The transfer window has had a major impact since it was introduced in 2002. English clubs have become used to having just two windows in which they can buy and sell players but things changed somewhat this year as the Premier League altered the rules so that the window shut before the first game of the new season.
That left many top flight clubs scrambling about to get deals over the line and has placed even more importance on the January window. Whether their team are at the top, middle or bottom of the table, Premier League managers will be desperate to bolster their squads so we’ve taken a look at what every club needs in the coming month.
Defensive Reinforcements Key for Arsenal
Unai Emery has done very well since rocking up in North London especially as he’s been operating with largely the same squad that he inherited from Arsene Wenger. The few signings he made in summer have largely been successes but there is a lot more work to be done.
Emery will have money to spend in January and although Arsenal have been linked with big deals for the likes of Ousmane Dembele, it is in defence where reinforcements are most needed. In that regard the Gunners have been linked with Leicester’s Ben Chilwell and even Chelsea’s Gary Cahill. Further forward Cengiz Under could join from Roma.
Will Bournemouth Be Happy With Their Lot?
Bournemouth began the season incredibly well but have since hit the skids rather dramatically. The Cherries are in no danger of being relegated so there is no need for anybody at the club to panic but will the fans be happy if that translates into a lack of business in January?
The one thing you can be sure of is that any deals will be heavily vetted by Eddie Howe and his coaching staff to ensure they have the best chance of fitting in with the players already at the club. Bournemouth have been linked with Callum Robinson and Joe Lolley from Championship clubs but the best deal could be getting Ruben Loftus-Cheek on loan from Chelsea.
Brighton In Need of Competition for Places
The flurry of fixtures around the festive period has not done much for Brighton. With Chris Hughton in charge the Seagulls are unlikely to be relegated but it is no coincidence that their form has tailed off as Hughton has had to delve deeper into his squad. Only one team has used fewer players than Brighton this season and Hughton would dearly love a bit more competition for places to get the best out of his players.
Cardiff’s Kadeem Harris and Celtic’s Callum McGregor are potential signings but Hughton may be most concerned with ensuring he hangs on to Pascal Gross, Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy who have all been linked with moves away from the Amex Stadium.
Will Burnley Splash the Cash?
Sean Dyche has cut an increasingly frustrated figure as the season has progressed. The Burnley manager has hit out several times at what he views as the poor behaviour of opposition players but deep down he knows that the Clarets’ problems this season lie significantly closer to home.
Burnley seem to have lost the ability to hang on during games, a feature of their play that made them such frustrating opponents last season. The club’s hierarchy are more than happy to allow Dyche the time to turn things around so does that mean they will be busy in the window? They could do with fresh blood in almost every area of the pitch but expect signings to be of the Jay Rodriguez, James McArthur, Matt Ritchie variety – British players with bags of Premier League experience but perhaps lacking in that star quality.
Cardiff to Stick With the Plan
The sight of a positively serene Neil Warnock has surprised Premier League fans this season. The Cardiff manager still has plenty of fire in him but he’s certainly mellowed with age and is intent on enjoying his time back in the Premier League. Warnock would love to manage the best players in the league but he has a plan with Cardiff which is so far keeping their heads above water.
Cardiff are not about to change their approach, especially as they’re doing enough to stay up. They may well make signings but only if Warnock is convinced they’ll be able to fit in with the highly motivated and hardworking players already at the club.
Chelsea to Make a Big Money Purchase?
Maurizio Sarri is one of the most demanding managers in the world. It’s questionable just how much say managers have in the transfer business at Chelsea but Sarri will only give his blessing to signings of the very highest calibre.
We all know that Chelsea have a massive transfer kitty but they’ll have to part with a large proportion of it if they are to land any of the big name players they’ve been linked with who include Denis Suarez, Gonzalo Higuain and Nicolo Barella.
Crystal Palace in Need of a Quality Goalscorer
It’s often been said of Crystal Palace that they cannot play well unless Wilfried Zaha plays well. Unfortunately for Palace they’ve missed Zaha for spells this season and have even struggled for form when their talisman is in the team.
Zaha cannot carry the Eagles for the rest of the season and Roy Hodgson is desperate for more attacking firepower as Christian Benteke and Alexander Sorloth have been such flops. Will they target experience in the shape of Jermain Defoe or go with youth and try to tempt Dominic Solanke for a loan deal? A move for former Eagle, Victor Moses, has also been mooted.
Quiet January Expected at Everton
Everton have had no problem splashing the cash in the last few transfer windows but there are still areas of the squad that Marco Silva would very much like to strengthen. The Toffees’ lack of quality compared to the top teams is clear from the fact that they are winless against the Premier League’s top seven but they are planning for the long term and could well resist the temptation to make any major signings.
Marcel Brands is the man in charge of recruitment at Everton and whilst he’s not completely ruled out incoming players he has suggested that they’re not currently pursuing any particular deals.
Ranieri Looking to Balance Fulham’s Squad
Fulham caught the eye for their attacking play last season in the Championship but even then it was clear that they had issues in defence. That makes the lack of quality additions at the back following their promotion rather strange. Claudio Ranieri has worked his magic on the training ground to tighten Fulham’s defence up but he’s still working with an unbalanced squad.
