Top 20 Players Who Will Be Looking for Transfers at the End of the Season
Maybe it's the fact that they need to be surgically removed from the bench, perhaps their manager has been openly courting a number of replacements to fill their boots, or possibly it's just time for a change.
Whatever the reason, the following 20 players all have one thing in common—they are all likely to push for a move away from their clubs this summer.
Many of the names featured in the slideshow are nearing the end of their contracts, while others have openly stated a desire to depart for pastures new. All of them have been linked with a transfer.
We begin with players who look reasonably likely to depart their respective clubs and work our way up to players who look like nailed-on certainties to bid farewell at the end of the 2013/14 season.
There's a lot of time before the current campaign ends, so who knows what might actually happen.
Anyone you'd add to the list? Let us know below!
Ilkay Gundogan, Borussia Dortmund
It seems that Ilkay Gundogan is not short of clubs who would be willing to buy him from Borussia Dortmund.
As the Express' Charles Perrin wrote in December, Manchester United, Arsenal and Real Madrid are all keen on securing his services.
However, the fact remains that Gundogan has not played for Dortmund since August—a spinal compression keeping him out of the side since the first game of the season.
Now back in training, as seen on BVB.de, it's hard to imagine that the Germany international will make a switch before next summer, as he continues with his recovery to full match fitness.
The 23-year-old's current contract expires in summer 2015, and the club's director of sport, Michael Zorc, has admitted, via The Independent's Kit Holden, that Dortmund are "aware that other clubs are very interested in him."
Wayne Rooney, Manchester United
As reported in The Guardian by Jamie Jackson, the striker is stalling on a new deal and is reluctant to sign an extension until after the World Cup.
The 28-year-old has entered the final 18 months of his existing contract, and there is speculation, seen here on SkySports.com, that Chelsea are ready to pounce should United finish outside of the top four this term.
There are a lot of "ifs" in this particular case, but if David Moyes' side do fail to qualify for the Champions League, expect Rooney and his representatives to push for a transfer away from Old Trafford.
Alessio Cerci, Torino
In December, the Daily Star's Nick Lustig claimed that Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur were all "on alert" to the availability of Torino winger Alessio Cerci.
While the Daily Star is not a font of the most reliable transfer gossip, it does seem that Cerci has been attracting admiring glances from a number of clubs.
The 26-year-old has appeared in every Serie A fixture for Giampiero Ventura's side this season, where he has scored nine goals and provided seven assists in 19 games.
Cerci has ruled out a January move, which points toward a summer switch. The Italy international told Sky Italia (h/t SkySports.com) this week:
In January I will 100% stay, I'm concentrating on this jersey and supporters. In June it will be different.
Should there be an offer we (myself and my agent) will evaluate it. I don't promise never-ending love to a club.
In the future, I could leave.
Radamel Falcao, Monaco
Who knows if tales of the Colombian's unhappiness at the Stade Louis II are true, but as happens so often in cases like this, there is rarely smoke without some kind of fire.
In November, the Daily Mail's Paul Collins reported on the story, suggesting that Chelsea were interested in signing the 27-year-old.
Real Madrid and Barcelona have also been linked, as seen in a piece by Ben Jefferson in the Express.
Publicly, Monaco have distanced themselves from these rumours, insisting that their summer marquee buy is going nowhere—at least in January, as seen on ESPN.co.uk.
Which leads us to next summer.
It seems that Madrid president Florentino Perez is feeling rather confident about getting his man. He told the Punto Pelota television show (via Sports Illustrated), "He won't come in January but in June, who knows? Falcao is a great player and I imagine he would like to play for Madrid. I think that, and that's normal."
Mirko Vucinic, Juventus
There can't be many reasons for a player to want out at Juventus at the moment. Flying high in Serie A, unbeaten in 11 and on course to win their third Scudetto in as many years, life is rosy with Antonio Conte's side.
Unless, that is, you've only started four games and you have Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente ahead of you in the club's pecking order. For Mirko Vucinic, that's the way things stand.
The former Roma man has been linked with a January move to Tottenham Hotspur, as reported by the Mirror's Steve Bates.
However, as suggested on talkSPORT, Spurs and fellow Vucinic admirers Arsenal and West Ham will be forced to wait until the summer before the striker becomes available.
