Otro juego, otro gol de Dusan Vlahovic. El serbio marcó su duodécimo de la temporada en la Fiorentina 3-1 win over Sampdoria on Tuesday night to open up a two-goal lead between himself and Ciro Immobile in the race for the Capocannoniere. Whether Vlahovic will still be in Italy when the award is given out is another matter. He is a wanted man in England and for good reason. Arsenal and Tottenham are apparently interested in the 21-year-old, with Spurs reportedly making him their top January target as the long-term successor for Harry Kane. Vlahovic will not come cheap but, con tan solo 18 months to run on his contract and a reluctance to put pen to paper on a new deal, Fiorentina’s stance on their prized asset may soften in the new year, particularly if they can sign a replacement early in the window.
Not long after Manchester United appointed Ralf Rangnick as their interim manager, the club were linked with RB Leipzig’s battling midfielder Amadou Haidara. Rangnick brought Haidara to Leipzig from RB Salzburg, so he is familiar with the Mali international’s style of play. Haidara would be an immediate upgrade on United’s current options. A sticking point would be the 23-year-old’s potential involvement at the Africa Cup of Nations in January, but RB Leipzig’s exit from the Champions League means he would be available for United in the latter stages of the competition. With a rumoured £33m release clause, he could be a bargain buy for a problem position at Old Trafford.
Inter will be reluctant to lose a key midfielder at the turn of the year, but Marcelo Brozovic’s current deal expires in the summer so they run the risk of losing the 29-year-old on a free at the end of the season. Brozovic has started all 14 league matches for Simone Inzaghi’s side and his ability to retain the ball is a key component of their attempt to retain the league title. Brozovic’s pass success rate of 92.3% is better than any other midfielder in Serie A esta temporada. Having worked with Brozovic at Inter last season, Antonio Conte may try to link up with him once more in England. Tottenham need a player to anchor their midfield and the Croatia international has the winning mentality Conte requires.
Shortly after Conte was named Tottenham boss, Franck Kessié was heavily linked with a move to the club. Kessié and Milan are currently locked in contract talks, a standoff that shows no sign of ending anytime soon, and a move away from San Siro is the likeliest scenario at this stage. Whether Milan will allow him to leave in January remains to be seen. He has started nine of their 14 league games this season and that figure would have been higher had he not played at the Olympics. Like Haidara, Kessié’s potential involvement with Ivory Coast at the Africa Cup of Nations may prove a sticking point, but the 24-year-old would add energy, attacking thrust and defensive workrate to a Spurs midfield that needs a revamp.
Niklas Süle is out of contract in the summer, which leaves Bayern Munich stuck between a rock and a hard place. The towering German has admirers in England, notably Chelsea, so Bayern need to decide whether to sell the 26-year-old at the turn of the year or risk losing him for free at the end of the season. With everyone fit, Süle is not a guaranteed starter for Bayern, with Julian Nagelsmann favouring a partnership of Dayot Upamecano and Lucas Hernandez, so the Germany international is considering his options. With question marks over the futures of a number of Chelsea defenders – including Antonio Rüdiger, Andreas Christensen and Thiago Silva – Süle could be drafted in at the turn of the year to bolster Thomas Tuchel’s defensive options.
Now sidelined for the foreseeable future with a hamstring injury, Andrea Belotti may have played his last game for Torino. Arsenal and West Ham have been credited with an interest in the Italy international in recent weeks, the latter especially in need of an additional forward to provide support and competition for Michail Antonio. Injuries have restricted Belotti to just five league starts this season but, when fit and firing, he is a handful for any defence. He is brilliant in the air and his style would suit the Liga Premier. Torino will hope to avoid selling their captain next month but Belotti’s contract is up in the summer so they may not have a choice.
Another Bayern player whose contract expires in the summer. Injuries have played a huge part in Corentin Tolisso’s failure to nail down a regular starting spot – he joined the club from Lyon four years ago and has hit double figures for starts in just one of his seasons at the club. With Leon Goretzka, Joshua Kimmich and Marcel Sabitzer above him in the pecking order, the 27-year-old is unlikely to extend his stay. Despite his lack of action, he still has admirers across the continent, with Tottenham reportedly keen on Tolisso as Antonio Conte eyes up midfield reinforcements.
A knee injury sustained last March came at just the wrong time for Denis Zakaria, who was going from strength to strength with Borussia Mönchengladbach. Despite spending much of 2020 on the sidelines, the Swiss midfielder is still a wanted man in England, with Manchester City believed to be long-term admirers. Considering Fernandinho’s advancing years, City need another ballwinner and the 25-year-old could prove an ideal fit. Zakaria is often booked – he has been yellow carded more times (34) than any other player since the start of the 2017-18 campaign – but he has never been sent off in the Bundesliga, which suggests he is a master of the dark arts in the same mould as Fernandinho.
Aston Villa were favourites to sign Julián Álvarez from River Plate earlier in the year, but it seems another European club joins the race for the Argentina international with each passing week. The 21-year-old has scored 17 goals and laid on six assists in just 19 league appearances this season. Villa will have to act swiftly to land the youngster in the new year. The striker, who can play out wide, is believed to have a release clause of just €20m in his current River Plate deal, so expect a raft of offers to make their way across the Atlantic in January. Villa have options in the final third but, if they can convince Álvarez to swap Buenos Aires for Birmingham, Steven Gerrard will have one of the most promising forwards in the game at his disposal.
Two serious knee injuries have stunted Nicolò Zaniolo’s development, but he is only 22 and has put together a run of games under José Mourinho at Roma this season, a partir de 11 of their 14 league matches so far. Roma fans have not seen the best of Zaniolo this season – he is yet to score or set up a goal in the league – but his dribbling ability remains undiminished. Tottenham have been linked with Zaniolo. They still need to replace Christian Eriksen and the young Italian is an option.