Come January, every person in the world would be thinking about two things – celebrations and resolutions. That is not the case in the world of football as managers would have something else on their minds, they would be looking for new players to shake up their team, either to win championships or to survive the relegation battle. January is not a popular period for making transfers as many of the star players will be cup tied and wouldn’t be eligible to play in European fixtures if they were to make a switch to another club. However, that is not the case for up and coming young talents across the globe who could make shrewd and important buys for the clubs. So, here at TheHardTackle, we look at some of these talents who could make a switch to their dream clubs, enhancing their reputation and helping their new clubs to win trophies.

Fabio Coentrao (Benfica)

Bio and Stats:

This 22 year old was the shining star in Portugal’s dismal World Cup campaign and exceeded all expectations, thereby attracting attention from a host of European clubs. Primarily playing as a full back on the left side of the pitch, the Benfica prodigy can also operate as a left winger most of the times. The Portuguese can float around the left side of the pitch and has drawn comparisons with Arjen Robben for his sheer pace and skills on the ball. Having already represented Portugal in all levels, Fabio has been a part and parcel of the Benfica team for the last 2 years. His best performance for Benfica came against Lyon in the Champions league this year when he helped his side win 4-3 snapping a brace in the process. A dynamic player on the left hand side could be very useful for a number of clubs like Manchester United, Chelsea and Real Madrid.

June 28, 2010 - Cape Town, South Africa - epa02228173 Portugal's national soccer team player, Fabio Coentrao, during the training session at the Athlone stadium in Cape Town, South Africa, 28 June 2010. Portugal will face Spain in the FIFA 2010 World Cup round of 16 soccer match on June 29 in Cape Town.A Premier League move is on the cards for Fabio!

Style of play: Coentrao is known for his sheer pace, which could be a headache for defenders. He also has good ball skills and a powerful left foot.

Play-time in 2010-11 Season: 16 appearances with 3 goals and 3 assists for Benfica in all competitions.

Possible destinations: Manchester United, Real Madrid, Chelsea.

Approximate Transfer Cost: 12 million pounds.

Probability: 50%.

Steven Defour (Standard De Liege)

Bio and Stats:

Belgian International Defour has been an exceptional player for Standard De Liege in the Belgian league for some time now.  Ever since he signed for Standard, the boy from Mechelen has never looked back and has continued his progress as one of the best young players in his country. At just the age of 19, he became Standard’s captain and guided them to a league title which came after 25 years. He followed that with another league title in the following year. The Belgian has also won personal accolades in his career with “Belgian Golden Shoe” being his most worthy of the lot. However, that has come at a cost as he suffered a terrible injury and went missing from the football pitch for more than 6 months during which he received a Special Letter from Sir Alex Ferguson. Defour can play in 3 positions including central midfielder, attacking midfielder and right winger and is known for his passing and vision to unlock tight defences.

Style of play: Defour is a central midfielder and is known for his passing and playmaking skills. He can dribble well and also has long range shooting in his kitty.

Play-time in 2010-11 season: 18 first team appearances with 3 goals.

Possible destinations: Manchester United, Liverpool

Approximate Transfer Cost: 10 million pounds

Probability: 65%.


Andy Carroll (Newcastle United)

Bio and Stats:

Yet another England hopeful comes in the form of Andy Carroll this time from an unlikely and rare source in Newcastle United. A Newcastle fan his entire life, Carroll started his career with them and has come up the ranks. Andy made his debut for Newcastle in a 5-1 defeat to Birmingham City in 2007. However, he was sent to Preston to gain experience and make impressions in the first team. After returning from the Loan spell, Carroll started to feature in Hughton’s side in the Championship and helped Newcastle gain promotion to the Premier League.

Wembley Stadium England v France Friendly International 17/11/2010Andy Carroll (England) applauds fans as he is substitued after a promising debut. Photo: Roger Parker Fotosports International Photo via NewscomCan Carroll take Spurs further ahead?

Big things were expected from the tall Striker and he has not failed to deliver that as he sits second in the Premier League goal-scoring charts. Yet, there were some off the field controversies which saw him draw some criticism from the press and fans. At the same time, he has managed to get an England call up and fancies his chances of playing alongside Wayne Rooney. With such potential, a number of English clubs are behind him.

