The winter transfer market opens in Europe’s leading leagues on Friday and Saturday. Here are five players to look out for:
— MARCO REUS
The 25-year-old Borussia Dortmund attacker will be the most watched player in the transfer market with media reports putting Real Madrid ahead of Manchester United, Chelsea and German rivals Bayern Munich in the race to lure him away. Though he missed Germany’s World Cup-winning campaign through injury, Reus’s goalscoring record from an attacking midfield position — a goal nearly every two league games — and Dortmund’s poor league form mean top European sides have high hopes of signing him. Reus reportedly has a release clause in his contract allowing a transfer for 25 million euros ($30 million). His German record 540,000-euro fine for driving his Aston Martin without a licence has not put off anyone.
— WILLIAM CARVALHO
The 22-year-old Sporting Lisbon defensive midfielder is considered a top target for Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger who has indicated he has money to spend. The Angolan-born player featured in Portugal’s World Cup campaign but it is his form in the Portuguese league and in the Champions League that have made the physically imposing Carvalho such a bright hope for Portugal. Expect a fee above 25 million euros ($30 million).
— EDINSON CAVANI
Arsenal also have been linked with the 27-year-old Uruguayan striker, who has never looked at ease in France since joining Paris Saint-Germain 18 months ago. He has scored 23 goals in 48 Ligue 1 appearances but was rated as the worst striker in the division in the first half of this season by sports daily L’Equipe. Perhaps not helped by off-field issues, including a divorce, Cavani has not justified the reported 64 million euros ($77.5 million) PSG paid to Napoli for him. However, they will be looking for around 50 million euros to let him go.
— MARTIN ODEGAARD
The 16-year-old Norwegian attacking midfielder is the precocious talent of European football and has been to Manchester United, Manchester City, Bayern Munich and other top clubs in recent weeks. Real Madrid, Arsenal and Liverpool are also reportedly in the chase for the Stromsgodset player who had a spectacular 2014, becoming the country’s youngest international when just 15 years and 253 days old. Odegaard has become known for his acceleration into the penalty area and his incisive passes. “He’s an absolutely exceptional talent for his age,” according to Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
— WILFRIED BONY
The 26-year-old Ivory Coast international has emerged as one of the most wanted strikers in the English league and Manchester City and Chelsea are both said to be ready to spend in the region of £30 million for the powerful and prolific striker. Even Real Madrid have been linked, but Swansea say they have not received any offers and Bony’s participation in the Africa Cup of Nations could deter a move in January.
– Agence France-Presse