|RAUL ALBIOL, 26, REAL MADRID & SPAIN |
Those two played the bulk of the games last term, with Albiol filling in at times when Pepe was utilised as a midfield enforcer. But in the final of the Copa del Rey, Sergio Ramos moved inside to play as centre-back, with Alvaro Arbeloa coming in at right-back and with Carvalho out this season, Mourinho has continued to use Ramos in the middle, restricting Albiol to just five appearances so far.
The Valencia-born defender doesn't appear to be in the Portuguese' plans in the long term, but with Carvalho still out and Madrid launching an assault on both the Primera Division and the Champions League this season, Albiol is un unlikely to be allowed to depart in January.
At international level, the 26-year-old - a World Cup winner despite failing to feature in South Africa - looks safe at the moment, despite an error-strewn display in Spain's 3-2 win over Chile in early September.
Question marks over Carles Puyol's fitness and the lack of top-class competition at the back means he is likely to travel to Poland and Ukraine whatever happens this term, but he will hope to feature more in the second part of the season to safeguard a place in Vicente del Bosque's squad.
| GARY CAHILL, 25, BOLTON & ENGLAND |
While Cahill has performed impressively for England, his club form has been well below the standard he set last term. Some poor individual errors, especially positional mistakes, have contributed to Bolton sitting 18th in the Premier League with 31 goals conceded from 13 games.
Cahill has expressed his desire to play in the Champions League and Fabio Capello has spoken of his preference for his England players to feature in Europe's elite competition.
The 25-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season and Bolton are almost certain to sell in January for between £6-8 million rather than let a valuable asset leave for nothing in the summer. Cahill was the subject of summer bids from Arsenal and Tottenham but Bolton would not lower their £15m valuation despite the club's £93m debts.
The word within the game is that Chelsea are desperate to sign a centre-back in the New Year and have emerged as favourites to sign Cahill as they look to plug a leaky defence. Arsenal are believed to have ended their interest in the former Aston Villa man while Tottenham will only make a move if they suffer an injury crisis.
The only obstacle to Cahill's departure could be Bolton's league position. If Owen Coyle's side find themselves in a potential relegation battle, the club could decide to let Cahill run down his contract, with survival itself estimated to be worth £35m.
|JERMAIN DEFOE, 29, TOTTENHAM & ENGLAND |
Ever since, Fabio Capello has continually overlooked Defoe in favour of strikers with far less talent and even Spurs manager Harry Redknapp has admitted the 29-year-old will find it “difficult” to make the Euro 2012 squad.
That is because Defoe has had for a role mainly as a substitute role at White Hart Lane, where he is regarded as the club's third striker behind Emmanuel Adebayor and Rafael Van der Vaart.
Defoe has started just one of Tottenham's last six league matches and has spoken of his desire for regular first-team opportunities. Redknapp has insisted the diminutive frontman has been "unlucky" and insists he will not be sold.
The former West Ham man has looked sharp this season when he has featured, scoring seven goals in all competitions, and Spurs fans will remember well that he left the club for Portsmouth in January 2008 in search of first-team football. Defoe will not be short of offers but he is unlikely to want to leave London, where is in in the process of having a new house built, having point-blank rejected the prospect of a move to Newcastle over the summer.
While Defoe may be frustrated and worried about his Euro 2012 prospects, it will take a substantial offer for Spurs to consider selling the player. Emmanuel Adebayor is only on loan, Rafael Van der Vaart has an inconsistent injury history while the club plan to offload Roman Pavlyuchenko in January.
| EDUARDO, 29, BENFICA (ON LOAN FROM GENOA) & PORTUGAL |
The 29-year-old then opted for a move to the Estadio da Luz outfit, who were already interested in him prior to the move to Genoa, hoping to fill the shoes of outbound Roberto. However, around the same the time as Eduardo joined the club, Benfica signed Artur Moraes from Sporting Braga. Reports quickly emerged that the two had developed a fractious relationship as they both targeted the No.1 position.
The truth is that Eduardo has found himself coach Jorge Jesus’ second choice, as Artur has earned rave reviews for his performances between the sticks. As a result, he has only made two official appearances to date, both in the Portuguese Cup, and has lost his place in the Portugal national team to Sporting CP’s Rui Patricio.
