Premier League clubs really should have more urgency in the January window.
Of the two transfer windows, it’s often derided as the lesser, a time for panic buys and makeshift improvements.
However, it’s also a time to cash in on players who are nearing the end of their contract and who will be available for nothing in the summer.
Take Christian Eriksen, for example. Do Spurs let him go now for between €12-20 million or allow him to fritter away the next six months – especially given his awful form this season?
A player’s contract situation is by no means an indicator of their talent, hence the plethora of top Premier League stars who are available on cut-price deals before the window slams shut.
- Bruno Fernandes’ move to Man United is now off
- Coady accused of slipping on purpose vs Liverpool
- Video of Robben scoring the same goal every time
At the time of writing, there are 38 players in the top flight who find themselves in that situation.
So, what better way to consider the best than by ranking all of them? We’ve taken into account not just their ability but their value, age, and experience.
1. David Silva
A veritable magician. Manchester City are allowing him to leave on his own terms having helped them to four Premier League titles with 57 goals and 90 assists. Perhaps the most underrated playmaker of a generation.
2. Christian Eriksen
Hear us out when we rank the Dane so highly. It’s obviously not based on his past 18 months. For most of the Mauricio Pochettino era, the midfielder made Spurs tick, had a Hoddle-esque eye for a long-range pass and scored some impressive free-kicks too.
This is going to give Pep Guardiola a real headache. Without their Brazilian midfielder, City are nowhere near as solid as their record without him proves.
Willian was at his very best in Chelsea’s recent win over Tottenham and with clubs like Barcelona having monitored him for years, he could finally be available at a decent price.
5. Jan Vertonghen
Tottenham managed to tie Toby Alderweireld down to a new deal, but not his centre-back partner. The Belgian has made errors this season but he is still a top, top defender.
6. Ben Foster
It’s hard for Watford to tie anyone down considering their uncertain future in the top flight. The Englishman has made the fifth most saves of any Premier League goalkeeper this season and some of them have been out of this world.
The Spaniard clearly isn’t part of Lampard’s plans any more, making just four league appearances. The 32-year-old has scored plenty of important goals down the years and he could still do a job in one of the top European leagues.
8. Eric Bailly
Injury problems have decimated Bailly’s chances of making an impact at Old Trafford when he initially looked like he could be the answer to their defensive problems.
9. Adam Lallana
Lallana can hardly be blamed for having a very limited role in Liverpool’s unstoppable attack since his return from injury. With 34 England caps, the 31-year-old would be a great addition to quite a few Premier League sides.
10. Olivier Giroud
First at Arsenal and then at Chelsea, Giroud has never been seen as more than an impact-sub by his various managers. He remains a World Cup winner and a striker with 78 Premier League goals to his name.
11. John Lundstram
Sheffield United are expected to activate a one-year extension clause for one of their most indispensable midfielders.
12. Leighton Baines
Lucas Digne has long displaced Baines as Everton left-back and he’ll be departing Goodison Park after 13 years and 342 appearances.
13. Angel Gomes
United could be left to rue Gomes’ departure if they don’t tie him down as big things are expected of the 19-year-old who has made five senior appearances.
14. Tahith Chong
Likewise, Chong has been talked about as the next big thing at Old Trafford. Sadly, that now won’t come to fruition at his current club as he hasn’t got on with Solskjaer and will leave at the end of the season.
15. Nemanja Matic
Matic has actually improved in recent weeks. That said, it’s easy to see why United haven’t offered him a new deal even when they are struggling for centre-mids.
16. Andy Carroll
Carroll should perhaps have remained just a memory at Newcastle. The once-prolific hit man has failed to score in the Premier League since his return to Tyneside.
17. Glenn Murray
It’s not all that long since Murray was being linked with a shock England call-up. Now 36, the striker has only scored once all season but he’s still a hefty physical presence who should have no problem finding a new club.
