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January transfer window 2021: Premier League clubs assessed - who needs what?

Will Liverpool move for a defender? Can Man City make Lionel Messi progress? Isco to Arsenal? Dele Alli set for Tottenham exit? Transfer window runs from January 2 to February 1; Follow the latest on Sky Sports News and with dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports website and app


The winter transfer window opens on January 2 but who needs what and who is most likely to do business in a notoriously tricky market? We assess every Premier League club.

Arsenal's creativity search

Arsenal's priority is a creative attacking midfielder - though they face a challenge to lure one in this window.

The Gunners have been linked with a move for Real Madrid's Isco on loan for the remainder of the season.

But there is also a focus on departures, with Sokratis and Sead Kolasinac two players likely to be allowed to leave. Sky Sports News has also previously reported that William Saliba, who has yet to appear for the first team, may also depart on loan.

And what next for Mesut Ozil? He remains out of favour but has continued to be adamant he will see out the remainder of his contract.

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Graeme Souness and Jamie Redknapp discuss whether Mikel Arteta needs to bring Mesut Ozil back into the Arsenal starting line-up

Aston Villa keen to strengthen defence

A left-back and a left-footed centre-back are on Villa's wishlist.

The club spent big in the summer, Ollie Watkins the biggest deal of their £85m outlay, and with Dean Smith's side riding high in the table, doing January business is not a priority.

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But this is the transfer window and should a bargain from the foreign market arise, Smith may have some wriggle room to bolster his ranks further.

Brighton to resist sales

Tariq Lamptey
Image: Big money would be needed to lure Tariq Lamptey away

Midfielder Jakub Moder will arrive in January after Brighton, having signed the Poland international from Lech Poznan in the last window and then loaned him back, decided to activate a recall clause.

Striker Percy Tau, whose season-long loan deal at Vincent Kompany's Anderlecht includes a recall clause, could also return.

Tau, a South Africa international, has been unable so far to play for Graham Potter's side as he does not have a work permit but Brighton are hopeful, under the new points system drawn up in the wake of Brexit, of securing a Governing Body Endorsement for the player to feature in the Premier League.

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Sky Sports News' Paul Gilmour explains how a post-Brexit points-based transfer system that has been agreed by the FA, Premier League, and EFL will work

Potter has repeatedly said he wants more goal threat from his current midfielders and attackers and Florin Andone and Jose Izquierdo may come back into his plans for the latter part of the season when they should be fit.

Moder's arrival may mean loan exits for the likes of Jayson Molumby and Max Sanders. Left-back Bernardo has also fallen down the pecking order at the Amex and could leave this window.

Goalkeeper Mat Ryan, dropped by Potter, may want to look for a new challenge, while Christian Walton may go out on loan again.

But while Yves Bissouma and Tariq Lamptey have admirers in the Premier League, Brighton have a good record of keeping their best players in January, and with the club looking to maintain their Premier League status, serious money would have to be offered for either to move.

Takeover key for Burnley

Sean Dyche's hopes of doing January business rest on American investment firm ALK Capital, who completed their takeover late on Wednesday evening.

Dyche, who spent less than £1m in the last window, has so far played down the likelihood of funds and while supporters should not expect a drastic change in transfer policy, budgets could soon change significantly.

A quick right winger is on the wishlist and a centre-back would be required if James Tarkowski were to depart.

Numerous clubs, including West Ham and Leicester, have tried and failed to entice Tarkowski from Turf Moor. What appears to be imminent new investment should help keep any further admirers at bay.

Exits likelier at Chelsea

Frank Lampard and Kepa Arrizabalaga
Image: Could Frank Lampard sanction Kepa Arrizabalaga's departure?

Frank Lampard splashed more than £225m in the last window so Blues fans are unlikely to see transfer fireworks this month.

Chelsea's recent stutter, however, could see Roman Abramovich sanction some dealings that could fund further investment in Lampard's squad while also lowering the wage bill.

Marcos Alonso is one player who could be on the move - possibly to La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid.

Inter Milan and Juventus have expressed an interest in Emerson, although Lampard may be unwilling to let him go after a string of strong performances in cup competitions.

Olivier Giroud has continued to prove his value but may feel he needs more game-time with the European Championships looming, while Bayern Munich remain admirers of Callum Hudson-Odoi.

But more likely to move are Antonio Rudiger and the world's most expensive goalkeeper, Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Palace focus on Zaha again

Wilfried Zaha
Image: Wilfried Zaha's future is back in the spotlight

Like so many windows before, the biggest question for Crystal Palace is: will Wilfried Zaha stay or go?

Zaha has been linked with moves to several of Europe's top clubs but the most likely switch would be to PSG, where Mauricio Pochettino is set to take the reins.

If PSG fail, AC Milan could try to get a deal done.

A busy summer in Palace terms means supporters should expect more outs than ins at Selhurst Park. Last week Roy Hodgson said: "We've not sat down and seriously thought, 'What do we need?' That's because we have a good squad and a big squad. You don't want to keep piling players on top of players."

The club's focus is likely to be on extending the terms of several players out of contract in the summer.

