Five midfielders Grant should check out in January
Club: Stade Rennes
Estimated market value: €5M-7.5M
A tough player who is an excellent ball winner and reader of the game.
Mvila has impressed lots of observers with his technical and physical qualities, none more so than France coach Laurent Blanc who has awarded him with four caps, including for the last three Euro 2012 qualifiers in which he played every minute.
It’s been a meteoric rise for the young man, considering the fact that 2009/10 was his first season as a pro.
He has shown amazing maturity for such a young defensive midfielder, and he wouldn’t be as much of a gamble for Grant as his age may suggest.
Club: Valencia CF
Height: 1.74m / 5.71ft.
Estimated market value: €5M-7.5M
A high-quality box-to-box midfielder. Banega is strong and quite quick, with great technique and agility. He can start moves from his deep-lying defensive position, with his long and short passing ability.
He packs a powerful and accurate shot, and boasts fantastic ball control.
Banega is also aggressive and very good on the defensive side of the game. He stamina is highly impressive and he has enough pace to move to the wings when needed.
He won his first two caps in Argentina’s recent friendly matches against Spain and the Republic of Ireland
Banega can certainly make an impact in the Premier League. And Valencia, in a spot of financial bother, could be tempted by a January offer for the 22-year-old.
Club: Boca Juniors BA (loaned from Univ Catolica)
Height: 1.72m / 5.64ft.
Estimated market value: €5M-7.5M (contract expires 2012/2013)
Nicknamed the “Pit Bull” and the “Chilean Gattuso,” Medel is a great energetic defensive midfielder with scoring ability, which makes him a useful box-to-box man. Medel is a versatile player and can be utilised anywhere across the midfield and defence. He has very good tactical compatibility, he can adapt to any formation.
The aggressive, strong and stubborn Medel became a member of the national team at a young age, and has since won 30 caps for his country, including three at the World Cup.
Club: Rosenborg BK
Height: 1.75m / 5.74ft.
Estimated market value: €2.5M-5M (contract expires 2011)
Annan is a highly intelligent defensive midfielder.
He’s always composed and works very hard to both win the ball and in his movement for his team mates.
He is a tough tackler and he was highly impressive at the 2010 World Cup, when his side got to the quarter finals. He has won 39 caps in total for his country.
Annan is expected to move to a bigger club, and with his contract up at the end of next year, Rosenborg could well cash in on him in the winter.
Club: Out of contract
Height: 1.77m / 5.81ft.
Estimated market value: Free
The box-to-box midfielder had a decent season at Olympiakos Piraeus after signing for the Greek outfit from Sevilla for €1.5 million, scoring five goals and chipping in with two assists, and he’s netted twice and provided two assists at the start of this term.
However, Ernesto Valverde coming in as coach meant the 30-year-old was deemed surplus to requirements at Olympiakos, with the manager deciding to bring in his own players.
He was training with Galatasaray, and is now training at Serie A club Fiorentina, with other Italian clubs, including Napoli, interested in his services.
Despite his current predicament, Maresca is actually an excellent box-to-box player, and although he’s older than the players Grant would ideally like, the fact that such a good player is available on a free could be an attractive proposition for the Israeli coach.
Maresca has great vision and positional sense, and his decision-making is of a very high calibre. He has great technique, oozing confidence with ball at his feet.
Maresca is also a very versatile player, capable of playing as a central/defensive midfielder or even as a wing back on either flank.