After reaching the halfway point of the 2016/17 Premier League season, the dawn of a new calendar year brings with it the start of the winter transfer window. For most clubs, you would think by now, they should know exactly who and what their targets are for the end of the season but whether they achieve them or not may largely depend on the next month with star performers often widely linked with moves away from their current clubs. Arguably it could be argued that keeping hold of key players can be much more easier mid-season as opposed to during the summer with Premier League clubs being forced into paying premium prices to prize away the league’s most promising players in the winter window. Yet as regularly proves to be the case with the daily bombardment of transfer rumours splashed across the back pages of every newspaper and posted to many a sports website, fan forum and on numerous social media platforms, there is often no smoke without fire and as the rumour mill goes into overdrive, what may initially look like words on a page can soon become a reality. Ultimately if it is the drama and suspense you are after, perhaps the Summer window is maybe more for you but in footballing terms the winter window can be as equally, if not more important than it may seem at face value. Not only does it provide a valuable opportunity for managers managers to breathe new life into their stuttering sides and address growing problems at their individual clubs but it also allows clubs to build squad depth heading into the business end of the season or to simply strengthen a squad in all the right areas, challenging at the very top of the English Premier League.
Clearly the winter window has therefore become more and more of an extremely important period of the modern-day Premier League season and whilst it may not be able to match the summer window in the number of transfers completed and the amount of money spent, it can certainly go toe to toe with it based on transfer rumours and speculation. From players making the step up from the Championship to the Premier League and vice versa to players from Europe linked with a move to the top tier of English football or even failed summer signings looking for an escape before it proves too late, with the amount of money making its way through the Premier League this winter could yet prove to be the new summer and potentially provide one of the most exciting mid-season transfer windows to date.
In the the first of a series of 2016/17 transfer window specials, @ASelbyInfo takes a look at five current Premier League players that could potentially be on the move this transfer window and could may well be relocating to play for a fellow Premier League competitor after this January window.
Modou Barrow (Swansea City)
Linked with: Crystal Palace, Hull City
In a season filled with very few positives for Swansea City fans, you could perhaps only point to a handful of players that have performed above average for the Welsh side so far this league campaign. Whilst Swansea’s problems have been both largely in defence as well as off the field with Bob Bradley’s abrupt sacking after a tumultuous 85 days in charge perhaps typifying the Welsh club’s difficulties throughout the club, one glimmer of hope alongside Icelandic talisman Gylfi Sigurdsson has undoubtedly been Swansea’s 24 year old Gambian international midfielder Modou Barrow. After making his Premier League debut back in November 2014 for the Swans before fully breaking into the Swansea City regular starting XI during the 2015/16 season after short-term loan deals to Championship sides Nottingham Forest and Blackburn Rovers, Barrow has continued to develop and has gone from strength to strength during his time at the club – rapidly becoming one of Swansea’s star performers. In the last week, Sky Sources have reported that both Newcastle United and Crystal Palace have shown an interest in signing the tricky winger and with a reported relegation release clause of £5m set in his contract, Swansea may well be looking to cash in for a much higher value this January than what the poultry £5m they may receive in the summer; a transfer fee that reflects his true ability before a possible relegation to the Championship this Summer. Any potential departure however does depend on the arrival of new manager Paul Clement and his ideas for a forward-thinking Swansea City, as well as the funds that are made available to purchase players this January. Despite such uncertainties, do not be surprised to see Barrow’s name mentioned continuously throughout this window with a move away from the Liberty Stadium as it there is a strong chance it may actually happen.
Saido Berahino (West Bromwich Albion)
Linked with: Everton, Southampton, Stoke City
What would a transfer window be without a mention of West Bromwich Albion forward Saido Berahino. Will he or won’t he, nobody quite knows from one window to the next what the next twist or turn may be in one of the most protracted transfer saga’s ever known to man. One thing that can be banked on however is that the England Under 21 international is once again sure to be heavily linked with a move away from The Hawthorns. It was two sesaons ago (yes only two seasons) that the impressive goalscoring form of Berahino attracted three offers from Tottenham Hotspur including a £22.5m offer which was rejected almost instantly by the cub. Then one year ago, Newcastle United were also reported to have made a £21m bid for the 23 year old forward which was quickly rejected. And even more recently speaking, a mere six months ago, it was the turn of Stoke City who tabled an offer of £17m, potentially rising to £20m based on appearances and contractual clauses, but this too was rejected by West Brom, as was a reported bid by Crystal Palace of the same value. Consequently nobody can say for definite that it is the will of both Tony Pulis and West Bromwich Albion in forcing Berahino to stay at the club and wait even longer for a move away, but with his own development and future in mind, clearly the promising forward remains unsettled at West Brom and must surely see his future away from The Hawthorns. Therefore back in shape and raring to go after infamously being put on a fitness weight-loss programme back in October 2016 with tests showing the striker was eight pounds over his ideal weight, expect Berahino’s name to be circulated over and over again and who knows, maybe this could be the window he finally he gets the move or which he has long, long desired.
Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool)
Linked with: West Bromwich Albion, West Ham United
For many it was only during the 2015/16 season after the arrival of then new manager Jürgen Klopp when Mamadou Sakho first began to show signs of the defender that Liverpool had thought they were buying back in 2013. Despite a knee injury that meant the Frenchman was ruled out for two months, Sakho produced a number of stand-out defensive displays throughout Klopp’s first season in charge, most notably during a 3-1 win over a previously faltering Chelsea side alongside two impressive individual displays against Klopp’s former side Borussia Dortmund in an eventual 4-3 victory over two legs in the Europa League Quarter Finals. Such form looked set to earn Sakho a much deserved call up to the French squad for Euro 2016 on home soil but after it was announced in April last year that Sakho was being investigated by UEFA over a potential breach of an anti-doping rule, evidently things have not been quite so rosy for the 26 year old ever since. A superb start to the season and life at Liverpool under Jürgen Klopp descended into even more chaos ahead of the 2016/17 season after the Frenchman was sent home from the clubs pre-season tour of the United States by Klopp for being late for the team’s flight, medical treatment session as well as a team meal time. By this point the writing was well and truly on the wall, further compounded by Sakho’s demotion from the senior squad. To date, after only one competitive match this season for the Liverpool reserves side, you would therefore think that his time is up at the club and at the first opportunity Sakho will surely be on his way out of Liverpool. Described by Daily Mirror journalist Richard Innes as a defender with “highly alternative approach” to defending, West Brom and West Ham United are just two of a number of clubs that have been with who Innes further labels a “a defensive maverick” and we could therefore being seeing more of the two sides to Mamadou Sakho in the very near future.
Carl Jenkinson (Arsenal)
Linked with: Crystal Palace, West Ham United
With first-team opportunities few and far between at Arsenal with Hector Belerín taking up the regular starting position at right back for the North London club and the experienced Frenchman Mathieu Debuchy settling as his understudy for the time being, English right back Carl Jenkinson has been widely reported to be unsettled at the North London club for some time since his return to his parent club and is now said to be looking for a permanent move away from the Emirates this transfer window. Following two years on loan across London at West Ham United during a spell where Jenkinson made over 50 first-team appearances for the club, it was suggested that Jenkinson would return to Arsenal after the end of a two season spell away to train alongside and subsequently provide competition for the 21 year old Belerín but with the Spaniard showing no signs of faltering any time soon, now may well be the best time possible for Jenkinson to move away from Arsenal for the good of his career. Yet despite a lack of playing team this season with his only first-team appearance for Arsenal, strikingly his first in nearly three years for Arsene Wenger’s side, coming in a 2-0 victory over Reading, Jenkinson did receive a number of plaudits for his own individual performance and has since been linked with a host of Premier League clubs interested in taking Jenkinson both on a temporary and even a permanent basis. At present West Ham United remain firm favourites after two seasons spent at The Hammers to acquire his services once again but a reunion with former boss Sam Allardyce at Crystal Palace could also be on the cards too.
Shane Long (Southampton)
Linked with: Hull City, West Bromwich Albion, West Ham United, Middlesbrough
With Southampton lacking a real goalscoring threat of late with several of the clubs fans taking to national radio phone in programmes to plead that their club dip into market this January, you may well ask why Shane Long, a forward and a proven Premier League goalscorer of that, is now being heavily rumoured with a move away from the club this transfer window? After crashing out of Europe in the Europa League group stages earlier this season, you could say that it has been a bit of a mixed bag for manager Claude Puel and his Southampton side this season, as the Frenchman continues to find his feet at the club after joining last summer. Whilst Long did in fact appear to be Southampton’s first choice striker during the initial part of the 2016/17 season, in the search for more goals Puel has heavily rotated the Republic of Ireland international with the English pairing of Jay Rodriguez and Charlie Austin, preferring Austin towards the end of the calendar year before the former QPR forward sustained an injury. Consequently with this seemingly leaving Shane Long at the bottom of the pecking order it could be that the 29 year old looks for a move away from St Mary’s Stadium this January. Likewise for Southampton to address their problems in front of goal and to continue progressing in the same vein as previous seasons, a fresh approach is much needed and bringing in a new striker this transfer window is therefore essential. And as it looks increasingly unlikely that the highly sought after Virgil Van Dijk will leave the club this January in a mega money move with the summer looking the most likely at present, funds may need to be generated elsewhere and it could be that Shane Long makes way for the good of both his own playing time and Southampton’s progression going forward. Recent reports meanwhile suggest that the Irishman is not without his suitors with a host of Premier League clubs said to be interested in acquiring the forward this January and this could be a transfer story to keep a close eye on as the month progresses.
Other EPL transfer whispers to keep an eye on this transfer window:
- Ruben Loftus Cheek – Chelsea to Swansea City (Loan)
- Michael Keane – Burnley to Everton (Permanent)
- Max Gradel – Bournemouth to Burnley (Loan)
- Gerard Deulofeu – Everton to Middlesbrough (Loan)
- Patrick Van Aanholt – Sunderland to Crystal Palace (Permanent)
Originally featured on The Five Guide