January transfer window: Sancho, Toney, Malen and others who could be on the move

We pick out 10 players who are likely to be in high demand this month

Jadon Sancho has been removed from the first-team picture at Manchester United. EPA
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The January transfer window is officially open for business and could well be busier than usual.

Managers rightly but predictably trot out the line about January being a poor month for player trading, but a combination of factors could fuel activity this month.

Saudi Pro League clubs may once again look to recruit players from Europe, creating ripples in the market, while January’s Africa Cup of Nations could leave some clubs short in key positions.

And with the leading clubs continuing to stockpile talent far beyond their immediate needs, there are several high-profile players disgruntled at their lack of minutes – especially with Euro 2024 on the horizon and their national team places under threat.

Here we look at 10 players who could be on the move this month.

Jadon Sancho, Manchester United

The England winger hasn’t kicked a ball at United since his very public falling out with manager Erik ten Hag. The Dutch coach insists Sancho must apologise to him if he is to be reintegrated into the squad but the 23-year-old has point-blank refused.

With that relationship seemingly broken beyond repair, a parting of the ways appears inevitable even if new investors Ineos might want to broker a truce. A loan back to the Bundesliga would seem most likely, perhaps even to former club Borussia Dortmund, ahead of a permanent exit in the summer - unless the management situation at Old Trafford changes, of course.

Interested clubs: Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig, Bayer Leverkusen, Juventus.

Aaron Ramsdale, Arsenal

The 25-year-old Arsenal goalkeeper was brutally dumped at the start of the season as manager Mikel Arteta brought in David Raya from Brentford and promptly installed him as his new No 1.

Ramsdale's hopes of usurping Jordan Pickford in the England team for Euro 2024 are likely over but will be non-existent if he continues to warm the bench at the Emirates Stadium.

His situation is complicated by the fact that the Gunners are unlikely to sanction a loan move to a Premier League rival, but Ramsdale is reported to be unhappy and likely to push for a move.

Interested clubs: Newcastle, Chelsea.

Kalvin Phillips, Manchester City

Another player in need of a move if he is to nail down a place in Gareth Southgate's Three Lions team. It just hasn't happened for him at Manchester City and you wonder why they bothered signing him in the first place, apart from to satisfy homegrown quotas and to stop him from joining a rival.

Manager Pep Guardiola says he can't see him in his "vision" for the team - as clear a message to pack his bags as Phillips is likely to get.

The midfielder is reportedly open to a move to Serie A with Juventus, who have already made an enquiry. Meanwhile, a clutch of Premier League clubs are jostling for position to secure the England midfielder on an initial loan. It's likely to be expensive though with City demanding a loan fee and that most of his £130,000 a week wages are covered.

Interested clubs: Juventus, Newcastle, Everton.

Ivan Toney, Brentford

Had it not been for his ban for breaking rules on gambling, there's every chance the Bees striker would have moved on in the summer.

The 27-year-old returns to football on January 17, making him a prime target for Premier League clubs in need of reinforcements up front.

Toney scored 12 times in his first season in the top flight and then followed that up with 20 league goals in 2022-23.

Brentford will be keen to keep hold of him, but if concrete interest materialises then that may prove difficult.

Interested clubs: Arsenal, Chelsea.

Donyell Malen, Borussia Dortmund

The Dutch international had Premier League interest when he moved to Germany from PSV Eindhoven in 2021.

And despite him being a regular starter for Dortmund, rumours persist that they'd be willing to cash in on him.

If you were looking for adjectives to describe his time at the club then "promising" would be closely followed by "inconsistent".

The 24-year-old had his best spell of form in the second half of last season as Dortmund challenged for and then blew the Bundesliga title.

It has been suggested a fee of €30m, either now or mandated as part of a loan, would be enough to get a deal done.

Interested clubs: Liverpool, Manchester United.

Santiago Gimenez, Feyenoord

The Mexico international's goals powered Arne Slot's Feyenoord to the Eredivisie title last season.

Gimenez bagged 23 in 45 games across all competitions but has since gone up a gear again in 2023-24, with 18 goals in 16 league games.

Aside from his impressive stats, the 22-year-old passes the eye test. He's tall, fast, mobile, technically accomplished and capable of scoring consistently while leading the line on his own.

It's no wonder a host of clubs have been scouting him. A bid of around €50-60m would likely tempt the Rotterdammers into doing business. A summer move is perhaps more likely but a January exit can't be ruled out.

Interested clubs: Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid, Arsenal, Tottenham.

Serhou Guirassy, Stuttgart

The France-born Guinea international is in the form of his life in the Bundesliga with Stuttgart.

Having scored 11 goals in 22 games on loan last season, the German club exercised their option to make the move permanent.

This year he has netted 17 in 14 league games to attract interest from all over Europe.

The fact that he has a release clause of just €17.5m in his contract means it's almost inevitable that someone will take a punt on the 27-year-old.

Interested clubs: Man United, AC Milan, Tottenham, West Ham.

Hugo Ekitike, PSG

The Paris Saint-Germain forward opted to turn down strong interest in the summer to stay and fight for his place at the Parc des Princes.

But that decision has backfired with him playing just nine minutes all season and his management speaking in the press about the adverse effect on his mental health.

PSG are said to be eager to recoup most of the €35 million they paid Reims for the youngster, but that seems far-fetched given his chronic lack of first-team action.

A loan seems much more likely with clubs in France, England, Germany and Italy all showing an interest.

Interested clubs: Crystal Palace, Lyon, Eintracht Frankfurt, Roma.

Andre, Fluminense

The highly-rated Brazil midfielder has spoken openly of his desire to join a Premier League club, and following the end of Fluminense's Club World Cup campaign, now would seem an opportune moment for the Brazilian outfit to cash in.

The tireless 22-year-old has been capped four times by his country and has already amassed an impressive 164 senior appearances for his club.

That has led to an influx of European scouts at Fluminense games, including from some of the world's biggest clubs. Fulham have made their interest very clear but he may hold out for a Champions League move.

Interested clubs: Barcelona, Liverpool, Fulham.

Jota, Al Ittihad

The Portuguese winger's move to Saudi Arabia has been a disaster with him barely featuring and even being de-registered by the Tigers for their SPL campaign.

Following his previously stellar performances for Celtic, he is sure to be on the radar of a number of Premier League clubs this month.

Given the Saudi Private Investment Fund's involvement in both Ittihad and Newcastle, it is hardly surprising to see reports already linking him with a loan move to Tyneside. Tottenham's former Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou could also angle for a reunion in north London.

Interested clubs: Tottenham, Newcastle, Celtic.

Updated: January 01, 2024, 6:19 AM