x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

These men could march in and out this January

The transfer window opens around Europe and with the credit crunch hitting some major clubs, there could be some big name players on the move.

The transfer window opens around Europe today, and with the credit crunch hitting some major clubs, there could be some big name players on the move. Andrei Arshavin Tottenham tempted Andrei Arshavin in the summer, but could not agree a fee. Now Arsenal are a more likely destination for the fulcrum of a talented Russia team. A hefty fee will be required - probably £20 million (Dh107.4m) - but Zenit St Petersburg bought his replacement, Danny, four months ago. Arshavin, equally capable of scoring and creating, probably represents the finest footballer outside the major leagues.

Stephen Appiah Perhaps the best player available without a fee, Stephen Appiah left Fenerbahce in the summer and has not found a club since. His wage demands have deterred some, but talk of a move to Major League Soccer still surprises. The captain of Ghana, Appiah is an all-action midfielder who would suit Portsmouth, especially now Lassana Diarra has departed. Karim Benzema The questions are when and where, rather than if, Karim Benzema will leave Lyon. The most coveted young striker in the world has expressed a preference for a move to Spain, though Real Madrid's recruitment of Klaas Jan Huntelaar makes that less plausible. Chelsea are linked, while Benzema is an alternative should Manchester United opt not to buy Carlos Tevez.

Steven Defour There is a school of thought that Everton bought the wrong midfielder when they paid Standard Liege £15 million for Marouane Fellaini. Steven Defour, the Belgian club's captain, is a hugely accomplished player, a capable creator who can also operate as a box-to-box midfielder. At 20 and a native French speaker, he seems a natural fit for Arsenal. William Gallas Deposed as captain and increasingly appearing distanced from his teammates, William Gallas' next move may be back to his native France, with Paris Saint Germain an option. Yet a defender who has repeatedly proved himself among the finest in the Premier League should also attract interest domestically. A bid would also raise the question if Arsene Wenger would be willing to let him leave.

Emile Heskey Frequently disparaged a couple of years ago, Emile Heskey is now widely appreciated. As his contract at Wigan is now in its final few months, England's first-choice target man is now in demand. A lucrative Bosman beckons, but Wigan anticipate bids in January. Aston Villa, deprived of the injured John Carew, is the likeliest destination, but Everton's striker shortage is also pertinent and a return to Liverpool has been mooted.

Jermaine Pennant The strangest story of the season was that Jermaine Pennant priced himself out of a contract at Real Madrid. It is in keeping with the winger's recent actions: both Blackburn and Stoke discovered his inflated sense of his own worth last summer. But with six months remaining on his contract, Pennant, effectively exiled by Rafa Benitez, requires first-team football. Wigan is an option.

Roque Santa Cruz Goalscoring ranks rather higher on his list of talents than diplomacy. Roque Santa Cruz selected Sam Allardyce's third day at Blackburn to give an interview where he voiced his desire to play for a bigger club. Santa Cruz's 23-goal debut season showed a striker capable of leading the line and contributing various sorts of goals. And, of course, Mark Hughes is a confirmed admirer. Marcos Senna

Arguably the outstanding individual in Euro 2008, Marcos Senna's has been a slowburner of a career. Now, however, recognition has belatedly come the way of the Brazilian-born Spain international. Arsenal and Manchester City are among the clubs who could benefit from an anchor midfielder of such quiet authority, if Villarreal are willing to sell. Matthew Upson West Ham's financial difficulties may prove a boon to their rivals. Speculation surrounds Robert Green and Craig Bellamy but Matthew Upson is the likeliest to attract an offer. Upson's dependability and reliability has brought recognition from Fabio Capello and Tottenham could benefit from such a solid - and, unusually at White Hart Lane, fully fit - central defender.

rjolly@thenational.ae