Perhaps the Montenegrin international will add one more Serie A title to his collection before looking for pastures new in six months' time.
Eliaquim Mangala, FC Porto
If you're a fan of transfer talk, you'll know that Eliaquim Mangala is currently a full-time resident in the rumour mill.
The powerful Porto defender is exactly what a number of top clubs currently lack, which has led to a flurry of transfer speculation and a reported £40 million price tag being swiftly attached to his name.
As reported by John Cross in the Mirror, Mangala has been attracting attention from Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United in the Premier League.
In La Liga, Barcelona have been linked with the Parisian, said Ben Jefferson in the Express.
Mangala seems to be keen on a move to the English top flight. He told L'Equipe, via SkySports.com, "The Premier League? That is no secret, to me it is the most beautiful league in the world. Whatever the opponent, you know it will be a fight. The game is intense, it is fast, and everyone is giving his very best."
According to Cross' Mirror article, Porto want to keep hold of the centre-back for the rest of the season but may have to accept that he will move on in the summer.
Bacary Sagna, Arsenal
Bacary Sagna could be playing his last season in an Arsenal shirt, if reports are to be believed.
In the Mirror, John Cross reckons that the defender could move to Galatasaray this summer as part of a deal that would see him earn £4 million a year after tax.
The 30-year-old's current contract runs out in June, which gives him freedom to listen to offers from other clubs from January onward.
Also in the Mirror, Cross reported last month that Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco were both interested in signing the France international.
Aaron Hunt, Werder Bremen
Aaron Hunt has made almost 300 appearances for the Werder Bremen first team after coming up through the ranks at the Bundesliga club.
The Germany-born midfielder has an English mother and has hinted that he might like to try his hand at playing overseas.
The 27-year-old's contract at the Weserstadion runs out in June, and according to Alan Nixon in the Mirror, he wants to come to the Premier League.
Hunt is Bremen's longest-serving player, and the club will be keen to retain his services, but as the player said in Newcastle-based newspaper The Journal:
So far there have been no calls, not even with other clubs. The end of January, beginning of February, it will be more specific. If Werder are pushing for a quick decision, I would be set quickly.
It is then decided in February or March if I renew with the club or leave. That someone is at a club for so long hardly happens. I am glad that they (Bremen) appreciate me so.
I do not say that by no means will I leave the Bundesliga. But when it comes to change, I would appeal to more foreign countries.
Alfred Finnbogason, Heerenveen
Heerenveen striker Alfred Finnbogason has worked his way onto the radar of a number of top clubs across Europe.
The 24-year-old has scored 17 goals in 15 Eredivisie games this season and has registered five assists.
The Reykjavik-born player has a relatively thrifty price tag of £8 million, which has probably doubled the amount of clubs that are currently tracking him.
According to Charles Perrin in the Express, West Ham and Newcastle are interested. Roma, Villarreal, Celtic, Everton and AC Milan have also been linked with Finnbogason, as reported by the Daily Record's Alan Marshall.
However, Marshall also reveals that the Icelandic striker's agent has insisted that his client will not be moving anywhere until the summer. Kees Ploegsma said:
We have had contact from many teams for Alfred.
I think in June he will make the move. At this moment no team has spoken directly with Heerenveen.
We have spoken to the Roma technical director, Walter Sabatini. But we spoke about many subjects not just Alfred.
Iker Casillas, Real Madrid
If Carlo Ancelotti speaks the truth about the January transfer window, there will be no ins or outs at the Bernabeu this month.
"No players are leaving and we aren't going to sign anyone. The market is closed for us," the Real Madrid manager said in Marca (h/t FourFourTwo).
Which could mean that Iker Casillas will be on the move in the summer. The goalkeeper has struggled to win his place back with the La Liga side ever since Jose Mourinho made Diego Lopez his preferred choice.
Despite appearing in Champions League fixtures and the Copa del Rey, Casillas has not been used once in La Liga all season. Not once. Quite damning for Spain's No. 1 ahead of the World Cup.
Contracted to Madrid until 2017, Casillas has been seemingly reluctant to speak about a move away from the club. However in December, quoted by The Independent's Jack de Menezes, he said, "I'm not going anywhere I'm going to be No.2," which hints toward his feelings at playing second fiddle to Lopez.
