Those who celebrate at this time of year will have barely had time to throw away the wrapping paper and store their strange jumpers back in the wardrobe.

Whether they got what they wanted or not, football fans develop a different kind of lust as January approaches, with transfer season opening for another month.

Some big names are already being linked with possible moves, with the most obvious being free agent Cristiano Ronaldo after his release by Manchester United.

Deals are already being put in place for January 1, with Cody Gakpo confirmed to be on his way to Liverpool from PSV.

Before the chaos of the January transfer window begins, Stats Perform has looked at some players who could be in the middle of a tug of war and end the first month of 2023 at a new club.

Cristiano Ronaldo

It seemed a strange thing for Ronaldo to do, but whether it was his intention or not, the Portugal star effectively ended his relationship with Manchester United when he decided to take public swipes at club figures, including manager Erik ten Hag, via an interview with Piers Morgan prior to the World Cup.

It led to the strange situation of seeing his great rival Lionel Messi lift the World Cup at the same time as Ronaldo did not even have a club.

In theory, there should be plenty lining up to offer him a deal, even if he does turn 38 in just over a month. Ronaldo scored 24 goals in 38 games for United last season, and left the club with only four former United players having a better overall goal per game ratio in the Premier League than his 0.44 (Ruud van Nistelrooy – 0.63, Andy Cole – 0.48, Wayne Rooney – 0.47, and Eric Cantona – 0.45).

However, with his wage demands and the likely reputational damage done by the nature of his acrimonious exit from Old Trafford, it does not seem like Europe's biggest clubs are eager to make a move, despite the likes of Bayern Munich, Chelsea and arguably former club Real Madrid seemingly in the market for a striker.

It therefore seems likely Saudi Arabia side Al Nassr could have an unopposed run at him with their reported mega-money offer, though Ronaldo does not need to rush any decision as his free agency status means he can complete a transfer at any time.

Ronaldo quote

Joao Felix

Another Portuguese attacker who looks likely to be playing elsewhere by February, Joao Felix is at the other end of his career, needing to find somewhere to fulfil his early promise.

Joao Felix moved to Atletico Madrid from Benfica for a reported €127million in 2019 at the age of 19 after contributing to 22 goals in 26 Primeira Liga appearances (15 goals, seven assists) but despite brief flashes, has never really come close to living up to that giant fee in Spain.

The 23-year-old has managed 33 goals and 16 assists in 129 appearances for Atletico, but has reportedly fallen out with head coach Diego Simeone, and is now being offered around a host of clubs in England.

Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Newcastle United and Aston Villa are supposedly among those agent Jorge Mendes has approached, and all arguably have space in their team for another attacker ahead of the second half of the season.

Wherever he ends up, Joao Felix will hope he can finally produce the promise many saw in him as a teenager and find himself a long-term home to thrive.

Enzo Fernandez

In theory, most of Europe's elite clubs should be kicking themselves right now.

Fernandez only joined Benfica from River Plate at the start of this season for a reported fee of €12m, where he has shone in performances both domestically and in the Champions League.

That earned the midfielder a place in Lionel Scaloni's Argentina squad for the World Cup, and despite starting the tournament on the bench, he forced his way in to become a key part of the team that lifted the trophy in Qatar, earning himself the Best Young Player award in the process.

Unsurprisingly, the sharks are now circling, and Fernandez – who led all players for touches (118), successful passes (77) and tackles (10) in the World Cup final – could be making a swift exit from Lisbon.

Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea, Liverpool, Man Utd and Newcastle have been credited with an interest, though for Benfica to agree to do business mid-season as they sit top of the Primeira Liga and with a Champions League last 16 tie against Club Brugge to come, you would think they will want a huge fee approaching or beyond nine figures just to pick up the phone.

Mykhaylo Mudryk

As with Fernandez, Mudryk is a player who has seen his profile go up quickly in a short space of time.

Before the start of this season, the 21-year-old winger was being courted by the likes of Brentford and Everton, but his performances – particularly in the Champions League – have caught the eye of those higher up the food chain.

Mudryk scored three goals in six games in the Champions League group stage, having also recorded seven goals and six assists in 12 Ukrainian Premier League games prior to the mid-season break.

Arsenal seem to be the most interested party ahead of January, and reportedly have already lodged a bid, but the supposed demands of Shakhtar Donetsk could be what turns this into a saga.

Suggestions are that Shakhtar want up to €100m (£85m), and could try to take advantage of Arsenal's desperation as the Gunners try to maintain their Premier League title challenge after star striker Gabriel Jesus was ruled out for up to three months through injury.

Mykhaylo Mudryk

Man Utd and any striker

It is not just players who take part in transfer sagas, clubs do as well, and few do so more often and more spectacularly than the Red Devils.

The will-they-won't-they drama appears to have already started for January as United were seemingly pipped to Gakpo by rivals Liverpool, and alternative names are already popping up in a story that could potentially drag throughout the month.

With a Ronaldo-shaped hole in the team, boss Ten Hag has already said he is seeking reinforcements, emphasising "it has to be the right one."

As well as Felix, United have been linked with moves for Goncalo Ramos, Dusan Vlahovic and even former Old Trafford man Memphis Depay.

With reports that Ten Hag could be limited to the loan market thanks to their heavy spending in the previous window and the Glazers' ongoing attempts to sell the club, perhaps United will be forced to make a move similar to the one that saw Odion Ighalo join temporarily in January 2020.