The January transfer window shuts at 11pm tonight, meaning there is still time for Premier League clubs to squeeze through some last-minute deals.
The race for a place in the top four has never been so hotly contested, while the battle to avoid relegation is wide open. At times like these, mid-season additions and departures can make a huge difference. Here we look at four potential deadline day transfers and the effects they could have on this Premier League season.
MOUSSA DEMBELE TO CHELSEA
The Rumour: The Daily Telegraph have reported that Dembele is on his way to London for a knee scan, only fuelling rumours of a £40 million move to Chelsea.
Likelihood: FW Index rating of 2.4.
Potential Effects: Moussa Dembele has been one of the most impressive players in Scottish football this season after joining Celtic from Fulham last summer for a £500,000 fee. The 20-year-old has hit 20 goals in 38 appearances in all competitions, including scoring the first hat-trick in an Old Firm derby for Celtic since 1966, and made his debut for France’s under-21 side in the process.
Chelsea are in need of a centre-forward due to a combination of factors. Diego Costa’s fallout with Antonio Conte earlier this month left them perilously close to losing their top scorer and number one striker. At that point, Conte opted to use Eden Hazard as a false nine rather than place his faith in Michy Batshuayi, who has yet to start a league game for the club and has not scored in 14 substitute outings since arriving last summer.
Should Chelsea ever have to go without Costa in the near future, Conte could do with a strong reserve option and Dembele could provide the ‘solutions’, to use the Italian manager’s favourite word. He’s young, strong, athletic and full of potential, and would only strengthen the London club’s grip on the Premier League.
MANOLO GABBIADINI TO SOUTHAMPTON
The Rumour: BBC Sport have reported that Southampton have agreed a £14 million deal to sign Gabbiadini, and that the striker is set to have a medical with the club.
Likelihood: FW Index rating of 4.9.
Potential Effects: Manolo Gabbiadini has struggled to hold down a regular starting position for Napoli since joining the club two years ago. The 25-year-old broke out at Sampdoria and earned six caps for Italy, but hasn’t progressed since leaving the Blucerchiati.
Initially overshadowed by the intimidating presence of Gonzalo Higuain, around whom Napoli’s attack used to revolve, Gabbiadini was given the opportunity to spearhead Maurizio Sarri’s attack this term upon the Argentine’s departure for Juventus. But, due to his comparatively frail physique and lack of movement, he has found himself relegated to the bench once more, with Dries Mertens often used as a false nine in his place.
Southampton have a strong recent history of getting the best out of left-footed, technical Italian strikers, with Graziano Pelle being the case in point. And, with one of the worst scoring records in the Premier League, a move for Manolo Gabbiadini could suit player and club.
LEANDRO PAREDES TO LIVERPOOL
The Rumour: The Sun have reported that Liverpool will lodge a £26.5 million bid to sign Paredes.
Likelihood: FW Index rating of 2.9.
Potential Effects: After a stunning season on loan with Empoli, most Italian football fans and pundits expected Leandro Paredes to hold down a regular spot at the base of Roma’s midfield this season. However, despite Kevin Strootman’s past injury problems and Daniele De Rossi’s advancing years, both have gotten into Luciano Spalletti’s side ahead of the 22-year-old Paredes.
Feisty and capable of the occasional reckless challenge, the Argentine is not your typical defensive midfielder. Indeed, he is more of a regista, with a proclivity for penetrative passes to break through the opposition defensive block. With superb technique, close control and vision, he is able to dictate the tempo of a match and open up teams with ease.
Liverpool’s midfield does not usually feature a recognised, out-and-out deep-lying midfielder. Instead, Jurgen Klopp has tended to go for Jordan Henderson alongside Georginio Wijnaldum and Adam Lallana. It’s a bold combination, but if Klopp wants to improve his team’s defensive record, a natural holding midfielder could come in handy.
Six months ago Paredes was seen as one of the most promising young things in European football, and one of the most talented playmakers in Serie A. If Liverpool were to sign him, they would substantially boost the balance of their midfield.
ANDREA RANOCCHIA TO HULL
Likelihood: Confirmed. Multiple sources have reported confirmed that Hull have signed Ranocchia on loan until the end of the season.
Potential Effects: The news of Hull signing a central defender on loan from Inter Milan was probably greeted with a mixture of excitement and curiosity from the Premier League club’s fans. Excitement because they had brought in a player with 21 caps for Italy and played as a defender in one of most, if not the most, rigorous defensive leagues in Europe. Curiosity because the player’s name is not particularly well known outside of the peninsula. However, fear would also have been an acceptable emotional response.
During his days at Bari, Andrea Ranocchia played alongside Leonardo Bonucci. At the time Ranocchia was viewed as the most promising of the pair, though since leaving the club the careers of both have taken starkly different directions. Bonucci is now arguably the finest centre-back in football today; Ranocchia can’t get a game for Inter.
Last term, the 28-year-old started just one league match for the Nerazzurri as his fall from grace was confirmed. His decline was only highlighted when, earlier this season, coach Stefano Pioli opted to play diminutive Chilean midfielder Gary Medel ahead of him in central defence.
Hull are in a relegation dogfight and Harry Maguire, Curtis Davies and Michael Dawson are the type of player they need in the circumstances. With askew positioning, poor judgement, slackness on the ball and proneness to error, Ranocchia is not an improvement on the Tiger’s existing central defensive options. Should he start, their chances of staying up are unlikely to improve.