The January transfer window is nearly upon us. It’s an opportunity for teams to strengthen, for gaps to be filled and upgrades to be signed.
Many managers claim January isn’t the time to do business. That it’s a seller’s market and players are overpriced. Of course, it’s true, but any club wanting to let a player go has an advantage and, for the most part, transfer fees are overpriced all year round.
There is value for money in January if you know where to look. Having said that, though, several teams in the Premier League are in need of a change and with the TV money available it’s hard to really buy into clubs not spending.
With this in mind we’ve taken a look at every Premier League club to work out exactly what it is they need next month.
The Gunners have yet to find a perfect balance in central midfield despite trying a number of different players there. Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka have done an admirable job at times but Arsenal can still look exposed when the duo are paired.
They’ve recently been linked with Steven N’Zonzi and he’d be an ideal signing to shore the middle third up. The Frenchman has a release clause of around £35million, a figure that will not put Arsenal off.
The Cherries, for all of their attractive football, can’t defend and in the Premier League that’s a problem.
They’re on track to concede 50 goals again this season while only scoring 32. It might just be enough to keep them afloat, but there’s a risk Eddie Howe’s side could become firmly embroiled in a relegation scrap.
So Damien Da Silva of Caen should be a transfer target to plug gaps defensively.
The arrival of the centre-back would allow Simon Francis to play more games as a right-back without losing the captains physicality in the central area. Da Silva averages 3.3 headers per 90 minutes, on par with Nathan Aké and just behind Francis (3.9).
Chris Hughton’s men shocked many pundits with their transfer business this summer. They targeted players from foreign leagues who were preforming but still undervalued.
Their model paid off and they’re doing well in the Premier League. So, if it’s not broke then don’t fix it, and in January Brighton should raid Ligue 1 for Gael Kakuta. Chelsea fans may be familiar with him, but he’s settled in the French league with Amiens and he’s posting decent stats.
He’s been involved in seven goals this season, is completing 2.3 dribbles per 90 and playing 1.8 key passes. There’s no guarantee he’d replicate that in England but adding unpredictability to your team increases the chances of goals.
The Clarets are having as close to a perfect season as they could have expected. It’s hard to improve on it but they need to make the most of the situation they currently find themselves in.
Leo Dubois, currently starring for Nantes, would be another shrewd addition to the Burnley squad. The 22-year-old full-back can fill in on either flank and would give Sean Dyche added flexibility.
The Premier League champions missed out on Fernando Llorente on deadline day of the summer transfer window. The Spanish forward instead opted to join Spurs but he’s not done much for Mauricio Pochettino’s men since the move.
It didn’t initially look like a huge loss to Chelsea’s chances but it turned out to be more damaging than anybody could’ve expected.
Àlvaro Morata has impressed since his summer move but he can’t play every single game and without him the dynamic of the team changes. Antonio Conte needs another forward with a similar profile to that of Morata’s and Mario Mandzukic ticks the boxes.
He’s happy at Juventus but could the 31-year-old really turn down one last big payday?
Yannis Salibur should top Crystal Palace’s transfer list this January.
The 26-year-old’s arrival would mean Zaha could remain in a central position, an area he’s excelled in under Roy Hodgson in recent weeks.
The Toffees spent a lot of money in the summer but failed to replace Romelu Lukaku’s goals. As basic as this sounds, goals really do make the world go round in the Premier League and without them it’s hard to mount a top half challenge.
The majority of Sam Allardyce’s teams have had a target man leading the line, Everton are currently relying on 20-year-old Dominic Calvert-Lewin. A move for Christian Benteke, someone Allardyce worked with at Crystal Palace, makes a lot of sense.
The Terriers are doing well in their debut season in the Premier League but a lack of goals may come back to haunt them later on in the season. A move for Karl Toko Ekambi of Angers in Ligue 1 may give them an adrenaline shot during January.
The forward has been involved in 12 goals this season and appears to be the type of player Premier League defenders hate to come up against. He’s always on the move, always looking to stretch a backline and has a knack of finding himself in the right position at the right time.
