Top ten alternatives

Matt Stanger looks at some of the less familiar names being linked with moves in the January transfer window. They might not all be household names but we think these ten represent real value for money in today's inflated market.

We look at the merits of some of the less familiar names being linked with moves in January.

Remy Cabella - Montpellier
Olivier Giroud's poor form for Arsenal hasn't deterred Premier League clubs from scouting the Montpellier squad with Newcastle set to seal a move for talented defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Spurs reportedly sniffing around Younes Belhanda. Another potential candidate for a transfer is young attacking midfielder Remy Cabella, who has really kicked on this season despite Montpellier's struggles in Ligue 1. The 22-year-old was only a squad player in MHSC's title victory last season, but has been an ever-present in both the league and Champions League this campaign, claiming five goals and seven assists. Newcastle could certainly benefit from adding the France U21 international to their beleaguered squad this month.
Bastian Oczipka - Eintracht Frankfurt
Oczipka has been one of the stars of Bundesliga surprise package Eintracht Frankfurt, who have climbed to fourth in the table after gaining promotion last season. The 24-year-old left-back joined The Eagles from Bayer Leverkusen on a three-year deal in the summer and has impressed with his contribution this season, weighing in with seven assists in 18 matches (the second-highest number in the league) as well as providing as many key passes per game as Dortmund star Mario Gotze. Oczipka is better going forward than he is defensively, with Frankfurt conceding a whopping 30 goals so far, but he has plenty of potential and compares favourably to the 'third or fourth best left-back in Holland', Alexander Buttner.
Viktor Fischer - Ajax
Fischer is the latest in a long line of starlets to graduate from the Ajax academy, and the 18-year-old has burst onto the scene this season with five goals in 13 appearances. The young forward grabbed a brace in a 3-0 victory over Feyenoord at the weekend as he picked up the Man of the Match award in his most exciting performance so far. Fischer has already followed in the footsteps of teammate Christian Eriksen after making his debut for Denmark in November and he his meteoric rise has reportedly been noted by Manchester United. He wouldn't come cheap, but there are few better prodigies to build a team for the future around.
Ricky Alvarez - Internazionale
Alvarez has been tipped for a move back to Argentina in January after finding himself surplus to requirements under Andrea Stramaccioni at Inter this season and it's thought that River Plate are leading the race for the 24-year-old's signature. The Argentina international was the star of the Velez Sarsfield team that lifted the Argentinian Clausura in 2011 and reached the Copa Libertadores semi-final, and in his first season at Inter he showed signs of establishing himself as the team's trequartista before Claudio Ranieri's exit. Alvarez was linked with Arsenal before his €5.5million transfer to the San Siro in 2011 and he could still offer something to the Gunners, perhaps on loan, as their squad predictably struggles with injuries in the middle of another testing campaign.
Adam Maher - AZ Alkmaar
Maher made a name for himself with 46 appearances, eight goals and seven assists in his breakthrough season at AZ last year, and he looks set to continue his impressive progress after already picking up two caps for Holland. The 19-year-old is both a star of the future and capable of offering an immediate impact, with his performances for AZ belying his young years. But despite the talented midfielder's displays this season, AZ are struggling in mid-table in the Eredivisie and would surely be tempted to cash in on their young star should the right offer present itself.
Francesco Lodi - Catania
Before his move to Catania in January 2011, Lodi had only made a handful of Serie A appearances. But after a hugely impressive two years in Sicily, the 28-year-old has now established himself as one of the finest registas in the league, with both Inter and AC Milan rumoured to be planning offers. Lodi is also known for his stunning free-kicks and the midfielder bagged nine goals as well as seven assists in 35 appearances last season. At 28, Lodi is now at the peak of his powers and he would surely be tempted to leave Catania as he looks to achieve his dream of playing for Italy.
Wilfried Bony - Vitesse
Bony was linked with Chelsea and Liverpool before both clubs boosted their striking ranks this month and the prolific 23-year-old would be an ideal target for a Premier League club in need of goals. Newcastle are also thought to be interested in Bony following Demba Ba's departure and the striker could be a convincing replacement after following his record of 17 goals in 32 appearances last season with 16 strikes in only 18 league appearances this campaign, including a brace in Vitesse's shock 2-0 win at the Amsterdam Arena and the winner in another famous away victory at PSV. Bony is currently with the Ivory Coast squad at the Africa Cup of Nations, but that didn't deter Newcastle from agreeing a deal for Papiss Cisse last year and the acquisition of Bony would boost the Magpies' bid to climb away from danger.
Hernanes - Lazio
Considering his performances for Lazio over the last three seasons, Hernanes should be a top target for clubs across Europe. The Brazil international has starred as the team's creative hub in midfield following his €11million move from Sao Paulo in 2010 and has weighed in with eight goals and three assists so far this campaign. Hernanes' performances have helped Lazio maintain a ten-match unbeaten run in Serie A as the Rome club look to secure a Champions League spot, while the 27-year-old has also impressed in the Europa League. Arsenal were linked with a move for the talented playmaker before signing Santi Cazorla in the summer and it wouldn't be a surprise to see Premier League clubs hovering around Hernanes either this month or in the summer.
Beñat - Real Betis
It's highly unlikely Real Betis would be willing to let Beñat leave in the middle of their quest to secure a Champions League place, but the 25-year-old playmaker is a target for a number of top clubs following his dazzling displays in La Liga. An impressive 2011/12 campaign saw Beñat break into the Spain set-up over the summer and so far he has picked up four caps for Vicente del Bosque's side as he aims to build towards World Cup 2014. The attacking midfielder has contributed four goals and five assists this season - including the winner in a 1-0 win over Real Madrid - and has reportedly attracted interest from Chelsea and Man City, who could both afford his €20million release clause.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan - Shakhtar Donetsk
If you're not already aware of Mkhitaryan, it's probably because you've banished his name from your memory for fear of having to spell it. The cut-and-paste attacking midfielder is one of the stars of the Shakhtar Donetsk side that have impressed in the Champions League this season, and also managed an astonishing 37-game unbeaten run before a 3-2 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in November. With his clever movement, neat distribution and eye for goal, Mkhitaryan slots perfectly into Shakhtar's forward line alongside Spurs target Willian and the 23-year-old has attracted a number of suitors following a series of eye-catching performances. Whether he would want to leave Shakhtar - where he has won five trophies in two seasons - is another question, but there will certainly be clubs enquiring about his availability. This article first appeared on Football365

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