With the January window looming, it’s time to look at which players around the world should be on Premier League manager’s shopping lists (keep in mind the aim to be, shall we say, “realistic”).
ST/CF: Álvaro Morata, 21 – Real Madrid CF (Spain):
This might be a bit beyond the pale in all honesty, but Roberto Martinez has a way with Spanish talent; and it makes compelling thought. Romelu Lukaku is on the books of Chelsea for at least the next 30 months, and as we've seen with West Bromwich Albion this campaign, when the gargantuan Belgian leaves, so do the goals. Morata is a tall, technical centre-forward who has the beating of a defender in him; the hardest part would be to have him part ways with Real Madrid, but as Everton received upwards of £27 million from Manchester United in exchange for Marouane Fellaini in September, the Blues have the cash to splash. And could be facing the prospect of having just Arouna Koné and Nikica Jelavić as their only striking options going into European competition. The Spanish youngster definitely looks a fit in Martinez's open, attacking-style and could be value for money if negotiated sanely; whether-or-not the Madrid-born 21 year-old would leave the Bernabéu for Merseyside is another discussion altogether.
(Current Market Value: +£10 million)
W/RM: Aiden McGeady, 27 – FC Spartak Moskva (Russia):
It's difficult to separate truth from squaller at this point of the year. Every player has the potential to be going any where -- and Aiden McGeady is one such conundrum. Linked primarily with Everton and Newcastle United, the former Celtic man could be going any number of places -- if he leaves Russia at all. With the injury blow to Barcelona starlet Gerard Deulofeu, Roberto Martinez needs attacking reinforcements. Considering Deulofeu is on loan to the Toffees and won't be easily purchased from the Catalans during the summer, McGeady looks to be a worthy replacement, or at least stop-gap. A five-month Premier League introductory phase would be welcome to both the player and Everton, so as he can hit the ground running come kickoff 2014-15.
(Current Market Value: -£6.3 million)
W/F: Wilfried Zaha, 22 – Manchester United FC (England):
It's not clear Sir Alex Ferguson's intention behind the purchase of Wilfried Zaha. He's clearly skilled, but needs a bit more seasoning to the laymen's eye. One might guess the former Manchester United boss/legend decided to lay his claim before another one of the vultures tried to take the prize? As simply as it can be stated: Crystal Palace need goals. Zaha scored nine Championship goals last season for the Eagles -- for both Palace's sake and the sake of United supporters everywhere, if David Moyes allows the young Englishman to go on loan, he might get both the seasoning he needs and a bit of glory in the meantime. Tony Pulis is know to be a "direct" manager, but the addition of Zaha to the squad would give him options, and managers love options. Zaha and Yannick Bolasie would be a terrorising winger combination, which just might keep Palace above the relegation zone come mid-May.
(Current Market Value: +£10 million | Loan: +/-£35K p/wk)
CB: Dedryck Boyata, 23 -- Manchester City FC (England):
In the attempt to save Crystal Palace some cash, and improve their goal difference, Tony Pulis should call Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini and ask for the services of the Belgian centre-half Dedryck Boyata. The Manchester City Young Player of the Year from 2010 has been on the outskirts of relevance under the past two regimes, and another loan spell, this time in England, could be the incentive he needs to finally impress the Citizens brass, or maybe find a new home with consistent playing time. Crystal Palace on the other hand are in need of some young talent to help fortify their back line, and acquiring a player with something to prove to his parent club should help the Eagles in their plight to stay in the Premier League.
(Current Market Value: +£1.4 million | Loan: +/-£10K p/wk)
*MVs estimated by Transfermarkt