ProSoccerTalk’s Top 50 winter transfer targets: #25 – 1

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With the January transfer window now open and in full swing, we take a look at the top targets that could potentially move in the transfer window.

This list is a rough ranking of top players that we are watching the most, and have made noise in reports recently. The rankings are determined by skill, star power, potential impact for a new team, and chance to move in the window.

So who could be on the move? Let’s find out! Remember, this is far from a “Who will move?” and more of a “Who could move and how interesting would it be?”

TOP 25 WINTER TRANSFER TARGETS (Read Nos. 50-26 here)

25. Joel Campbell (FW)
Current club:
Arsenal            Potential price: $9 million
Scoop: Looks like a loan deal for one of Costa Rica’s breakout stars, as Arsenal reportedly wants to ink the 22-year-old to a new contract. Real Sociedad and David Moyes await the decision.

24. Benedikt Howedes (DF)
Current club:
Schalke            Potential price: $19 million

23. Norberto Neto (GK)
Current club:
Fiorentina          Potential price: $9 million

22. Ron Vlaar (DF)
Current club:
Aston Villa            Potential price: $5 million
Scoop: Out of contract this summer, the Dutch defender has been linked with Manchester United (like seemingly everyone else).

21. Julian Draxler (MF)
Current club:
Schalke            Potential price: $36 million

source: Getty Images20. Wilfried Bony (FW)
Current club:
Swansea City           Potential price: $20 million
Scoop: We say $20 million, but Manchester City is apparently interested in flexing everyone else out of the market with a $45 million move.

19. Ilkay Gundogan (MF)
Current club:
Borussia Dortmund           Potential price: $24 million

18. Mario Balotelli (FW)
Current club:
Liverpool            Potential price: $29 million

17. Alexandre Lacazette (FW)
Current club:
Lyon            Potential price: $20 million

16. Yohan Cabaye (MF)
Current club:
Paris Saint-Germain            Potential price: $27 million
Scoop: The Frenchman has played as much as expected since coming to PSG from Newcastle last January, and some are saying the Parisian giants will look to double-down on Magpies with a Cabaye and money swap for Moussa Sissoko.

15. Ezequiel Lavezzi (MF)
Current club:
Paris Saint-Germain            Potential price: $24 million

14. Arturo Vidal (MF)
Current club:
Juventus           Potential price: $50 million

13. Xherdan Shaqiri (MF)
Current club:
Bayern Munich            Potential price: $18 million
Scoop: Off the market? The World Cup hat trick hero looks set for Inter Milan.

source: AP12. Moussa Sissoko (MF)
Current club:
Newcastle United            Potential price: $15-20 million
Scoop: There is no question the 25-year-old has been the Magpies’ brightest star this season, and the engine in their attack. To think that $15 million is all he’d cost is incredible.

11. Kevin Strootman (MF)
Current club:
AS Roma           Potential price: $27 million

10. Mattia Destro (FW)
Current club:
AS Roma            Potential price: $16.5 million

9. Christian Benteke (FW)
Current club:
Aston Villa            Potential price: $18 million

8. Hugo Lloris (GK)
Current club:
Tottenham Hotspur            Potential price: $20 million
Scoop: Why would Spurs sell their captain, who is on a long-term deal? Well, if speculation is true it’s because he wants to go to a UEFA Champions League power. Lloris is one of the best goalkeepers in the world, and it’s crazy to think he’d be sold. But people are talking, so he makes the list.

7. Raphael Varane (DF)
Current club:
Real Madrid            Potential price: $30 million

6. Mats Hummels (DF)
Current club:
Borussia Dortmund            Potential price: $42 million

5. Marco Reus (MF)
Current club:
Borussia Dortmund          Potential price: $60 million

4. Sami Khedira (MF)
Current club:
Real Madrid            Potential price: $36 million

source: Getty Images3. Ross Barkley (MF)
Current club:
Everton            Potential price: $45-70 million
Scoop: It seems insane for the Toffees not to sell Barkley if English clubs are placing his value at $70 million. The only way it wouldn’t be a good move that could fund Everton’s hopes and dreams moving forward is if Barkley fulfills every bit of his potential. For example, if he went for his high-end price of $70 million, he’d cost $10 million more than Marco Reus. Do you honestly believe Barkley will become Reus or better? Classic English overvalue (and he’s a fine, fine player).

2. Paul Pogba (MF)
Current club:
Juventus            Potential price: $60 million

1. Lionel Messi (FW)
Current club:
Barcelona            Potential price: $250-300 million
Scoop: One of the world’s most prolific scorers seems Barcelona through and through, but there’s been plenty of hullaballoo at the Camp Nou recently and Chelsea is said to be lurking in the shadows (Not to mention Instagram “drama”). Especially since it would leave transfer-ban bound Barca in the lurch. Still, it’s a dog-eat-dog world and Roman Abramovich is always hungry.

Season restart preview: Brighton and Hove Albion

Brighton season restart
Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images
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With the 2019-20 Premier League season soon to restart, let’s focus on all 20 clubs and see where they stand ahead of the final nine matches of the season.

Brighton is next.

[ MORE: Remaining PL schedule in full ]

Let’s take a closer look at all things Seagulls when it comes to the season restart.


Outlook: If there’s a team whose results don’t show the way they’ve played, it’s Brighton. Graham Potter’s Seagulls have the sixth-best possession percentage in the league, are a tidy seventh in passing, and are mid-table in tackles per game, interceptions per game, and shots per game.

[ MORE: Ranking every Brighton player in 2019-20 ]

The expected goals stats show even less reward for good work, with Brighton scoring 8.35 goals less than expected in open play and 4.38 less from corner kicks.

Despite all these good things, Brighton is two points clear of the drop zone with nine matches to play and has a terribly challenging schedule especially at the Amex Stadium.


