Who should the Premier League clubs sign this month?

January-transfer-window-2015

The January transfer window. Some people wonder why it’s there, some clubs never use it, whilst others find it vitally important to help them survive a relegation battle or win a title challenge. It opens in this country tomorrow (3rd January) and will close on 2nd February. But who will all the Premier League clubs be looking to sign this month? Some will need more additions than others…

Arsenal

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What do they need?

A centre-back has been Arsenal’s main need for the last few years now, with Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny not getting any younger, and their defence on the whole has looked a little shaky so far this season. When full-backs Nacho Monreal, Calum Chambers and Mathieu Debuchy can all say they’ve played in the middle of defence,  you know you need someone new. A holding midfielder wouldn’t go a miss either, with Jack Wilshere and Mikel Arteta both out injured.

Main Target: Javi Martinez

The Spaniard is currently recovering from ligament surgery at Bayern Munich meaning the Gunners could perhaps get him for a cheaper price but then have to wait until he is fully fit. It may well be worth it though, as Martinez can play as a centre-back and holding midfielder comfortably and comfortably, whilst he’s still 26. His value is around £25 million.

Other rumoured arrivals: Christoph Kramer (Borussia Monchengladbach on loan from Bayer Leverkusen), Lars Bender (Bayer Leverkusen), Tyrone Mings (Ipswich Town), Virgil van Dijk (Celtic), Lucas Silva (Cruzeiro)

Aston Villa

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What do they need?

Mainly, Paul Lambert needs to make sure that he keeps the club’s best players if they want to survive. Fabian Delph, Christian Benteke and Ron Vlaar have stood out in a dull Villa side this season and are on the radar of bigger clubs. In terms of positions that need strengthening, a winger is needed, or anyone else capable of bringing some life to their attack and giving Benteke some crosses or through balls to latch on to.

Main Target: Ikechi Anya

The winger currently at Watford is 26 years old, but is only just establishing himself this season. After turning down England and Nigeria, Anya made his Scotland debut in 2013 and scored past Manuel Neuer in Euro 2016 qualifying in September. For the Hornets, he is yet to score this season but has four assists, and is becoming one of the Championship’s prize assests.  He has worked with Paul Lambert before at Wycombe, whilst at £800,000, Villa have more than enough to afford him.

Other rumoured arrivals: Ivo Pinto (Dinamo Zagreb), Darren Fletcher (Manchester United), Tom Cleverley (currently on loan from Manchester United), Matt Jarvis (West Ham), Lewis Macleod (Rangers)

Burnley

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What do they need?

With the likes of Danny Ings, Ashley Barnes and Sam Vokes in their squad, you might say that Burnley would be fine for goals, but the Clarets have scored the second least in the division behind Aston Villa. This means a striker is on a their wishlist, as well as a someone who can help out in defence, whether that be a centre-back or a midfield anchor. Shaun Dyche doesn’t have much money to work with though.

Main Target: Troy Deeney

Like Aston Villa, Burnley are likely to go into the league below in order to find some new signings. Troy Deeney is one of the most feared strikers in the Championship, and plays alongside Ikechi Anya at Watford. He has nine goals in 20 games so far this season after Sean Dyche, who is a long term admirer of the 26 year old, failed in his attempts to sign him in the summer. Deeney was still at Watford when Dyche was manager there, but it may be the striker’s £4.5 million price tag which blocks a move to Turf Moor.

Other rumoured arrivals: Raul Albentosa (Eibar), Richard Keogh (Derby), Richard Dunne (QPR), Rudy Gestede (Blackburn Rovers), James Wilson (Manchester United)

Chelsea

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What do they need?

Nobody. In the words of the Independent, what else do you give a manager who has everything – there is cover in every position and another whole squad of players out on loan across Europe. If they were to bring someone in, it would probably be an exciting young star as they prepare to be title challengers for years to come.

Main Target: Andrej Kramaric

As aforementioned, any arrivals will be with the future in mind, and signing 23 year old striker Andrej Kramaric proves just that. The Blues are on the verge of completing a £7.5 million deal for the Croatian, who has scored 21 times in 18 league games for Rijeka so far this season. Leicester City are also reportedly interested in him, so the Blues may send him on loan to the King Power Stadium for the remainder of the season if they win the race for his signature.

