A window of change

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 1.01.11
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London: Soccer’s month-long January transfer window opens on Saturday. Following is a roundup of likely transfer action in the major European leagues:

ENGLAND

All eyes will be on Manchester City as the window opens, with Roberto Mancini expected to add more firepower to a squad who have emerged as genuine contenders for the Premier League title.

Edin Dzeko, Wolfsburg’s Bosnian striker, is top of their shopping list, with Emmanuel Adebayor and Roque Santa Cruz likely to depart, most probably on loan. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and Manchester United’s Alex Ferguson are not keen on signing players in January, but Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur could both be active, with Robbie Keane expected to leave Spurs.

Chelsea’s squad look stretched and Carlo Ancelotti will be in the market for flair and goals, although any attempt to sign Tottenham's Croatian Luca Modric would be strongly resisted.

ITALY

Ronaldinho is set to be the biggest departure from Serie A with his former Brazilian club Gremio keen to take him from AC Milan. The former world player of the year, whose form has declined rapidly in the past five seasons, has mainly been a substitute under new coach Massimiliano Allegri and, with his Milan contract up in June, the league leaders may cash in now.

Italy forward Antonio Cassano will sign for Milan from Sampdoria when the window opens, making it more likely Ronaldinho will leave.

A long-term injury to Filippo Inzaghi and fitness worries over Alexandre Pato mean the Rossoneri may want another striker but Genoa have denied contact over Luca Toni.

The future of Gianluigi Buffon is also uncertain and they could decide to cash in, with stand-in keeper Marco Storari impressing during Buffon’s layoff.

SPAIN

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has made it clear he would like another striker as cover for Argentina forward Gonzalo Higuain, whose back injury may require surgery and could sideline him for a couple of months.

However, club officials have been guarded about the idea and the Portuguese may be forced to deploy compatriot Cristiano Ronaldo at centre forward, with fit-again Brazil playmaker Kaka playing just behind and Mesut Oezil and Angel di Maria providing width and creativity on either flank. France striker Karim Benzema is another option for the centre forward role.

Barcelona have strengthened their squad with Netherlands attacking midfielder Ibrahim Afellay, and sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta has said the league leaders are not planning to make any more purchases in January.

In an otherwise quiet La Liga transfer market, Atletico Madrid completed the purchase of Brazil midfielder Elias and have loaned goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo and sold midfielder Ignacio Camacho to struggling Malaga.

(Reuters)