As the January transfer window draws closer, several sides will survey the market hoping to acquire some of the world’s best players on offer.
However, as teams look to make a difference in personnel to achieve their respective domestic and continental targets, there’s some moves that just…well, surely won’t happen.
Here is a list of moves that are unlikely to happen over the course of the winter window.
8. Gareth Bale to Juventus
Real Madrid talisman Gareth Bale has been linked with a surprise move to Juventus. The Welshman has been the subject of much speculation, reuniting him with ex-Madridista Cristiano Ronaldo, who left Los Merengues in the summer for the Bianconeri.
According to the Mirror, the rumours began after Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett refused to dismiss a move away from the Bernabéu. Barnett allegedly also told the Italian press that the former Tottenham Hotspur forward enjoyed playing with the Portuguese forward while at Madrid.
However, despite suggesting that a transfer was possible, Barnett indicated that the Welshman was happy with the Spaniards, with whom he has contract until 2022.
Having already lost Ronaldo in the summer, Madrid cannot afford to lose the Wales international.
7. Isco to Manchester City, Chelsea or Juventus
Real Madrid midfielder Isco is a reported target for Manchester City, Chelsea and Juventus.
The dynamic Spaniard, who is known for his spell-binding dribbling and his terrific passing and finishing qualities, is alleged to have become increasingly frustrated with his lack of game time at Los Merengues.
The former Málaga man has made just five starts in La Liga in this campaign and according to Manchester Evening News, the 26-year-old has apparently admitted to teammates that he is set to swap the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu for the Etihad.
Isco has a contract until 2022 with the defending Champions League holders and is reported by the Express to have a €700m (£623m) release-clause. Unless any of the three parties are willing to meet the price-tag, or Madrid opt to lower their value, it seems highly unlikely that Isco will leave the Spanish capital in January.
6. Federico Chiesa to Juventus, Manchester United or Chelsea
Fiorentina forward Federico Chiesa could follow in Federico Bernardeschi’s footsteps and be the next Gigliati ace to swap La Viola for the Bianconeri.
The Italian has been linked with moves to the Premier League, with Manchester United and Chelsea reportedly interested, but interest from the Serie A holders Juventus may eventually lure the 21-year-old.
According to CalcioMercato, La Vecchia Signora reportedly want to acquire Chiesa in a similar manner in which they signed Bernardeschi, who was also a target for Chelsea. The Blues and United have been on the radar of the winger, who has been involved in seven goals in 14 appearances this season and could revive their interest in January.
Yet, Chiesa, whose contract with La Viola expires in 2022, seems to have pledged his immediate future to Fiorentina, who are chasing a European spot.
5. Milan Škriniar to Manchester United or Chelsea
Inter’s Milan Škriniar has impressed two former Serie A managers in the Premier League, hoping to bid for the centre-back in January.
Manchester United boss José Mourinho is keen on a new centre-half, following injuries to many of his usual starters, who have been below-par this campaign. United have conceded more goals than they have scored in the league and the Portuguese is allegedly eager to approach his former side to bolster his defence, according to TalkSPORT.
Chelsea are reported to have joined the race, with former Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri, looking to solve his defensive issues with the acquisition of the Slovakian. The Blues have several defensive options in Gary Cahill, Ethan Ampadu and Andreas Christensen in reserve, however, making a bid for the 23-year-old unlikely.
Despite both sides’ interest, the Nerazzurri paid Sampdoria £30.6m for his services last season and after keeping six clean sheets in 13 league games this campaign, they would be daft allowing him to leave.
4. Paul Pogba to Juventus or Barcelona
Paul Pogba is being tipped for a return to Juventus. The Frenchman, who has been heavily criticised this campaign, rejoined the Red Devils for a fee of €105m (£89.3m) plus add-ons in August 2016.
It is alleged that the midfielder has grown frustrated with life under manager José Mourinho and his former side have reportedly been considering whether or not to re-sign the 25-year-old, according to The Sun. The Sun report that Juventus’ Sporting Director Fabio Paratici is alleged to have mentioned that the side are considering their transfer options.
Barcelona have also been linked with Pogba, However, with both sides’ possessing strength in depth with their central-midfielders, a move away from Old Trafford seems unlikely, especially considering his hefty valuation.
3. Christian Pulisic to Chelsea or Liverpool
Chelsea have been linked with Borussia Dortmund’s £70m-rated United States international Christian Pulisic.
The American has just 18 months left on his current contract and the Blues are believed keen, according to the Evening Standard. They suggest that the Premier League outfit have made an official bid.
The west London outfit see Pulisic as a long-term successor for both Pedro and Willian, who are now in their thirties, as well as a potential replacement for Eden Hazard, who is yet to agree a new deal.
However, the American’s alleged preferred destination is Liverpool, who have previously been linked with the talented 20-year-old.
Despite the Premier League duo’s interest, the Bundesliga outfit sit at the top of the league and the departure of Pulisic, who has contributed to seven goals in all competitions this campaign, would be a detrimental loss for the side in the new year, making it unlikely for a move to take place in January.
2. Mauro Icardi to Chelsea
Chelsea’s options up front may have found the net in recent matches, but they still lack the ruthlessness in front of goal, which could prove to be the difference in deciding whether they finish in the top four in the Premier League.
Although Álvaro Morata has found the net seven times in 18 appearances, while Olivier Giroud has four in 15, in all competitions this season, they have missed several crucial opportunities already.
The Blues are reportedly considering Mauro Icardi to potentially lead the line, according to The Express. The Argentine striker has 11 goals and two assists from 16 appearances this campaign and was the joint top scorer in Serie A last season.
The Nerazzurri would be unwilling to let him go for cheap in January, considering his contract expires in 2021 and his importance in helping them remain in the Champions League and finish in the top four in the league.
1. Kalidou Koulibaly to Manchester United
Manchester United remain keen on solidifying their defence and continue to be linked with Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly.
The defender has played the entirety of the Partenopei’s campaign, helping to keep seven clean sheets in 19 appearances. The Senegalese defender is an integral part of the Napoli defence and has been part of the side since 2014. He is among the best defenders in Serie A and it comes as no surprise that José Mourinho is keen to recruit the centre-back.
According to The Mirror, the Portuguese is hoping to sign the defender by next summer. However, should the Old Trafford club pursue the Senegal international in January, they most likely will be disappointed, considering the Red Devils recently had a reported €107m bid rejected by the Neapolitans.
Furthermore, Koulibaly has a contract with Azzurri that expires in 2023 and should the defender choose to honour the terms in his deal, which seems likely, United may well have to look elsewhere for other alternatives.