West Ham, Newcastle… Ten strikers most likely to be on the move this January

With the January transfer window fast approaching, all manner of transfer rumours are set to rear their heads regarding your specific team. Whether it be one of your star players angling for that lucrative January move away, or your club targeting an individual to set your season alight, the rumour mill goes into overdrive ahead of the New Year.

As we so often see, this particular time of year is infamous for its big money striker deals. Who can forget that fateful day in 2011 that saw Chelsea waste £50m on Fernando Torres, as Liverpool condemned £35m to a similar fate on Andy Carroll?

Luis Suarez arrived at a similar time, and the rest is history. The January transfer window, known for its penchant to inflate the price hanging over a player, has always been a mixed bag for clubs who dare to invest in frontmen to freshen up their attacking ranks.

With that in mind, here are the TEN strikers most likely to be on the move this January…

SADIO MANE (SOUTHAMPTON)

Sadio Mane picture

Ok, not your classic Number 9, but the Southampton man has been one of the most lethal attackers in the league since arriving from Red Bull Salzburg in the summer of 2014. The Senegalese forward is as pacey as they come, and on his day, can run any defence ragged. Just ask Aston Villa.

The Saints man has been linked with both Manchester United and Chelsea ahead of the New Year, as the Red Devils are reportedly keen to follow up the interest they had in him over the summer. No doubt Ronald Koeman would be loath to lose the 23-year old mid-season, but with the riches available to the Old Trafford outfit make anything possible.

He would certainly add pace to Louis van Gaal’s attack, bringing a directness and creative spark not seen since the early Anthony Martial days, oh good times…..

SAIDO BERAHINO (WEST BROMWICH ALBION)

Berahino

After a botched evacuation attempt on deadline day in the summer, as well as vowing to never play for the club again, Saido Berahino is once more being linked with a move away from West Brom.

The bad-boy Baggie hasn’t been himself since the saga with Tottenham, and the North London side are naturally linked with going back in for him. However, they could now be joined by Newcastle, who are finding goals hard to come by.

The Toon Army are reportedly hell bent on buying British players in order to both fill FIFA’s home-grown quota, and help lift them from the slump they have been for whatever seems to be forever. A £20m bid has been mooted, in what would be the Magpies’ biggest ever deal.

Manchester United and Chelsea are also said to casting a watchful eye over his situation, but it seems unlikely the 22-year old is exactly what both titans are looking for. With Spurs looking in good shape, a big money move to desperate Newcastle could be the most likely option for the England Under-21 star.

CHARLIE AUSTIN (QPR)

Austin2

Austin looked certain to leave West London earlier this season, but a reported £15m valuation of the player apparently put a number of Premier League outfits off making a bid.

The speculation has not cooled during the cold winter months, and the 26-year old is once again likely to be one of the most talked about frontmen of the window. The former non-league star netted 18 times during the Rs’ ill-fated season in the top tier last term, earning him links with a return.

Struggling Aston Villa, Sunderland and Newcastle have all been linked with a move for ex-Burnley ace, who is thought to be available at a much more reasonable £8m as his contract expires in the summer. A proven goalscorer at Premier League level, Austin is bound to be the subject of yet more speculation.

QPR are certainly not mounting a title challenge, so could be wise to cash in while they still can.

PATRICK BAMFORD (CHELSEA)

Patrick Bamford

It’s not at all worked out as planned for the 22-year old at Crystal Palace, despite his excellence with Middlesbrough and Derby last season. The Chelsea loanee has barely got a look in under Alan Pardew, and recently revealed he has an exit clause inserted in his deal at Selhurst Park.

Linked with a move back to the North East, Bamford is bound to be a key target for many a side chasing promotion from England’s second tier. While at the Riverside, he was crowned Championship Player of the Year for his exploits, and could help provide the impetus to spark a promotion push.

He may not be the biggest name on his bike this winter, but the England Under-21 international could have a big impact on the complexion of next year’s Premier League.

ALEXANDRE PATO (CORINTHIANS)

Alexandre Pato

Things seem to have gone a little quiet on the Pato front since reports emerged that Liverpool had an ‘agreement in principle’ to land the former Brazilian international.

However, Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur are also credited with an interest in landing the 26-year old. The former AC Milan wonderkid will see his loan move to Sao Paulo expire next month, and is likely to be leaving Corinthians – with a return to Europe touted as his next destination.