Everton keen on midfield reinforcements

Arsenal and Everton have been linked with Real Madrid's Isco
Image: Arsenal and Everton have been linked with Real Madrid's Isco

Any potential incomings at Goodison Park are likely to depend on two or three players heading out of the club.

Everton will continue to listen to offers for the likes of Yannick Bolasie, Cenk Tosun, Jonjoe Kenny and Mo Besic but the Toffees remain able to surprise with their levels of investment.

While full-back is no longer a priority given how Mason Holgate and Ben Godfrey have filled in, Carlo Ancelotti would like to strengthen his midfield with Allan currently out and Fabian Delph suffering another injury-interrupted season. Another attacking option with the ability to play through the middle and out wide on the right is also on the wishlist.

Isco and Sami Khedira could potentially fill those positions.

Fulham after a striker

Fulham made 11 new signings in the summer and with form and results improving at Craven Cottage, Scott Parker is unlikely to disrupt his squad too much.

But with Aleksandar Mitrovic having netted just twice all season, a striker remains the Fulham boss' priority.

The Cottagers are also keen to offload some squad players.

Leeds may make midfield move

Leeds landed the majority of their targets last time out and are unlikely to make similar investments in the January market.

But injuries, particularly in central midfield where Marcelo Bielsa's options are limited, remain a concern. With Pablo Hernandez and Jamie Shackleton still sidelined, Bielsa could be forced to join the January sales.

Should Leicester add at the back?

Having just spent £100m on a new training ground, and with a host of injured players returning, the official line is that Leicester are not looking to add to their ranks.

When asked if he was expecting any January business, manager Brendan Rodgers said: "I don't believe so. If there's something we think can really help us and improve us then the club will always look at it. But I don't think there will be anyone coming in for the sake of it."

But given the Foxes' reliance this term on Wesley Fofana and Jonny Evans, boosting their defensive options would seem prudent.

Will Liverpool bolster defence?

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Jamie Carragher claims Liverpool's need for a new centre-back in the January transfer window was obvious in the 1-1 draw with West Brom in the Premier League as Joel Matip was injured again

Jamie Carragher has urged Jurgen Klopp once again to buy a defender in the January window after Joel Matip suffered another injury against West Brom to compound the Reds' defensive woes.

With Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez long-term absentees, Rhys Williams, Nathanial Phillips and Sepp van den Berg are the only recognised central defenders Klopp currently has available for selection.

Liverpool are saying they won't be signing anyone in this window - but they said as much in the summer and went on to sign Thiago Alcantara and Diogo Jota.

Experienced cover at centre-half would certainly make sense - Klopp told Sky Sports recently the club's meticulous approach to the market would still change to suit circumstance.

Speaking after this week's draw with West Brom saw Joel Matip injured again, Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher said: "That is why it is paramount Liverpool sign someone in January. I said that as soon as Virgil van Dijk had his injury. Fabinho has looked like a top-class centre-back, but Matip is just too injury prone. Liverpool need someone there to make sure that they don't end up with two young lads playing there for five or six weeks if, say, Fabinho went down injured. They have to do something in January."

The Reds are also believed to be looking to strengthen in central midfield if Gini Wijnaldum leaves, though links with Ozan Kabak at Schalke have been dismissed.

What about outgoings? As it stands, Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri look unlikely to be sold.

Can Man City make Messi progress?

Lionel Messi
Image: Lionel Messi is free to talk with other clubs in January

Partizan Belgrade winger Filip Stevanovic will join in January but City have little history of big January deals - Aymeric Laporte was the last first-team arrival three years ago and Pep Guardiola has said that the "economic situation around the world" means they will not be signing a new striker this month.

That, however, is the position that has caused Guardiola the most problems this season with Sergio Aguero only fit enough to start two Premier League matches, and Gabriel Jesus having also struggled with injury.

Aguero's absence has been keenly felt and his replacement is the marquee signing the club are planning for in upcoming windows.

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Pep Guardiola has denied that he'll be on the search for a new striker in January and says the rest of the team must help out with goals

But could this be the month City could finally get a deal agreed to sign a world-class player they have coveted for a long time?

Lionel Messi wanted to move to Manchester in the summer and was only denied when he felt he had no choice but to back down when Barcelona threatened him with an acrimonious court battle over his future.

That legal hurdle disappears on January 1, when clubs outside of Spain can officially open talks about a summer move when Messi's contract expires. City have the contacts and the clout to make a move to the Etihad a very attractive proposition, although they would inevitably face competition from big-spending PSG.

By the same token, foreign clubs can open talks with Eric Garcia, who has turned down the offer to extend his City contract beyond the end of the season and is expected to switch to La Liga.

Barcelona made a number of bids for the central defender last Deadline Day in the summer and though they did not meet City's valuation of around £20m, Garcia's heart remains set on a return to his boyhood club.

Man Utd's focus on summer

Teenage Atalanta winger Amad Diallo has been granted a passport ahead of his pending £37.2m transfer and progress is being made on obtaining a Governing Body Endorsement. The Ivorian's arrival will secure the right-wing berth that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been looking to fill.

