Wednesday 7 January 2015 13:15, UK
Who should your club sign in the January transfer window? And who should they get rid of?
Our team-by-team guide looks at what we can expect from the Premier League sides this month. Remember, you can follow all the transfer news on Sky Sports News HQ and skysports.com throughout the window.
Arsene Wenger’s decision to go into the season with only five experienced defenders always looked a gamble and there have been times when Calum Chambers has looked like a young man asked to do too much too soon. That might be an area Arsenal look to bolster with Winston Reid a reported target, while the long-standing need for a holding midfielder continues. Wenger insists he’s not afraid to spend on the right player but supporters will be anxious for activity nevertheless. Lukas Podolski's proposed loan move to Inter Milan will give him room to recruit.
With Fabian Delph and Ron Vlaar both out of contract in the summer, Villa might have a battle on their hands to emerge from the window with the squad at the same level as before, let alone stronger. However, with Villa the lowest scorers in the Premier League, the need for creativity is urgent and Paul Lambert will surely look to improve his options. Joe Cole has played a little over 90 minutes all season so the Villa boss could look elsewhere for that much-needed attacking spark.
Sean Dyche clearly has a tight-knit group working hard for each other and the Burnley boss will be anxious not to disrupt that balance too much. Even so, the addition of quality would be welcome with the club’s Premier League future in the balance. Star striker Danny Ings is out of contract in the summer and while talks are ongoing, now might also be the time to add further firepower with Watford's Troy Deeney a potential example of adding to the squad from a position of relative strength.
Jose Mourinho seemed unlikely to add too much more to his squad, given his policy of limited rotation - but will the 5-3 defeat to Tottenham change his mind? Petr Cech, Kurt Zouma and Filipe Luis have all had to wait for their opportunities and with three strikers contesting one position, that area of the pitch looks well covered too. Holding midfield might be the position that Mourinho looks to bolster: Chelsea's their first defeat came at Newcastle when Nemanja Matic was suspended and Spurs created numerous openings against them on New Year's Day.
Neil Warnock was already actively searching for a new striker such as Bafetimbi Gomis when he was relieved of his duties. Given Crystal Palace’s lack of goals from their frontmen, that is likely to remain a cause for concern for his successor Alan Pardew. Having conceded plenty at the other end too, defensive reinforcements could also be a priority as they look to rediscover the alchemy that Tony Pulis hit upon in the latter stages of last season. Expect a busy January.
Everton had got by with a relatively small squad for some time until Roberto Martinez brought in reinforcements in the summer in preparation for their Europa League campaign. As a result, on paper this is among the strongest groups that the club has been able to boast but injury problems mean that’s rarely translated into performances on the pitch. Martinez would settle for a fully-fit squad but with that proving easier said than done, a loan signing or three would be a big help.
After impressing last season, Hull are enduring a difficult campaign with several of their high-profile summer signings failing to perform. Aside from the disappointment of Hatem Ben Arfa’s inability to adjust, the goals have also dried up for Abel Hernandez in spectacular fashion with the entire team failing to score in his last six appearances, before the much-needed 2-0 win over Everton. Steve Bruce has used the January window to good effect in the past and will need to find the goals that can help steer Hull away from danger.
Leicester remain tantalisingly close to surviving their first season back in the Premier League and that lingering hope could spark spending in January. The challenge is to work out where to spend that money most effectively. Having broken their transfer record for Leonardo Ulloa, Leicester may also look to add Jermain Defoe this month, while the search for added midfield dynamism and a defensive bargain could also dominate their work in the window. Celtic's attacking midfielder Kris Commons has been linked.
Steven Gerrard's announcement he will be leaving the club at the end of the season may encourage Brendan Rodgers to invest in a replacement in January, while a more effective striking option than Mario Balotelli - who apparently no longer fits into Liverpool's attacking plan - will be pursued. Of course, finding top quality in January is notoriously difficult but Liverpool managed it with Luis Suarez and supporters might be optimistic about pulling something off again. The goalkeeper issue would seem more easily solvable with Rodgers appearing to have lost some faith in Simon Mignolet.
