Fancy a bargain?
Matt Stanger selects ten players who might just be going for a song as transfer deadline day edges ever closer. Striking a bargain isn't easy in the final week of dealing but we reckon we've a selection here that might be worth considering...
By Matt Stanger
Last Updated: 29/01/13 2:54pm
Simpson may have had a poor season for Newcastle so far, but the right-back demonstrated his ability in the Magpies' last successful campaign and could rediscover his form with a move away from St James' Park. Contract wrangles and X Factor judges have possibly distracted Simpson over the past six months, but the Manchester United graduate is still only 26 and could prove a bargain for a knock-down fee this month. Alan Pardew would be willing to let Simpson leave now he has Mathieu Debuchy to fill his place in the team and it may be best for all parties if the defender departs before Thursday's deadline.
Malouda has been frozen out completely at Chelsea this season despite helping the Blues to victory in last year's Champions League final. There was talk of a move to Brazil in the summer, but a transfer failed to transpire and so the winger has spent the last six months rotting in the reserves and waiting for his contract to expire. It would be possible to snap up the France international for next to nothing this month and considering his age and wage demands, QPR is the most likely destination. Malouda may be a gamble, but the 32-year-old could certainly offer something to a rival Premier League club and the Rs should offer him a bumper pay packet on a short-term deal until the end of the season.
Arshavin's situation at Arsenal has become rather absurd this season, with the Gunners paying the playmaker around £80,000 a week to pick splinters from his backside. It's almost certain the 31-year-old will leave the Emirates at the end of the season, with a return to Russia on the cards. So far only Reading have been linked with a move to keep Arshavin in the Premier League (or England, at least) and he would certainly add quality to the Royals if they were to push through a transfer in January. Although Arshavin's time at Arsenal has turned stale, he proved his talent with Russia at Euro 2012 and perhaps only needs a move to revive his form and appetite.
Following his 18-month injury nightmare it would be a risk to sign Holden for a fee this month, but the midfielder impressed in the Premier League before his lengthy spell on the treatment table. Holden seems rather relaxed over his future, saying recenty that discussions over a new deal will take place "when the time is right", and it's unlikely Bolton would allow the USA international to leave for next to nothing. But the Trotters have huge debts to service, and instead of forming an orderly queue to speak to Holden in the summer, the likes of Fulham and West Brom should jump in now with an offer for the 27-year-old.
Daniel Van Buyten
It won't be easy to convince Van Buyten to cut short his seven-year stay at Bayern Munich, but at this stage of the Belgian international's career he's bound to consider the Benjamins. At 34, the former Man City defender is looking at one last pay day when his contract expires in the summer, but he may be tempted to move now if the right offer from a relegation-threatened Premier League club came along. QPR and Aston Villa are both in desperate need of experienced defensive recruits and Van Buyten would be particularly useful to Villa given their terrible record at defending set-pieces. The powerful centre-back has made only five appearances for Bayern this season and a deal could surely be arranged in the final hours of the window.
Diakite has been linked with a summer move to Liverpool but, following the performance of the Reds' stand-ins against Oldham, Brendan Rodgers may want to bring the powerful centre-back to Anfield ASAP. The 25-year-old Frenchman would provide genuine competition for Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel and could be available for a cut-price fee after missing the majority of the season at Lazio owing to a contract dispute and shin injury. Of course, this also means it may take Diakite several weeks to get up to speed, but with Liverpool still in the fight for fourth and the Europa League, an extra body in defence would prove quite handy.
Other than sneaking off for the occasional toilet break, Puncheon has proven himself to be one of Southampton's most reliable performers this season and his four goals thus far have directly contributed to four points - the difference between safety and parity with Reading and Wigan. The 26-year-old possesses excellent control and dribbling skills as well as an accurate shot, and it may be possible to pick him up for a song in the next few days as negotiations over a new deal appear to have stalled. Following the arrival of Mauricio Pochettino - who will have his own plans on how he wants to shape the Saints team - rival clubs should try to take advantage of Puncheon's situation and there could be a few late enquiries into the winger's availability.
After plenty of umming and aahing at the San Siro last summer, Flamini extended his AC Milan contract for another 12 months. However, the 28-year-old has only made nine appearances for the Rossoneri this season and looks set to leave the struggling Serie A giants at the end of the campaign. Following his time at Arsenal, we know Flamini can provide a combative presence in midfield (and also fill in as a frustrated left-back) and Aston Villa should seek to firm up their soft belly by throwing a stack of cash at the Frenchman this month. Flamini is likely to demand big wages, but a small fee could balance out the value of the transfer.
Similar to Van Buyten, Hangeland would be a perfect target for both QPR and Aston Villa and it's a surprise neither club has made a move for the Fulham defender in January. The 31-year-old provides both leadership and resilience in defence; two qualities that QPR and Villa have lacked desperately so far this season. Martin Jol would be reluctant to lose his captain, but the decision may be out of his hands if rival clubs were to make a tempting offer for the centre-back in the twilight hours of the transfer window. Perhaps clubs in more comfortable positions should also be looking at Hangeland, rather than risk missing out on the Norway international in the inevitable summer rush for his signature.
Considering Gomis' availability and Frenchness, it's surprising that Newcastle have overlooked the striker so far in January. The 27-year-old France international isn't always the most reliable forward, but demonstrated his ruthless finishing ability with a clinical hat-trick in Lyon's 4-1 victory at Marseille in November. With 38 goals in 101 Ligue 1 games for Lyon (including 12 in 22 appearances this season) Gomis could prove to be a bargain signing this month, with club chairman Jean-Michel Aulas hoping to sort out the France international's future. "Lyon do not want a player of such quality to become a free agent in six months," Aulas told L'Equipe. "The objective is either to prolong his contract or transfer him out." Over to you, Graham Carr.