Every time the transfer window opens a nasty draught of rumours and sagas creeps in. If you follow the these closely you inevitably see the same names recurring over and over again. Here are 10 players we think will feature prominently in the gossip columns in January.
1. Gary Cahill
The old Big Four have all decided they are unable to defend of late and, if you believe the gossip columns, they have also decided that Bolton defender Cahill is the man to end their woes. OTP fancies the England centre-back will end up staying at Bolton, so expect an entire month of Cahill rumours.
2. Robbie Keane
The out-of-favour Irishman looks set to leave Spurs one way or another next month, it is just a case of to where and for how long? West Ham are the favourites, but interest from Wolves and elsewhere should keep the narrative going.
3. Alex Oxlade Chamberlain
Southampton’s mouthful of young talent has been a rumour mill regular for the past month or so, and that will continue into January. Arsenal, Chelsea and Stoke are among those who will be chasing Mark Chamberlain’s lad.
4. Eden Hazard
The 19-year-old Belgian wonderkid has been linked with a move to England for a couple of years. This January transfer window could be the time that Manchester United and Liverpool choose to firm up their interest. Otherwise, it could be the time that the rumours continue!
5. Andy Carroll
The Newcastle striker has been one of the revelations of the Premier League season so far. Rumours coming from St James’s Park veer from a determination to keep hold of their new local hero to a willingness to cash-in and strengthen the squad if the likes of Manchester City, Tottenham or even Real Madrid are prepared to pay the right price.
6. David Wheater
Once one of the Premier League’s most hotly-tipped defenders, Wheater’s career has stalled since Middlesbrough’s relegation. He has long been linked with a return to the top-flight, but this time you get the impression the player feels he has served his loyalty notice to his local club. Expect a scramble of interest from the mid-table down.
7. Max Gradel
The Ivorian impressed at Leeds last season, but has gone up a notch since stepping out of Jermaine Beckford’s shadow this season. Newcastle are among those rumoured to be chasing him.
8. Edin Dzeko
We are hopeful that we might avoid the bulk of the Dzeko circus, with Manchester City rumoured to have agreed a deal which will be completed over the weekend. If that is delayed for any reason, expect to be hearing plenty more about the Wolfsburg striker throughout the month.
9. Stephen Ireland
After falling down the pecking order at Manchester City, Ireland can’t even get a game at struggling Villa now. There are more than a handful of clubs reportedly interested, but this has got protracted transfer written all over it.
10. Rod Fanni
OK, maybe you’ll never get sick of hearing his name. And he signed for Marseille just a couple of weeks ago. But if past transfer windows are anything to go by, the tabloid hack’s mantra seems to be: ‘If there’s a gap in the gossip column, say somebody is after Rod Fanni.’