Following new interim Manchester United boss Ralf Rangnick’s admission last week that he won’t be going out of his way to try and convince Paul Pogba to sign a new contract at Old Trafford, the possibility of the French midfielder moving away from the Premier League in the January transfer window increased significantly.
As has been well publicised, Pogba’s existing contract at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ expires in the summer. Rather than risk losing one of their biggest names for nothing in June, the Red Devils could easily be tempted to accept a cut-price deal in the new year.
Pogba, though, is far from the only big name from the English top-flight who could be on the move come January.
Below is a full XI of Premier League potentially poised for pastures new.
An XI of Premier League players who could move in the January transfer window
GK: Dean Henderson (Manchester United)
When Henderson returned to United last season following two campaigns on loan at Sheffield United, he made no secret of his desire to challenge David de Gea for the number one spot at the club. With the Spaniard in fabulous form at present, 24-year-old Henderson couldn’t be farther from that aim.
Another short-term switch could well appeal to Henderson, who is unlikely to be too excited at the prospect of spending the rest of the season on the United bench.
RB: Calum Chambers (Arsenal)
With just two Premier League appearances for the Gunners this season, Chambers is hardly central to Mikel Arteta’s plans at present. Both Roma and Everton have been rumoured as potential destinations for the 26-year-old should he depart north London in search of first-team football.
CB: Nat Phillips (Liverpool)
The ‘Bolton Baresi’ went viral earlier this month after bamboozling AC Milan’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the San Siro. As much as Reds fans enjoyed that fantastic piece of play, the 24-year-old requires regular game time in order to develop.
When you’re behind the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip, Ibrahima Konate and Joe Gomez in the pecking order, though, opportunities are likely to be few and far between.
A loan move in January would provide Phillips with the chance to get some much-needed matches under his belt.
CB: Nathan Ake (Manchester City)
As many predicted when he moved to the Etihad from Bournemouth last summer, Ake has become lost in the shuffle at the Etihad. West Ham require defensive cover after Kurt Zouma sustained a hamstring injury and could well look in Ake’s direction, with City not opposed to allowing him to leave.
LB: Jamal Lewis (Newcastle)
The 23-year-old former Norwich man has only played a handful of Premier League games this season – and one of those was to deputise for a suspended Matt Richie. With an influx of new talent expected at St. James’ Park come January, Lewis may need to look elsewhere for consistent playing time.
DM: Harry Winks (Tottenham)
The January transfer window will mark new Spurs boss Antonio Conte’s first chance to add to his ranks. The Italian has reportedly been promised a £150 million budget for new recruits but will need to clear room in the dressing room for those he brings in.
Among the inevitable casualties might be midfielder Winks, who Newcastle’s Eddie Howe already appears to have his eyes on to strengthen the Magpies in the centre of the park.
CM: Dele Alli (Tottenham)
Alli has been a pale imitation of the player he was under Mauricio Pochettino for several years now – and has no sign of regaining that form.
Although his reputation has admittedly taken a battering over the last couple of years, Alli wouldn’t be short of suitors if Tottenham were to be realistic with their financial demands for the player.
CM: Paul Pogba (Manchester United)
As mentioned above, it doesn’t look likely at present that Pogba will put pen-to-paper on a fresh agreement at United. Given the stacked nature of their squad in terms of midfielders, the Red Devils wouldn’t find themselves short if the Frenchman moved on in the new year, rather than seeing out his contract.
RW: Nicolas Pepe (Arsenal)
The £72m that Arsenal paid Lille in 2019 for Pepe’s services remains a club record deal. Pound-for-pound, it has to rank as one of the worst in the Gunners’ history, too.
The Ivory Coast international has never come close to justifying his substantial fee and Arsenal would surely be delighted to recoup some of what they paid out if he was to leave in January, instead of having the 26-year-old warm the bench at the Emirates.
A loan deal, however, is seemingly more likely.
LW: Anthony Martial (Manchester United)
Martial’s agent has confirmed that his client wants to leave Old Trafford in January, making the Frenchman perhaps the likeliest member of this line-up to leave his current club next month.
The 26-year-old has struggled for playing time in recent years, featuring only 10 times for the Red Devils this season, scoring just once.
Injuries have plagued Martial during his six-year stint at Old Trafford, but he’s shown the true extent of his talent when fit – and is still young enough to make an impact at a top European club.
CF: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Dropped from the Arsenal squad that faced Southampton at the weekend over a disciplinary issue, it’s fair to say that Aubameyang isn’t on the best of terms with Mikel Arteta at present.
Combined with many Arsenal fans being discontent over his lacklustre performances on the field, the Gabon international is going through a rough period at the Emirates.
This latest disciplinary matter is hardly the first time the 32-year-old has fallen foul of team protocols either. It remains to be seen how the club deals with the matter, but Aubameyang being frozen out of first-team affairs can’t be considered to be out of the question.
The Arsenal front-line is set for an overall shortly in any case, with fellow frontman Alexandre Lacazette’s contract due to expire in the summer. Depending on the fallout from his latest breach, could the north London side choose to allow Aubameyang to leave next month?
You can check out the full line-up below.
Quiz: Can you name the footballer based on their Wikipedia page?
Champions League 2021/22 Round Of 16 draw reaction (Via The Football Terrace)