Signing Cristiano Ronaldo in the 2023 January transfer window is going to be massive for Al-Nassr — and Saudi Arabian football in general.
The 2023 January transfer window is now upon us.
As the season calendar flips to the second half of action, teams across Europe can now bolster their respective squads with new signings or loans, while others will look to trim the roster and bring in cash.
Transfer rumors will be rampant as there is only one month until the window slams shut, unlike the two-month-long summer period.
Few top transfer deals have even been completed already: Matheus Cunha has joined Wolves from Athletico Madrid, Cody Gakpo has signed for Liverpool from PSV and David Datro Fofana moved from Molde to Chelsea.
In this article, FootballOrbit looks at 11 top players who can potentially secure a move over the next few weeks.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Free Agent)
Ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Manchester United terminated Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract after he attacked the club in an interview with Piers Morgan.
He is now a free agent, but none of the elite clubs are interested in the Portuguese. Saudi Arabian side, Al-Nassr, are the frontrunners to sign him.
Signing Ronaldo is going to be massive for Al-Nassr — and Saudi football in general. It will attract more global attention to the Saudi Pro League.
Furthermore, CR7’s move will likely encourage more high-profile players to move to the Middle East.
Definitely, having Cristiano Ronaldo will help Al-Nassr win more titles, sell out their stadium and gain more fans.
Al-Nassr are already one of the top 10 best football clubs in Asia.
2. Sofyan Amrabat (Fiorentina)
Sofyan Amrabat had a sensational campaign at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
His excellent performances helped Morocco become the first ever African nation to reach the World Cup semi-final in history.
Unsurprisingly, many top clubs across Europe have expressed interest in signing Amrabat.
Several Premier League clubs as well as PSG, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla want to sign the midfielder. But Liverpool are in pole position to land him.
Fiorentina currently value Amrabat at around £35m ($42m)
3. Josko Gvardiol (RB Leipzig)
Several clubs have been chasing RB Leipzig centre-back, Josko Gvardiol, for a while. His brilliant displays at the 2022 World Cup further enhanced his reputation.
Gvardiol helped Croatia reach third place and made the team of the tournament in Qatar.
Chelsea and Manchester City are mostly interested him. It will take around €100m to lure him away from Leipzig.
4. Joao Felix (Athletico Madrid)
Despite Portugal crashing out at the quarterfinals, Joao Felix was one of the country’s players that shone at the 2022 World Cup.
In doing so, he has redeemed himself as one of the most exciting young players in football. It also proved that Athletico Madrid’s style of play is limiting his potential.
This has alerted clubs to start seeking to acquire immensely talented forward.
Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United are potential suitors for a possible transfer in January 2023.
5. Enzo Fernandez (Benfica)
Ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, we included Enzo Fernandez among the best young players to watch out for in Qatar.
And he impressed at the tournament, helping Argentina win the title as well as being named as the Best Young Player of the competition.
The 21-year-old only arrived at Benfica last summer from River Plate, but his performances at the World Cup has seen his stock rise up rapidly.
His displays in Qatar make him one of the most exciting young talents in the world and suggest he’s more than ready to take the next step in his career.
Benfica have allegedly placed a €120 million (£105m/$127m) release clause in the Argentine’s contract.
Chelsea have reportedly offered £106m for Fernandez, more than matching his release clause.
Moreso, Liverpool, Real Madrid and PSG are also interested in him.
6. Azzedine Ounahi (Angers)
Azzedine Ounahi was one of the breakout stars of Qatar 2022. His elegant midfield plays helped Morocco reach the last four.
The midfielder currently plays for Angers, the bottom team in Ligue 1. A big-money move now appears inevitable for the 22-year-old.
7. Benoit Badiashile (AS Monaco)
Chelsea are seeking to add a centre-back to their squad in January 2023.
Currently, the Blues are in advanced talks to sign Benoit Badiashile from AS Monaco as their new left-sided centre-back.
An official proposal has been submitted with negotiations now in progress, according to Fabrizio Romano.
A fee is still being discussed and is thought to be around €40m (£35.1m), with Chelsea hoping to get it done soon.
8. Mykhailo Mudryk (Shakhtar Donetsk)
Following an explosive rise in the last one year, Mykhailo Mudryk looks destined for a big transfer away from Ukrainian giants, Shakhtar Donetsk.
The 21-year-old winger posseses thrilling speed and is very good in one-on-one situations.
Mudryk has scored in 7 of his last 10 appearances, including a sensational goal against Celtic in the Champions League.
Furthermore, Shakhtar have placed a €100m price tag on him.
Arsenal have already had a £55m bid rejected, but Mikel Arteta’s side are expected to make an improved bid.
9. Marcus Thuram (Borussia Monchengladbach)
At the back of a decent outing at the World Cup, Marcus Thuram’s current deal expires at the end of the season.
His club, Borussia Monchengladbach, risk losing the French striker for nothing.
To avoid that, the club have reportedly placed a €10m fee on him. That’s a bargain price for a forward who is only 25, and is the second top scorer in the Bundesliga this season.
10. Memphis Depay (Barcelona)
Memphis Depay has been linked with a move away from Barcelona in the last few seasons and he was close to joining Juventus last summer.
However, the move never materialised and he remained at Barcelona. But he didn’t see much game time because of the fine form of Robert Lewandowski.
The Polish attacker is Barca’s first-choice striker and Depay is struggling to get minutes, which could make him want to leave in the 2023 January transfer window.
Juventus, AS Roma and Manchester United have been credited with interest in the Dutchman’s services.
11. Frank Kessie (Barcelona)
Frank Kessie joined Barcelona last summer on a free transfer following the expiration of his AC Milan contract.
But the Ivorian has had a tough time at the Camp Nou and is yet to nail down a regular starting spot. He is behind Sergio Busquets, Gavi, Pedri and Frenkie De Jong in the pecking order.
As a result, his time at Barcelona is about to end after just a few months.
Tottenham Hotspur have launched a bid to sign Kessie. Antonio Conte’s side are said to have submitted an offer of €15m for the 26-year-old.
However, Kessie is reluctant to leave as he aims to prove himself to head coach, Xavi — who views the Ivorian as a key squad player.
Despite this, the midfielder may be sold as Barca are looking for means to generate funds.