Champions League Stars Poised For January Transfers
A sure-fire way to appear on the radar of Europe's leading clubs in the January transfer window is to deliver a string of impressive performances in the Champions League. After all, the big clubs all have the big aspirations of winning the most prestigious club competition. Here are three players that have thrived in the Champions League so far, consequently attracting the attention of the competition favourites.
Inter's central defensive partnership of Milan Skriniar and Stefan De Vrij has proved resilient against some of the world's leading attackers, with the defensive wall largely holding firm when Barcelona came to San Siro in a 1-1 draw. Skriniar in particular impressed audiences with his all-around defensive game and at 23-years-old represents huge potential. Inter are keen to keep that potential at San Siro, but £100 million from Manchester United would be persuasive. The abolition of the cup-tied rule in European competition would allow Skriniar to bolster United's defence for the knockout rounds, although Barcelona are also rumoured to be keen on the Slovak star.
While Inter's resurgence may improve their chances of retaining their top players, they stand little chance of domestic success because of Juventus' supremacy. Juve are looking for their eighth consecutive title and are as short as 1/5 with bet365 to find it, so Skriniar's head could be turned by the better prospect of silverware at Barcelona. Few players could resist such a lure.
Frenkie de Jong
Ajax have defied the odds so far in the Champions League this season. Highly unfancied when arriving at the Allianz Arena, Ajax excelled to claim a 1-1 draw against Bayern Munich. Ajax haven't made it past the group stage since 2006, but there is a sense that this group of young players are growing together. Those looking for Champions League betting offers before the tournament could have had a speculative each-way on Ajax at 250/1 with BetVictor, with the same bookmaker now offering 80/1 as a result of Ajax's fine form. Ajax's impressive showing in the group stage against Bayern and Benfica suggests that this side can go deep into the knockout rounds.
When a team features wonderkids Kasper Dolberg, Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong, it is inevitable that the team will get broken up. The big clubs are sniffing around all three, with de Jong the focus of interest from both Manchester clubs. Spurs may have the edge, with a long tradition of signing and developing talent that emerged at Ajax.
Ndombele was imperious for Lyon when they stunned Manchester City with a 2-1 victory at the Etihad. If you can't beat 'em, steal one of their best players; according to the Daily Telegraph, City are considering the French midfielder as a long-term replacement for Fernandinho. Equally capable of intercepting and distributing, Ndombele is the ideal addition to a Guardiola side. £40 million in January can make that a reality.
With City favourites for the Champions League across leading bookmakers, available at odds of 7/2 with both Paddy Power and MoPlay, Ndombele could feasibly switch clubs in January and finish the season as a champion of Europe.
Only time will tell if these players move in January, with the winter window notorious for inflating fees and provoking kneejerk reactions. Yet if a club thinks that they can steal a march on competitors in tying down talent like Skriniar, de Jong or Ndombele, then it would be foolish not to act.