English Premier League clubs are busily preparing for the January transfer window, and there are some exciting moves lined up by the biggest teams.
Manchester City want Paul Pogba as their long-term replacement for Yaya Toure.
Pogba’s brilliance in the Juventus defense has made him an obvious target to replace Toure, 31.
Pogba, 21, was voted the Best Young Player at the World Cup in Brazil.
Although he recently signed a five-year contract at Juventus, City are prepared to pay whatever it takes to get him.
City reps met Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola, last Friday regarding a potential move. The meeting apparently went well and negotiations are on going.
Pogba is seen as a perfect replacement for Toure, who has continuously been linked with a move away.
However, Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester United, Pogba’s former club, are also interested in signing him. The former Manchester United midfielder is now City’s top priority after they were put off Everton’s $70 million price tag for rising star Ross Barkley.
Pogba may join City but their midfielder Samir Nasri has admitted he is prepared to move on if still not in favor.
The Frenchman voiced concerns over his City future last month, stating there would be “new players” next season if the club failed to progress in the Champions League.
Nasri has backed his teammates to reach the last 16 if they can beat Roma on Wednesday, but he is unsure about his own future under boss Manuel Pellegrini.
Manchester United want to build on their improved recent form by signing Diego Godin, but their pursuit of him may come to nothing.
The 28-year-old Atletico Madrid centre-back is not for sale say the Spanish champions.
Godin has a $40 million buyout clause and Atletico are insisting on the full price.
United boss Louis Van Gaal knows he needs to reinforce his defense but even with United’s huge transfer kitty, Godin may be too expensive and he has other defenders in mind, including Ron Vlaar, Winston Reid and Mats Hummels.
Liverpool want to sell Mario Balotelli but offloading him in January may be difficult.
The Italy forward has been an abject failure at Liverpool so far, both on and off the pitch and his market value has plummeted.
Balotelli has only scored twice in all competitions and Anfield boss Brendan Rodgers would love to sell him, even at a big loss.
Daniel Sturridge being injured and the likelihood that Divock Origi will stay at Lille, means Balotelli may see out the season.
Liverpool will continue looking for new strikers and Porto’s Jackson Martinez is a possibility, while West Ham’s prolific Diafra Sakho and West Bromwich Albion’s Saido Berahino are being monitored.
Sakho has been prolific for the Hammers and a big contribution to their unexpected success this season.
The 24-year-old Senegal forward has scored eight times in 10 matches since a $6 million move from French club Metz in the summer.
Berahino is valued at $35 million by West Brom, and Martinez is also valued at around the same price, although his agent has insisted he won’t be leaving Portugal next month.
Liverpool have recently spent heavily on players who have only impressed for short periods – Dejan Lovren and Andy Carroll are obvious examples – so a gamble on Sakho or Berahino is possible.
The goalkeeper situation is still a concern for Rodgers, and they have watched Cologne’s Timo Horn, a 21-year-old 6-foot 4-inch Germany Under-21 international. But Horn is relatively inexperienced and they want someone more established to replace current No. 1 Simon Mignolet.
Classy defender Winston Reid wants a huge pay raise, which will almost certainly see him leave West Ham.
Reid, a key figure in their remarkable start to the campaign, wants around $80,000 a week and a $1.5 million signing-on fee.
They are the figures being quoted to interested clubs, which may price West Ham out of keeping the 26-year-old New Zealander, who is out of contract next summer.
But it will not deter Arsenal or Liverpool and may even see if they can get Reid cheaply in January.
West Ham have not given up on keeping Reid, especially after their great start which has left them hopeful of European football next season. Arsenal are still interested in Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani, who has said he wants to move to the Emirates in January.
The Uruguay international is valued at $70 million by his club, close to the fee they paid for him last year, but Cavani wants a lower valuation.
Cavani has constantly been linked away from the Parc des Princes since moving there from Napoli with the presence of talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic often cited as a reason for him wanting away.
But with Ibrahimovic injured most of this season, Cavani has been in good form, scoring 12 times in 22 appearances. Arsenal insist that money is available for transfers should Arsene Wenger decide to buy, but whether PSG will do as Cavani wants and lower their valuation is debatable.
Meanwhile, Van Gaal has cast doubt over Radamel Falcao’s long-term future at United by claiming he is “not interested” in the Colombian forward’s disappointment at lack of first-team action.
Falcao, a loan signing from Monaco on the final day of the summer transfer window, has been told by Van Gaal to improve his fitness following a cruciate ligament injury in January.
Having paid a $9 million loan fee to sign Falcao, 28, United also agreed a $60 million fee with Monaco over a permanent deal at the end of his season-long loan at Old Trafford. But with the former Porto and Atletico Madrid player being restricted to just three starts and four substitute appearances for United this season, with one goal in return, Falcao’s inability to convince Van Gaal of his readiness to start games, may see him leave next summer.
Robin Van Persie scored both United goals in their 2-1 win at Southampton on Monday for their fifth consecutive Premiership victory and with Wayne Rooney back to his best, Van Gaal is not short of in-form strikers.
Van Gaal added that he is not concerned whether the player is growing frustrated by his lack of first-team appearances.