As part of our new Transfer Targets series, we turn our attention to Germany to assess the chances of five of the Bundesliga's biggest stars moving to the Premier League in January.
By Adam Bate and Thomas Zocher. Last Updated: December 13, 2012 11:00pm
Robert Lewandowski: A transfer target for Manchester United?
Lewandowski had a relatively low-key start to the current campaign, netting five goals in his first 13 matches. But the Polish striker has hit form again and scored four consecutive braces last month. Sir Alex Ferguson is well stocked with strikers at Manchester United but it is widely reported that the Scot is an admirer of the Borussia Dortmund forward. Not that BVB boss Jurgen Klopp is concerned...
"I'm not afraid he is going to be leaving us," said Klopp earlier this month. "Manchester United are one of many clubs that are going to be showing an interest in him. But the fact remains the contract is with us. The time when there were big, rich English clubs coming to lure German players away - thank God those times are over."
The Bundesliga may be on the up but Klopp's memory appears to be short given that Shinji Kagawa made the same journey from Dortmund to Manchester in the summer. However, it remains to be seen whether a Premier League club can prise this 24-year-old target-man away from the German champions when they are going so well in Europe.Sky Sports' Germany expert Thomas Zocher says: "His personal advisors would be extremely happy to negotiate a move to either of the Manchester clubs. Still, he has a good deal at Signal-Iduna Park, and Dortmund are under no pressure to sell one of their main assets. A January switch is unlikely."
|Bundesliga goals 2012/13|
|Alexander Meier||Eintracht Frankfurt||10|
|Stefan Kiessling||Bayer Leverkusen||10|
|Mario Mandzukic||Bayern Munich||9|
|ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI||BORUSSIA DORTMUND||9|
|Thomas Muller||Bayern Munich||9|
Last season's Bundesliga top-scorer has been enjoying himself in the Champions League this season and scored both home and away against Arsenal in the group stages. With the Gunners having lost a Holland international striker themselves in the summer, could Huntelaar fill the void at the Emirates Stadium?
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar: Contract up
A move certainly cannot be ruled out due to the 29-year-old's contract situation. His deal with the Gelsenkirchen club expires in the summer and, even though there are the knockout stages of the Champions League to look forward to in the spring, a January deal could be forced through if the price is right. Schalke general manager Horst Heldt told The Sun: "If someone comes to us six months before the expiry date, and has a lot of money, we will deal with it."
Sky Sports' Germany expert Thomas Zocher says: "With just six months left on his current deal, Huntelaar's time at Schalke looks to be coming to an end. He has not yet signed new terms at Veltins-Arena despite ongoing negotiations. Having struggled at Milan, the Premier League looks the next step for him."
The Germany international winger continues to attract attention with his direct dribbling and impressive movement. Bayer Leverkusen will do well to hold onto the 22-year-old through 2013 and could even have lost their prized asset earlier this year if Chelsea had pursued their reported interest more aggressively in August.
But the prospect of a deal in mid-season does not look good if the player's own father is to be believed. "We have plenty of time left until the next summer," Joachim Schurrle told the Express. "Until next summer, there is no reason to move. It's a successful team and the team plays really good football, too. We all simply have to wait and see."
Sky Sports' Germany expert Thomas Zocher says: "The Bayer Leverkusen man has impressed in various positions - he is great on the left wing and good as a second striker - and he has caught the eye of Chelsea. What makes a January deal unlikely is the long-term contract he has at BayArena and the words of his father saying that any move would most likely come in the summer."
|Bundesliga dribbles 2012/13|
|Franck Ribery||Bayern Munich||55|
|Sercan Sararer||Greuther Furth||51|
|Kevin De Bruyne||Werder Bremen||51|
|ANDRE SCHURRLE||BAYER LEVERKUSEN||49|
|Mario Gotze||Borussia Dortmund||47|
The Norway international has proven a reliable goalscorer for Hannover since his arrival from Valerenga in the summer of 2010. The 27-year-old has reached double figures in the Bundesliga in each of the past two seasons and began the current campaign in strong form before suffering an injury setback. Could he be seen as a quick-fix solution for a number of mid-table Premier League sides?
Sky Sports' Germany expert Thomas Zocher says: "Injuries may have put the Norwegian out of the main shopping spotlight recently, after being linked to the likes of Swansea in the summer. But with 25 goals in 64 Bundesliga matches, Abdellaoue has a nose for goals and, with just 18 months left on his deal at awd-Arena, any good bid could lure his club to agree a deal as they would still possess a quality frontline without him."
Lewis Holtby: Arsenal target?
Holtby's incisive passing makes him a target for clubs across Europe and the player himself has been open about his intentions to play in England one day. The 22-year-old, whose father is English, recently said: "I have English roots and have been a keen follower of the Premier League for a long time." With just six months remaining on his deal at Schalke, Holtby has instructed his agent to pursue options elsewhere.
"We are talking with Schalke about a possible extension for another three years," Markus Noack told calciomercato.com in October. "Talks are going well at the moment but the situation has definitely changed in the last period because several offers from Spain and England came in. Lewis is very happy at Schalke but above all there is an English club which has made a very interesting proposal."
Even Schalke general manager Horst Heldt appears comfortable with the situation, telling Deutsche Presseagentur last month: "It is very important for him to take his time and look into options at other clubs." A move looks imminent.
Sky Sports' Germany expert Thomas Zocher says: "The Schalke midfielder has the quality to make an easy transition to the Premier League and will interest Arsenal and Liverpool among others but with the Bundesliga club going well in the Champions League a mid-season switch could prove tricky."
|Bundesliga through-balls 2012/13|
|Toni Kroos||Bayern Munich||6|