While the rest of the world celebrates the dawning of a new year, the Premier League - and the rest of European football - greets the opening of the January transfer window. Clubs all over the continent face a busy month as teams look to make that one signing that could change their entire season.
Millions will be spent, but what players will move - and where? Here are 10 potential transfers to keep an eye on over January.
Jamie Vardy to Chelsea
With 15 goals in just 20 Premier League appearances this season, the Leicester City forward will have no shortage of suitors this January. Jamie Vardy has been the breakout star of English football this term, leading the Foxes to an unlikely spot in the top-four.
And so with the Premier League’s biggest and best teams struggling for goalscoring number nines, Vardy is a wanted man. Chelsea could be the perfect destination for him, with interim manager Guus Hiddink desperate for pace and cutting edge in the final third.
Mohamed Elneny to Arsenal
Arsene Wenger has changed tact this season, recognising the need to reinforce over January. With Francis Coquelin and Jack Wilshere out injured for quite some time, Arsenal are in need of midfield strength in depth and Mohamed Elneny could provide them with that.
The Egyptian would give the Gunners additional dynamism in the centre of the field, protecting the sometimes vulnerable back four whilst driving the ball forward from deep. The 23-year-old could be exactly what Wenger needs to push for the Premier League title.
Saido Mane to Manchester United
Louis Van Gaal failed in his efforts to sign the Southampton attacker in the summer transfer window, but is now expected to return for Saido Mane this month. Manchester United have desperately lacked attacking verve in the first half of the season, with fans turning against their Dutch manager. As they see it, the ‘Man Utd way’ is in danger of extinction.
It’s therefore easy to see why the Old Trafford might be attracted to Mane. The Senegalese winger is one of the most exhilarating players in the Premier League and could bring a much-needed degree of unpredictability to a side that has become stagnant over the last few weeks and months.
Charlie Austin to Newcastle United
One of English football’s most storied and illustrious clubs are in genuine danger of suffering relegation for the second time in seven years. Newcastle United need to find their groove, and quick, with Steve McLaren’s side toiling through game-after-game, week-after-week.
With Papiss Cisse out injured for the foreseeable future, the Magpies could use another striker to help share the goalscoring burden - and nobody fills that brief better than Charlie Austin. The Queens Park Rangers forward has long been touted for a Premier League move, netting 45 goals in 82 appearances for the Championship club. He deserves a higher platform, and Newcastle need a reliable goal-getter. It’s a move that would appear to suit everyone.
Felipe Anderson to Manchester United
The Old Trafford club have only just rid themselves of one Brazilian playmaker called Anderson, who proved to be someway below the necessary standard to make it at the very top of the English game. However, Manchester United are reportedly targeting another - although this one could make a difference.
Van Gaal might want Anderson for the same reason he wants Mane - to provide energy and drive in the final third. United have struggled for attacking creativity this season, and the Lazio man would go some way to solving that deficiency for a mooted £35 million.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Liverpool
Jurgen Klopp is still striving to impose his own personality on a Liverpool team that was left to him by another manager, with the German experiencing a number of blips along the way. The weekend’s defeat to West Ham left him questioning the effort of some of his players, raising the prospect of activity in this month’s transfer window.
Daniel Sturridge’s fitness issues has left the Reds somewhat short on the attacking front, and so Klopp might return to what he knows best in order to find a replacement. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has netted 18 goals for his former club Borussia Dortmund this season, and would certainly fit in at Anfield under Klopp. He could bring them the kind of quality they have missed since Luis Suarez’s departure.
John Stones to Chelsea
In hindsight, Chelsea’s failure to sign John Stones in the summer may well have contributed, in some way, to the eventual exit of Jose Mourinho from the club. The Portuguese coach was left disgruntled at the lack of transfer market activity before the start of the season, sparking the spiral which resulted in his firing.
But with Hiddink now at the helm, the Blues could return for the Everton centre-back. Stones could be the perfect long-term replacement for club stalwart John Terry, who will surely be phased from first-team duty over the next year or so. He could be the basis upon which Chelsea build their next great team.
Ezequiel Lavezzi to Spurs
Mauricio Pochettino has made undoubted progress at White Hart Lane this season, as Tottenham Hotspur look to lock down a top-four place. However, they remain slightly short of options up front - with Harry Kane their only genuine top-tier striker. The North London club could seek to change that this month.
Ezequiel Lavezzi is rumoured to be on the way out of Paris Saint-Germain, as the French club aim to lure a higher caliber of player. The Argentine would expand Spurs’ options in the final third, though, and could provide them with the impetuous needed to secure Champions League qualification.
Andriy Yarmolenko to Everton
The Ukrainian winger has long been tipped with a switch to the Premier League, with Everton now rumoured to be lining up a move. Andriy Yarmolenko is good enough to play for the very best, and would be a notable improvement on the wide options Roberto Martinez currently has in Aiden McGeady, Kevin Mirallas and Aaron Lennon.
The capture of Yarmolenko would be quite coup for Everton, but the Toffees have a recent history of pulling off such moves - having signed Romelu Lukaku and Gerard Deulofeu over the past two seasons. He's the sort of player who could push them closer to the Premier League’s top four places.
Isco to Manchester City
Rafael Benitez’s ill-fated reign at Real Madrid has pushed Isco to the brink of the Santiago Bernabeu door, with the playmaker struggling for first-team opportunities this season. The change of manager at the Spanish capital club on Monday might change his mind, but the 23-year-old is thought to be open to the idea of an exit.
The Etihad Stadium outfit already boast a number of exceptional options in the lines between midfield and attack. The signing of the Real Madrid playmaker might not be considered a priority, but City are seemingly preparing for the arrival of Pep Guardiola in the summer. Isco could be his kind of player.