Ten top January transfer targets: from De Jong to Almirón and Lozano
The elegant defender was one of France’s unsung heroes at the World Cup at left-back and has been identified by Bayern Munich’s hierarchy as having the potential to become the cornerstone of the club’s next generation. Yet Atlético convinced Antoine Griezmann to stay in the face of interest from Barcelona last summer and are attempting to persuade the 22-year-old to follow suit. His €80m release clause would make Hernández the most expensive defender in history, with Bayern having reportedly indicated they are willing to pay it in January. RB Leipzig’s Timo Werner is another target for the German champions as they attempt to recover from their poor start.
The 21-year-old’s displays for club and country have ensured Europe’s biggest clubs are on his trail, with Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City and Bayern Munich the frontrunners as things stand. De Jong’s agent has said that a decision on his client’s future will be made “in the coming weeks” to avoid distractions for the rest of the season, with the midfielder expected to leave Ajax in the summer after they ruled out a January departure. “It’s difficult to say what will happen,” De Jong told the Guardian this month. “I want to finish this season well with Ajax. Then we will see.” But the vultures are circling the Amsterdam Arena for him and the teenage defender Matthijs de Ligt, reportedly valued at more than £100m.
The France midfielder was deemed too fat in his youth but has rapidly worked his way up through the lower leagues to become one of the most exciting prospects in his homeland. Lyon have declared he is not for sale in January, although it will probably be a different story in the summer with clubs including Barcelona and Manchester City keeping an eye on him and the emerging star Houssem Aouar. Both impressed during the Champions League group stage matches against City and should be the next big money departures from the Groupama Stadium.
Ligue 1’s top scorer has seemingly appeared from nowhere over the last three seasons, having spent his formative years in France’s lower leagues. Usually deployed on the right flank, Pépé has 12 league goals this campaign and has attracted interest from Arsenal among others. Lille have been adamant they will not allow the Ivory Coast international purchased from Angers for around £10m to leave for any less than four times that amount and, with their Champions League qualification hopes still very much alive, it may take a sizeable bid to prise him away in January.