F365's Top Ten Imports We Would Love To Welcome

With four days of the transfer window remaining, Daniel Storey has chosen ten imports he'd love to see in England. All have been the subject of recent rumours...

Last Updated: 28/01/14 at 09:52 Post Comment


10) Luuk de Jong
Someone at Newcastle United must be a fan of Rik Mayall because they've long shown an interest in De Jong ones - both Luuk and his brother Siem have both been repeatedly linked with moves to Tyneside.

Luuk, now at Borussia Monchengladbach, must be the most likely candidate for a transfer that feels like it has been doing the rumour rounds forever. The striker was signed from FC Twente in July 2012 for a shade under £13million, but has almost entirely flopped in Germany. Six goals in 23 Bundesliga appearances last season was poor, but this season the forward has not started a single league game, finding himself behind both Raffael and Max Kruse.

Newcastle need a striker and have some money, De Jong needs a new home and we all like playing the 'he scored goals in Holland will he score them here?' game. Perfect mix.


9) Doria
There is something intensely pleasing about watching a Brazilian centre-back in action - physical and powerful and yet as comfortable on the ball as any English midfielder. Botafogo defender Doria matches this description perfectly.

Since making his club debut in August 2012 at just 17 years of age, Doria has taken just 16 months to make 50 league appearances, captain his country's Under-20 side to glory in the 2013 Toulon tournament and make his debut for Brazil's senior side. After coming close to agreeing a move to Juventus last summer both Chelsea and Spurs have shown interest in the 19-year-old, but must move quickly.

A South American to build your defence around for the next decade, and available for under £10million. There isn't much to turn your nose up at.


8) Antoine Griezmann
One of the staples of our wonderful Transfer Blog this month has been people politely enquiring as to the lack of Premier League interest in Antoine Griezmann, Real Sociedad's 22-year-old winger.

The answer to those questions probably lies in the midfielder's style - January is typically the month in which problems are fixed rather than luxuries acquired. Moreover, there is the slight sense that Griezmann has not truly kicked on from his early promise, and this is a midfielder still to be capped by France despite their recent struggles.

That said, with a manager to curb Griezmann's insistence on cutting inside rather than using his pace to take on a full-back and also rid him of his party boy image, this is a player that could soon become international class. A rough diamond in need of polishing, if we're talking clichés.


7) Yoann Gourcuff
I was allowed one entry based purely on looks, so I'm playing my trump card. With my sincerest apologies to Clement Grenier (you have wonderful eyes, pet), there should be little doubt about the presence of Yoann Gourcuff as the default aesthetic pick on any list. It's the eyes. And face. And other bits.

Unfortunately, given that rumours regarding the Frenchman's arrival at Arsenal have been regurgitated since some time around the late Jurassic period, it almost certainly won't happen. For shame, Arsene Wenger. For shame indeed.


6) Nigel De Jong
De Jong was castigated as the man we all loved to hate during his time in England, largely through a combination of almost breaking Xabi Alonso's chest, actually breaking Hatem Ben Arfa's leg and actually breaking Stuart Holden's leg in his quest to appropriate the term 'reducer'.

There is little doubt, however, that he still has plenty to offer. Still not yet 30 (a fact that mightily surprised us), his time at AC Milan has been stop-start and inconsistent, with the arrival of Michael Essien perhaps pushing him further down the pecking order. A loan to Liverpool has been mooted, and with a crocked Lucas it would certainly provide that missing bite at the base of their midfield. All boxes ticked.


5) Salomon Kalou
Imagine the scene. A hastily arranged press conference by Spurs/Liverpool (delete as appropriate) in order to announce a signing late on Deadline Day. Fans hurriedly move into a fervent state after a month of frustrating inactivity, suggesting which big name it could be. 'A deal's been done for Vucinic'/'Alonso's coming home' are the excited whispers on social media.

And then, live on Sky Sports News in front of the eyes of the world, the Press Officer enters the room, followed by Sherwood/Rodgers and...

"Huh, what's former Chelsea epitome of mediocrity Salomon Kalou doing here? Is he an agent now?"

"What?"

"You're joking..?"

"Please? Please say it's a joke..."

"I don't like football anymore."

"MUMMY!"


4) Miralem Pjanic
Whilst Paris St Germain are considered to be in prime position to sign Roma's Bosnian midfielder, the French champions' imminent signing of Yohan Cabaye decrees that the dreamy 23-year-old could yet land on these shores, with Old Trafford surely the likeliest destination.

Despite being just 21 when moving from Lyon to the Italian capital in 2011, Pjanic has made 75 Serie A appearances, a reputation suitably enhanced for higher-profile and richer clubs to come calling.

Roma sporting director Walter Sabatini went all secretive on us earlier this month, but Premier League interest surely exists: "We have had many offers for Miralem, and not necessarily from PSG. For the moment he's for sale."

Any club in Europe not interested should be dismissed as fools.


3) Diego Costa
Admittedly a deal looks rather unlikely until the summer, but with the striker's £32million buy-out clause we can still hold out hope - and the sooner Diego Costa arrives the better, as far as we are concerned.

This a truly box-office forward. Streetwise, aggressive, powerful and yet evidently possessing immense skill and poise, Costa has been so prolific of late that he has made the loss of Radamel Falcao almost forgettable for Atletico Madrid.

Most importantly for the neutral, Costa is headline-writer. A four-month ban for punching an opponent, fighting Sergio Ramos in the Madrid derby last season and a four-game ban for a Europa League headbutt are just some of his claims to fame. He's like a feisty Luis Suarez.


2) Toni Kroos
Upside: Described as the 'future of playmaking'. A dynamic, hardworking midfielder with the quality and confidence to act as the principal creator in the attacking third, but also retaining the discipline and physical strength to contribute defensively. A 96% pass accuracy in the Champions League this season. At 24, potentially the best midfielder in the world in three years' time should Barry Bannan's progress tail off.

Downside: Reading the headline 'Kroos Control' every single week of your life in at least three of the tabloids.

Talks of a move to Old Trafford may be more of a strategy from the player to better his contract at Bayern, but as Mariah and Whitney once sang, there can be miracles when you believe.


1) Julian Draxler
There is no doubt that spending £37million on a 20-year-old constitutes something of a gamble, especially when he's an expensive German attacking midfielder joining another expensive German attacking midfielder in an area of the pitch in which Arsenal are already pretty blessed (compared to, say, up front). However, one can rather easily forgive Arsene Wenger for his Julian Draxler-shaped soft spot - this is one of the brightest prospects in a country whose football future already looks rather twinkly.

Moreover, there seems to be an indication from Wenger that Draxler could be converted (like Thierry Henry and Robin Van Persie before him) into a forward, a transformation already initiated at Schalke. After the departure of Lewis Holtby last January, Drazler scored six goals in 13 Bundesliga appearances, and has once again been the club's brightest spark this season (take this goal against Basel, for instance). He's younger than Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and yet has made three times as many top-flight starts and scored four times as many goals.

I don't want to get all A4 banner on Wenger here, but spend, spend, spend.

Daniel Storey - follow him on Twitter

My liberal side is all for this gradual morphing of F365 into gaydar, but my 'Essex' side still very much distrusts any footballer who is good looking, on the basis that they have never stuck their head in the mixer with a load of boots to get on the end of something. Basically, all footballers should look like Andy Townsend.
- megabrow (cufc)

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