That James Milner has been used as an emergency striker highlights the fact that City are a little short in attack following Alvaro Negredo’s summer departure and Sergio Aguero's injury problems. Manuel Pellegrini’s men are still in the Champions League - just - so they might feel it’s worth adding another forward, with defensive cover also set to be considered. Veteran midfielder Frank Lampard has already agreed to extend his stay from New York City until the end of the season.
United’s main focus is already switching to the summer when they are expected to spend big on phase two of Louis van Gaal’s project, should Champions League football have been secured by then. If long-term targets Mats Hummels and Kevin Strootman become available before then, there could be activity, but the likes of Gareth Bale don’t tend to become available mid-season. Even so, that’s what they said about Juan Mata.
Alan Pardew suggested just before Christmas that Newcastle were a striker light and with Papiss Cisse’s knee an ongoing concern, that’s likely to be the view of those left at St James’ Park too. How much investment the new head coach will be backed with remains to be seen, with Newcastle well clear of the drop zone and unlikely to challenge for Europe. Much to the dismay of the supporters, it’d be a surprise if Mike Ashley is pressed into a spending spree.
Charlie Austin’s spectacular scoring streak means QPR don’t have the problem that usually restricts newly-promoted sides but defensive reinforcements are needed. Full-backs who can defend would be welcome, while pace at the back is a priority given Richard Dunne and Rio Ferdinand’s age. Redknapp isn’t one to stay out of the January shopping spree and it’d be a shock if there aren’t significant comings and goings with Jermain Defoe, Scott Sinclair and Ravel Morrison all linked with the club.
Ronald Koeman has already brought in Eljero Elia on loan and that’s unlikely to be the end of their business with hopes of a top-four finish alive going into January. Sadio Mane is on Africa Cup of Nations duty and Jay Rodriguez continues to make slow progress from his long-term knee injury so a forward addition might be on the cards. Meanwhile, rumours of Wesley Sneijder’s arrival remain a cause for excitement at St Mary’s.
Peter Crouch and Jon Walters are both out of contract in the summer so if there is money thrown in their direction, then things could move quickly at the Britannia Stadium, especially given reports of interest in bringing Joel Campbell to the club on loan. However, it’s likely that Stoke’s position of relative safety in mid-table will ensure there is no panicking and Hughes appears fairly relaxed about the situation. “We won't be spending any significant amounts of money,” he said on Boxing Day.
Gus Poyet claims it’s obvious “even listening on the radio” to work out what’s missing at Sunderland but the head coach has to leave that to others. The need for a striker would seem to be of paramount importance given that the Black Cats are among the three lowest scorers in the country with nobody at the club having found the net five times this season. Of course, ascertaining the problem and solving it are very different things.
With Swansea in the top half of the table, there is little immediate pressure on Garry Monk and so it would be a surprise to see them forced into overpaying in the awkward January market. Key players Wilfried Bony and Ki Sung-Yueng do have international commitments mid-season but nothing that cannot be covered by Nelson Oliveira’s arrival on loan, with the acquisition of a left-back perhaps a more long-term concern. “Not that much work is required,” admits Monk.
Tottenham are in the hunt for a top-four finish and have been linked with a host of players but whether that will translate into January deals remains to be seen. Despite Harry Kane’s emergence, a striker is still needed at White Hart Lane but Jay Rodriguez’s injury setback means any pursuit of the Southampton forward is likely to have to wait until the summer. One confirmed arrival is United States international full-back DeAndre Yedlin, who has joined from Seattle Sounders.
The appointment of Tony Pulis is likely to mean more activity than usual for West Brom this January as the experienced coach looks to put his own stamp on things at the Hawthorns. Record signing Brown Ideye has been an expensive flop thus far so it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Pulis look to rejig things in attack with Saido Berahino also likely to be the focus of interest from elsewhere. The balance between long-term strategy and short-term demands will be intriguing.
The Hammers invested well in the summer and if they’re willing to spend further they could be an attractive option given their strong start to the season. Mauro Zarate has fallen out of favour with Sam Allardyce and his exit would free funds, while the short-term loss of Diafra Sakho and Cheikhou Kouyate on Africa Cup of Nations duty will need to be managed. But one man they won’t want to lose is Winston Reid with the key centre-back linked with a move away from Upton Park. They have, however, already added 21-year-old Canada international Doneil Henry from Apollon Limassol.
Follow all the transfer news on Sky Sports News HQ and skysports.com