January transfer window 20/21: which players are on the move?

05.01.2021 12:59:36 Adam England
Olivier Giroud of Chelsea and David Alaba of Bayern Munich
  •  January transfer window is now open after an eventful 2020
  •  The likes of Mesut Ozil, Dele Alli and Marcos Alonso could be leaving the Premier League
  •  New PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino could raid former club Tottenham
  •  Liverpool in the market for new centre-back following injuries


It doesn't feel long since the summer transfer window slammed shut - of course, it closed later than usual as a knock-on effect of the pandemic, but nonetheless we’re back with the January transfer window, and all that it entails.  

It’s already been ten years since that crazy January deadline day that saw Fernando Torres leave Liverpool for Chelsea and become the UK’s first £50m player, the Reds buying Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll from Ajax and Newcastle respectively in his place. We’re unlikely to see anything quite as dramatic a decade on, but what can we expect to happen over the next month?


Leaving North London 

Two big names in midfield could be on their way out of North London this month, with Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil and Tottenham’s Dele Alli both seemingly having no future in the capital. Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is looking to trim his squad and has already offloaded Sead Kolasinac back to Schalke on loan. 

Club exile Ozil could join Turkish side Fenerbahce according to a number of reports from December, ending a seven-and-a-half-year spell with the Gunners. Meanwhile, last-season’s Champions League runners-up PSG have been linked with Alli, where the England international would link up with former Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino, who took over the hot seat at Le Parc des Princes on Jan 2nd. He’s been linked with Spurs’ long-serving goalkeeper Hugo Lloris too – could the Frenchman return home almost nine years after leaving Lyon? 

Speaking of Spurs, an ex-Tottenham player might be in line for a Premier League return. Attacking midfielder Christian Eriksen swapped the club for Inter Milan a year ago, but has failed to settle with the Nerazzurri and it might be best for both parties if he is to leave in this window. He’s been linked with the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United, and it wouldn’t be too shocking to see him return to the country where he’s spent the majority of his professional career. Still only 28, it would be a great opportunity for him to regain his form. 

There could be some fringe outgoings at Chelsea, too. Incomings are unlikely after a busy summer, despite their current woes, but the likes of Emerson, Marcos Alonso and Olivier Giroud could be on their way. £71m man Kepa Arrizabalaga may also depart with September signing Edouard Mendy the first choice in goal. 


Winning the Title Again 

Liverpool might be top of the league, but are reportedly in the market for a centre-back after losing both Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez to lengthy injuries this season, while Joel Matip is also now out for two or three weeks. Fabinho has slotted in well to the heart of defence, and there are young players who can fill in too, but extra cover is needed.

They currently have six players out, more than any of their fellow title contenders: 

Joe Gomez - Defender

Joel Matip - Defender

Konstantinos Tsimikas - Defender

Virgil Van Dijk - Defender

Naby Keita - Midfielder

Diogo Jota - Forward

A dream move for Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly or RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano looks unlikely at this stage, but there are plenty of more realistic alternatives out there. If they wanted to look on the domestic front there’s Brighton’s Ben White and even Southampton’s Jannik Vestergaard, while further afield they’ve been linked with Schalke’s young Turkey international Ozan Kabak and 20-year-old Dutchman Sven Botman, currently at Lille.


What else for the Premier League?

Further down the table, it’s thought that there could be some incomings at Wolves; indeed, boss Nuno Esprito Santo has seen his side struggle a little since Raul Jimenez’s nasty-looking head injury in November, and a new striker could be brought in in the meantime. Liverpool’s Divock Origi has been linked, but Diego Costa might be a better bet. The former Chelsea man had his contract cancelled at Atletico Madrid, and has been linked with everyone from Wolves to Arsenal, Leeds and Inter Milan. Other options for Wolves include Real Madrid’s Luka Jovic and Cameroonian international Stephane Bahoken, currently playing for Angers in Ligue 1. 

What else could we see? Brighton, struggling for form in the league at the moment, will want to hold onto Tariq Lamptey, and Burnley will hope that James Tarkowski remains with the club into February. The likes of Paul Pogba and Jack Grealish are, as usual, going to be the focus of attention too, but are unlikely to leave Man United and Aston Villa respectively this month. 

Overall, it’s probably not going to be one of the more hectic transfer windows of recent years. The uncertainty surrounding the future of the pandemic continues to dominate, and teams are unlikely to make any huge risks as a result. However, many major leagues - not least the Premier League - are still wide open, and teams will make transfer decisions accordingly. At the very least, we should see some long-serving Premier League players leaving for pastures now, and some incomings here and there. Just don’t expect to see Lionel Messi pulling on a Man City shirt in three weeks’ time.



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