The 2018/19 Premier League season is well underway and just six points separate the five teams at the top. With the winter transfer window quickly approaching, teams will be scrambling to improve on their weaknesses and push forward their title credentials. Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City all remain unbeaten but still have lots of improving to do while Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United try to keep up with the pace. Let’s take a look at some potential business for the Premier League’s “Big Six”
The reigning champions have started where they left off and have displayed their dominance since day one when they convincingly beat Arsenal 2-0 at the Emirates. They blew a chance to steal a win at Anfield after Mahrez skied a late penalty and are yet to play Chelsea, Tottenham or United in the league. They don’t appear to have too much business to do and it wouldn’t be a surprise if they were to be inactive during the window. However, they may continue their search for a long-term Fernandinho replacement which brings up several options. The three main targets that have been talked about since losing out on Jorginho to Chelsea have been Tanguy Ndombele (Lyon), Ruben Neves (Wolves) and Frenkie de Jong (Ajax). Ndombele has been very impressive for Lyon so far this season and at 21 years of age, he appears to be a perfect replacement for Fernandinho. Ruben Neves has impressed heavily in the past two seasons with Wolves and has adapted well to life in the Premier League. Lastly, Frenkie de Jong which is probably the riskiest with the highest potential reward. He’s been terrific for Ajax and his versatility has allowed him to adopt different roles in midfield and drop into a central defensive position if needed.
Tanguy Ndombele has had an impressive start to the season with Lyon (L’Equipe)
Jurgen Klopp was very active over the summer window bringing in Fabinho, Shaqiri and Alisson as well as Naby Keita who agreed to join the club 12 months earlier. They haven’t been as successful as Klopp had hoped but Alisson has undoubtedly made Liverpool’s defence one of the world’s best and Naby Keita’s influence in midfield has already been on display a few times. Fabinho is yet to get a real chance as too with Shaqiri but he has already had an impact when on the pitch. However, Liverpool also tried to and very nearly signed Nabil Fekir for just under £50 million during the summer but medical complications and financial disagreements put an end to negotiations. 6 months later Jurgen Klopp will probably go back for him but may look to alternative targets as he continues his search for a Coutinho replacement. Kerem Demibray of Hoffenheim is one of those alternatives with the German playmaker attracting interest from Jurgen Klopp. It’s hard to see how Demibray would compete to get a place in the starting squad though.
Nabil Fekir celebrates his stunning goal at the Etihad, is he Anfield bound? (90Min)
Sarri’s men are the third team that remains undefeated in the league alongside Liverpool and Manchester City. The Blues have enjoyed an in-form Eden Hazard as well as a well-adjusted Jorginho in midfield. Their defence seems organised and there’s plenty of depth in the Chelsea squad but an additional striker and potentially another winger could transform Chelsea into major title contenders. They won’t want to throw too much money at a gamble at this point in the season but this might mean taking a risk on someone who’s a lot cheaper than a proven World Class talent. Sarri is probably going to look to Italy where he could potentially bring over Mauro Icardi or Krzysztof Piatek who have both been in fine form this season. Alternatively, Sarri could go for a stunning move to get Anthony Martial whose contract expires in the summer.
Piatek has been in sensational form for Genoa with nine goals in 11 games, is he Morata’s replacement? (Newsbook)
Unai Emery has got Arsenal playing the way he likes and they appear to have no problem scoring goals or creating chances. However, they do remain defensively vulnerable with Sokratis’ arrival not doing enough to change that. Emery will most likely look for a left-back and a new central defender in the coming months whether that is in January or next summer, we will see. Ajax’s Tagliafico is said to be one of his targets but he won’t come cheaply. Ajax will do all they can to hold off interest in their in-form Argentine. Alternatively, a surprising move for Liverpool’s Alberto Moreno could be on the cards as his contract expires in the summer.
Tagliafico [left] is reportedly on Unai Emery’s wishlist for the winter (New Strait Times)
While Tottenham does need to do some business in the window, it appears their board is very reluctant to allow it to happen. After major investments in the stadium and other aspects of the club, big money moves might be off the cards for the foreseeable future. However, Tottenham does have a very good squad and if they develop to play together they might form the chemistry required for a winning team. That being said, there has been reported interest in Bournemouth’s Nathan Ake despite Spurs’ defensive depth with Alderweireld, Vertonghen and Sanchez.
Spurs will struggle to get Nathan Ake to leave Bournemouth and it won’t come cheap if it does happen (Evening Standard)
Jose Mourinho has come under a lot of criticism so far this season but impressive performances from Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial in recent weeks has sparked them back into life. They’re still struggling but are making their way through the pack and back up to the top six. They might also look to do some business in the winter with a clear need for some defensive stability. Romelu Lukaku’s lapse in form has also seen him dropped from the starting eleven as well as an out of form Alexis Sanchez has meant they’ve struggled for goals. This could mean Mourinho looks for a striker in the window but he might back Lukaku to rediscover his form in the coming weeks and months. United should however focus on getting star players like De Gea and Martial on new contracts.
Martial (left) has his red-hot form for United but fans are hoping that he’ll now put pen to paper in a new contract (The Star)
So, let us know who you want your team to sign in the winter window? Keep in mind that it’s never easy to pull off big moves in January with teams always reluctant to sell but hopefully, we do get some action to make for an entertaining window. Tweet us your thoughts @AllOutFootball_ using #AOF.