What next for Cavani, Giroud and January's other wantaway strikers?

By Sports Desk February 01, 2020

The January transfer window closed on Friday, but not every wantaway star got their move.

While a number of Europe's top sides were in the hunt for attacking reinforcements, deals could not be completed for several big names.

We take a look at a selection of forwards who were not on the move and analyse what the future could hold for them.

EDINSON CAVANI

Cavani's on-off transfer from Paris Saint-Germain to Atletico Madrid was only finally ruled out on Thursday, leaving the Ligue 1 club's record goalscorer at the Parc des Princes despite reported interest from the Premier League's big-hitters.

PSG coach Thomas Tuchel reminded Cavani "there are worse situations than staying" in the French capital, but with his contract up at the end of the season, he may not be around for too much longer.

Cavani has repeatedly been linked with Inter Miami, David Beckham's MLS franchise who can still make signings.

OLIVIER GIROUD

It appeared for a time as though Giroud's future might be intertwined with Cavani's, as Chelsea boss Frank Lampard openly discussed the merits of the PSG striker. But just as Cavani stayed put, so too did Giroud.

Moves to Inter, Lazio and even rivals Tottenham did not come off, while the former Arsenal man reportedly rejected Newcastle United.

Giroud has started only twice in the Premier League this season and must now hope he secures a place in the France squad for Euro 2020 despite his continued marginal role.

WILLIAN JOSE

There were very few attackers not linked with Manchester United, Chelsea and Spurs during January, and Willian Jose remained a candidate for a transfer until deadline day.

Yet rather than joining Jose Mourinho in London, the Real Sociedad man spent Friday apologising to his current club's supporters for attempting to force the switch.

Willian Jose described a Premier League move as a "dream" but, at 28, he might wonder if such an opportunity has passed him by.

RODRIGO MORENO

It seemed to be a move that would suit everyone. Rodrigo would get a big move to Barcelona, providing the LaLiga champions with cover for Luis Suarez. Valencia were looking at former star Paco Alcacer as a replacement.

But the two clubs failed to agree terms, Rodrigo stayed put, and Alcacer headed to Villarreal.

It appears highly unlikely Barca will return for Rodrigo at the end of the campaign, perhaps instead turning their focus back towards Neymar, and the Spain international has surely missed his big chance.

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    Wenger opened up on the struggles he went through after a defeat, often replaying games in his mind, causing sleepless nights.

    "I was more mentally sick. I made 1,235 games for Arsenal and didn't miss one. I can't remember when I stayed in bed to miss training in 22 years," he said.

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    In the Bundesliga last season, Upamecano had 1.95 tackles per 90 minutes – with Matip (1.66 per 90 in just nine Premier League games) the closest of Liverpool's trio. However, only Van Dijk (52.2) had a worse tackle success rate than Upamecano (58.8), with Gomez and Matip both above 69.

    In the Champions League, Upamecano had 3.4 tackles per 90 minutes , well above Van Dijk (1.08) and Gomez (1.59), and also at a better rate (56) than the Liverpool trio. Matip, often injured in 2019-20, played just 90 minutes in total in Europe's top club competition last season.

    Ready to do battle

    Upamecano contested the most duels (87) of the four in the Champions League, and went at a success rate of 71.26, similar to Van Dijk (70 duels and 74.29 success rate), while he also had a comparable number of headed clearances per 90 minutes (2.04 to Van Dijk's 2.28) and interceptions (1.63 to 1.08). Gomez had 2.64 interceptions per 90 minutes in the Champions League last season.

    Van Dijk's absence will also hurt Liverpool aerially, with the Dutchman an imposing figure in Jurgen Klopp's back four.

    Upamecano, who stands at 186cm, was between Van Dijk and Gomez when it came to aerial duels last season. He won 18 of 27 aerials in the 2019-20 Champions League, a rate worse than Van Dijk (33 of 47) but better than Gomez (24 of 41).

    It was a similar story in the respective leagues, although he contested fewer than Liverpool defenders. An area Upamecano fell short in, at least domestically, was in being dribbled past by an opponent, which happened 20 times in 28 Bundesliga games, a figure ranking him below both Van Dijk (seven times in 38) and Gomez (11 in 28), but ahead of Matip (seven in nine). 

    Boosting Liverpool's build-up play

    A problem set to be exacerbated by Alisson's injury absence, Van Dijk's passing ability in defence is also important to how Liverpool function.

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    ROUND-UP

    - Unhappy about being left on the bench against Crotone, Paulo Dybala's future at Juventus is again a subject of interest. However, Tuttosport reports the aim is still for the playmaker – who is contracted until 2022 – to renew his deal before January.

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    - Maurizio Sarri could be set for a return to coaching. CalcioMercato reports the former Juventus and Chelsea boss is a target for Fiorentina amid pressure on Giuseppe Iachini after the club collected just four points from their opening four Serie A games of the season.

    - Out of contract at Marseille at season's end, Florian Thauvin could be set for a move. Le 10 Sport says Milan are interested in the forward.

    - With Virgil van Dijk out due to a serious knee injury, Liverpool could be looking for a defender in January. Football Insider says Brighton and Hove Albion defender Ben White remains on the Premier League champions' radar.

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