Italian football journalist Tancredi Palmeri claimed the player’s representatives have met with European clubs recently, so a move back to the continent certainly seems feasible.

Injuries derailed his career at the San Siro, but it is important to remember he is just 26 and possesses genuine quality.

A left field move no doubt, but certainly one to look out for.

DIEGO COSTA (CHELSEA)

DIego Costa

If someone told you 12 months ago that Diego Costa would be heavily linked with leaving Chelsea now, you would have every right to slap them straight in the face. However, as winter rolls around, that’s exactly what is happening.

The Spaniard has been one of the Blues’ biggest disappointments amid their implosion this season, and reports suggest the club are seriously evaluating whether to sell him or not next month. A return to Atletico Madrid has been mooted for the controversial forward, the club he spearheaded to a La Liga title in the 2013-14 campaign.

Despite his heroics leading the line last year, the 27-year old has scored just seven times in ten months and is understood to have had a half-time spat with Jose Mourinho in the recent win over Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Granted, the Chelsea boss did claim that they had made up after the disagreement with ‘kisses and cuddles’, but there is a growing sense that Costa could leave sooner than expected.

AYOZE PEREZ (NEWCASTLE)

Ayoze Perez

Ayoze Perez has been one of the shining lights in an otherwise utterly miserable season for Newcastle United. The young Spaniard has impressed since arriving on Tyneside in the summer of 2014, but this season looks to have stepped up a level in terms of performance.

Such outings have seen him linked with a £15m move to Manchester United, who are in desperate need of sprucing up their attack. The 22-year old has a creative spark, able to create goals out of pretty much nothing.

Spurs are also believed to be keeping a watchful eye over his situation in the North East, and at £15m, the former Tenerife youngster could be quite the bargain. Speaking relatively, of course.

Considering the Toon Army’s current situation, it’s not hard to imagine a big bid for a player they only splashed £1m on would turn their heads.

GONZALO HIGUAIN (NAPOLI)

gonzalo higuain

The Napoli ace has long been linked with a move to Arsenal, but reports suggest it could be London rivals Chelsea who finally make the first move in order to bring him to England.

With the aforementioned Costa facing an uncertain future in West London, the Blues are understood to be eyeing Higuain as his potential replacement. The ex-Real Madrid man worked with Mourinho in the Spanish capital and remains one of the top strikers in European football.

He’s been in decent form for Napoli this season as the club chase a Serie A title in the wake of Juventus’ own struggles. Perhaps a bit pricey, but the Stamford Bridge outfit are facing down the barrel of a gun in an attempt to salvage anything from of this season at all.

Chelsea are not averse to splashing the cash in the winter markets and are in desperate need of attacking support – it will be interesting to see how this one plays out.

JERMAIN DEFOE (SUNDERLAND)

Jermain Defoe

Given the predicament Sunderland currently find themselves in, it seems odd that the club would be willing to sell a man who all but guarantees goals at Premier League level. Still, Black Cats chief Sam Allardyce is understood to be giving credence to the thought of selling the former Spurs forward.

Despite netting the winner of Crystal Palace recently, Defoe has never seemed to be fully trusted in a regular starting berth since arriving on Wearside a year ago. Fellow strugglers Bournemouth have been linked with a move for the 33-year old as they look to replace Callum Wilson, who fell foul to a serious ligament injury earlier this term.

A move down south could be the best move for the former England man, and a return to the South Coast would see his career come full circle. He enjoyed a prolific loan spell as a youngster with the Cherries, netting in ten consecutive old Second Division games during the 2000-2001 season.

This is a transfer that makes sense for all parties, though we know that means very little in the winter market.

ANDY CARROLL (WEST HAM)

Andy Carroll

The West Ham man is now back from injury, and has been enjoying a run of games in the starting line-up, which may make this rumour a little odd. However, in the heavy loss against Spurs, it became somewhat apparent that the England man does not really fit in with Slaven Bilic’s style of play.

Injuries to the likes of Dimitri Payet and Enner Valencia have thrust the Geordie striker back into the first-team, but lingering rumours suggest he could be set for a return to the North East. The former Newcastle man has long been linked with a homecoming to St. James’ Park, and with Ayoze Perez nearing an exit, there could be a case made to bring the player back.

Sam Allardyce, the man who sanctioned a club record fee to bring to Upton Park in the first place, has also been rumoured to be interested in bringing the England international closer to home. A move to the Stadium of Light seems unlikely, given the 26-year old’s history with the Magpies, but stranger things have happened.