Written by Billy Munday
The New Year is approaching and that doesn’t just mean celebrations with family and friends for the football fan, it’s also the start of the January transfer window. And with the amount of money involved in the Premier League this season, it ensures that there will be fireworks all across England next month. So, whether your team is fighting relegation or channelling for the Premier League, every side can be improved. Who could be brought in to take your team to the next level? Allow me to introduce you to some familiar and unfamiliar faces.
Title challengers: Chelsea, Arsenal, Man City, Liverpool
These clubs at the top of the league all have their individual weaknesses. Teams like Chelsea and Arsenal probably need a combative, powerful yet skillful midfielder to work with the likes of Kante and Coquelin respectively, William Carvalho of Sporting Lisbon has been continuously linked with Arsenal recently but may suit Chelsea better as a more technical version of Nemanja Matic. Claudio Marchisio at Juventus has strong links with Chelsea manager Antonio Conte after working with him at the Old Lady and the Italian National Team, and his experience of challenging for the title and competing at the very highest level of European competition could prove valuable to a team such as Arsenal and Chelsea.
Liverpool and Manchester City have their own problems, most noticeably in defence where these two teams have fallen short this season, Liverpool conceding the 2nd most goals in the top 10 in the Premier League so far this season. A left-back must be the first on the reds’ shopping list with James Milner only seen as a short term replacement to the evidently not good enough Alberto Moreno. Aaron Cresswell at West Ham, a Liverpool fan himself, is a good option to have, having just made his England debut in the recent friendly against Spain. With the absence of captain Vincent Kompany in City’s defence, Nicolas Otamendi, John Stones and Aleksander Kolarov have been unable to replicate the stability and defensive assurance that the big Belgian brings. The imperious Southampton centre-back Virgil Van Dijk has impressed since joining from Celtic in the summer of 2015 and is a natural leader on the pitch, however if City choose to look overseas, Marquinhos of PSG looks a great buy if they are looking for a world-class long-term replacement. Both teams also have an evident goalkeeper problem with new signings Lorius Karius and Claudio Bravo seeming to be finding life in the Premier League more difficult than expected.
Pushing for Europe: Spurs, Man Utd, Southampton, Everton
Tottenham and Man Utd are both in need of a ball-playing, young midfielder who can fit into their already strong midfield’s as long-term replacements for the likes of Michael Carrick. Nigerian starlet, Musa Yahaya, 18, is an extremely promising youngster on the books at Portuguese side Portimonense. He has previously been on a summer tour with Spurs a couple of years ago but seems to have dropped under the radar since, making him available for any side looking for the next Xavi to suit their playing style. Zlatan Ibrahimovic will not be around forever and Harry Kane will not play every Spurs game from now until he retires, so who could potentially replace these big hitters? Moussa Dembele at Celtic has proven he is good enough at the top level after impressing in the Champions League with 3 goals in the group stage. Will Spurs go in for him again after Dembele chose Glasgow over London last summer, or will Manchester United beat them to him?
Mid-table stability: West Brom, Stoke, Bournemouth, Watford, Burnley
If you’re a fan of a mid-table club, the chances are you’re not celebrating many goals, even if you aren’t conceding many either. A proven goalscorer can be all that is needed to transform an average side into a competitive side, as seen with Jamie Vardy at Leicester last season. No need to look overseas here as many current Premier League strikers could be looking to move on such as Jermain Defoe at Sunderland, overseas strikers aren’t always the best option as they struggle to adapt to the physicality of the league. Again, a striker like Moussa Dembele or Tammy Abraham (at Bristol City on loan from Chelsea) look like natural goal scorers with big futures. Another position teams struggling to find the back of the net could look to is attacking midfielders, to create opportunities for their forwards to convert. Gaston Ramirez could transform a multi-national team like Watford, and Middlesbrough may struggle to keep hold of him if he wants to ensure his status as a Premier League player. Ruben Loftus-Cheek at Chelsea is looking for a big break and is probably available on loan, he has the ability but just needs the chance to show it, and a team like Bournemouth could be perfect for him to really start making a name for himself.
credit dom fellowes
Beating the drop: Crystal Palace, Middlesbrough, West Ham, Swansea, Hull, Sunderland
In this situation, a team may need two or three new players to really haul them out of a sticky situation. Sunderland showed everyone how to do it last season, with Sam Allardyce bringing in players like Wahbi Khazri, Jan Kirchoff and DeAndre Yedlin. Most of the teams listed above are shipping goals, a high quality centre back is probably needed to plug a few gaps and organise a defence. Timm Klose at Norwich may look for a way back into the Premier League, the Canaries bought him from Wolfsburg in the January window last season and probably the reason they ended up getting relegated was because of a long injury to Klose, who had settled into their defence. Phil Jagielka seems to have lost his place in the Everton team this season to Ashley Williams and the Everton captain would improve and organise almost any defence in England, his experience and leadership could ensure survival for many a team.
Come the 31st of January, who knows what will happen, these are my suggestions and I believe if each of the clubs in England’s top flight eradicates their weaknesses, they will fulfil their objectives. But it isn’t a question of quantity of players, but it is the quality of the signing that may prove crucial come May.
Who should your club sign? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image by Save The Dream