The January transfer market is in full swing and several potential moves could impact the Champions League once the tournament resumes next month.
January is a time reserved for teams across Europe to bring in reinforcements and bolster rosters ahead of the long winter months. For teams competing in the Champions League, the next few weeks will allow coaches the chance to bring in that player or two needed for a deep run.
Bayern Munich, the defending European champions and favorites to repeat, have a deep roster and don’t need to worry now that midfielder Joshua Kimmich is back from injury and winger Kingsley Coman set to return soon.
Since the 2018-19 season, teams still in the Champions League are allowed under UEFA rules to register a maximum of three new players. Previously, players who had been “cup-tied” after appearing for another club in the tournament during the same season had been barred. Teams have until Feb. 2 to let UEFA know which players they want to play in the Champions League.
There are 16 teams left in the tournament, which resumes on Feb. 16 with the round of 16, a day that is highlighted by Barcelona’s first-leg match against Paris Saint-Germain, runners up last season.
Here are three moves that could make a difference once the knockout phase resumes next month.
Atletico Madrid makes key offensive move
The Spanish club has proven to be one of the toughest teams to face in the Champions League in recent years. This season will be no different after the club made several big moves after the new year.
The team signed 24-year-old Moussa Dembele from Lyon on a loan deal, something that boosts Atleti’s attack after the recent departure of Diego Costa. Dembele is a versatile striker and the piece that could give Diego Simeone’s side a real shot at the trophy this season.
Atalanta keeps core players, adds budding Dutch talent
The Italians, playing in their first ever Champions League last season, are looking to make sure they remain the tournament’s Cinderella side. One way to do so is making sure they don’t sell players to the bigger clubs, while also making a big signing.
Atalanta reached the knockout stage last year, replicating that this season. Aside from a youth system that has been able to produce some of Italy’s best players in recent years, the club recently signed towering Dutch right back Joakim Maehle from Belgian side Genk.
PSG looks to coaching change to jumpstart hopes
The Ligue 1 champions moved on from coach Thomas Tuchel last month and replaced him with former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino in the hopes the Argentine can re-energize a side that has the talent to go far once again in the Champions League this year.
PSG has some of the game’s best attacking players, most notably Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, but that hasn’t always been enough. It remains unknown whether Pochettino, backed by the club’s Qatari petro-dollars, will look to bring in some fresh faces this month.
PSG, meanwhile, won their first trophy of the year under Pochettino on Wednesday when the team captured the Trophee des Champions. It could be a good omen and the start of more silverware for the Parisien club this season.