The Winter Transfer Window is upon us .After 16 days; one can say it’s been relatively quiet. It’s not totally surprising given the risk associated with buying players mid-season. For every Luis Suarez, there is a Fernando Torres and for every Andy Carroll, a Daniel Sturridge .The winter transfer window serves as a chance for teams to shuffle their squads. This article looks at the teams challenging for the top places (Title and Champions League), positions that need additions, likely targets and departures.
League Position: 1st
In : None
Out :Chuba Akpom(Brentford, loan),Anthony Jeffrey(Wycombe Wanderers,Free)
What They Need: A Striker and a Defensive midfielder
If the Gunners are to have a genuine chance of winning the league, Arsene Wenger must get a striker. Oliver Giroud is having a good scoring season and his link-up play with the team is near-perfect. On the other hand, he’s looked jaded in a couple of matches and prior to the Newcastle match, he had gone 5 league matches without scoring. Podolski is an alternative but tends to drift to the byline and can’t simply link-up with the rest of the team. Walcott is out for the rest of the season. Nicklas Bendtner has shown he’s a decent finisher but he’s also injured. Sanogo has spent more time on the treatment table than the pitch and is inexperienced.
Arsenal also need a defensive midfielder. Flamini might not be the best passer but is a ruthless winner of the ball and offers protection to the defence. He is however prone to odd bookings. Arteta is not a natural DMF but has so far performed admirably in that position although he does not protect the defence the way the Frenchman does.
Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid): He’s miles ahead of the Frenchman when it comes to finishing. He won’t come cheap as he is currently settled at the Vicente Calderon and the club has no intention of selling him. A January move looks unlikely.
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid): Another who has been linked to the Emirates but whose switch looks unlikely as his team, Real is another side that need a striker.
Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle): He’ll be a good signing. He is an excellent ball-winner and can score goals.
Jackson Martinez (FC Porto): He has proven himself in the Primera Liga netting 38 goals in 44 domestic league fixtures. His strength, physical presence and his finishing would no doubt be an asset. He has a reported 33.2 million pounds buyout clause.
Alvaro Morata (Real Madrid): Morata would be a good loan deal. He is a decent poacher and a team player.
- Other Targets
Fabian Schar (RB) Basel, Dimitar Berbatov(FW) Fulham, Kurt Zouma (CB) Saint Ettiene, Julian Draxler (AMF) Schalke 04, Cheikhou Kouyate(CB) Anderlecht, David Santon (LB) Newcastle, Alexandre Pato(FW) Corinthians, Sebastian Giovinco(AM) Juventus, Mattia Destro(FW) AS Roma and Saul Niguez(CM)Atletico Madrid
Thomas Vermaelen, Lukasz Fabianski, Nicklas Bendtner, Bacary Sagna and Emmanuel Frimpong
- League Position:3rd
- In: Bertrand Traore(Association Jeunes Espors DeBobo Dioulasso,undisclosed),Nemanja Matic(Benfica,21 million pounds),Mohammed Salah( Basel, 11 million pounds)
- Out: Bertrand Traore (Vitesse Arnhem, Loan), Kenneth Omeruo (Middlesbrough, Loan), Patrick Bamford (Derby County, Loan), Jimmy Kebe (Leeds, Loan),Ryan Bertrand(Aston Villa,Loan),Kevin De Bruyne(Wolfsburg,17 million pounds),Josh McEachran(Wigan Athletic,Loan),Michael Essien(AC Milan) and Nathaniel Chalobah(Middlesbrough,Loan).
- What They Need: A Striker that can actually score goals
The need for a top-class striker has been well documented and needs no further introduction. Torres, Eto’o, Demba Ba and Andre Schurrle have a combined goal haul of 17. Luis Suarez beats that by 5. Mourinho has however repeatedly stated that he’s happy with his strikers and their contribution to team. Like Arsenal, if they want to make a serious push for the title they would need to bring a world class striker as soon as possible.