But Manchester United are prioritising the summer window when it comes to further incomings - including a new centre-back and potentially a right-back, plus a defensive midfielder were Paul Pogba to leave.

Odion Ighalo's time at the club will come to an end on January 31 but, as Solskjaer has hinted, attempts will be made to extend the deal of another striker in Edinson Cavani.

Other live issues are the futures of Brandon Williams, Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones and Sergio Romero.

Williams, who has attracted interest from Southampton, may be able to leave on loan to get games, while United would be keen to get Rojo, Jones and Romero off their books.

Jesse Lingard is another player linked with an Old Trafford exit but neither the player nor club are actively seeking a move and Lingard could well be offered another year.

Newcastle looking at loans

Nelson Semedo and Jamal Lewis battle for possession
Image: Steve Bruce would like competition for Jamal Lewis

Expect Newcastle to use some of their loan quota in the winter transfer window.

Steve Bruce secured permanent signings in the last window in the shape of Callum Wilson, Ryan Fraser, Jeff Hendrick and Jamal Lewis but Bruce is unlikely to splash out on any further permanent transfer fees unless a bargain crops up.

He is after a dynamic midfielder who can get around the pitch - the sort of player he feels is currently lacking. A left wing-back to compete with Lewis and centre-back cover following his squad's coronavirus issues is also sought.

Sheffield United after midfield spark

The Blades are rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table but manager Chris Wilder expects only loan signings this window.

Wilder has the option to borrow two further players - one from the domestic market and one from abroad - and is still looking for a left centre-back to help fill the void left by Jack O'Connell's injury at the start of the season.

The Blades boss, who is hoping to do business early and confirmed after defeat to Burnley he had "given his recommendations to the board," is also seeking an attacking midfielder to help the supply to his goal-shy forwards.

John Lundstram has yet to sign a new contract and will be allowed to leave if a suitable offer is received.

Southampton keen on Man Utd man

Southampton's primary focus is to keep hold of Danny Ings after their promising start, with Ralph Hasenhuttl saying he hopes the striker will sign a new contract with the club.

But Saints are also be looking to strengthen in defence, with their sights set on Manchester United's Brandon Williams. They missed out on Williams in the summer but Bayer Leverkusen have been freshly linked.

Tottenham want two - but will Dele leave?

Dele Alli
Image: Could Dele Alli finally be on his way out of Tottenham?

Jose Mouinho still wants a centre-back and a defensive midfielder - but whether he gets his wish in the January sales remains to be seen.

The focus appears more on outgoings and the club will listen to offers for Danny Rose, who is out of contract in the summer, and Paulo Gazzaniga.

But Dele Alli is the one to watch.

Tottenham want him to stay and fight for his place but Mourinho remains unconvinced and Alli needs football. Spurs are likely to resist a loan but nothing is off the cards yet.

Keep an eye on PSG. The French club tried and failed to sign Alli in the summer but Mauricio Pochettino's impending arrival could mean a Paris reunion.

Allardyce has extended Baggies list

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Sam Allardyce admits he faces a difficult task to keep West Brom in the Premier League and believes their transfer activity in January could be crucial

Sam Allardyce has his survival blueprint but will he have any new players to work with?

"There's some money, some opportunities, but there is a massive loss of revenue because of Covid to cope with," he said. "We'll try and improve the team if we can find a player."

Budgets are tight after the club spent more than it planned to in the summer, but the Baggies board is keen to support Allardyce where they can.

The new boss wants to strengthen the team's spine, with a centre-back, midfielder and striker on a lengthy wish list. While incomings are expected, finances are unlikely to stretch to all of Allardyce's targets.

West Ham after attacking support

David Moyes kept faith with Sebastien Haller and was rewarded as the striker fired in the winner at Bramall Lane
Image: David Moyes is keen on an attacking reinforcement

West Ham have signed Danish centre-back Frederik Alves from Silkeborg, a young prospect who will link up with his new team-mates on January 2, but David Moyes has played down expectations of any big business.

"As far as January goes, we don't have any big intentions of making signings, but the owners have said they would help if we need it," the West Ham manager said. "Obviously that'll be to do with injuries or anything else that crops up. If we need it, we'll try and go and get it, but talking about January, it's not always a great market."

Antonio's recurring hamstring problems and Sebastian Haller's lack of goals mean the Hammers will try to add a striker.

Moyes may also want to strengthen his options at left-back after Arthur Masuaku's knee surgery.

But purse strings are set to remain tight at the London Stadium, with no big money signings expected over the next month.

Wolves seeking back-up striker

A back-up striker has been on Wolves' wishlist for the last couple of windows but it has become their top priority after Raul Jimenez's injury. Fabio Silva has only scored once since joining for £35m in the summer and the club is reluctant to put too much pressure on the teenager but finding an experienced No. 9 who may be pushed to the bench is one of the most difficult positions for recruitment teams to fill.

Wolves were close to signing Nelson Oliveira this time last year and after only managing two league goals for AEK Athens this season he may be available at a decent price.

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