One of the most cost-effective ways to improve your squad in the transfer window is to find players who are on the outs with their current club, but still have talent and something to prove. Liverpool struck the jackpot with just that sort of player in the summer when they found Mamadou Sakho, though success on that level is rare. Still, you can get some valuable cogs for a stretch run this way, so let's see who some potential candidates could include.
Robin Van Persie, Forward, Manchester United
The United striker has, according to some reports, handed in a transfer request, leaving the door open for a shock move to the defending champion's top rivals on Merseyside and-hahahahahahahahahahaha, no, just kidding, moving on.
Jack Rodwell, Central Midfielder, Manchester City
This could be a bit of a controversial choice given Rodwell's history with Everton, but the 22-year-old midfielder has been decidedly out of favor under Manuel Pellegrini, making just two starts and two substitute appearances this season after featuring 18 times in an injury-plagued campaign the season before for Roberto Mancini. That's opened the door for speculation that the Englishman could be on his way out of town, and as a club with a need for help in the defensive midfield department, Rodwell would fit the bill well.
Whether he'd want to come to Merseyside or not is up in the air; again, he's a veteran of Everton, and sometimes the old loyalties stick hard. His injury history is also concerning, but as a pure player, it'd be hard to argue with him being Lucas' backup. Rodwell is strong in the tackle (
like any good English midfielder should be), and has a good motor on him. He could use some work in reading the game, but at his age that's to be expected, and can be improved with work. For the right price, this is definitely a move to consider.
Diego Contento, Left Back, Bayern Munich
For some reason, Contento has not been favored by Pep Guardiola for Bayern, featuring just five times for the German side. He hasn't even consistently sat on the bench on matchdays, so it's easy to imagine Contento getting frustrated, especially as it wasn't all that long ago that he was seen as a budding star of a left back before injuries set him back a bit the last two seasons. Admittedly, he's behind David Alaba, but you'd have to imagine the young German wants to get his chance to shine.
Twelve Days of Transfermas
With Jose Enrique out awhile and Aly Cissokho not impressing on his loan, the door is open for a good left back to come in if the right fit can be found. Given Contento's potential and unlikely-to-be-high price, it seems that the fit could be there. This would definitely be a move worth considering should it become possible.
Paolo de Ceglie, Left Back/Left Midfielder, Juventus
While this wouldn't be a sexy signing by any means, de Ceglie could still be a good one for Liverpool. The flexible left-sided player is primarily a left-back, but can be played higher up the pitch as a defensive winger, or even as a box-to-box central mid in a pinch. At 27, he's about as good as he's going to get, but he'd be an instant upgrade to the left back depth behind a (hopefully) eventually healthy Enrique, as well as adding some tactical flexibility to Brendan Rodgers' bench. With just three appearances on the year, he should take too much to pry away from Antonio Conte, and even a modest pay bump likely wouldn't have him earning anything objectionable for a backup defender in the EPL.
Alvaro Pereira, Left Back/Left Midfielder, Inter Milan
For some truly bizarre and insane reason, Pereira has featured just five times for Internazionale this season, despite seeming to be tailor-made for the left wing-back role in Walter Mazzari's 3-5-2. It wouldn't shock me in the slightest if he wants out this January, and would easily be the top left back in the side while Enrique is out, and would push him hard for the starting role when the Spaniard returns. Giving Luis Suarez another member of the Uruguyan national team to hang around certainly couldn't hurt either.
Kevin de Bruyne, Attacking Mid, Chelsea
There's speculation growing that the young Belgian might want out of Stamford Bridge next month, as a lack of appearances have put his national team place at risk for the World Cup. While he likely wouldn't be much more than a rotational player at Liverpool right away, his skillset and flexibility would likely earn him plenty of minutes under Rodgers. It feels like a move to the Bundesliga would be more likely for de Bruyne, but if Liverpool could swoop for him, they should. Just because Jose Mourinho has buried him doesn't mean he has no value.
Others to consider: Ryan Bertrand, Left Back, Chelsea; Shinji Kagawa, Attacking Mid, Manchester United; Esteban Granero, Attacking Mid, Queens Park Rangers (on loan at Real Sociedad); Piotr Trochowski, Central Mid, Sevilla; Miralem Sulejmani, Right Winger, Benfica