Other rumoured arrivals: Raphael Varane (Real Madrid), Tyrone Mings (Ipswich), Anderson Talisca (Benfica), Malcom Silva (Corinthians), Mauro Icardi (Inter Milan)

Crystal Palace

Arsenal's Yaya Sanogo does a dance as he celebrates after scoring against Benfica during their Emirates Cup soccer match in London

What do they need?

Defensive midfielder Mile Jedinak is Crystal Palace’s top scorer this season, and however much the Australian will want it to stay that way, The Eagles need a big goalscorer. Alan Pardew has come in at exactly the right time (presuming he does) as he will be able to assess the squad and see what additions are needed. The answer is quite a few, but a big factor in staying up will be to find a new striker.

Main Target: Yaya Sanogo

It may only a be a loan, but Yaya Sanogo going to Crystal Palace would work well for everybody. The Arsenal striker has struggled to adapt at the Emirates Stadium, but Arsene Wenger is convinced he can make it but knows he needs goals, games and confidence. Palace would be able to provide that, as well as solving their own problem upfront. At Auxerre, the Frenchman averaged a goal every other game, so he clearly has potential and playing week in and week out can bring that out.

Other rumoured arrivals: Bafetimbi Gomis (Swansea), Scott Sinclair (Manchester City), Troy Deeney (Watford), Ashley Cole (AS Roma), Jermain Defoe (Toronto)

Everton

Adnan-Januzaj-Manchester-United

What do they need?

Only QPR have conceded more goals than Everton this season, so a centre-back is high on their list. It would be better if he was young too, with Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin both into their 30s.  Another vital signing that they make is a forward, maybe a winger, to help the struggling Romelu Lukaku. This January transfer window could decide Everton’s season – will they end up pushing for Europe, or will it be a rare mid-table finish which sees Roberto Martinez sacked. The boss needs to bring in players to make sure the latter doesn’t happen.

Main Target: Adnan Januzaj

The young Belgian has struggled with injuries this season, but he is close to a return to first team action at Manchester United. It’s unlikely he’ll get much action though, with Louis Van Gaal, preferring a system with wing-backs, a position which you struggle to see Januzaj playing in. The few games that got him recognised last season show that he has an incredible talent, so like Yaya Sanogo, a loan deal could be the best option for him, and Everton need a player like Januzaj to add spark and help Lukaku.

Other rumoured arrivals: Vedran Corluka (Lokomotiv Moscow), Curtis Davies (Hull), Martin Montoya (Barcelona), Breel Embolo (FC Basel), Joel Campbell (Arsenal)

Hull

Agyemang-Badu-and-Alhassan-yet-to-join-Udinese-pre-season

What do they need?

Someone to bring a bit of life and determination to the squad. Steve Bruce spent big in the summer, but it hasn’t really paid off and the tigers look lifeless and give up too easily. Being position specific, perhaps a tough-tackling holding midfielder full of grit and resolve that can help them survive a relegation scrap. A striker is also needed, with goals also crucial in the battle at the bottom.

Main Target: Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu

They’ll face competition for him, but if Hull want a determined midfielder, then Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu is their man. The Ghana international impressed at the World Cup last summer, and is also on the radar of Stoke and Liverpool. Udinese don’t particularly want to sell the tough-tackling 23 year old but, with only 18 months left on his contract, they would prefer to make a healthy profit than risk losing him on a Bosman free transfer in 2016. The only down side to signing him would be, that he would jet straight off to the African Cup of Nations.

Other rumoured arrivals: Andre Ayew (Marseille), Lee Cattermole (Sunderland), Aaron Lennon (Tottenham), Robin Olsen (Malmo), Asamoah Gyan (Al Ain)

Leicester

Home opener for the TFC

What do they need?

A few players with Premier League experience. Leicester have a Championship quality squad, and errors this season have shown that. Leaders are needed, especially at the back, but experience is the key. If they can get a few players who have faced a relegation scrap before, they might have a chance of survival. As with Hull, a striker is also needed, with neither Jamie Vardy or David Nugent able to score regularly. Their five goals against Manchester United have contributed to almost a third of their tally this campaign.

