Manchester United and Chelsea seem to be looking for different ways to compete with mega-rich Manchester City – and youth seems to be the way forward.
Ageing players feature in the spine of each side, and a clearout of talent looks as though it could occur in the near future.
Real Madrid have been linked with a move for United skipper Nemanja Vidic, although any possible transfer would likely come in the summer rather than January, and it is difficult to envisage Sir Alex Ferguson parting with what still remains an integral part of his backline.
His ageing central defensive partner Rio Ferdinand looks a more likely candidate to be sold, as the 33-year old’s loss of form has been far more evident this season.
With many feeling he is no longer the right foil for Vidic, and the likes of younger defenders such as Phil Jones and Chris Smalling in the Old Trafford ranks, his exit appears a more likely scenario than his Serbian team-mate, with plenty of potential suitors certain to show interest.
At Stamford Bridge, a more obvious operation to bring in younger and fresher talent is underway, and the transfer requests of Alex and Nicolas Anelka may have confirmed their seemingly inevitable exits from Andre Villas-Boas’ regime.
The Portuguese boss is now looking at potential replacements for Anelka, and the big wages that would be freed up by the Frenchman’s departure could pave the way for a move for technical Chilean international forward Eduardo Vargas, whose club Universidad de Chile would find it difficult not to listen to offers.
An alternative option for the Blues is Partizan Belgrade’s 17-year old striker Lazar Markovic.
The Serbian, though very raw, is one of the most coveted assets in Europe, and reports of a £10million move may not prove too far wide of the mark.