Eduardo’s playing opportunities at Benfica will remain limited, and he will have to consider a January move to find regular action if he wants to have a chance of earning a starting place in Paulo Bento’s Seleccao at the Euro 2012 finals.
|ANDRE-PIERRE GIGNAC, 25, MARSEILLE & FRANCE |
After a barren first campaign hindered by injury problems and a loss of form, his second season at Stade Velodrome following a big-money move from Toulouse has turned even more sour. Unable to break into the starting XI past youngster Jordan Ayew and top scorer Loic Remy, his patience was finally broken before last week's Champions League meeting with Olympiakos.
On discovering he was not to be involved in the side, he reacted angrily towards head coach Didier Deschamps, with reports stating that he kicked a water bottle against the dressing room wall before insulting the World Cup winner.
A move in the winter is now inevitable, though because of the huge fee that OM paid le Tefece for his services - €18m (£15.5m) according to reports - a permanent transfer at this time of year seems unlikely, with a six-month loan probable.
There was much interest from the Premier League in the summer, with Fulham and Newcastle amongst those interested, and if he is to break into the France squad for Euro 2012 a move to a team where he is likely to play a key role is vital.
When Raymond Domenech was in charge of les Bleus, Gignac was a favourite, but Laurent Blanc has yet to select him for France, and the burly front player has much to do to prove himself to the former Bordeaux boss.
|FLORENT MALOUDA, 31, CHELSEA & FRANCE |
Such has been his fall from grace, the former Lyon player is not guaranteed a place in Blanc's 23-man squad to travel to Ukraine and Poland, particularly as his place in Chelsea's starting XI is no longer assured.
The arrival of Juan Mata combined with the ascendancy of Daniel Sturridge at Stamford Bridge means that he is no longer an automatic selection in Andre Villas-Boas' mind, and if he is to play a peripheral role in the remainder of the Blues' campaign he may also fall out of Blanc's thinking too.
France have other options in a left wing berth. Franck Ribery is liable to take the role on the left should Jeremy Menez remain in form until the summer, and behind him there's a host of players able to operate in this role, such as Dimitri Payet, Mathieu Valbuena or perhaps even Paris Saint-Germain's Nene, who has hinted that he could trade national allegiance to France having been overlooked by Brazil and Spain.
Malouda featured only briefly in the November internationals, and though France did not perform especially well, the 73-time capped player was not a noticeable absentee.
There has been little concrete interest in Malouda in recent weeks, though he did reject Juventus in the summer because of wage reasons. However, Anzhi Makhachkala are rumoured to be interested in the Frenchman, and finances are unlikely to be a problem for the Russians. Not playing at a high-profile side may just equally hurt Malouda's chances of playing in the summer, though.
|MARKO MARIN, 22, WERDER BREMEN & GERMANY |
He made the DFB's 23-man squad for the 2010 World Cup and was considered something of a 'secret weapon' by coach Joachim Low, who valued his dribbling ability as unique amid a talent pool that emphasises quick passing rather than one-on-one offence.
Since then, however, the 22-year-old has been dropped from the Germany squad, and now is not even assured a starting role at Bremen. He has yet to score this season had been benched for three consecutive matches before returning to action in his club's win over Stuttgart on Sunday.
A natural winger with superb balance and skill in beating defenders individually, Marin is quite clearly struggling to adapt to a central playmaking role in Thomas Schaaf's squad, the same task that had been entrusted to his club predecessors, Diego and Mesut Ozil.
Although he has not yet voiced discontent with his situation, a move may be required for Marin to achieve his best form once more, and make a bid to find his way back into Low's favour. All that is now missing is an interested club, which could be difficult to find given his dearth of form.
|FABIO QUAGLIARELLA, 28, JUVENTUS & ITALY |
There was talk over the summer that Quagliarella and Conte had had a falling out, and while that remains unproven, what is certain is that the lack of minutes on the pitch for the ex-Napoli man is causing serious harm to his hopes of being included in Cesare Prandelli's squad next summer, with Mario Balotelli, Sebastian Giovinco, Alessandro Matri and Pablo Daniel Osvaldo all preferred by the Azzurri coach.
Giuseppe Rossi and Antonio Cassano would likely travel if proven fit in time, while Antonio Di Natale has been told he will be selected if he's still scoring goals in March.
There have been rumours of interest in a loan move for Quagliarella from Milan, but Juve could veto such a deal in order not to strengthen a title rival, meaning a January move - should one come about at all - will likely not be to a high-profile club, perhaps reducing his hopes of making a big impact in the second half of the campaign.