The World Cup winner will not be short of suitors, should he decide to depart.
Juan Mata, Chelsea
It would not come as much of a surprise to see Juan Mata plying his trade away from Stamford Bridge in the very near future.
A favourite of Chelsea fans, the midfielder has found himself on the periphery of Jose Mourinho's starting XI this season. Mata's time on the bench has been so frequent that he has completed 90 minutes in the league just two times this term.
The Spaniard has been linked with a variety of exit options, from a move to another Premier League club, which seems unlikely—to a loan deal that would bolster his chances of playing in the 2014 World Cup, as seen in an Express report by James Dickenson.
Most likely at this stage is a summer move, perhaps to Bayern Munich, who appear interested. As Dave Kidd writes in the Mirror, "The German giants will not go for Mata this month, as he is cup-tied for the Champions League and Pep Guardiola wants to wait until the summer to make changes to his squad."
Mata was voted Chelsea Player of the Year for two consecutive seasons before Mourinho returned to the club.
Diego Ribas da Cunha could be on the move this summer. The former Juventus and Werder Bremen man is out of contract in June and appears keen on a change of scenery.
The midfielder seems to have been less than enamored by comments made by Dieter Hecking in late 2013. The Wolfsburg coach said, "We'll have to see if it makes sense to extend his contract," as seen on AS.com.
Hardly a vote of confidence.
Diego spent the 2011/12 season on loan with Atletico Madrid, and he has been loosely linked with a move back to the club, as seen on insidespanishfootball.com.
The Brazilian has also sent strong hints about his availability to Premier League sides, as seen in the Daily Mail in November. Diego was quoted by Rob Brennan, on Arsenal and Southampton:
It would be the ideal destination for me because their style suits my characteristics perfectly. Of course I would say "yes" to Arsenal.
Southampton have great organisation and discipline and big talents like Adam Lallana. But again there is nothing concrete.
Playing in England is a very attractive proposition at the peak of my career but I'm focusing on helping Wolfsburg to get in the Champions League.
And there's your classic come-and-get-me plea.
Fabio Coentrao, Real Madrid
If Fabio Coentrao is still a Real Madrid player by February 1, expect transfer rumours to start up again as the summer nears.
As reported by The Independent's Simon Rice, the left-back has been linked with a move to Manchester United once again, after the last proposed switch failed to go through in September.
Until this week, Coentrao had not played for Madrid since November 2, with injuries and a fall down the pecking order keeping him on the sidelines for an extended period of time.
Last season, the Portuguese international found himself marginalised to the extent that he only appeared in 16 La Liga games.
Manchester United looks to be the most viable destination for the 25-year old. However, Bernabeu boss Carlo Ancelotti is insisting that no players will leave this month, seen here on SkySports.com.
It could be a ploy to test United's resolve in the transfer market, or Ancelotti may also speak the truth. If it's the latter, Coentrao will be on the move next summer.
Yohan Cabaye, Newcastle United
The Magpies rejected an Arsenal bid for Cabaye last summer, which saw the midfielder go on strike at the start of the 2013/14 campaign, seen here in a Daily Mail article by Colin Young.
Since then, amid reported interest from Paris Saint-Germain, as seen in Samuel Stevens' Independent report—plus Manchester United and Liverpool, according to the Express' Charles Perrin—Cabaye has hinted that he won't leave St James' Park before the end of the season.
As seen on SkySports.com, the 28-year-old is "focussed" on his Newcastle career:
For me to go to Paris or another club, there is nothing. I just want to be focussed on the next game, Man City.
Nothing is happening for me. When you know what you want, it is easier. I think it's hard for every player. It depends what the player wants - if he wants to leave or if he wants to stay.
There is every time speculation about the transfer, even in January, so it's hard for the player, the club and the fans, for everybody.
It is not a good period for everybody. We just have to stay away from that speculation and stay focused on our job, and my job especially.
Elsewhere, in the Daily Mail, Damian Spellman writes that Cabaye could leave in the summer for a cut-price fee of £6 million. Manager Alan Pardew said:
The most important thing is that he has two years left on his contract in the summer and we are looking forward to him playing for Newcastle for the rest of this season, and we will take it from there in the summer.
