January provides an opportunity for change for Premier League players and there are a number of high-profile names who will look for new opportunity this month.
With the 2024 European Championship fast approaching and competition for places fierce within the England squad, we’ve looked at five English internationals who could benefit from moving clubs this month.
Kalvin Phillips’ miserable Manchester adventure looks set to reach its conclusion this month. The midfielder looked a logical signing for Manchester City when arriving from Leeds in 2022, an established England international who had been developed under Pep Guardiola mentor, Marcelo Bielsa.
Phillips, however, has endured a nightmare time at the Etihad. The midfielder has started just six games in all competitions in 18 months and it is difficult to remember a positive performance among them.
⚪️⚫️ Juventus remain in talks with Man City over loan deal for Kalvin Phillips, as revealed two weeks ago.
Negotiations are still on, Newcastle also keen but no formal approach with City yet. https://t.co/GQjggfUw7Z
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) December 29, 2023
Guardiola made ominous comments on Phillips’ future in October, apologising for the 28-year-old’s lack of football but admitting he did not see how the midfielder could fit into his plans.
“I feel so sorry for my decision for him. I’ve said that many times. He doesn’t deserve what has happened to him and I’m so sorry,” Guardiola said.
“The only thing I can say about him is I am asking for good personalities and characters and he is a perfect example. And after that I have to give him something and I didn’t do that. It’s just because I visualise some things and visualise the team and things – and I struggle to see him.”
Phillips has remained a member of Gareth Southgate’s England squad, but needs games to ensure he retains that place and arrives at Euro 2024 in peak condition. The lack of viable alternatives to Declan Rice in a holding role has helped Phillips, though he cannot continue in his current predicament and remain reliable for England.
There’s a queue of Premier League clubs prepared to end his Etihad ordeal this winter.
Ivan Toney will be free to resume his career on January 16, as the forward nears the end of his eight-month suspension for breaching gambling rules.
Toney’s time out has not diminished transfer interest in the 27-year-old, who has entered the final 18 months of his contract at Brentford. A record of 32 goals in 66 top-flight games has turned the heads of Premier League clubs further up the division, with both Arsenal and Chelsea linked with signing the striker in the January window.
However, Brentford will demand a huge fee to sell Toney this month, with reports of an asking price in the region of £100m. Thomas Frank’s side are struggling with injuries in attacking areas and have lost seven of their last eight Premier League games, with the return of Toney a potential route away from the relegation battle.
That said, now represents perhaps the last time Brentford could command such a fee for the striker, whose value will reduce in the summer as he enters the final year of his deal in West London.
A lack of first-team football has left Aaron Ramsdale facing a decision on his future, with the Arsenal goalkeeper ousted from the side this season.
Despite a series of unconvincing performances, Mikel Arteta has retained faith in summer signing David Raya, who has taken over as first-choice in North London since arriving on loan from Brentford.
— Premier League (@premierleague) December 22, 2023
Arteta has insisted publicly that he would like to keep Ramsdale, but reported interest from several Premier League rivals could prove tempting. The Gunners are keen to sign a centre-forward this month, while the North Londoners also lack cover at left-back.
Arsenal’s spending in recent windows means the club are restricted financially by profit and sustainability regulations this month, and the sale of the England goalkeeper could bring in much needed funds. It could be a win-win for all parties.
Jadon Sancho is nearing an exit from Manchester United with the winger closing in on a return to Borussia Dortmund.
Sancho’s time with the Red Devils has been forgettable, with the 23-year-old having flattered to deceive since arriving with a reputation as one of Europe’s most exciting wide-men. After being granted time away from the squad last season to improve his physical and mental state, Sancho was banished from the first-team group in September after a fallout with Erik ten Hag.
The Manchester United manager had criticised Sancho’s application in training, comments the 23-cap England international, publicly, denied. Dortmund have swooped in to agree a loan return for Sancho, who produced the best football of his career at the Westfalenstadion.
🟡⚫️ Jadon Sancho, just waiting for the green light to travel to Borussia Dortmund training camp in Marbella.
Manchester United and BVB are closing in on loan deal this morning.
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) January 4, 2024
Sancho provided 114 goals and assists in 137 games during his first spell with the Bundesliga side.
Eddie Nketiah’s strong start to the season saw the forward earn his first England cap in October, appearing as a substitute in the 1-0 friendly win over Australia at Wembley.
Nketiah has struggled for form and favour since, however, and is on a run of nine Premier League games without a goal. With Ollie Watkins and Dominic Solanke in red-hot form, Nketiah needs regular minutes if he is to earn England inclusion for Euro 2024.
West Ham, Fulham and Crystal Palace have all been linked with signing the London-born forward, whose opportunities at Arsenal could be further limited should the Gunners sign a striker this month.
Nketiah – who is England u-21’s all-time record scorer with 16 goals in 17 caps – is no longer an emerging academy prospect at Arsenal. The 24-year-old needs a regular role at senior level.