suarez isn’t a bad player, far from it in fact. Yes, he has a tendency to overplay things sometimes, but he’s only under the microscope for it because Barcelona are the kings of one and two touch football.
His awareness is excellent as is his ability to deliver both accurate long or short passes. Given the opportunity from dead ball situations, he’s pretty handy there too.
Both Arsenal and Chelsea are interested, with Unai Emery perhaps having the edge over Maurizio Sarri owing to Suarez’s working relationship with him when the pair were together at Sevilla.
At €25 million, don’t be surprised if a deal is swiftly concluded.