Main Target: Jermain Defoe

The former Tottenham striker is on the wishlist of many clubs down towards the bottom of the Premier League, and features as a main target for another team as well later on. His experience and goal scoring ability would be vital to Leicester, despite the signing seeming slightly ambitious. Because he is so in demand, the Foxes probably aren’t favourites to get him, but Nigel Pearson needs to do all he can to bring the Toronto striker to the King Power Stadium.

Other rumoured arrivals: Danny Ings (Burnley), Curtis Davies (Hull), Kris Commons (Celtic), Andrej Kramaric (Rijeka), Dwight Gayle (Crystal Palace)

Liverpool

RZ-Pellets-WAC-v-Chelsea

What do they need?

The obvious position is a goalkeeper, with Brad Jones and Simon Mignolet not fitting the Anfield bill. Moving forward, in general they need a spine of a team. Pretty much meaning a top quality player in the centre of defence, the middle of the park and upfront is needed. A suitable strike partner for Daniel Sturridge that can create the results that the Englishman’s combination with Luis Suarez did last season seems impossible, so Brendan Rodgers must choose carefully and not just throw money all over the place.

Main Target: Petr Cech

The Czech Republic international is fed up of sitting on the bench most weeks at Chelsea, and Liverpool would give him regular football, whilst the Reds need his experience. The question is would Jose Mourinho be willing to sell to a rival club, and if he is then the fee wouldn’t be small. Cech is probably worth around £15 million and his salary is estimated at £100,000 a week. If Liverpool can manage to offload Mario Balotelli, then that might be possible.

Other rumoured arrivals: Wilfried Bony (Swansea City), Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa), Victor Valdes (free agent), Saido Berahino (West Brom), Xherdan Shaqiri (Bayern Munich)

Manchester City

Paul-Pogba-Juventus

What do they need?

It’s unlikely that they’ll be this unlucky with injuries to strikers again, but the absence of Dzeko and Aguero has highlighted their need for further back-up in that position. In an ageing squad, an injection of youth could also be useful to keep their title rivals on their toes, and they’ve obviously got a lot of money to spend, so Manuel Pellegrini has a whole range of players to choose from if he wants.

Main Target: Paul Pogba

The centre of City’s midfield is the oldest part of their squad, so 21 year old Paul Pogba would be the perfect choice, and would be a massive one up over neighbours Manchester United, who let him go in 2012. Since then the Frenchman has turned into one of Europe’s hottest prospects, meaning he won’t come cheap. Reports suggest that offers over £50 million may tempt Juventus to let him go, and you can see him being Yaya Toure’s replacement in a few years’ time.

Other rumoured arrivals: Mario Mandzukic (Atletico Madrid), Jay Rodriguez (Southampton), Ross Barkley (Everton), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Jose Maria Gimenez (Atletico Madrid)

Manchester United

1-FC-Koeln-v-Borussia-Dortmund-Bundesliga

What do they need?

United are in desperate need of a quality defender. Injuries haven’t been kind to them at the back this season, whilst Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair look reasonable options for the future, but Louis van Gaal needs a high calibre centre-back for the present to help their title push. Their attack is perhaps the most frightening in the league on paper, but don’t be surprised to see someone else in that area come in, if van Gaal becomes impatient. Panic buy is perhaps the best way to put it.

Main Target: Mats Hummels

There is perhaps just one thing stopping Mats Hummels from going to Old Trafford this month, and that is the chance to play Champions League football for the remainder of this season. But with Borussia Dortmund currently joint bottom of the Bundesliga, it’s highly unlikely they’ll be playing European football next season, whereas United look as though they will be. Van Gaal will try to tempt the German with that and tempt Dortmund with an offer of around £30 million.

Other rumoured arrivals: Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa), Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid), Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Kevin Strootman (Roma), Aymeric Laporte (Athletic Bilbao)

Newcastle

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What do they need?

First and foremost, they need to make sure that they keep their key players, with Yohan Cabaye’s departure last season costing them, and it could be Moussa Sissoko this time around. In terms of players coming in, a bit more quality is needed upfront, and if Sissoko does leave, a quality replacement for him, to ensure that the Magpies don’t miss him like they did Cabaye.

Main Target: Aleksandar Mitrovic

Newcastle have been scouting the 20 year old striker for some time, but will the new manager still want him? The Serbian striker who has impressed at Anderlecht, scored against Arsenal in the Champions League in November. The asking price was once £10m, but Newcastle will try to get him for half that price. He has more of a physical presence than the forwards already at St James’ Park.

