With the January transfer window now open, speculation is rife as to whether there will be any big name signings heading for the English Premier League. The title race has already developed into a two-horse race between the two Manchester clubs whilst Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham jostle for the Champions League qualifying places.
Chelsea have been fast out of the blocks to secure the signature of Demba Ba for £7.5 million from Newcastle United and it remains to be seen whether or not they are prepared to dig deeper into their pockets before next summer. One player that they would dearly love to bring to Stamford Bridge is Atletico Madrid striker Falcao who demolished their defence with a hat-trick in the Super Cup Final. Chelsea have been linked with a £50 million bid for the Colombian but the deal is not thought likely to be completed until the summer. They could face stiff opposition, notably from Real Madrid, but Roman Abramovich is known to be a strong admirer of Falcao?s talents.
Any move for Falcao would raise question marks about the future of Fernando Torres who has not been entirely convincing in the loan striker role for the Blues since the departure of Didier Drogba in the summer. Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo has vehemently denied that any deal has been struck with either Real or Chelsea and a January move seems most unlikely.
If Chelsea are not able to lure Falcao, they may turn their attention to Shakhtar striker Willian who also proved a thorn in their side in their early departure from the Champions League this season. The problem with acquiring Willian is that Shakhtar are notoriously difficult to deal with and many believe they have been putting an unrealistic figure on their star striker. Chelsea are thought to have offered £20 million for the Brazilian with Shakhtar holding out for £25 million. Whether the Blues will return to the table is not yet clear and London rivals Tottenham are thought to be contemplating a January swoop for the player.
If Spurs coach Andre Villas-Boas is unsuccessful in pursuit of Willian, he may have better look with his fellow countryman Leandro Damiao. His value shot through the roof after his impressive performances for Brazil in the summer Olympics but his progress has been curtailed through injury. Nonetheless, he remains on Tottenham?s radar and they may take a chance on his fitness as he is only 23 years of age and could be a star of the future. Spurs, denied a Champions League spot only by Chelsea winning the tournament, will be keen to make a statement of intent to their London rivals as the chase for qualification intensifies.
One player that has long been linked with a move to the Premiership is Inter Milan playmaker Wesley Sneijder. The Holland skipper is currently on a £200,000 per week wage bill and there are reports that Inter are trying to offload him in the January window. QPR have apparently been approached but new manager Harry Redknapp has recently expressed his anger at the huge salaries paid to players at the club that have no fight for the relegation struggle facing the Londoners. Sneijder, a former world footballer of the year, was heavily linked with Manchester United in the past but there are no suggestions from Old Trafford that they need to bolster their squad this January. Clubs below the top five would struggle to meet his wage demands.
One player that is most definitely in demand is Sevilla striker Alvaro Negredo. Club president Jose Maria del Nido has confirmed that they have turned down a £14 million bid and that they will not part with the player ?unless a spectacular proposition arrives?. Chelsea, Tottenham and Sunderland have all been linked with the player in recent weeks.