18. Ryan Fraser
West Ham are already eyeing up the winger. They shouldn’t get too excited though, as Bournemouth are still considering offering him a new deal.
19. Cedric Soares
Soares has been key to Southampton’s turnaround in recent weeks but he’s now facing a spell on the sidelines, which he’ll have to hope won’t hamper his chances of earning a new deal.
20. Nathaniel Clyne
Liverpool’s forgotten man, who is firmly behind Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez in the pecking order.
21. Timothy Fosu-Mensah
Fosu-Mensah is back at United after last season’s loan spell with Fulham. Unfortunately, injuries have robbed him of a chance to impress Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but he is slowly making his way back in the reserve set-up.
22. Shane Long
Long is the seventh-highest goalscorer in the Republic of Ireland’s history, but he also recently went 266 days without a league goal (and that’s not the first time he’s been on a run like that).
23. Ashley Westwood
The midfielder’s stock went up massively when he scored a brilliant strike in the much-needed win over Leicester recently.
24. Alexander Tettey
Speaking of midfielders who are capable of scoring wonder goals, Tettey is responsible for one of the Premier League’s great strikes. His future may well depend on whether Norwich can pull off a great escape.
25. Jeff Hendrick
There could be big changes at Burnley this summer but Hendrick should have done enough to earn a new deal.
26. Robbie Brady
The Irishman has found himself in a reduced role since his return from injury but the dead-ball specialist would still be a solid addition to any bottom-half club.
27. Aaron Lennon
Lennon had a solid career at Spurs and Everton but he’s now lost his pace, hence only being a bit-part winger at Burnley.
28. Adrian Mariappa
Like most of his Watford teammates, Mariappa is much improved under Nigel Pearson and is starting to get forward more as well as looking defensively solid.
29. Daryl Janmaat
Watford have missed the 30-year-old in his absence and that could sway them towards keeping him.
30. Keinan Davis
The 21-year-old could find himself in a very precarious situation this summer, with just six substitute appearances this season for Aston Villa.
31. Nampalys Mendy
Mendy was immediately labelled a flop when he first joined Leicester and this season he has mostly been watching on again as Brendan Rodgers only wants to play with one defensive midfielder. Real Betis are monitoring his situation though, so he should find himself being snapped up soon despite his recent injury.
32. Joe Hart
Forget the name ‘Joe Hart’ and think of the second-choice Burnley ‘keeper. It’s hard not to feel sorry for him, though, as it’s not even four years since he was keeping goal at the Euros for England.
33. Jordan Ibe
The former Liverpool forward has now scored just three league goals in three-and-a-half years and has also had troubles off the pitch. It’s no wonder Bournemouth are trying to rectify an expensive mistake by letting him go.
34. Scott Dann
Dann was a solid enough centre-back for Crystal Palace over the years but he’s found opportunities limited by Gary Cahill’s arrival.
35. Willy Caballero
If you’re ever in a penalty shootout, Caballero is the man to call. It might also be pointed out that he’s an Argentine international, but we all remember his performances at the last World Cup…
36. Heurelho Gomes
The man formerly known as ‘The Octopus’ during his PSV days. Gomes has always made errors, but he’s also capable of making some spectacular saves. Gomes is expected to retire at the end of the season having unexpectedly made a u-turn in the summer.
37. Wes Morgan
The most unlikely of title-winning captains, 2015/16 was the very peak of Morgan’s powers and since then, he’s been in decline. Leicester now have Çağlar Söyüncü at the heart of their defence instead.
38. Marco van Ginkel
Jose Mourinho once compared the midfielder to Frank Lampard but since joining Chelsea in 2013, he’s made a grand total of two appearances and has spent most of his time out on loan. Leaving Stamford Bridge will hopefully be the kickstart his career needs.
Years on and the Bosman ruling is still dictating the transfer market.
If the 38 names above don’t make their moves in the next few days, there could be some absolute steals available in just a few months.