The January transfer window is just around the corner, and while most teams will be looking for players to make an immediate impact, plenty will also be looking to tie up players for next season.
With clubs able to begin negotiations with those players out of contract in the summer, as of January 1st, here’s a list of five current SPFL players who are out of contract and could be of interest to an array of teams.
Many players are out of contract at Celtic Park this summer, including club captain Scott Brown and central defender Dedryck Boyata. However, both are likely to move out of Scotland if they do leave the Champions, meanwhile Scott Allan could stay fairly close.
Without a doubt, Hibernian will be the favourites to once again sign Scott Allan, especially after an impressive loan spell for the midfielder last term. With that said a number of Aberdeen fans have been clamouring for their club to make a play for Allan for some time and despite struggling with Rotherham in the past, potentially Allan will seek a move down south?
There is always the question of whether Hibs will require Allan. Neil Lennon acquired plenty of midfielders this summer, including Stephen Mallan and Daryl Horgan – will Allan get the playing time he needs at Easter Road?
Other than a few appearances on the Celtic bench during Champions League qualifiers – where the club had little other choices – Allan has not had so much as a sniff of football this season.
Of course, Celtic holds the cards here. Allan will want to play as soon as possible and there is always a chance they could string together a similar deal as they did with Liam Henderson – allowing Allan to leave in January, on the condition he doesn’t sign for another Scottish club.
It seems some supporters have been counting down one time Scotland cap Chris Cadden’s contract coming to an end for quite some time.
The Motherwell youth product has now made over 130 appearances in professional football – scoring 12 times and assisting 20. While more of an end product clearly needs to be added to Cadden to make him more of a threat, many of the clubs higher up the Premiership table will feel they can add that.
Supposedly once the target of both Hearts and Aberdeen, Cadden has shown himself to not only be an exciting young talent at just 22, but his ability to play almost anywhere across the pitch makes him even more appealing. Cadden has played in multiple areas but can primarily cover at centre midfield, right winger and as a right sided full back – versatility is often rewarded at Premiership level.
Cadden would appear to potentially be a very Derek Mcinnes signing. Linked last summer, the rumour was that Mcinnes would seek to do as he did with Captain Graeme Shinnie and starlet Lewis Ferguson – secure Cadden on a pre-contract.
The Dandies could do just that this January. Cadden could simultaneously plug the gap left centrally by Shinnie, give another option on the right wing and provide competition for Shay Logan – who many Dons fans believe can become complacent in his role without the threat of losing it.
No matter what happens, Chris Cadden will likely be receiving a higher wage package this time next year.
Neil Lennon was dealt a task of rebuilding his midfield this past summer. He might be constructing a new defence this June with the way things are heading – David Gray and Daren McGregor’s deals are up and goalkeeper Adam Bogdan’s loan deal will come to an end – and Efe Ambrose could also be out the door.
Now into his thirties, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Ambrose sign a new deal that would likely be one of the last of his career, should be offered it. Although, Hibs have been accused at times of not possessing similar defensive qualities to the offensive qualities they do have. So Lennon could always allow the Nigerian to walk in order to redirect his wage somewhere else.
Should that happen, Ambrose could obviously attract interest from clubs elsewhere in Scotland. St Johnstone could stand to lose out of some key defenders, so they could do with the experience of the ex-Celtic player, and for some reason, Efe Ambrose at Dundee United just seems like it could easily be a reality if United gain promotion to the Premiership.
This all truly begs the question, who’d be sadder in seeing Ambrose leave Scotland altogether, Hibs fans, or Aberdeen fans?
A name that has maybe been a little bit shunned this season with Dundee struggling, but this summer plenty of supporters were practically begging their clubs to make a move for Kamara.
The Finish international won’t be much of a goal threat, in fact he’s yet to score his first goal for Dundee, and he only rarely produces an assist, but he just might be Scottish footballs answer to N’Golo Kante.
Kamara was often tasked last season with being that source of energy and aggressive pressing and tackling in an otherwise not very exciting Dundee side. Mostly played as a defensive midfielder, Kamara will certainly manage to find a place in many of the 11’s for the top sides in Scotland.
While this season Kamara has even found himself dropped from the starting 11, at 23 with previously shown potential recognised, surely someone will take a pop at someone who’s on the verge of ten caps for Finland when he’s available for free?
Kamara could make a good replacement for Graeme Shinnie at Aberdeen, he could be the new Mulumbu at Kilmarnock or I’m sure neither Edinburgh side would turn him down without a thought.
No matter what, things aren’t looking good for Dundee. The Den’s Park natives are looking like exiting the Premiership at current outlook and much of their best players could be going too with their deals running down.
Both GMS and his club captain Graeme Shinnie are out of contract this summer – although the pacey winger may be the bigger loss if both are to walk from Pittodrie.
While Shinnie is also an incredibly important player, with youngsters like Lewis Ferguson and Dean Campbell emerging and Stephen Gleeson hardly being used despite impressing dandies every time he has played, and plenty candidates for club captain available, Mackay-Steven could prove harder to replace.
Additionally, you have to look at it in a value for money view. Shinnie arrived from Inverness on a free transfer and has hardly missed a game. Meanwhile, Aberdeen paid a fee to Celtic for Mackay-Steven and would possibly feel a little bit aggrieved should they only get two seasons – with GMS only truly hitting his peak this term – out of the former Dundee United man.
A move to a club within Scotland would seem unlikely for the Scotland international. Celtic are unlikely to come back for the winger, Hibs and Hearts would be seen as a sideways step and Rangers would surely be out of the question.
So GMS potentially staying under the wing of Derek Mcinnes would appear to potentially hinge on the quality of offer he may or may not receive from down south.
Many clubs in the Championship or even League One could likely offer the one time Liverpool youth a higher wage. Could a resurgent Jack Ross lead Sunderland maybe turn Mackay-Steven’s head?
January could be defining month in many battles in Scottish football this summer, but it could even start to build the foundations for the 19/20 campaign.