- Radamel Falcao (Monaco): He would be a great signing and a statement of intent. The fact that his club is not in the Champions League means the Colombian won’t be cup-tied. It remains to be seen whether a move would be sanctioned as the Blues just announced a loss of 49.4 million pounds for the year 2013. A move looks unlikely this winter.
- Jackson Martinez (FC Porto): A player who will no doubt fit into Mou’s team. His aerial and physical threats are assets Jose admires in a striker.
- Mario Balotelli (AC Milan): A talented but equally controversial footballer. His Club would be reluctant to let him go as he’s seen as a key player in the next “Milan” though that could change if they receive a big offer.
- Kevin Volland (Hoffenheim):Chelsea has been credited with a move for the 21 year old German winger. He is a left-footed player blessed with pace and dribbling skills and can play on the right wing.He is currently valued at12million Euros. He can also play upfront. Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham and German Champions Bayern have all been credited with interest. Expect this to turn to a bidding war which won’t end in January.
Kurt Zouma(CB) Saint Etienne, Diego Costa(FW) Atletico Madrid, Eliquim Mangala(CB) FC Porto, Luke Shaw(LB) Southampton, Fredy Guarin(CM)Inter Milan and Saul Niguez(CM)Atletico Madrid
- Potential Departures
Demba Ba, David Luiz and Juan Mata
- League Position:5th
- In: Aiden McGeady (Spartak Moscow,2.5million pounds)
- Out:Tyias Browning(Wigna,Loan),Shane Duffy(Yeovil,Loan), Hallam Hope(Northampton,Loan),Matthew Kennedy(Tranmere,Loan), Chris Long(MK Dons,Loan) and Matthew Pennington(Tranmere,Loan), Nikica Jelavic (Hull City,5.25 million pounds +1million pounds) and Mason Springthrope(Woking,Loan).
- WHAT THEY NEED
Roberto Martinez has so far done an excellent job at the Goodsion Park. He’s got the team playing an attractive style of football something his predecessor, would applaud.
The loan signings of Martinez have been spot on. Barry has been a revelation; Lukaku has continued from where he stopped at Hawthorns last season. All this has led to them been touted as the dark horses for a top four finish.
For this ‘dream’ to be realized, Roberto needs to get another striker. Nikica Jelavic has moved to Hull City. Arouna Kone is out for a long spell and Apostolos Vellios is inexperienced.
Apart from the front line, Martinez needs a central defender. There is nothing wrong with the partnership of Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin but Phil is 31 and Distin is 35. Antolin Alcaraz is 31 and has been out for some time.Johnnny Heitinga could leave and Shane Duffy is on loan at Yeovil Town.
- Potential Targets
John Souttar (CB) Dundee United, Bruno Martins Indi(CB) Feyenoord, Yann M’Villa (DM) Rubin Kazan, Eddy Onaz(CM) Lazio, Ryan Gauld (AM) Dundee United, Nabil (FW) AIK Stockholm, Wilfried Zaha(FW) Manchester United, Diogo Viana(FW) Gil Vicente, Michy Batshuayi( FW) Standard Leige, Landon Donovan(FW) LA Galaxy, Kenwyne Jones(FW) Stoke City, Andrew Robinson(LB) Dundee United and Emmanuel Agyeman-Badu(CM) Udinese
Aiden McGeady has joined and I have no doubt that he’ll be a good signing for them. He would bring the width they’ve at times lacked this season. He’s got decent pace and is equally a tricky player. Landon is a good player and won’t be a stranger in the dressing room. Jones is good in the air and is another option. Andrew Robinson, I feel will only will be necessary if Baines decides to jump ship and join United.Yans M’Villa would a good addition especially with Barry’s deal a loan. All this depends on money.
