Nani and Bent lead six potential January transfer window shocks
January is always an exciting time in football as the transfer window opens for business.
Newspapers, websites, radio stations and TV channels are awash with rumours and stories linking players from every club from Barcelona to Bognor Regis.
The media machine goes into overdrive and punters look for the chance to have a flutter on any possible comings and goings – for example, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is 2/1 to play in the Premier League before his retires.
A cluster of top-flight managers will be under pressure to strengthen when the window opens next year, but history serves a timely reminder that spending money wisely is vital.
There have been many high-profile transfer flops down the years as the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea have signed players who have failed to live up to their hefty price tags.
All eyes are now on which clubs will be active next month and there a couple of fascinating potential signings in the offing.
Here we look at six possible shock moves that could take place in the next few weeks.
Theo Walcott (Arsenal to Chelsea)
It would make good business sense for the Gunners to offload Walcott next month – and the 23-year-old is unlikely to be short of offers despite inconsistency hampering his progress in recent seasons.
Walcott is out of contract next summer and talks over a new deal have stalled, prompting reported interest from the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool.
Nani (Manchester United to Arsenal)
Should Walcott leave the Emirates, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger will be under pressure to bring in a big-name replacement.
And while Nani may have lost his way at United, a fresh start and a change of scenario could do wonders for his fortunes.
Darren Bent (Aston Villa to QPR)
Harry Redknapp is expected to be one of the busiest managers during the upcoming football transfer window, with another striker a must if QPR are to beat the drop.
Bent certainly fits the bill and would appear to be available after losing his place in the Villa starting XI to the impressive Christian Benteke in recent weeks.
David Villa (Barcelona to Swansea)
A transfer window wouldn’t be complete without one rumour that takes most of us by surprise.
Step forward reports that Spain’s all-time leading scorer at international level could be on his way to Swansea on loan. Stranger things have happened, but with the likes of Tottenham also thought to be interested, the Swans may have a fight on their hands to sign the 31-year-old.
Demba Ba (Newcastle to Arsenal)
It almost seems a matter of when – not if – Ba will depart for bigger and better things.
Arsenal could certainly do with a player like Ba to inject some firepower up front, although it remains to be seen whether Wenger would cough up for the Senegal striker.
Mario Balotelli (Manchester City to AC Milan)
City fans appear divided over whether Roberto Mancini should keep Balotelli or get rid of him.
There’s no doubting Balotelli’s talent, but Mancini has no shortage of attacking options and may just like the idea of a parting of the ways.