Celebrity Big Brother looms large, easing us into 2017 with the usual mix of belly laughs, cringe-tastic moments and a few intense showdowns between claustrophobic housemates.

And as the viewing public looks forward to the new round of familiar faces heading in to the house, the rumour mill has gone into overdrive over who they may be.

One of the first confirmed stars, according to The Sun, is set to be Premier League star Jamie O'Hara – who is to become the first active professional footballer to appear on the reality show.

The midfielder may have caught the showbusiness bug after watching his ex-wife Danielle Lloyd on the Channel 5 programme. He could follow in her footsteps by entering the famous house on 3 January.

The father of three, 30, is said to be in need of the CBB payday after giving glamour model Lloyd £15,000 a month as part of their divorce settlement.

A source said: "Jamie is the big surprise signing for this year's series. It's not been an easy decision for him to make but with all his injuries he needs to be earning some money.

"As it's a new stars versus old stars series, there have been attempts to sign Danielle as well. Obviously there is no love lost before the pair so it could be explosive if both appear."

2. Spencer Pratt (88%)
Reality television personalities Spencer Pratt (L) and Heidi Montag are set to return to CBB REUTERS

O'Hara is currently without a club after Gillingham terminated his contract in September. The only other footballers to have starred on CBB were already retired, with Neil "Razor" Ruddock, Vinnie Jones and Ron Atkinson entering the house in previous series.

What is known about the January 2017 series is that it is an All Stars vs New Stars special. Contestants who have already starred on the show and are thought to be going back in include James Jordan, Nicola McLean, Calum Best, Spencer and Heidi Pratt and Austin Armacost.

Loose Women's Coleen Nolan is also set for another stint in the CBB house along with Jasmine Waltz, who shot to fame after the 2014 series whereby she found herself at the centre of a tense love triangle with Lee Ryan and Casey Batchelor.

Kim Kardashian and Ray J
Ray J and Kim Kardashian Matt Winkelmeyer/Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images

The rumoured celebrities who have not appeared on the series before include US rapper Ray J – who dated Kim Kardashian and starred in the leaked sex tape with the star in 2007. Another Kardashian-linked contestant said to also be appearing in the 2017 series is Khloe Kardashian's best friend, Maliqa Haqq.

Mark Labbett, also known as The Beast from ITV's The Chase, and socialite Bianca Gascoigne are among the fresh faces thought to be starring in the upcoming show.

Celebrity Big Brother launches on 3rd January at 9pm on Channel 5.

WARNING: No one cares Just kidding your uncle probably does...Merry Christmas 🎅🏾

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