- Potential Departures
Johnny Heitinga, Ross Barkley and Leighton Baines
- League Position:4th
- In: None
- Out: Adam Morgan( Yeovil,Free), Ryan McLaughlin(Tranmere,Loan),Graig Roddan(Accrington,Loan),Tiago Ilori(Granada,Loan)
- What they Need
Brendan Rodgers side has so far surpassed all expectations. The Reds currently occupy the final Champions League place and still with an outside chance of contending for the title. Luis has been firing on all cylinders. His partnership with Daniel Sturridge has blossomed. The defence has also experienced some form of stability and there is depth. It’s the midfield and the wide areas I feel need signings. Moses has been particularly disappointing and Henderson for all his industry is no wide man or a number 10.The full back positions could do with a backup as Enrique has been in and out of the team and Cissokho is clearly not the answer. On the right, Glen Johnson’s form has nosedived recently and there is no cover.
Ivan Rakitic (CM) Sevilla: The Sevilla Captain has been in good form this season and has so far attracted a host of European clubs amongst who are Liverpool and Paris Saint Germain. He recently stated he’s happy in Spain.
Mohammed Salah (FW) Basel: The Egyptian forward would no doubt be an excellent addition. He is versatile. He can play on the flanks and off a striker. He’ll bring the much needed pace and width to the team .Chelsea fans won’t forget him in a hurry.
Arda Turan (AM) Atletico Madrid, Martin Montoya(RB) Barcelona, Javier Pastore(AM) Paris Saint Germain, Ryan Gauld(AM) Dundee United, Danny Ings(CF) Burnley, Emmanuel Agyeman Badu(CM)Udinese, Will Hughes(CM) Derby County,Fernando (FC Porto), Cheikhou Kouyate(CB) Anderlecht and Ola John(Winger) Benfica
- Potential Departures
Iago Aspas (loan), Luis Alberto (loan), Daniel Agger and Tiago Ilori (Loan)
- League Position: 2nd
- In: None
- Out: John Guidetti(Stoke,Loan),Abdisalam Ibrahim(Released),Albert Rusnak(Birmingham City,Loan)
- What They Need: A solid defensive partner for Vincent Kompany
The attacking talent of this team is frightening.Aguero and Negredo have developed a telepathic understanding. Dzeko has 15 goals to him despite the fact he’s not a starter. Yaya Toure has been really impressive, Nasri has looked rejuvenated. Navas with his direct running and pace has given them the width they lacked last season. It’s however at the back where they look short. Club Captain Vincent Kompany, one of the best around has been off and on and the backups have looked shaky. Martin Demichelis is no doubt an experienced stalwart but has shown every bit his age this season. Joleon Lescott is not fancied by Manuel Pellegrini and Natasic tends to play well only when Kompany is around. Goalkeeper Joe Hart also has question marks after some poor early season form.
- Nicolas Otamendi (Centre Back) FC Porto. He has won 15 caps for Argentina, a 3-time Primera Liga Champion and a Europa League winner. The 25 year old will be a valuable addition to the team.
- Kurt Zouma (Centre Back) Saint Etienne: The subject of interest of so many clubs. A prospect for the future. He won’t come cheap but this is Manchester City (they have the money).
Eliaquim Mangala (Centre Back) FC Porto: Another player the big teams in England are keeping tabs on. He is valued at 40 million pounds by Porto. Whether the Eastland side would sanction such a move remains to be seen.
Sergio Ramos (Centre Back) Real Madrid: For all his disciplinary issues, he still remains one of the best in his position. An excellent ball playing defender who hardly let his opponents get past him. He won’t come cheap
- Other Targets
- Kelechi Iheanacho(Winger) Taye Academy, Lassana Diarra (Defensive Midfielder) Lokomotiv Moscow, Dante(Centre Back) Bayern Munchen, Luke Shaw(Left Back) Southampton and Willy Caballero(GK) Malaga
- Potential Departures
Joleon Lescott, Jack Rodwell and Aleksander Kolarov
- League Position: 7th
- In: None
- Out: Anderson(Fiorentina,Loan),Jack Barmby(Hartlepool,Loan)
- Who They Need: A world class midfielder
The Manchester United midfield is static, pedestrian, predictable and lacks creativity. Carrick has not hit the heights of last season due to his romance with injury, Cleverley has played almost every league game but has no assist to his name, Anderson has been largely disappointing; another who flirts with injuries. Fletcher has been out for a while and it would take some time for him to get back to top form.Marouane Fallaini has been largely uninspiring. The likes of Young and Nani are decent players but not good enough for a club of the stature of United. The former is known better for his diving antics than his football skills.
