We’d barely had chance to wish each other a happy new year before the transfer rumours began, a maelstrom of madness and made-up manure that can drive a fan insane should they choose to believe even a tenth of them.
From the far-fetched to the faintly plausible they splatter daily on our back pages and timelines making it increasingly hard to filter out the fantastical to find a potential deal that is linked by pure logic.
Have no fear though because we’ve done it for you, bravely swatting away the Bale to Old Traffords and wading through the Lacazette to Newcastles to bring you seven transfers that really should happen this January.
Why? Because they make an awful lot of sense and if player and club know what’s good for them these deals will be wrapped up by the time Jim White is enjoying a well-deserved dram as Big Ben strikes in February 1st…
Perhaps the most damning indictment of Louis Van Gaal’s tenure is that despite splashing out gazillions United are still in desperate need of a marquee name this month.
And that marquee name simply must be a forward, a predatory goal-machine capable of lifting Old Trafford from its stupor and adding to United’s meagre tally that has seen them score 12 less goals than mid-table Everton this term.
Having already blasted 18 for Borussia Dortmund before their winter break Aubameyang is a wanted man and certainly won’t come cheap but when has a price-tag put off United post-Ferguson?
This long-mooted link-up has reportedly hit a snag following the appointment of Zinedine Zidane as Real Madrid coach with the Spanish playmaker reportedly keen to work under his idol. A further spanner was thrown into the works this week when Zizou insisted Isco would enjoy more playing time at the Bernabeu after a frustrating spell under Benitez.
It is beholden on City to persist however in the vain hope they manage to prise this effervescent talent to the Etihad and reunite with his former father-figure Pellegrini.
The Blues have looked uncharacteristically pondersome in their build-up play of late and with Nasri out for the foreseeable and Silva struggling to regain fitness and influence the arrival of Francisco Román Alarcón Suárez might just prove to be the difference between the title or nowhere.
Newcastle’s pulling power has been greatly diminished by the threat of relegation after a torrid opening six months for Steve McClaren. This shortens their shortlist of heavily scouted targets but still leaves Saivet, Bordeaux’s wing wizard and skipper who would be a valuable asset to a side desperately in need of inspiration.
The 25 year old would bring dynamism and flair to the north-east and conceivably re-energise team-mates who have been bruised and battered by one defeat after another. Sadly as important at just 4 million euros he is well within Mike Ashley’s restrictive budget.
Tall, commanding and with bags of top flight experience Dawson’s standing may have fallen away in recent years but he still possesses the presence and nous the Cherries so desperately need in the months to come.
Only the bottom three have conceded more goals than Eddie Howe’s side in 2015/16 and the Hull centre-back’s organisation skills could be priceless for a club looking to add another chapter to their fairytale.
There are some who say the Togolese forward represents the very worst of modern day football; a player blessed with phenomenal talent who only occasionally turns it on when the mood suits. The rest of the time he will sulk, strop and listlessly traipse around the centre-circle until he is inevitably benched or made to train with the kids.
Some say this, the rest of us agree.
Yet Adebayor’s impact at new clubs should not be under-estimated and there is a clear pattern of him starting off on fire – in several instances winning games with single-minded genius – before swiftly cooling his ardour.
A short-term loan then could be the perfect deal for the Eagles before looking elsewhere in the summer.
If any of these deals is a home banker then surely it is this one, a player Jurgen Klopp was already coveting whose requirement has now become necessity due to Liverpool presently having no fit centre-backs at their disposal.
With Sakho, Gomez, Lovren and Skrtel all succumbing to injury Klopp has been forced to dispense with any cloak-and-dagger allusions and outright admit that a defender is a must for January and Matip – out of contract in the summer and blessed with all the qualities Klopp seeks in defensive roles – fits the bill perfectly.
The only potential sticking point may lie in the Schalke stopper’s fear of joining the Anfield curse. If you play at the back the treatment table evidently awaits.