Patrice Evra, Manchester United
If Patrice Evra wants to leave Old Trafford at the end of the season, he can hardly be blamed.
David Moyes has been very public in his pursuit of a new left-back, and according to Jamie Jackson in The Guardian, Manchester United have not yet offered to renew Evra's contract.
Rumour has it that he could be set for a return to former club Monaco during the summer months, as seen here in a report by The Independent's Jack de Menezes.
Since signing for the side in 2006, the Frenchman has made in excess of 350 appearances for United.
Jeremy Menez, Paris Saint-Germain
Jeremy Menez was being tipped for a January move away from Paris Saint-Germain, until he committed his immediate future to the club this week.
The 26-year-old had been linked with Liverpool, Juventus and Monaco, as seen in this report by the Express' Charles Perrin.
Out of contract in June, the Frenchman was looking like an attractive prospect. However, he appears determined to seeing out the remainder of his current deal, which may point toward a move during the summer months.
Quoted on SkySports.com, Menez said:
I will remain at Paris until the end of the season.
I am fine here and the officials trust me. I will do my very best.
I didn't talk with anyone about a winter departure because it was out of the question to leave.
Menez has appeared in just nine games for Laurent Blanc's side this season.
Nemanja Vidic, Manchester United
It feels like a changing of the guard is about to occur at Old Trafford.
With a new manager comes new ideas, and if the club's transfer dealings ever improve, new players will follow.
Nemanja Vidic, a stalwart at the back for Manchester United, is in the final year of his contract, and it seems that this season could be his last with the reigning champions.
It looks like Monaco and Galatasaray have already made their interest known, as reported by Sami Mokbel in the Daily Mail.
The Serbian's agent has also made it clear that his client will be departing when his contract runs out at the end of the current campaign.
Quoted by Mokbel in the Mail, Silvano Martina said, "At the moment, I would rule out an extension with Manchester United. Vidic, given his contract situation, has several teams looking at him. For the time being we remain calm."
Joleon Lescott, Manchester City
A Manchester City exit looks imminent for Joleon Lescott.
The centre-back has started just seven Premier League games this term and must be eager to move away from the Etihad in January to boost his chances of appearing in the World Cup.
However, it seems that Manuel Pellegrini wants to keep Lescott at the Etihad beyond the current transfer window. According to David Anderson in the Mirror:
City manager Manuel Pellegrini does not want Lescott to leave this month with his men challenging on four fronts domestically and in Europe.
Vincent Kompany has just returned from injury and Pellegrini does not want to weaken his defensive options by letting Lescott go - even though he will probably leave in the summer.
Anderson reports that Turkish side Besiktas are said to be interested in signing the 31-year-old, as are West Ham—seen in this article by The Guardian's Jamie Jackson.
In Jackson's piece, Pellegrini's stance was reiterated, "When this transfer window is over at the end of January, we will see what happens. At the moment, Joleon will stay here with the team."
Currently fourth choice at City, the former Everton and Wolverhampton Wanderers man will be certain to look for a summer switch when his contract runs out in June.
Sebastian Rode, Eintracht Frankfurt
Out of contract next summer, it's highly likely that Sebastian Rode will not be at Eintracht Frankfurt by the start of the 2014/15 Bundesliga campaign.
The highly rated defensive midfielder has already been offered an extension to his existing deal, which he turned down, as reported by Football365 back in April.
Recently, it has emerged that Bayern Munich are keen on signing the 23-year-old. Goal.com announced this month that Pep Guardiola's side already have a deal in place that will come into effect at the end of the season.
Victor Valdes, Barcelona
Victor Valdes has already admitted that he will be leaving Barcelona at the end of the 2013/14 season in search of a new challenge.
The keeper told Spanish television station Antena3, via the Mirror's Alex Richards:
My time here is done.
They offered me the chance to renew [my contract] but my decision had been made.
I am seeking new challenges. I want to play in another league and be with my family in another place.
But this season I have still been feeling the love and support of the people and that is greatly appreciated.
Valdes is tipped to be joining Monaco, with Arsenal also said to be interested—seen here in an article by the Daily Mail's David Kent.