The left back needs reinforcement.Evra’s past his best and would not be offered a new deal. Buttner looks a backup material and Fabio is another who would be shown the backdoor. If Manchester United is to conjure a comeback and clinch an unlikely Champions League slot, then quality additions need to be made. It’s hard to imagine them sign 6-7 players this month but I still expect them to try.
- Koke (AM) Atletico Madrid: The 21 year would bring fluidity and pace to a static midfield. He has a 16million Euros buyout clause. With Atletico firmly in the title race and the Red Devils not sure of their Champions League slot, I doubt if moving to Old Trafford would interest the Spaniard.
IIkay Gundogan (CM) Borussia Dortmund: He would be an excellent signing. I don’t see any move happening in this winter window.
- Wesley Sneidjer: Not the force he was a couple of years ago. He would still be a good addition. He is 29 and United might not go for someone who would have a low resale value. A move is unlikely.
- Marco Reus (AM) Borussia Dortmund: This is unlikely as the player has said he’s happy at the Signal Iduna and is not keen on a move. A massive blow to United.
- Arturo Vidal: One of best midfielders in this world. I don’t see how a move would materialize. He just extended his contract and is happy at Juventus.
- Leighton Baines: A long time target of the Red devils. Yesterday’s reports have it that he’ll sign a new deal at Everton to keep him for the rest of his career. A big blow!
- Other Targets
Alex Sandro (LB) FC Porto, Ross Barkley(AM) Everton, Luke Shaw(LB) Southhampton, Antoine Griezmann(FW) Real Sociedad, Ander Herrera(CM) Athletic Bibao, Fabio Coentrao(LB) Real Madrid, Paul Pogba(CM) Juventus, Ezequiel Garay(CB)Benfica, Claudio Marchisio(CM) Juventus, Everton Ribeiro(AM) Cruzeiro and Marek Hamsik(CM) Napoli
- Potential Departures
Nani, Ashley Young, Fabio, Zaha (Loan) and Javier Hernandez
- League Position:6th
- In: None
- Out:Jermain Defoe(Toronto,6million pounds),Simon Dawkins(Derby, undisclosed),Jon Obika(Brighton, Loan),Shaquille Coulthirst(Leyton Orient, Loan)
- What They Need: A Left Back and a Striker
It’s hard to imagine Daniel Levy getting his chequebook out after spending 100 million pounds in the summer. The squad looks fairly settled with good depth. It’s in the left back that I feel they lack quality. Rose has not been consistent and while Vertonghen is adept at playing there, he’s better as a Centre back.Assou Ekotto could also be recalled from QPR.
With Defoe’s impending departure, they’ll have only two senior strikers and Kane, a back-up. A striker would be needed especially as Tim Sherwood prefers two strikers upfront.
- Potential Targets.
Alexander Buttner(LB) Manchester United, Dodo(LB) AS Roma Alvaro Morata(FW) Real Madrid, Shane Long(FW) West Brom, Mohammed Salah(FW) Basel, Luke Shaw(LB) Southampton, Bafetimbi Gomis(FW)Lyon, Giuseppe Rossi(FW) Fiorentina Diego Perotti(AM) Sevilla, Fabio Quagliarella(FW) Juventus and Ezequiel Lavezzi(FW) Paris Saint Germain
Erik Lamela, Paulinho, Lewis Holtby,Kyle Naughton, Etienne Capoue, Heurelho Gomes and Nacer Chadii
Questions of the Day
- Who should your club go for?
- Who would be your dream signing?
- Who would you be unhappy to see leave?