Other rumoured arrivals: Virgil van Dijk (Celtic), Benjamin Angou (Guingamp), Danny Ings (Burnley), Ondrej Duda (Legia Warsaw), Dele Alli (MK Dons)

QPR

MLS: Toronto FC at Seattle Sounders

What do they need?

Like Newcastle, QPR need more options upfront to support Charlie Austin who a) can’t do it all on his own, and b) could even be on his way out of Loftus Road this month. Harry Redknapp likes to bring in players he has managed before, and that could come in any area of the pitch, but he did comment last month that a Premier League team needs at least four or five strikers – so he too sees the main area of concern.

Main Target: Jermain Defoe

A prime example of one of Harry Redknapp’s favourite players, Jermain Defoe has played for the 67 year old at Portsmouth and Tottenham. This makes QPR the favourites for his signature, bringing him back to the Premier League almost a year after he left. It’s no surprise that this is the case though, as the striker has scored 11 goals in 16 MLS games for Toronto, showing he’s still going strong at 32 years old, which gives him experience that QPR will need.

Other rumoured arrivals: Peter Crouch (Stoke), Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Mauro Zarate (West Ham), Tomas Kalas (Chelsea), Aaron Lennon (Tottenham)

Southampton

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What do they need?

The Saints look to have already secured their prime target – Werder Bremen’s Eljero Elia, who will officially join the club when the window opens. There still could be some arrivals at St.Mary’s though, perhaps in the centre of midfield, or a youngster in any position, as Koeman looks to add to his group of talented teenagers. The main target on the South Coast though will be to keep the players that have impressed this season to see the club in the top four.

Main Target: Danny Ings

Additional striker options are needed at St.Mary’s with Shane Long and Graziano Pelle the only real first choice strikers, and Danny Ings is only 22 years old, so is yet to hit his peak. He won the Championship player of the year award last season, and has four goals for Burnley in the Premier League so far in 2013-14, making up just under a quarter of The Clarets’ goals. Although he is sought-after elsewhere, Ings and Southampton could be an ideal fit.

Other rumoured arrivals: Javi Garcia (Zenit St.Petersburg), Jordan Rhodes (Blackburn), Andros Townsend (Tottenham), Mauro Zarate (West Ham), Dario Tanda (FC Twente)

Stoke

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What do they need?

With Victor Moses and Peter Odemwingie out through injury, Stoke will be looking for at least one pacey winger because that is what makes them so good on the counter-attack away from home. The Potters will lose Mame Biram Diouf later this month when he goes away to the African Cup of Nations with Senegal, so Mark Hughes could also look at a striker on a short-term loan deal.

Main Target: Nathan Redmond

The Norwich City winger was subject to at least two bids from Stoke in the summer, so Mark Hughes will attempt to bring him in again. The 20 year old has scored two goals and made six in 18 Championship starts this season, and I saw for myself how fast he is when Norwich visited the Madjeski Stadium this season. He can play on either wing, and would be available for around £4 million.

Other rumoured arrivals: Junior Hoilett (QPR), Adama Traore (Barcelona), Zakaria Bakkali (PSV), Aaron Lennon (Tottenham), Joel Campbell (Arsenal)

Sunderland

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What do they need?

Sunderland need goals, and badly so. The Premier League’s draw specialists have been short on attacking flair throughout their campaign, so need someone to liven up attacks and give opponents something to think about. Things still need to stay tight at the back though as well, and an extra defender wouldn’t go a miss if Gus Poyet has enough money to spend.

Main Target: Fabio Borini

He’s not getting much game time at Liverpool, but Fabio Borini rather insultingly refused to sign for the Black Cats in the summer. Gus Poyet has not given up on the Italian forward though, as he did so well on loan at the Stadium of Light last season, when his goals pretty much kept Sunderland up. The problem is, there is no longer £14 million knocking around to tempt Liverpool to sell. If they could get him though, and Borini is willing, it may be the turning point in their season.

Other rumoured arrivals: Giampaolo Pazzini (AC Milan), Ezequiel Munoz (Palermo), Curtis Davies (Hull City), Mohamed Salah (Chelsea), Yaya Sanogo (Arsenal)

Swansea

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What do they need? 

