Top class strikers are worth their weight in gold, but there are five names in particular looking likely to make a move in the near future that could prove decisive for the English clubs that are interested. If Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal or Spurs could land one of these star players, it could turn the Premier League title race on its head in January, such is the injection of quality they would bring. talkSPORT has more...
Name: Fernando Llorente
Current club: Athletic Bilbao
Potential destination: Arsenal
Honours: World Cup (2010), Europa League (runner-up), European Championship (2012)
Long considered one of the best strikers in Spain, Fernando Llorente stamped his name on the Premier League's radar with authority when he terrorised Manchester United in the Europa League last season. Powerful, deadly in the air, a quality finisher and, unusually for someone of his size, mobile and technically competent, Llorente fired underdogs Athletic Bilbao to Europa League and Copa del Rey finals in the 2011/12 campaign. The Basque made no secret of his desire to move on in the summer, but Athletic held firm, determined to command his €36m buy-out clause, though whether a team will pay that in January before he can go for free in the summer remains to be seen. After a sensational fallout with manager Marcelo Bielsa, Llorente's fate looks sealed, with a winter departure possibly the best solution for both parties. Arsenal are competing with Italian giants Juventus to gain his services, and the Gunners may have to cough up some significant cash, though with his international team-mate Santi Cazorla and fellow Basque Mikel Arteta in their ranks, they could have the carrot they need to tempt the striker to turn his head towards the Emirates. If the Gunners can pull it off, he could be a decisive signing for them in their hopes to end that infamous trophy drought.
Name: Radamel Falcao
Current club: Atletico Madrid
Potential destination: Chelsea
Honours: Primeira Liga (2010/11), Europa League (x2), Super Cup (2012), Europa League Top Scorer (x2)
The man who ended Fernando Llorente's dreams of lifting the Europa League title with a brilliant brace, Radamel Falcao is arguably the deadliest finisher and purist goalscorer in football at the moment. His transfer to debt-ridden Atletico Madrid was shrouded in mystery involving third party finances, and though they managed to hold on to him this summer, it seems inevitable that he'll be heading elsewhere via the highest bidder in the near future. Atletico are in scintillating form in La Liga at the moment, leading rivals Real Madrid and looking quality all over the pitch, so they may have a dilemma in the winter window over holding on to the Colombian in the hope of mounting an unlikely but still possible league challenge. In all likelihood, however, they'll crash to Real Madrid in the derby match they haven't won for twelve years, ending any pretence they have to the throne and sending their star striker on his way. Chelsea are one of the leading suitors for his services, and if his performance against them in the UEFA Super Cup is anything to go by, they'd much rather have him in their ranks than on the opposite side the next time they meet. If the Blues could bag him in winter, few would bet against them seizing the Premier League title, or perhaps more.
Name: Stevan Jovetic
Current club: Fiorentina
Potential destination: Manchester City
Honours: Serbian League (2007/08), Serbian Cup (2008)
Manchester City's failure to make a marquee signing in the summer may be remedied in January judging by reports of Patrick Vieira scouting Fiorentina forward Stevan Jovetic. The Serbian has experience of causing English opposition problems, scoring a brace against Liverpool in Fiorentina's 2-0 Champions League win over the Reds in 2009. His best goal tally in Italy to date came last season with 14 in 29 games, and with four in seven this season so far, he could be about to better that record. If Jovetic can live up to the title of the 'next Baggio' that the Viola supporters have bestowed upon him, he could be a brilliant catalyst for City to push on and put down any claimants to their title in the latter half of the season. With the ambition of serious progress in the Champions League also high on City's agenda, they'll need as many top quality players as possible in their squad, and the Serbian certainly fits that mould.
Name: Robert Lewandowski
Current club: Borussia Dortmund
Potential destination: Manchester United
Honours: Bundesliga (x2), German Cup (2011/12)
Borussia Dortmund's deadly Polish hitman, Robert Lewandowski has helped his team knock Bayern Munich off their perch as the dominant force in Germany, and few would bet against them claiming the German League for the third season in a row with the forward in their team. The Pole was heavily linked with Manchester United in the summer, with the idea that he would continue his excellent understanding with Shinji Kagawa at Old Trafford, but the Germans showed little signs of allowing him to move, and in the end only the Japanese changed clubs. Rumours have resurfaced however to suggest that United could make an approach for him in January, but with a striker surely the last thing the Red Devils need at this moment in time, it would make little sense for both parties. That being said, if he can score against Manchester City in the return Champions League match he'll gain supporters at Old Trafford before any potential switch occurs, and with his undeniable quality in both finishing and linking up with those around him, he'd be an asset to any team that managed to force Dortmund's hand.
Name: Leandro Damiao
Current club: Internacional
Potential destination: Tottenham Hotspur
Honours: Copa Libertadores (2010), Campeonato Gaucho (x2), Recopa Sudamericana (2011), Olympic Silver Medal (2012), Olympic Golden Boot (2012)
Stop us if you've heard this before. Yes, Leandro Damiao is still an Internacional player and, yes, he's still being linked with a move to Tottenham. It seems Spurs are trying to rival Arsenal with the most tiresome transfer saga since Cesc Fabregas/Thierry Henry/Samir Nasri (delete as desired), with Damiao still the man they really want but just can't quite seem to convince. In the interest of balance it's worth stating that Spurs have been ambitious in the transfer market under Andre Villas-Boas, landing Gylfi Sigurdsson before Liverpool had a chance to, stealing Clint Dempsey from underneath the same club's nose, and only narrowly missing out on a move for Joao Moutinho due to technicalities, so it's not impossible that the Lilywhites will finally show their interest in the Brazilian to be concrete in January. The most striking thing about the forward is his trickery with the ball in comparison to his tall stature, with Brazil legend Ronaldo often citing him as the heir to his throne, and the fact that the youngster is only half an inch taller than the World Cup winner is surprising given the apparent difference in size. Damiao has won the biggest prize possible in South America by lifting the Copa Libertadores, and with the hope of winning the world cup on home soil in 2014 in the back of his mind, the chance to come and test himself and learn in a league as competitive as England's top flight would have an obvious attraction for him. Spurs may not be considered challengers for the title as it stands, but if a performance like the one they produced at Old Trafford could be capped off with a striker of Damiao's quality, there are few teams they couldn't match on a good day. Would be a major coup for the North Londoners.
Of all the targets above, the move that seems both the most likely to occur and the most likely to be decisive for the club concerned is that of Radamel Falcao to Chelsea. Atletico simply aren't in the financial situation to resist any suitors with big money for much longer, and with Chelsea in desperate need of some backup to the still inconsistent Fernando Torres, landing the form striker of the moment would have clear benefits. For Manchester United, Tottenham, Arsenal and City, the attraction of the superstars linked to them is obvious, but they could all arguably do with some strengthening deeper in the pitch rather than up top.
Which of these top forwards do you see as decisive should they make the move to the Premier League in January? Comment below and have your say...