They say the January window is never an ideal time for Premier League clubs to make signings – but that depends on whether you’re looking in the right places.
Take these FIVE bosman-bound stars for example, all highly talented, none in need of a zimmer-frame and due to their contract situations, likely available for an absolute pittance when the transfer market reopens.
It’s something Mike Ashley should particularly bear in mind – his penny-pinching ways have undoubtedly contributed to Newcastle’s troubled league position this season of 18th, but those entering the January window with just six months on their contract represent fantastic value for money.
And just in case the Magpies owner is short on a few ideas, here’s FIVE bosman-bound bargains he should consider signing in the new year.
Newcastle fans have rightly become disillusioned with their club’s Ligue 1-orentated transfer policy – it’s certainly thrown up a few red herrings over the last few years.
But the Magpies desperately need some added firepower in the final third, and Marseille striker Andre-Pierre Gignac, still yet to pen a new contract at Stade Velodrome, represents one of the coming January window’s best value-for-money bargains.
Goals haven’t always come easy for the 28 year-old; having struggled with weight issues throughout his career, he’s often greeted by away supporters with the chant ‘Un Big Mac, pour Gignac”.
But over the last few seasons the Frenchman’s really got his act together in front of goal, as shown below:
And that’s backed up by a strong start to the current campaign, witnessing Gignac rise to the top of Ligue 1’s scoring charts:
A new deal is looking increasingly unlikely – despite Marseille currently enjoying a five point cushion at the top of the French table, a number of their key players appear to be jumping ship, including fellow contract rebel Andre Ayew.
But the Magpies could face stiff competition for his signature in January, with Arsenal also strongly linked in the tabloids:
— Metro Sport (@Metro_Sport) October 5, 2014
Here’s a look at the 6 foot 1 striker’s top five goals:
A bosman-bound striking option a little closer to home comes in the form of Tottenham’s Emmanuel Adebayor.
A huge source of debate even amongst the Lilywhites fanbase, it’s no secret that a questionable attitude has prevented the 30 year-old from reaching his full potential.
But he’s more than proven in the Premier League, amassing 95 goals in 220 appearances throughout spells with Arsenal, Manchester City and the White Hart Lane outfit – including an impressive return of eleven in 21 last season. Here’s a look at the Togo international in action:
Having found the net just once in seven Premier League outings this season however and Spurs likely to test the waters for another front-man in January, particularly Schalke assassin Klaas-Jan Huntelaar:
— Hotspur Related (@HotspurRelated) October 10, 2014
The north Londoners would be prepared to part company with the 6 foot 3 striker, especially considering he’s one of the club’s biggest earners at an incredible £170k per week, still subsidised by Manchester City.
Wage demands could prove to be a huge problem for the Magpies too, but at this point, avenues for Adebayor to continue his Premier League career are relatively limited.
Stephane Mbia’s first Premier League stint was a resounding failure, as part of the expensively-assembled QPR side that failed to beat the drop under Harry Redknapp in 2013.
But that disappointing spell is sharply juxtaposed by a prior stint with Marseille where he won the Ligue 1 title in 2010, and a year-long loan with Sevilla last season, bagging the Europa League title, before joining the Spanish side permanently this summer.
He played an important role in that continental campaign by netting twice in eight appearances – including this last-minute header to send Los Palanganos to the final:
A defensive midfielder measuring in at 6 foot 2, the Cameroon international is famed for his powerful presence and consistency on the ball, as shown in the statistics below:
Incredibly, Mbia’s found three goals already this season, matching his entire La Liga output from last term. All have followed the same template of a dead-ball being converted via his head, such as this stoppage time equaliser against Rijeka:
Despite joining Sevilla just a matter of months ago, the La Liga outfit only offered the 28 year-old a one-year deal. That could make him available in January if the price is right, and Mbia would boost Alan Pardew’s options in both defence and midfield, having regularly featured as a centre-back during his Marseille days.
Currently enjoying some of the best form of his career however, it seems more than likely Sevilla will tie him down to a long-term deal sooner rather than later.
Wigan Athletic maestro Shaun Maloney may be no spring chicken at the ripe old age of 31, but he still has a lot to offer Premier League sides – especially those at the wrong end of the table.
Indeed, the Scotland international claimed an impressive six goals and nine assists during his last Premier League campaign despite the Latics dropping out of the top flight, including this incredible free kick against QPR:
Maloney can play on either flank or as a No.10 and comes with a creative, fluid presence – something the Magpies have desperately lacked in the final third this season.
He’s struggled with injures in the Championship, making just five appearances last season despite a positive return of three goals and one assist.
But he’s enjoying a positive start to the current campaign, as shown below:
Maloney also netted this tidy finish past Poland in midweek:
With his contract winding down and Wigan currently finding themselves just a place above the relegation zone, they’ll be prepared to sell the veteran playmaker in January, rather than risk losing him for nothing at the end of the season.
Admittedly however, his resale value will be minimal, which could put off Mike Ashley.
A distinct possibility, or a naive pipe-dream?
Michael Carrick’s Manchester United career could well be brought to an end next summer, according to the Express, as his contract reaches its expiration – although conflicting rumours claim a one-year contract extension in the offing:
— FootballFanCast.com (@FootballFanCast) October 6, 2014
Injury has seen the 33 year-old miss the entirety of the current campaign, but having amassed 440 Premier League appearances throughout spells with West Ham, Spurs and the Red Devils – as well as 31 caps for England – there’s no doubting his credentials as a top flight playmaker.
Indeed, he’s claimed five Premier League titles and a Champions League at Old Trafford and only eighteen months ago won United’s Players’ Player of the Year award. Here’s his highlights from the 2012/13 campaign:
A son of Tyne and Wear and having played for Wallsend Boys in his younger years – the same club that produced Steve Bruce, Alan Shearer, Lee Clark, Peter Beardsley and Steven Taylor to name a few – Carrick might feel it’s the right time in his career to represent his boyhood side.
Newcastle have a knack of welcoming prodigal sons back with open arms too – but the England international’s Champions League-level wages could be a stumbling block.