The transfer window really is a wonderful thing.
It gives fans hope that brighter days are just around the corner. It has new shirts ready to be pre-ordered for anyone wanting to don their latest signing on their back. It has bizarre Wikipedia pages being scoured every second of the day for any information on a club’s target list.
But one thing these stages of the season also bring is a chance for a group of players to get their 15 minutes of fame before, for most fans at least, they drop back into obscurity before the transfer window re-opens a few months later.
Let’s not keep you waiting any longer. Here are our top 20 players that you’ll only ever hear about during the January or summer transfer windows.
If spending most of the latter stages of his time with Paris Saint-Germain weren’t difficult enough for Adrien Rabiot, the France international is once again out of favour but this time it’s with his new club Juventus.
He’s confirmed he’s staying in Turin for the rest of the season. But will that really stop the transfer rumours over his future?
The Nigeria international’s senior career has only lasted for just over a year, but Villarreal winger Samuel Chukwueze has (and will continue to) be mentioned in every single transfer window since.
The 20-year-old is rarely ever mentioned as a club’s priority target, especially for those in the Champions League, but Chukwueze is the Spanish media’s go-to Plan B for any top side looking to recruit a new winger.
It’s been clear for a few years that Hakim Ziyech is too good to keep playing in the Eredivisie.
Even when he was at FC Twente, Ziyech was being tipped for a move to the Premier League and those rumours have only increased since Ajax’s success in the Champions League last season.
Yes, Ryan Fraser’s contract at Bournemouth is running out.
Do we really need to be reminded about that twice a year when he might be sold in a cut-price deal?
Being on the back pages.
In that order.
Nikola Kalinić has made a career of convincing big clubs that he can play football.
In reality, Kalinić has actually spent his being desperately sold by those big clubs who instantly regretted their decision to sign him.
So if you’ve ever wondered why the 32-year-old’s name always pops up during a transfer window, that’ll be why.
Arturo Vidal will end his career as one of the best South American midfielders to ever make the move to Europe, so it’s no surprise that he always being linked with a big-money move elsewhere.
Even at the ripe age of 32, Vidal is still being tipped for a high-profile transfer in the near future.
At the other end of the age spectrum is Sandro Tonali, who’s been dubbed as ‘the next Andrea Pirlo’ after breaking into Brescia’s first-team in 2017.
The 19-year-old is at one of Italy’s smallest top-flight clubs and as a defensive midfielder, Tonali isn’t the go-to player to be making headlines on any given matchday – especially when he has Mario Balotelli for a teammate.
Erling Haaland and Martin Ødegaard are Norway’s two brightest talents, but Sander Berge has been impressing at the highest level of European football for much longer.
Berge, 21, already has over 150 senior appearances to his name and he’s a regular with the national team.
If you’re a mid-table Premier League team the chances are you’ve already seen Berge’s name pop up on a transfer shortlist or two.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that Isco is still only 27, but the Spain international has never really found his feet to cement a regular starting place at Real Madrid.
Thankfully, we’re always reminded that the Spain international actually still plays football every time he’s linked with a move away from the Santiago Bernabéu.
He’s in the form of his life and has scored just one less Bundesliga goal than Robert Lewandowski this season, but until Timo Werner leaves RB Leipzig, he’ll always be known primarily as a transfer target for bigger clubs in Europe.
Nicolò Zaniolo will go on to be the face of Italian football for a generation of fans – and the football media know it.
The 20-year-old has outgrown every club he’s ever played for and the same has happened with Roma, so you can expect to see Zaniolo’s name keep popping up before a European super club finally pays up.
For all of his ability of the pitch, Moussa Dembélé’s quickly becoming the modern-day Nicolás Gaitán – getting linked with any Premier League team who might need a striker.
Wait, Gaitán is only 31? There’s still hope, Manchester United fans!
Is including a 17-year-old on this list cheating?
But has Eduardo Camavinga been linked to absolutely everyone during the last two transfer windows?
There’s something about the rumour mill that loves linking Russian youngsters with a move to Europe’s bigger leagues, and Fedor Chalov has been the go-to player who any side who are in the market for a new striker.
The 21-year-old is deemed to be a huge talent, but Chalov still isn’t a regular part of the Russian national team and has spent the last few international breaks with their Under-21 side.
Gabriel Barbosa, more popularly known as Gabigol, has been in the spotlight for years and was deemed to be Brazil’s next big thing even ahead of Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus.
Since leaving Santos in 2016, Gabigol hasn’t ever settled with parent club Inter and he’s been linked with a move away from San Siro ever since as a result.
The 23-year-old has only ever spent time away on loan, but he re-joined Inter this month and is once again being tipped to finally secure a permanent move elsewhere.
Bruno Fernandes is one of the most talented midfielders on the planet.
But after the last few transfer windows, fans will be desperate to see the back of one of the most slow-moving transfer sagas in modern memory.
Football Twitter will tell you that Boubakary Soumaré is the best defensive midfielder in Ligue 1.
Football Twitter won’t tell you that they’ve never watched a Lille game before and can’t spell the Senegal international’s name without using a quick copy and paste from Google.
Does anyone else remember reading about Thomas Meunier leaving Paris Saint-Germain when he still had three years left on his contract?
Well, he’s now got just six months left.
But you knew that already. Of course you did. Because we haven’t for one second heard the end of him becoming a free agent in 2020.
Good centre-backs are a rare commodity in modern football so it’s no surprise to see the same name getting recycled over and over again during the transfer window.
And even though Benfica’s Rúben Dias signed a new contract at the Estádio da Luz two months ago, he was again being tipped to leave the club the next day.
Not the next week. No. The next day.
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