Like Southampton, Swansea have already completed one piece of business, bringing in Benfica Nelson Oliveira on a loan deal to cover for Wilfried Bony whilst he is at the African Cup of Nations. More strikers are on the agenda though, with Bafetimbi Gomis perhaps on the way out after getting fed up of sitting on the bench, whilst it’s no certainty that Bony himself will still be at the Liberty Stadium come the end of the month.

Main Target: Munir El-Haddadi

The 19 year old forward is showing great potential at Barcelona, but has expressed his desire to go out on loan, after not starting a La Liga game following Luis Suarez’s return from suspension. Before, Barca boss Luis Enrique was forced to call on El-Haddadi, and the the Spaniard scored once in eight games, as well as making his national first team debut in that time. Swansea aren’t the favourites for his signature though, with Ajax also interested.

Other rumoured arrivals: Leo Baptistao (Atletico Madrid – on-loan at Rayo Vallecano), Joel Campbell (Arsenal), Kyle Naughton (Tottenham), Giampaolo Pazzini (AC Milan), Jay Chapman (Michigan State)

Tottenham Hotspur

Morgan-Schneiderlin-Southampton

What do they need?

Despite Harry Kane’s superb performance against Chelsea, Tottenham still need some support for the young English striker upfront, with Roberto Soldado not quite making the cut. Mauricio Pochettino also tried to strengthen his midfield in the summer, and could try to do so again, however Ryan Mason and Benjamin Stambouli have both done well, so the Argentine may not see the need to, but he does have one former player in mind…

Main Target: Morgan Schneiderlin 

Pochettino was chasing Schneiderlin all summer, trying to bring the centre midfielder with him from Southampton, and at one point, it seemed the deal was definitely on, after a tweet from the Frenchman. The South Coast side refused to sell, however and could give a similar response if Spurs don’t cough up enough. Perhaps only offers of above £25 million will buy Schneiderlin, who has three goals in 15 league appearances so far in 2014-15.

Other rumoured arrivals: Jay Rodriguez (Southampton), Saido Berahino (West Brom), Jackson Martinez (FC Porto), Bernard (Shakhtar Donetsk), Nicolas Moisander (Ajax)

West Brom

Stuart Armstrong in action for Dundee United

What do they need?

As with many clubs, West Brom’s main need this month is to keep hold of their prize asset: Saido Berahino. No one else is scoring goals for the Baggies, and losing the youngster could ruin their season. Not only must new manager Tony Pulis do that, but he does also need to get some additions to the squad, with West Brom in a perilous position at the bottom.

Main Target: Stuart Armstrong

One of Scotland’s hottest prospects, Stuart Armstrong is currently at Dundee United, who also produced starlet Ryan Gauld. West Brom face competition north of the border for centre midfielder Armstrong, particularly from Celtic, but it would be a great signing if they managed to pull it off for around £3 million. The 22 year old won the Scottish League’s young player of the year award in 2012-13, and has four goals and five assists so far in this campaign.

Other rumoured arrivals: Pedro Leon (Athletic Bilbao), Kris Commons (Celtic), Joel Campbell (Arsenal), Steve Cook (Bournemouth), Matt Richie (Bournemouth)

West Ham

2012-08-05-nicolas-nkoulou

What do they need?

The Hammers are likely to strengthen in defence, with Winston Reid’s long-term future still very much up in the air. Getting the New Zealander to sign would almost be like a new signing for West Ham, whilst making Alex Song’s loan deal permanent would be another big bit of business. With a strong squad already, keeping what they already have will be key to keeping up their excellent form.

Main Target: Nicolas N’Koulou

If Winston Reid does decline the contract offer, then Marseille centre-back Nicolas N’Koulou could be the perfect replacement. Sam Allardyce has been watching the Cameroon international for some time, and with West Ham currently well in the top half of the table, the offer of moving to East London will now seem much better. The 24 year old has kept six clean sheets and scored twice this season to help Marseille get to the top of Ligue 1, and would cost around £5 million.

Other rumoured arrivals: Doneil Henry (Apollon Limassol – on loan at Toronto FC), Javi Fuego (Valencia), Jean Makoun (Rennes), Vedran Corluka (Lokomotiv Moscow), Demba Ba (Besiktas)

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