Ranieri’s attempts to plug the gaps in his squad could see him turn to players he knows such as Danny Drinkwater who cannot get a game at Chelsea. Other players linked with a move to Craven Cottage include James McCarthy, Lys Mousset and Nathaniel Clyne.
How Much Will Huddersfield Spend on a Striker
David Wagner has a host of problems he must solve if he is to keep Huddersfield in the Premier League for another season. Top of his priorities must surely be a striker capable of scoring 10 or more goals in the second half of the campaign.
Huddersfield are absolutely terrible going forwards but they lack the funds of many of their competitors so it remains to be seen whether they can spend the money necessary to tempt a striker of the quality they need?
Who Will Call the Shots at Leicester?
The big incoming deal at Leicester in January may not turn out to be a striker. Claude Puel’s position as manager continues to come under serious scrutiny despite recent wins over Man City and Chelsea.
Whoever is in charge during the window will likely have to sell players before new deals are sanctioned. Ben Chilwell has been linked with a couple of big clubs whilst some fringe players such as Andy King may be allowed to leave.
One Quality Addition to Maintain Liverpool’s Momentum?
Liverpool fans are absolutely delighted with the way things have gone so far this season. Jurgen Klopp is not the sort of manager to rest on his laurels though. He demands full concentration from his players even when the team has a commanding lead in matches and could be equally demanding of the club’s hierarchy.
One top class signing could be just the thing to keep Liverpool’s players on their toes. Adrien Rabiot, Iker Muniain and Marco Asensio have all be mentioned and could provide the spark that Klopp is looking for.
Man City Board to Sanction a Big Deal or Two
Man City have become used to setting the pace at the top of the Premier League so will be very concerned to have ground to make up on Liverpool at the start of 2019. The club’s ambitious owners have no problem digging into their deep pockets and will have long since drawn up transfer plans with Pep Guardiola.
Full back is an issue but transfer rumours so far suggest that Guardiola is especially keen on a holding midfielder to relieve some of the reliance on Fernandinho. Elsewhere, Isco has been talking about a potential move but that may have to wait until the summer.
Man United Have Bigger Fish to Fry
After such a disappointing season so far you may think that Man United will be breaking the bank to bring in a top class player or two. However, the club’s board failed to back Jose Mourinho with the signings he wanted and are much more concerned with finding the right manager to take over in the summer.
It’s more likely that the club will allow some players to leave to free up wages and space in the squad that the new manager can fill over the summer.
Newcastle Fans to Be Disappointed Again
Newcastle fans have been complaining about the lack of money made available by the club’s board for years now. Mike Ashley has borne the brunt of the criticism but there is little chance of him changing his approach just to placate the fans or even Rafa Benitez.
Benitez has done a wonderful job keeping Newcastle away from the bottom three with the rather limited talent pool he has to work with. That is unlikely to do him any favours in terms of his transfer kitty though as Ashley will be content that Newcastle can survive without any additional investment.
New Attacking Impetus Expected at Southampton
The Southampton board acted relatively quickly when they saw that things had gone stale under the management of Mark Hughes. Ralph Hasenhuttl has introduced a real energy to the Saints but he is still suffering from many of the same problems as his predecessor including a lack of goals.
Southampton used to be renowned for their scouting network. That’s been scaled back a bit in recent years though so English based forwards such as Kemar Roofe and Josh Maja or players who Hasenhuttl has worked with before could be the way the club goes in January.
Will Tottenham be Quiet Again?
Despite the lack of a single transfer in the summer Tottenham have once again proven that they are capable of competing against the very best teams in the Premier League. Mauricio Pochettino has hinted that he was disappointed with the lack of business in the last window but will Daniel Levy be able to loosen the purse strings to try and keep his manager at the club even if he wanted to?
The ever increasing costs of the move to the new stadium have limited Spurs’ competitiveness in the transfer window although they did make moves in January last year so could do so again.
Incomings Inevitable at Watford
The Pozzo family who own Watford have an established system of scouts and clubs they either also own or work very closely with. That network has allowed Watford to become an established Premier League team despite an extreme lack of consistency in terms of players and managers.
Javi Gracia may not have too much say in terms of who comes in but you can be sure Watford will sign players in January. More changes are unlikely to do much for Watford’s lack of consistency but they’ll likely unearth another gem to give them fresh impetus for the run in.
Will West Ham Stop at Nasri?
West Ham have already made a signing who will be officially registered in January. Samir Nasri has signed a short term deal following the completion of his ban for doping. The West Ham owners spent a lot of money in the summer again but they tend to only dip into the market in January if the team are in trouble.
Manuel Pellegrini has West Ham playing well so may have to make do with his current squad even though he has a host of long term injury problems to deal with.
Wolves to Flex Their Financial Muscle
Wolves have been heralded as the best newly promoted team in Premier League history. Nuno Espirito Santo deserves a lot of credit for the way his team played last season and this, but he’s certainly been backed by a lot of money.
One of the few criticisms of Wolves is that they have a lack of Premier League experience so it will be interesting to see if the inevitable signings they make have played in England before or if they’re happy scouring European leagues.