The winter transfer window is about to open, and the biggest interest is on Manchester United still willing to pay near to a world record fee for Gareth Bale, but they may have to lose their prize keeper David De Gea in part-exchange.
United are prepared to pay $140 million for Bale after losing out to Real Madrid last year when the Welshman was leaving Tottenham.
Now Real wants De Gea, 24, as the goalkeeper to replace long-serving veteran Iker Casillas.
De Gea is taking over from Casillas as Spain’s No. 1, and it is a matter of pride at the Bernabeu that the top Spanish keeper plays for Real. Arsenal’s Joel Campbell is being linked with Swansea and Stoke.
The speedy Costa Rican has barely been selected for the Gunners, despite starring at the World Cup.
Campbell is behind Danny Welbeck, Olivier Giroud and Yaya Sanogo for selection, and the 22-year-old striker wants more first-team opportunities. Aston Villa’s Ron Vlaar, a 29-year-old defender, is being linked with Manchester United and Arsenal.
Solid performances for the Dutch in their World Cup semifinal run saw Vlaar’s stock rise; his contract runs out in the summer. United and the Gunners could sign him for a cut-price fee.
Chelsea’s Petr Cech is seeking a move, and Liverpool and Arsenal are interested.
The 32-year-old keeper is unhappy that after a decade as the Blues first choice keeper he has been usurped by Thibaut Courtois. Cech wants regular first-team football, and he would solve Liverpool’s goalkeeping crisis.
Mario Balotelli has been a disaster at Liverpool, and Inter Milan and Napoli may take the wayward 24-year-old forward back to Italy.
Brendan Rodgers took a gamble in the summer on the problematic striker bought to replace Luis Suarez, but the move has not paid off, with the Italian failing to score in the Premier League so far. A return to former club Inter Milan under manager Roberto Mancini has been mooted even though Balotelli gave Mancini a hard time when they were both at City.
Manchester United’s Anderson may have won the Premier League four times and the Champions League and League Cup twice, but at 26, the chunky midfielder does not figure in Louis Van Gaal’s plans. Anderson has struggled with form, injuries and weight issues and is no longer wanted at Old Trafford. A permanent move to Fiorentina failed last season and he may move back home to Brazil.
Saido Berahino is a promising striker at West Brom who has been watched by Tottenham and Liverpool.
He earned his first call-up to the England national side in November after his goalscoring exploits for the struggling Baggies, where he has netted seven so far this season. Spurs and Liverpool are desperate for someone like Berahino, 21, to boost their attack.
Liverpool is also interested in Derby County’s Will Hughes. The 19-year-old midfielder is one of England’s most outstanding teenagers. The England Under-21 international has been a consistent performer for the high-flying Rams for three years already. Liverpool may make a big offer, despite Hughes signing a new contract in the summer.
Alex Mowatt is another lower league player wanted by the big clubs. The 19-year-old Leeds United midfielder has been watched by Aston Villa and Everton.
Mowatt came through the academy and broke into the first team last season, making 29 Championship appearances. He was recently named Football League young player of the month and has scored four league goals so far. Kris Commons is veteran striker at Celtic who may move south to Crystal Palace or Leicester City.
The current PFA Scotland Player of the Year netted 32 goals last season as Celtic won the league, but the 31-year-old Englishman has yet to agree a new contract which ends in the summer.
Lewis Macleod is a 20-year-old midfielder with Rangers who is being monitored by several clubs.
Macleod received his first Scotland call-up last month after a string of impressive performances for his club and has represented the national side at all junior levels. Everton or Burnley may take advantage of the Ibrox club’s perilous financial situation.
In Spain, Atletico Madrid’s Alessio Cerci is wanted by Arsenal and Inter Milan. The 27-year-old winger signed from Torino in the summer but has had little impact and now wants a move. Arsenal’s signing him depends on whether Atletico can sign a replacement. Sami Khedira leaving Real Madrid has sparked interest in many top clubs, including Chelsea and Manchester United.
The 27-year-old midfielder has struggled to establish a regular starting place, not helped by a series of injuries. The German’s contract expires at the end of the season, but rather than wait for a big departure payment, Khedira could move to Chelsea, United and Arsenal.
Athletic Bilbao’s exciting center back Aymeric Laporte could be the answer to Manchester United’s search for quality, young defenders.
Widely regarded as one of the best young defenders in La Liga, Laporte has stated his commitment to Athletic, but if they don’t do well domestically or in Europe, he may consider his future if his $40 million buyout clause is met.
Martin Montoya is a Barcelona right-back certain to attract interest if available. Montoya, 23, has been on the fringes of the Barca squad for four years but wants more first-team chances after being overtaken by summer signing Douglas as backup to Dani Alves. Juventus is interested, as well as many of Europe’s elite clubs.
In Germany, Xherdan Shaquiri of Bayern Munich may move to Liverpool or Napoli. Having arrived from Basel with a big reputation two years ago, the 23-year-old midfielder has not established himself, hardly surprising when Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery are the competition. Scorer of a hat-trick for Switzerland in 2014 World Cup, Shaquiri has many options.
Aaron Hunt has struggled to make an impact at Wolfsburg, and the 28-year-old midfielder may take the chance to move back to Werder Bremen.
Elsewhere, Ezequiel Lavezzi may leave Paris Saint-Germain with Inter Milan, Napoli and Valencia the forerunners to sign him, although many other clubs would like to sign the 29-year-old winger. Kevin Strootman has just returned to action for Roma after a long-term knee injury. Van Gaal is a big fan of the player’s wide passing range and could make a $40 million offer.
Wesley Sneijder surprisingly moved to Galatasaray in Turkey a couple of seasons ago when expected to move to a top English side. The 30-year-old Dutchman may yet do so because club and player briefly clashed recently when Sneijder’s wages went unpaid in October.
That was resolved, but the Istanbul giants are not keen on extending his expensive contract, especially after European elimination, which paves the way to finally move to England.