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Looking for new pastures

Patriot looks at some of the players who are most likely to make a move in the winter transfer window and the clubs which may line up to buy them

Its already mid-December and football around Europe has already begun to shape up for a thrilling few months ahead. At the beginning of the season, all big teams across the continent aimed at strengthening their side during the summer transfer window.

And even though teams shaped up during the start of the season, many top teams have found chinks in their armors as the season progressed, and now is the time to fill those chinks, as the winter transfer window opens up on January 1.

For the uninitiated, the winter transfer window is a one-month long period, which is a shortened version of the summer window, where players can be bought, sold or loaned between clubs across the world. This year, while the rest of the world begins their shopping spree on January 1, Italy and Spain begins on the following day. Teams will have till February 2 to chop and change their squads.

Now, like every transfer season rumours have been swirling all around about which player will join which club, and which footballing giant will splash out the cash to get their desired player. Here, we take a look at some of the players who are most likely to make a move in the transfer window.

Mario Mandzukic

The Croatian striker has been out of favour for Italian giants Juventus and ever since the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo, and has been reserved to the bench ever since the arrival of Paulo Dybala and Ronaldo. Age is also not on his side, but the 33-year old still has a lot of gas left in his tank as he looks for a move outside Italy.

The talisman has 33 goals for his country, and 165 goals in his illustrious club career and still has a lot to give for at least one or two seasons to come.

Manchester United are desperately in need of a striker after summer departures of Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku, and he might be the perfect blend of skill and experience and a great foil to the young strikers like Rashford and Greenwood.

Erling Haaland

The 19-year-old Red Bull Salzburg phenomenon has been lighting up the goal-scoring charts, both in the Austrian League and the Champions League, and that may be an understatement. He has scored a whopping 27 goals in 20 appearances in all competitions this season along with 7 assists, and if that is not impressive enough, he has 8 goals – a goal every 37 minutes – and 1 assist in 5 Champions League appearances alone. He has the perfect mix of technical and physical attributes; with his tall frame, ability to hold the ball, bring his team-mates into play, and create for himself all pointing towards a future footballing superstar

And its no surprise that all the big teams across Europe have lined up to lure the youngster to their squad including Barcelona, Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester City. But the most likely destination for the Norwegian youngster seems to be Manchester United, who are in need of a striker, and his country connection with manager Ole Gunner Solksjaer who previously coached him and Genk will prove essential in his move here.

Jadon Sancho

This 19-year old English international was once a part of Manchester City’s youth setup but somehow failed to make the cut in a star studded starting line-up and eventually looked for a move outside England shores.

He eventually ended up at German side Borussia Dortmund, where he has lit up the Bundesliga ever since his arrival. Sancho makes runs down the wing and make key passes and assists, and has also netted 21 goals in the two and a half years he has been in Germany.

He has even made his England debut in this time, and has two goals and a few assists for national colours as well.

Sanchoo can be an excellent addition to a lot of teams, and his current market value stands at around or more than 100 million euros. Teams like Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool are lining up to sign the youngster, with Chelsea even willing to shell out even more than their previous transfer record

Christian Eriksen

The Dane is again in the minds of Real Madrid’s transfer agenda and not repeat the missed opportunity over the summer. According to reports, Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy has ordered his close aides to look for an adequate offer to sell the 27-year-old midfielder.

Real Madrid are lacking energy and a player who can keep up the tempo in the middle third and though Eriksen is not an ideal choice, he can certainly match the pace when it comes to La Liga style football. His technique, first touch and pass accuracy can boost the team’s midfield section. It’s up to Zinedine  Zidane to make the final call as his focus on Pogba from United missed out on roping Eriksen.

Martin Odegaard

Not to be missed is Norway’s own football sensation Martin Odegaard who is making headlines in La Liga.

He joined Madrid in 2015 at the age of 16, signing for 4.1million euros but only played one game for the Spanish giants. Though full of potential, Odegaard’s journey has been one of finding his feet and it seems he has found it with Real Sociedad. So much that Manchester City and United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Wolves are vying for the Norwegian. Odegaard has gone on record stating he wishes to fulfil his loan spell at Sociedad but going by the gaps in the mentioned clubs, expect a big offer coming his way.

Real Madrid will be trying to toe the youngster to their squad, given their lack of quality in the midfield now, but a move away from the Los Blancos looks increasingly more and more likely.

Ivan Rakitic

With the addition of Frenkie de Jong over the summer transfer window from Ajax , Ivan Rakitic was bound to get limited opportunity to play in the first-team for Barcelona. So it is not surprising that he has issued a threat to quit the La Liga champion side. Manchester United may renew their interest in the Croatian playmaker as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer missed out in signing him over the summer. United’s midfield needs a boost and Rakitic can fit into the style of the Norwegian.

In a recent statement, he said, “I don’t know what will come now. It’s tough because I want to play…there’s no better place to play than Barcelona, the best club in the world, but I need to play and not just enjoy walks around the city and the beach.”

Rakitic has also expressed his views of returning back to Sevilla, the place where his footballing career took new heights.