Tactical analysis: Graham Potter has put the Seagulls in myriad formations this season, though he’s been utilizing at least four at the back since the calendar turned to 2020. He’s ready to attack but pragmatic given the club’s hopes of staving off the teams below it in the fight for PL survival.

[ MORE: The 2 Robbies assess Brighton’s chances ]


Possible XI (4-2-3-1) 

—– Ryan —–

— Montoya — Webster — Dunk — Burn —

—– Propper —– Mooy —–

— Trossard — Gross — Alzate —

—– Maupay—–

Glenn Murray and Alireza Jahanbakhsh are excellent weapons to have on the bench, and Brighton’s also got a very good center back in reserve in the form of Shame Duffy and an underrated center mid in Dale Stephens who will see playing time, too. On paper, this team is too good to go down.


[ STREAM: Every PL match live ]

Remaining schedule
Home: Arsenal, Man City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Newcastle
Away: Leicester, Norwich, Southampton, Burnley

Predicted finish: They’ll do enough to get by, though that home fixture list is simply brutal. Safe before the final weekend.

Social media wrap: All 20 Premier League clubs, many players stand against racism

Premier League social media
@Wolves
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The protests in the United States have inspired anti-racism statements from around the world, including all gestures from all 20 Premier League clubs and many players and managers.

There have been ongoing protests and horrible violence in the U.S. since the May 25 killing of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died after a white police officer pressed his knee into his neck for nearly nine minutes even after he stopped moving and pleaded for air in Minnesota.

Newcastle United’s American defender DeAndre Yedlin issued an emotional thread (below) as one of a great deal of players to express hopes for change and solidarity, while Schalke’s Weston McKennie explained his wearing a black armband reading “Justice For George” in the Bundesliga this weekend.

[ MORE: Remaining PL schedule in full ]

From Ancelotti to Zaha, Antonio to Yedlin, Arsenal to Wolves, we’ve collected many of their sentiments below in what we hope serves as universal disdain for racial prejudice.

Some players like Leicester City’s Wes Morgan and even entire clubs (Arsenal) changed their online identity photos to reflect these troubled times.

All PL clubs issued messages of solidarity, many using the Black Lives Matter hashtag and making no bones about where they stand.

And we’ll start with a longtime PL club currently in the Championship, who blasted a season ticket holder’s rejection of their unifying Tweet.

Here are some other clubs and players worldwide to have noticed what’s happening in the United States.

 

Season restart preview: Bournemouth

Bournemouth season restart
Photo by Robin Jones - AFC Bournemouth/AFC Bournemouth via Getty Images
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With the 2019-20 Premier League season soon to restart, let’s focus on all 20 clubs and see where they stand ahead of the final nine matches of the season.

[ MORE: Remaining PL schedule in full ]

Let’s take a closer look at all things Bournemouth when it comes to the season restart.


Outlook: Tough sledding for the Cherries, who face zero of their fellow bottom-six sides (though 13th place Newcastle and 14th place Saints both visit the Vitality Stadium).

There’s been an element of bad luck to Bournemouth’s woes, with its expected goals stats showing Ryan Fraser, Joshua King, and Callum Wilson have deserved better end product and that the Cherries’ 14 goals from open play should be closer to 22. The defense has been bad and xG says it could’ve been worse, too. Injuries had hit Bournemouth’s defense corps in a big way, too. How much better will they be after the break?

[ MORE: Ranking every Cherries player in 2019-20 ]


Tactical analysis: Eddie Howe utilized a 4-4-2 with two defensive midfielders for much of the early season, but has gone between a lone striker with a packed-in midfielder and a 4-3-3 when he thinks an opponent is exploitable.

Howe started a 4-4-2 against almost all of the Cherries’ remaining opponents, choosing a 5-4-1 against Wolves and Man City. There’s no guarantee he’ll continue that, especially when some matches may dictate a draw or limited goal differential damage over wins.


Possible XI (4-3-3) 

—– Ramsdale —–

— Smith — S. Cook — Ake — Rico —

—– Lerma —– Billing — L. Cook —

— Fraser —– C. Wilson —– King —–

Howe prefers to attack when at all possible, but the points will be at a premium against some very challenging opponents. It’s a safe bet that he’ll ask a lot from his forwards while trying to deploy his three relentless midfielders together whenever possible. The question here is whether Aaron Ramsdale returns quickly from his COVID-19 positive test, or if it’ll be Artur Boruc or someone else between the sticks.


[ STREAM: Every PL match live ]

Remaining schedule
Home: Crystal Palace, Newcastle, Spurs, Leicester City, Southampton
Away: Wolves, Manchester United, Man City, Everton

Predicted finish: The Cherries stay up, just, as King and Callum Wilson deliver the goods in front of a determined and improved midfield.

Premier League clubs will reportedly be allowed preseason friendlies

Premier League return
Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images
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Premier League clubs will be allowed to play preseason matches ahead of the 2019-20’s restart season later this month.

There will be strict protocols due to the coronavirus pandemic, however, and the matches will likely be officiated by club coaching staffs (We have so many Jose Mourinho as ref quips to make here, but let’s keep going anyway).

[ MORE: Remaining PL schedule in full ]

Sky Sports says clubs will be limited to opponents within 90 minutes of their venue, and that players will have to drive themselves to the stadiums and go directly to the field in uniform.

With the League One and League Two seasons still hanging in the balance, it’s likely PL sides will be limited to each other and Championship sides. Presumably clubs will not want to meet others still on their fixture list.

We assume some players will get dressed in their vehicles outside the ground, but allow yourself some levity in these challenging times and imagine a fully kitted-up Virgil van Dijk driving the roads from Liverpool to Wigan Athletic.