Style of play: Carroll plays as a lone striker and is capable of creating havoc in defences due to his height and physique. Also capable of using both his feet to score goals from inside the box and act as a predator.

Play-time in 2010-11 season: 18 games with 10 goals in all competitions.

Possible destinations: Tottenham Hotspurs, Chelsea.

Approximate Transfer Cost: 20 million pounds

Probability: 30%.


Edin Dzeko (Wolfsburg)

Bio and stats:

The Bosnian International kick started his Club career with FK Željezničar where he started as a midfielder scoring 5 goals in 40 appearances. Later on, he was moved to the Centre Forward role by his manager where he impressed a lot scoring ample amount of goals. With his impressive performances on the radar, Wolfsburg signed him for 4 million Euros in 2007 and was rewarded immensely with his brilliant start to his career in Germany.

Jun. 03, 2010 - 05993247 date 03 06 2010 Copyright imago cp24 goal celebration Edin Dzeko 11 Bosnia After goal to 0 1 CP24SH Football men international match National team Action shot Frankfurt Vdig xkg 2010 horizontal premiumd.Will Eden switch to Manchester?

He followed his first season exploits in the following 2008-09 campaign, scoring 26 goals and assisting 10 more in 32 appearances. Despite attracting interest from AC Milan, Dzeko stayed loyal to Wolfsburg and signed a new contract. He was also listed in the 30 Ballon D’ or nominees list in 2009. Now, he is attracting interest from a host of Premier League clubs including Manchester City and Chelsea.

Style of play: Dzeko has superb ball skills and can hold the ball well making him an out and out striker because of his height and strength. He can also be dangerous from distance.

Play-time in 2010-11 season: 17 matches for Wolfsburg scoring only 10 goals.

Possible destinations: Manchester City, Chelsea, Real Madrid.

Approximate Transfer Cost: 35 million pounds

Probability: 70%.


Alexis Sanchez (Udinese)

Bio and stats:

Primarily a winger, Sanchez is a very fast and tricky player who can also operate as an attacking midfielder or a striker. Having started his career with Cobreloa, El Niño Maravilla joined Udinese on a controversial basis after the Italians had to buy him out for 1 million euros. However, he was loaned out to River plate to gain first team action where he was brilliant, helping River Plate win Torneo Clausura in 2008. He hasn’t looked back ever since. He returned to the Udinese setup and entertained the Italians to became a fans favourite. Sanchez has been linked with a move to Manchester United and Inter Milan. Moreover, it is known that he is a Red Devils’ fan, but may also prefer to stay in Italy and play for Inter.

Style of playing: A tricky winger who has the ability to beat full backs at ease because of his sheer pace and trickery.

Play-time in 2010-11 season: 12 matches with 2 goals in all competitions.

Possible destination: Inter Milan, Manchester United.

Approximate Transfer Cost: 15 million pounds

Probability: 50%.

So to wrap it up, some of the players mentioned in this article might end up at their dream clubs or might continue to serve their current clubs till summer. However, the possibility of a move cannot be ruled, and it would be refreshing to see some fresh faces at top European clubs. Let’s brace ourselves for an exciting month of transfer activity.

8 Responses to “High Five: Young Talents All Clubs Should Look At In January”

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  1. Srijan says:

    we really cant forget Gamos the central midfielder for Santos even though he is being overshadowed by all the hype around Neymar…. but he sure seems as a player of future….. :)

  2. Somnath says:

    @Srijan

    I think you mean Ganso.

  3. Jayant says:

    Ganso it is. Spanish media has reported that Barcelona have a deal with Neymar and a first option on Ganso as well. I, for one, wouldn’t believe them but if I had to choose between the two, I’d pick Ganso. Amazing talent.

  4. Michael Corleone says:

    Signing either Ganso or Neymar would be unfair to the talented La Masia players. They have waited for their chance and they deserve it. As it is Ibrahim Afellay’s arrival might just cut short Nolito’s career at the Camp Nou. I don’t know what others think of him, but I rate him highly.

  5. gerakis100 says:

    Someone in England/Italy/Spain better grab Dzeko fast or the usual Bundesliga tradition, of Bayern snatching every available talent, will happen again.