Gareth Bale to leave Real Madrid? Jadon Sancho to join Chelsea? Nine transfers that could happen in January

Gareth Bale to leave Real Madrid? Jadon Sancho to join Chelsea? Nine transfers that could happen in January
Gareth Bale to leave Real Madrid? Jadon Sancho to join Chelsea? Nine transfers that could happen in January

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Gareth Bale. Will he? Won’t he? The Real Madrid forward has long been expected to leave the Spanish giants, a view only strengthened following the “Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order” fiasco. A money-spinning transfer to China last summer never materialised, leaving Bale scrapping for game-time at the Bernabeu. A parting of the ways seems the best for all parties, but his transfer fee - £60 million-plus (Dh290m) - and, more pressingly, apparent salary demands, could scupper a move. Aged 30, and with a history of injuries, would a prospective buyer commit to that outlay? Manchester United are an obvious candidate, while former club Tottenham Hotspur could be priced out. Reuters

Paul Pogba. The Manchester United midfielder has been tipped for a move away from Old Trafford for a few seasons now, and has found his impact limited this season because of an ankle injury. At 26, Pogba could feel it’s time for a change, despite manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer declaring recently that he will not be sold. Still viewed by many of one of the most talented midfielders in the world – even if the consistency of performances have not matched the potential – Pogba has been linked with a return to Juventus, or to either Real Madrid or Barcelona. The fee would most probably be upwards of £80m. Maybe United will be forced by the player to cash in. Reuters

Jadon Sancho. One of Europe’s most exciting prospects, the English winger has been brilliant lately for Borussia Dortmund, becoming the first player in any of the continent’s top five leagues this season to score and assist 10 goals in all competitions. Sancho has had his troubles earlier in the campaign, but is without doubt a star not only for the present, but the future. At 19, another season in the German Bundesliga would aid his development, although major clubs might want to strike now. Dortmund have just signed Erling Braut Haaland, which could convince them to recoup some of the fee. With Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Barcelona all linked, that could be upwards of £100m. EPA

Christian Eriksen. The contract impasse represents a major conundrum for both the midfielder and present club Tottenham Hotspur. Eriksen attempted to secure a move from Spurs in the summer, but with no suitable offers forthcoming, he has remained in London as his contract winds down. Now with six months remaining, the Danish playmaker is free to negotiate a summer transfer – meaning Spurs could lose a highly talented and influential member of the squad for nothing, or try to get something now. Manager Jose Mourinho says he knows where Eriksen’s future lies. At 27, and despite barely featuring this campaign, there’s reported interest from Manchester United and Real Madrid. Could be a bargain. Getty Images

Isco. Another tipped to be heading for the Real Madrid exit door. Playmaker Isco has been perennially linked with a departure, and in the recent past has apparently been close to rocking up at Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur. Now, the strongest link is Manchester City. A midfielder of supreme ability, Isco would fit well into Pep Guardiola’s side, especially with compatriot David Silva calling time on his long stay at the English champions. Patently, his fellow Spaniard would slot nicely into that creative midfield role. At 27, Isco has a lot left to offer, while Madrid could see it as a chance to free up a slot for incoming players. Would be a welcome addition to the Premier League. Getty Images

Timo Werner. A stellar season has catapulted the RB Leipzig striker back into the spotlight. Werner has scored 23 goals in 24 appearances in all, helping fire his side to the top of the Bundesliga at the midway point, but rumour of a release clause in his contract is believed to have pricked the ears of some of Europe’s most established clubs. Real Madrid, Manchester United and Liverpool have been mentioned, although reports have surfaced that Chelsea could be in pole position to bid. Speculation is that the German international, 23, could be acquired for anywhere between £25m and £52m. His versatility – he can play anywhere along the front line – would certainly appeal. EPA

Nathan Ake. What a past couple of seasons it has been for the Bournemouth defender. Initially loaned from Chelsea, Ake returned to the South-coast club on a permanent transfer in 2017 and has since seen his stock rise considerably. Now viewed one of the Premier League’s most capable centre-backs, the Dutchman is a full international and, at only 24, has plenty of room for growth. A number of league rivals are said to be watching with interest, with champions Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham cited. However, it’s a return to Stamford Bridge that seems the most likely option: it’s understood his former club have a £40m buy-back clause. Shrewd business. AFP

Ivan Rakitic. A World Cup finalist 12 months previously, the Barcelona midfielder looked this summer to be playing out his final days with the Spanish champions. Manager Ernesto Valverde opted for Arthur, Sergio Busquets and new recruit Frenkie de Jong in the middle, and Rakitic found himself on the fringes. Cue rumours of a move to Italy, with Inter Milan and Juventus thought to be keen. Manchester United, meanwhile, have long been considered admirers. Yet Arthur’s injury has meant Rakitic started six of Barca’s past seven matches, seemingly staving off transfer speculation. Still, the Croat knows that, at 31, time is not on his side. It could expedite his exit. Reuters

Ruben Dias. Among all the recent reports of clubs “keeping tabs” on certain players, Manchester City and Ruben Dias have featured prominently. The Benfica centre-back has emerged as one of Europe’s most prized assets in that position, a commanding and cultured defender despite being only 22. At Benfica, the Portugal international is seen as the future of the club. Clearly, City have a weakness in the centre of defence, while Dias more than fits the criteria to plug that. When asked this weekend in about City's plans is January, chief executive Ferran Soriano gave little away. However, make no mistake: City have both the pulling power and finances to tempt Dias and his club. AP Photo

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