The final game-week of the UEFA Champions League group stage was insane. In two days packed with surprises, thrills & controversies, Ajax’s elimination was the most shocking. Last season’s semi-finalists will now play in the UEFA Europa League, alongside biggies like Inter Milan & Red Bull Salzburg.
With their eliminations, there’s no doubt that other big clubs will now start poaching their players. Ajax & RBS, in particular, are in threat of losing their talented superstars. The winter transfer window isn’t usually one to see excessive activity, but certain young sensations have impressed so much that interested parties won’t be able to resist.
These players might be barred from playing in the Champions League again this season, but can definitely help the top sides in their domestic adventures. So here we’ll look at 5 big players eliminated from the Champions League who might get sold in January.
The reason everyone here at High Press Soccer is super bummed about Ajax’s early elimination is because of their beautiful attacking soccer being adorable to watch. A pillar for their attacking wisdom is Hakim Ziyech, who’s a wizard down the wings.
He put in a wondrous performance against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, with one free-kick running rings around Kepa Arizzabalaga. It’s still confusing why the Moroccan hasn’t been snapped up by anyone else, but that can now happen in January.
Ziyech is full of skill with the ball, possessing that bright creative spark to create things out of nothing. 7 goals & 15 assists in all competitions suggests he’s still going strong and perhaps a European heavyweight will be wise enough to snap him up for a cut-price deal.
Bayer Leverkusen couldn’t pull off an Atalanta in attaining last-minute qualification to the knockout stages, but Kai Havertz continues flaunting his excellent talent. The young German is hot stuff around Europe, mostly due to how rapid his development has been in recent years.
The 20-year-old scored 17 goals in the Bundesliga last season, proving him an unpredictable goal-scoring threat. Possessing lots of dribbling wits, Havertz is a joy to watch in how he waltz’s around. He’s a real x-factor around the penalty area, which makes him a wanted man around Europe.
He’s apparently wanted by Manchester United, but could be picked by Bayern Munich as the blooming young German would opt to stay closer to home. Havertz is an absolute baller in the final third with his majestic work with the ball, as January could be the month he gets his big-time move.
While ERLING BRAUT HAALAND steals the headlines for RB Salzburg, the one orchestrating all the magic behind him is a sparky Japanese. Takumi Minamino ran rings around Liverpool at Anfield, which itself proved how talented he is.
The 24-year-old is like a stick of dynamite-linking midfield into attack seamlessly- with his crisp movement, accurate passes & impressive link-up play catching everyone’s attention. He’s scored 7 goals & assisted 3-much lower than his centre-forward- but seems to have caught Jurgen Klopp’s attention with his incisive work.
Liverpool are holding talks over a transfer next month, which will only cost them for ONLY £7.25 million ($9million)!! That’s ridiculously low for such a hard-working player packed with so much ability. Looks like the Reds are about to complete another stellar bargain buy, as Minamino’s the ace-in-the-hole needed in January to seal Klopp the Premier League title.
Also read: Liverpool to sign Takumi Minamino
Donny Van De Beek
Donny van de Beek has been the heart & soul of Ajax’s midfield line ever since their rise begun, but perhaps their downfall collides with his potential departure. The Dutch midfielder is a real dynamic figure with the cunning nature of a fox to sneak his way into promising positions, forcing chances.
He’s been quite prolific despite watching his mates depart, having scored 11 goals & assisted 5 in all competitions. A profuse hard-worker with the creativity to be involved in attack, he’s a real complete package.
Real Madrid have been interested since the summer and even though Van De Beek tried refraining from transfer-related questions, he must be itching for it. The Dutch midfielder deserves the spotlight in a more competitive environment, where he could evolve into a more influential figure. If a formidable offer is made in January, he could finally move out from his boyhood club.
Erling Braut Haaland
While Minamino’s fate seems sealed, RB Salzburg will have an even bigger problem keeping Erling Braut Haaland beyond the winter. The youngster is being swarmed with big clubs trying to avail his services. How can you blame them? He’s scored 28 goals ALREADY this season! The Norwegian’s a goal-machine.
He’s strong enough to score them aerially, precise enough to finish from range and capable of wonder strikes as well. His link-up play is excellent, while his self-belief is over the charts. Haaland is being strongly linked to Manchester United thanks to his links with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
But perhaps before a “big move”, he wants a move to the Bundesliga. Borussia Dortmund are craving for him, as that open-ended league could be perfect for his growth. With an alleged €20 million($22 million) release clause, there will be a real tug-of-war for him. Haaland must be clever with where he moves(if he does) in January, as he must move somewhere he’s valued and gets ample support to develop into among the world’s best centre-forwards.