The January transfer window beckons, and for a slew of players across Europe’s top five leagues, with it comes an opportunity for a much-needed change of scenery.
Here’s a look at 15 players who could benefit from an immediate move, whether by loan or a permanent sale.
Gary Cahill (Chelsea)
Manager Maurizio Sarri doesn’t think Cahill is technically gifted enough to play for Chelsea. Observant stuff, that, and with the 32-year-old relegated to Europa League status, the club will aim to get Cahill’s wages off the books to afford a potential January upgrade in central defense. Teammates Alvaro Morata and Callum Hudson-Odoi could also use a change. Gary, it’s been a slice.
Adrien Silva (Leicester City)
Let’s face it, Adrien, it wasn’t meant to be. After Portuguese international Silva’s £22-million move to the King Power missed last summer’s deadline by 14 seconds, the 29-year-old parked his caboose on the bench until January. Just 14 appearances later, and Silva is again warming the wood as Claude Puel prefers former outcast Nampalys Mendy. A return to Sporting could be in the cards.
Dominic Solanke (Liverpool)
Linked with a Steven Gerrard reunion at Rangers, Solanke would be wise to order a Glasgow Salad from a menu with photos because, well, some things aren’t what they appear to be. Neither was his move from Chelsea last summer, and with nary a first-team appearance this season, the 21-year-old would benefit from a switch. Have the tikka masala and an Irn-Bru. Brighton, Huddersfield, Fulham and Palace have all reportedly had a sniff.
Isco (Real Madrid)
Like a washcloth left to dry in the sun only to be long since forgotten, Isco is rotting on the Real Madrid bench under Santiago Solari, and naturally, that has drawn the interest of some European giants. A deft dribbler and master of evading tight confines, the 26-year-old has started just five league affairs, and none since Solari’s hiring. Lokomotivi Tbilisi, announce Isco on loan.
Perhaps Malcom should have gone to Roma after all, or anywhere Ernesto Valverde isn’t managing, for that matter. Ninety-seven minutes of La Liga football later, and the gifted Barcelona winger is somewhere between Dmytro Chygrynskiy and a bee sting on the Catalan colossus’ all-time depth chart. Tottenham is reportedly interested, if signing players is still something they do.
Luis Muriel (Sevilla)
One start in the league for Sevilla isn’t going to cut it, and with AC Milan scouring the continent for strikers, why not sign Muriel, the doppelganger of former Los Cafeteros and Rossoneri forward Carlos Bacca? All jokes aside, Gennaro Gattuso’s lot could probably afford to sign an attacker who can also play in the midfield, at full-back, and in defense, as well as manage.
Daniele Rugani (Juventus)
Chelsea will need a central defender if they cut ties with Cahill, and they could do worse than sign Rugani, who spent two years buying Mo Sarri smokes at Empoli. With just three Serie A appearances this season at Juventus, the sense is that either he or Medhi Benatia are surplus to requirements. Why else would Rugani learn English? Case closed.
Patrik Schick (Roma)
Czech forward Schick and his mercurial spell at Roma are reportedly approaching an anti-climactic end. The former Sampdoria standout has appeared in 12 Serie A matches this season, but two goals in 716 minutes is non buono, and there’s a bevy of sides short on goals that could facilitate a loan. Schick to Crystal Palace, start the rumor.
Amadou Diawara (Napoli)
Surely 21-year-old defensive midfielder Diawara has grown tired of being a fringe first-teamer at Napoli. Two successive seasons of 18 Serie A showings set the table for a half-dozen starts in 2018-19, and with Allan having a solid season in the middle of the park under Carlo Ancelotti, Diawara’s agent would be wise to look abroad. A move to Spurs almost makes too much sense.
Benjamin Pavard (VfB Stuttgart)
Like Andrea Belotti and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic before him, World Cup winner Pavard is a prime example of a player who should have been sold when his value peaked. The World Cup winner contends he was the party responsible for blocking a post-Russia move, but with Stuttgart eyeing another relegation, and Kyle Walker underperforming at Manchester City …
Leon Bailey (Bayer Leverkusen)
Jamaican wunderkind Bailey was among the most frequently mentioned transfer targets this summer. After sticking with Bayer Leverkusen for the 2018-19 campaign, the speedster has regressed and is without a league start since September. Kai Havertz has replaced Bailey as Die Werkself’s hot commodity, though the 21-year-old still had oodles of potential and pace to burn.
Shinji Kagawa (Borussia Dortmund)
Somewhat forgotten amid Borussia Dortmund’s stellar run is the absence of formerly influential Kagawa this season under Lucien Favre. Like Julian Weigl, the 29-year-old does not appear a part of the manager’s plans, and with one Bundesliga start this season, the midfielder may regret the decision not to join Nuri Sahin as Jurgen Klopp-era remnants to have made a summer exit.
Mario Balotelli (Nice)
Just as the Italian striker had appeared to turn a corner on his Cote d’Azur comeback, Balotelli and Nice boss Patrick Vieira are at odds. The Frenchman took a visibly angered Balotelli off against Guingamp on Dec. 1, called his performance “less than average,” and with the well-traveled forward unlikely to renew his deal, Mino Raiola’s client is again linked with a Marseille move.
Adrien Rabiot (Paris Saint-Germain)
It’s been a hellish year for Rabiot. Denied a spot in Didier Deschamps’ France side for the World Cup, the Paris Saint-Germain midfielder had a temper tantrum and removed his name from the standby list. He’s also out of favor with PSG boss Thomas Tuchel, and with a contract that lapses in the summer, the player’s mother/agent confirmed he’s gone.
Emiliano Sala (Nantes)
With 12 Ligue 1 goals on the season, Argentine striker Sala’s value has peaked, and with Nantes relishing mid-table safety amid public interest from Cardiff City boss Neil Warnock, the winter window would present the best chance to profit from the 28-year-old’s sale. “I’m not going to have a gun put to my head,” Warnock said in the summer. Nantes may reconsider come January.