On July 30th, Arsene Wenger boldly proclaimed that, due to over-inflated transfer fees, players running down their contracts would become the norm. To many, this felt like a feeble attempt to cover up his own negligence with Mesut Özil and Alexis Sánchez at the time. But as we approach the January transfer window, we have highlighted players who are in similar situations as Özil and Sánchez at Arsenal – some of them very big name players.
Who could your club be targeting?
The five-time German Player of the Year is rumoured to be very, very close to penning a new deal with the Gunners but, as of now, there is still no signature on the dotted line. Mesut Özil’s languid style has drawn criticism during his time in England, but his genius is undeniable. With the right team around him, Özil could regain his status as one of the world’s best.
The fiery Chilean looks set to leave Arsenal before the start of next season. He’s rejected every deal put before him and things are unlikely to change. With little more than six months left on his current deal at the Emirates, Manchester City remain the favourites but Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain are starting to make waves. Alexis Sánchez will be free to sign a pre-contract agreement with foreign clubs in January so, if City want him, they may need to meet Arsenal’s demands to secure his services.
Like Özil, it appears Giorgio Chiellini is close to penning a new deal with Juventus but, also like Özil, it remains unsigned. The Italian star has spent his entire career at Juventus, becoming one of the most decorated and respected defenders in world football. A link up with former manager Antonio Conte at Chelsea has been mooted, but any offer to take him away from the Old Lady would need to be extremely attractive.
Despite a number of serious injuries early in his career, Leon Goretzka has gone on to become one of the most sought-after young players in Europe. The 6’2″ midfielder has become a regular for the German national team and is banging in goals for Schalke 04. Manchester United, Arsenal, and Liverpool are all keen but, in my opinion, Bayern Munich are the favourites for his signature.
Juan Mata is a forgotten figure at times at Manchester United and one whose contract situation has gone under the radar. Since arriving in England, Mata has consistently brought quality and flair and the right manager could see the Spanish gem reproduce the exhilarating form that led Chelsea to Champions League success in 2012.
After years of unreached potential at Liverpool, Emre Can looks like he is getting close to the level his talent commands. Sadly for Reds fans, it looks as though they may never see the full benefit of this, with Juventus looking likely to tie up a pre-contract agreement in January.
The flying Dutchman may be 33 but he would still improve almost any team in world football. Bayern Munich remain confident he will re-sign but the player himself remains relaxed about his situation. Could one last big money move tempt the former Chelsea and Real Madrid star to leave the club where he has spent the best part of a decade plying his trade?
He may be getting on but Fernandinho’s quality is undeniable. At 32, the Brazilian can read the game like few others in world football and his unselfish, workmanlike approach allows City’s flair players to do what they do best. On top of this priceless ability, Fernandinho’s also got an eye for the spectacular and can usually guarantee a couple of long range stunners per season.
There isn’t a single player on, the list above that wouldn’t improve their future employer. Competition to snap them up will be fierce so let’s just say this could be the most interesting January window in a long, long time.