Christmas is a season of glad tidings and busy schedules in the Barclays Premier League – that is, unless you are a squad outsider, struggling to get a look in at your club. With the January transfer window now just a week ago, we run the rule over the players – some playing, some not – who could be moving on to pastures new.
LUKAS PODOLSKI (Arsenal)
Poor Lukas Podolski. He seems like a very upbeat young man, and of course he has a nice shiny World Cup medal in his sock drawer, but every time it looks like he might make some headway in his quest to get in the Arsenal team, they sign another implausibly talented attacker to jump ahead of him in the queue. It seems likely that Podolski will move on – or at least try to – in the transfer window, because while coming on as a sub now and then to kick the ball really, really hard towards the goal is certainly one way to pass the time, it's probably not the most fulfilling. A return to Germany looks on the cards.
DANNY INGS (Burnley)
Burnley might not want to let their star striker and scorer of four valuable Premier League goals thus far go in the middle of a survival battle, particularly when Sam Vokes is still out injured, but they might not have a huge amount of choice. The striker's contract runs out in the summer, and his stock is the highest it's ever been, with some vague talk of an England call-up at some point in the near future, thus he's potentially a cheap impact signing for someone like Aston Villa, Newcastle or Southampton. Burnley might accept that Ings is going to leave in the summer whatever happens, and at least make some money that they can spend on a longer-term replacement.
GLEN JOHNSON (Liverpool)
Another whose contract situation could determine his future, Glen Johnson seems ripe for a move away from Anfield. Johnson's present deal runs out in the summer, and as of the end of November he claimed Liverpool hadn't offered him new terms, so they don't exactly sound super-keen to keep him. While he is far from Liverpool's biggest problem, the full-back has looked like a liability at some points this season, and with Javier Manquillo in their ranks and young Jon Flanagan returning to fitness, Liverpool might decide to offload an expensive burden while they can still squeeze some value from him.
PETR CECH (Chelsea)
Jose Mourinho has currently shown little inclination to let his second-choice goalkeeper go, despite his preference for Thibaut Courtois, but there is a scenario in which he might allow Cech to leave on loan. Liverpool are reportedly in the market for a goalkeeper, having clearly decided that Simon Mignolet is not good enough, and Mourinho could reason that Cech is more valuable to Chelsea between the sticks at Anfield than he is on the bench at Stamford Bridge. Cech would of course not be allowed to face Chelsea, but in the title run-in Liverpool will face Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal, and the keeper's presence in goal rather than Mignolet or Brad Jones would obviously increase the chances of that trio dropping crucial points. A long shot perhaps, but there is some logic to it.
FABIO BORINI (Liverpool)
On the verge of leaving the club on a couple of occasions during the summer, Borini elected to stay at Liverpool but since then he has been a peripheral figure, even as they suffer a chronic goal shortage from their strikers. When you can't get a game with Daniel Sturridge injured and just one league goal coming from Rickie Lambert and Mario Balotelli, it's probably time to go. The talk is that Brendan Rodgers will move for another striker in January too, so Borini will slip even further down the pecking order. A conscious uncoupling is surely best for all parties.
WILFRIED BONY (Swansea)
One of the strikers Liverpool could be moving for has been merrily scoring goals for a season-and-a-half at Swansea. Many observers have spent the last 18 months waiting for Bony's form to drop away, as many imports from the Eredivisie in recent years have, but it hasn't happened so far, and doesn't look like happening in the near future. Bony has scored over a third of the Swans' goals this season, and has a highly impressive 33 in 54 starts since moving from Vitesse Arnhem in 2013, so they will be loathe to let him go unless a big offer comes in. One fly in the ointment could be the African Cup of Nations, which will basically put Bony out of domestic action for the whole of January. But for a team in need of goals that would be a relatively minor inconvenience.
HATEM BEN ARFA (Newcastle)
The question about Hatem Ben Arfa is not whether he will be on the move, but rather will anyone take him? Alan Pardew lost patience with this undeniably talented but rather 'relaxed' Ben Arfa some time ago, and it didn't take Steve Bruce long to work out that he's probably more trouble than he's worth. The problem Ben Arfa has is that he might do very well as a playmaker around which someone can build a team, but hasn't shown enough application to convince many managers that he's worth that sort of gamble.
SCOTT SINCLAIR (Manchester City)
The good news is, he's definitely still alive, although his inaction has been such that a few might have doubted that. It's probably fair to say that, on balance, just about, all things considered, Scott Sinclair's move to Manchester City hasn't gone brilliantly. Signed as one of a phalanx of players Roberto Mancini didn't want in 2012, Sinclair has made just two starts for City, and made his first league appearance for them in 20 months as a substitute against Crystal Palace recently. He is only in City's squad as a home-grown quota-filler, but with a few more players emerging from their youth academy, now could be the time to set him free, before he becomes the new Shaun Wright-Phillips.
ADNAN JANUZAJ (Manchester United)
Perhaps, with Manchester United's injury problems, the last thing that Louis van Gaal will want to do in January is let any players go, but Januzaj's season at Old Trafford has not exactly progressed as planned. Apart from anything else, there simply isn't a place for him in the United team at the moment: more often than not Louis van Gaal plays a team without wingers, while Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata are ahead of him in the No.10 role. Januzaj is still clearly an enormously talented player, and has a long-term future at United, but it might be best for all concerned if he spends a few months out on loan somewhere. Joining David Moyes at Real Sociedad has been mooted, and that could make sense.
ANDROS TOWNSEND (Tottenham)
How quickly times change. A few months ago Townsend looked nailed on for the England World Cup squad, despite not actually showing much aside from an ability to cut inside at pace and shoot over/wide, but an injury put paid to that and now he struggles to get off the Tottenham bench. There is a definite sense that Townsend's Tottenham career has stalled, particularly with the re-emergence of Erik Lamela, but he still has enough talent to persuade someone to take a punt on him come January. Aaron Lennon could also be on the move, but one imagines it will be one winger or the other on their way out of White Hart Lane.