Amid concerns over the squad's average age and the lack of homegrown talent, it was inevitable Manchester City would show an interest in Everton and England's brilliant attacking midfielder Ross Barkley.
City were keen on Barkley early this summer but the Goodison club wouldn't budge and have since tied the 20-year-old down on a long-term contract. Success will dictate whether Everton manage to keep Barkley, though, and even the Evertonian may be unable to resist the lure of what City could offer. Not just financially, but professionally.
Barkley scored a stunning goal against City last season
Barkley is unlikely to endure as miserable a stint as Jack Rodwell did if he swaps Merseyside for Manchester. Although he is still a raw talent, Barkley shares similarities with Yaya Touré's style of play and Touré, criticised for a cumbersome performance at Bayern Munich, will turn 32 at the end of the season.
Ron Vlaar is again linked with Arsenal and Manchester United, two sides in need of defensive reinforcements and leadership.
The Gunners and Liverpool have also kept tabs on Real Madrid's Isco, but Carlo Ancelotti insists the Spanish playmaker will not be sold in January. Ancelotti is apparently interested in Ramires, whom he brought to Chelsea in 2010.