The January transfer window is well and truly open and clubs are wasting little time as they look to do the business that could make or break their seasons.
Given the ongoing problems caused by the Covid pandemic, it means that many teams around the country are watching their spending very closely with the need for frugality more important than ever.
There could be some huge bargains to be had in 2022
While big fees are demanded for players this month, there will be a number of elite clubs with their eyes firmly set on a bargain.
Players who are out of contract this summer are now able to sign pre-contract agreements with clubs outside of their own country, meaning that some of the biggest names on the planet can discuss terms with a range of clubs with a view to a summer move.
Here, in association with Tradepoint, we look at some of the top players who could be attracting admiring glances…
Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea)
The defender has been one of the Premier League’s standout performers this term.
A Germany international, Rudiger is a player who is approaching the prime years of his career, meaning that Chelsea will not want to lose the player.
However with Europe’s biggest clubs circling it means that they could face a tough test.
Clubs such as Real Madrid, Manchester United and Tottenham have all been linked with a move for the player, however it’s claimed that the Blues are confident of keeping their star defender.
That said I’m sure that fans won’t rest easy until a contract is signed, sealed and delivered.
Rudiger could leave Chelsea this summer and a host of big names are interested
Paul Pogba (Manchester United)
The midfielder is rarely off the back pages these days and that’s unlikely to change this month.
Pogba is out of contract this summer and seems to be biding his time when it comes to deciding where his next destination will be.
Clubs such as Juventus, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain have been previously linked and after enduring a tough campaign for United it would take a brave person to bet against him leaving Old Trafford.
With the midfielder able to discuss terms this month it’ll be interesting to see if there’s any movement.
Pogba’s time at Old Trafford appears to nearing its conclusionGETTY
Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)
Arguably the best young player in world football and he’s available on a free transfer in the summer.
I know, it’s madness isn’t it?
Mbappe is in the final months of his deal with PSG with Real Madrid heavily linked with a move, while also submitting several eye-watering offers for the player last summer.
While those offers were turned down by the French giants it would be a surprise if Real Madrid didn’t come knocking for the player again now that they can openly discuss terms over a move.
Mbappe has just six months left on his PSG contractAFP
Andre Onana (Ajax)
One of the top goalkeepers in world football after impressing during his time with Ajax, Onana had his career temporarily suspended by an unfortunate ban.
Now 25 years of age, he’s in a hurry to get his career at the top level back on track and is eyeing a big move as he enters the prime years of his career.
According to reports, the Cameroon international could be on his way to Inter Milan.
Should the deal be completed, Inter will be delighted with such a transfer coup.
Onana is reportedly on the cusp of joining Inter Milangetty
Andreas Christensen (Chelsea)
Another Chelsea defender who could leave the club for nothing in the summer.
The 25-year-old centre-back is regarded as one of the best defenders at Stamford Bridge and that has been made clear by their offer to extend his deal.
However, with no agreement yet reached it means that a move away could be on the cards.
Barcelona have been linked with the Denmark international and now that he can discuss terms with clubs outside of England it means that Chelsea’s task could be that little bit harder.
The Denmark international is attracting significant interest ahead of next summerGetty
Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona)
A player who is bound to attract significant interest.
Dembele cost a staggering £135m but remarkably could now leave for nothing.
Barcelona head coach Xavi has urged the 24-year-old to stick around with the Catalan giants as they look to return to their former glory, but it’s not yet really happened for the Frenchman at Barca.
Will he decide on a new challenge?
The Barcelona star has been linked with a move to TynesideGetty
Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal)
A player who certainly has an interesting few months ahead of him.
Lacazette looked certain to be leaving Arsenal a couple of months ago but since Mikel Arteta’s high-profile fallout with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, he has become the team’s talisman and captain.
The 30-year-old will be looking for a big contract as he approaches the autumn of his career but if the Gunners can convince him that they can match his ambitions then there’s nothing to suggest that a deal can’t be agreed.
If not, there will be plenty of clubs in England and around Europe who will fancy their chances of signing the influential attacker.
Lacazette has been very impressive of lateGETTY
Paulo Dybala (Juventus)
The Juventus star is one of the biggest names approaching the end of his contract.
Dybala is regarded as one of the top attackers in world football after spending six-and-a-half successful years in Turin.
Tottenham and Man United have previously been linked with the 28-year-old striker, however he’s always remained loyal to Juventus.
But with his contract ticking down, clubs outside of Italy could make a move for the man who has scored 108 goals in 271 appearances.
Paulo Dybala is one of the top strikers in European footballGetty
Gareth Bale (Real Madrid)
A player who will no doubt be desperate for a new challenge.
Things haven’t exactly gone to plan over the last couple of years for Bale after falling way down the pecking order at the Bernabeu.
Despite a positive season on loan with Tottenham last season, in which Bale scored 16 goals, the winger has made just three appearances for Real this term.
Having expressed his dissatisfaction in Spain in the press, it’ll be interesting to see what options present themselves to the Wales talisman.
There are suggestions he could take a short-term deal back in the Premier League or even retire if Wales don’t qualify for the World Cup.
Bale faces a big decision as his Real Madrid contract comes to an endGETTY