Born in the south east of Ireland, Simon put his life-long love of football to good use when he started a successful independent blog in 2010. That opened up an alternative route to a career in journalism, and having had work published across a number of sites and publications, Simon joined the staff at Spotlight Sports Group in 2018.
The January Transfer Window officially opens on Thursday, kicking off an intense 31-day scramble for squad reinforcements, replacements and additions.
With the rumour mill cranked into overdrive, countless combinations of players and potential suitors will be spun into headlines, with links ranging from tenuous to concrete during the month long recruitment drive.
By the time the window slams shut at 11pm on January 31st, a considerable number of footballers will expect to have been re-homed.
Last year, Premier League clubs spend £180m on transfers during the mid-season window – a huge decrease on the division’s total spend of £430m the year before (January 18).
With this year’s window yet to officially open, Liverpool have already sanctioned a £7.25m deal to sign RB Salzburg’s attacking midfielder Takumi Minamino.
That deal is likely to be the first of many money-spinning moves made by Premier League clubs this month, as the retooling process begins ahead of the second half of the campaign.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the other deals that could be in the offing.
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Ben Chilwell – Leicester City to Chelsea
With the club’s transfer ban lifted, Frank Lampard is expected to dip into the January market to add some much-needed steel to his youthful Chelsea squad.
The priority positions that require the most immediate strengthening are along Chelsea’s porous backline, and talented Leicester City left-back Ben Chilwell is thought to be high on the Blues’ list of possible targets.
However, it could take a bid north of the £80m Man Utd paid for Harry Maguire last summer to tempt Leicester into parting with their fullback.
The 23-year old England international has enjoyed a fine individual campaign for the Foxes, and with Leicester chasing Champions League qualification this term, they have few incentives to sell.
Christian Eriksen – Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid
Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen has been a peripheral figure at Tottenham this season as his his seven-year spell with the London club moves closer to its inevitable end.
The 27-year old schemer’s contract expires in the summer of 2020, leaving Eriksen free to discuss terms with potential suitors as early as next week ahead of a costless move at the end of the season.
However, Tottenham could make one final push to collect a transfer fee for Eriksen during the January Transfer Window, with both Real Madrid and Manchester United thought to be interested in acquiring his creative services.
Los Blancos primary target for that position of course, is United’s Paul Pogba, though Eriksen would represent a much cheaper alternative to the French World Cup winner.
James Rodriguez – Real Madrid to Everton
Real Madrid have been trying (and failing) to permanently offload Colombian international James Rodriguez for over a year now, though the latest rumours suggest that Everton could be the attacking midfielder’s next destination.
With Carlo Ancelotti in the hotseat, the Toffees’ pulling power has suddenly increased and the Italian coach worked with Rodriguez before at both Real Madrid and at Bundesliga club Bayern Munich.
While Rodriguez’ star has undoubtedly faded over the past 12-months, his signing would still represent a real coup for Everton, though Real Madrid’s £43m fee demands could still prove a sticking point.
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Jarrod Bowen – Hull City to Aston Villa
Prolific 23-year old winger Jarrod Bowen is one of the hottest properties in the Championship at present, and Aston Villa are thought to be at the front of the queue to sign him during the January Transfer Window.
With relegation fears heightening, the big-spending Villains are certain to enter the market before February, to ensure that they don’t drop straight back down to the second tier just 12-months after their promotion.
Dean Smith’s men have averaged just 1.0 goal per game over their last 12 Premier League fixtures, and with their attacking output starting to evaporate, regular goal-getter Bowen could be the man to reignite Villa’s survival hopes.
Nathan Ake – Bournemouth to Chelsea
Chelsea’s list of favoured defensive targets for January is also believed to feature Bournemouth star Nathan Ake.
The Dutch defender spent six years with the Blues between 2011 and 2017 after he swapped Feyenoord for Chelsea as a 16-year old, and with Frank Lampard attempting to sprinkle his team with academy products, Ake ticks plenty of the right boxes.
Chelsea inserted a £40m first refusal buy-back clause into the deal that saw Ake move to Bournemouth in 2017, though they will have to move fast to activate that provision before it expires next summer.
Manchester City are also believed to be keen admirers of Ake, though the 24-year old is thought to be more open to a Stamford Bridge return.
Nemanja Matic – any Italian club
Veteran Serbian midfielder Nemanja Matic had been made surplus to requirements at Manchester United, as Old Gunnar Solskjaer accelerates the club’s cull of overpaid underperformers.
The 31-year old has fallen firmly down the pecking order at Old Trafford, and fresh rumours are emerging to suggest that there is a two-way Italian battle in progress for his signature.
Milan rivals AC and Inter are both believed to be interested in signing the experienced anchorman, however with Matic available for a nominal fee, further suitors are expected to appear.
Scott McTominay’s knee injury could yet scupper any move for Matic, though United are thought to be scanning the market for midfield alternatives.
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