When the January transfer window opens in January, it is understood by the majority of clubs that they will have to pay over the odds if they wish to strengthen their squad for the second half of the season. However, given the financial implications of the coronavirus pandemic, there is a greater onus on squad sizes being reduced, rather than more options being provided for managers at a time when they are having to cope with hectic schedules. The end result is a more complex thought process when it comes to identifying targets which suit the respective club, whether that be for a short-term impact or long-term gain.
Just like punters will do with new casino sites in the UK, plenty of teams will be conducting their research before committing to their favoured target. However, in the case of Arkadiusz Milik, priority should be placed on getting a deal over the line rather than haggling over the ins and outs of a deal. It has been known for some months that the Poland international is ready to leave Napoli in order to take on a new challenge, and his exclusion from Gennaro Gattuso's plans indicates that the Italian giants wish to negotiate terms for his exit. Juventus are said to be one of the frontrunners for the player, but Tottenham Hotspur, Everton and West Ham United have also been suggested as potential destinations. There is a feeling that a fee somewhere in the region of £7m might be enough to secure Milik's signature, arguably a quarter of his true value given that he has netted 38 goals from 93 Serie A appearances.
Like with Milik, a lack of game time will not stop clubs registering an interest in Leicester City winger Demarai Gray. The 24-year-old has been provided with just 18 minutes of football since the end of September, and it comes as no surprise that he has no intention of extending his terms at the King Power Stadium. Gray can already hold talks with foreign clubs regarding a transfer in the summer, but any clubs outside of the top seven teams in the Premier League should be monitoring the situation. Leicester will surely be willing to cut their losses before the end of the month and even if an English club has to part ways with £5m to £7m for the player, they will do so knowing that they can make a profit in future years. Gray will only move to a club where he is in line to become first-choice, something which is far from a certainty at this stage of the season, but he could be seen as an investment for a mid-table team such as Crystal Palace who are due for a shake-up in the summer.
If Premier League clubs are assessing the situation in Europe, they will find players who fulfil all kinds of criteria. A club in need of some extra firepower should be taking a look at Vincent Aboubakar, who has helped fire Besiktas to the top of the Turkish top flight. The Cameroonian will naturally be focused on trying to win the league title, but only penning a short-term deal leaves him open to offers. Having contributed nine goals and two assists from 13 games, there will almost certainly be widespread interest in the 28-year-old.
While there may be less interest in Yannick Gerhardt and Oriol Busquets, that is not to say that they would not offer value for money for Premier League clubs. In the case of Gerhardt, the one-cap Germany international is now only seen as a squad member at Wolfsburg, and having less than six months on his contract should see him flooded with offers. Several Bundesliga sides are monitoring the situation, but this could be the time for a Premier League club to take a chance on a player who appears keen on a new challenge.
The same applies with Busquets, who has failed to break into the Barcelona first-team squad during the first half of the campaign. The 21-year-old has been left out in the cold by Ronald Koeman, who was seemingly left unimpressed by the 21-year-old's performances on loan at FC Twente last season. Barcelona are likely to be ready to do business should contact be made over the coming weeks, and signing Busquets for a cut-price fee comes with little risk to any Premier League or top-end Championship side.