Steven Bergwijn should be on the Leicester wish list. Though the Foxes have Demarai Gray, Marc Albrighton and Riyad Mahrez at their disposal currently, there are question marks over whether two of them will be at the club next season.
Mahrez has been linked with a number of clubs while Gray is a Tottenham Hotspur transfer target. Bergwijn, currently playing for PSV, would be a good long-term project for Claude Puel and could replace either of the two in the Leicester squad.
The Reds may have shored up defensively over recent weeks but, as proven against Arsenal, they’re always one match away from imploding.
A mature head at the back would help and Virgil van Dijk still tops the list for many Liverpool fan.
Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino has already said he can’t control the future of his players and the Reds have been named as one of the teams still interested in the centre-back.
Pep Guardiola’s men look almost unstoppable right now. The only thing that may throw a spanner in the works is their centre-back issue.
Vincent Kompany can’t be relied upon and Guardiola doesn’t trust Eliaquim Mangala. City need depth but they also need quality. Leonardo Bonucci is reportedly eyeing a move away from AC Milan after a difficult six months at the club, he would be the perfect player to come in at the Etihad.
Alex Sandro was a one-time Chelsea transfer target but is now on the radar of Man United.
The Red Devils need a left-back with Luke Shaw and Matteo Darmian failing to impress and Ashley Young not getting any younger.
José Mourinho is reportedly a keen admirer of the Brazilian full-back and United have the money to tempt most clubs into selling a player.
The Magpies are in the same boat as Everton and Huddersfield. They need goals and they need them quickly. Rafael Benítez has shown he knows how to set a team up defensively but you can’t always rely on your backline and need an attacking unit to bail them out from time to time.
They’ve been linked with Daniel Sturridge and if they’re able to get him for a fair price then he’s the type of striker who could fire them up the table.
Another team needing goals. It was revealed in the summer the Saints needed to sell before they could buy. A good January window could hinge on whether or not they sell van Dijk.
If the Dutchman remains at St. Marys’ then Pellegrino might not have much money to play with. Perhaps a loan move for in-demand Danny Ings may be on the cards. He’s a bit of a wildcard but that’s sometimes all you need.
Stoke like tricky wingers who are capable of playing anywhere across the attack. Jesé hasn’t lived up to expectations and could see his loan move cancelled with Las Palmas wanting to take him back to Spain.
A player the Potters could target to replace him is former Liverpool academy player Kristoffer Peterson. The versatile Swedish winger is impressing for Heracles in the Eredivisie and wouldn’t break the bank. He could play in place of Xherdan Shaqiri as well as alongside him.
Ihlas Bebou is an underrated gem in the Bundesliga. The Hannover forward has five goals for the team this season, including two in the 4-2 win over Borussia Dortmund.
He can play anywhere in attack and would be the man capable of supplying Tammy Abraham with the service he needs to score the goals Swansea require to keep them in the Premier League.
On their day Spurs can look incredible. But Pochettino’s men aren’t blessed with squad depth by any stretch of the imagination, especially not in attacking areas.
If Dele Alli is off the boil then Heung-Min Son comes in, but he’s not a direct replacement for the former MK Dons man. Likewise, if Christian Eriksen is ever absent, Spurs need players who can come into the starting XI without it causing a ripple.
It’s why they should make a move for Nadiem Amiri in January. The Hoffenheim playmaker has been linked with a switch to the Premier League and could be a weapon in the right hands.
Watford’s top scorer this season is a centre-midfielder. In fact, Abdoulaye Doucouré has as many goals (six) as Troy Deeney (two) and £18million summer signing Andre Gray combined (four).
The Hornets need to add a sting to their forward line because they’re leaking goals at an alarming rate. They won’t be able to outscore every team but goals from your forwards go a long way.
Alan Pardew needs to bring in players to help him add a touch of personality to the Baggies.
While at Newcastle and Crystal Palace he had Yohan Cayabe, a playmaker who didn’t mind getting his hands dirty. He’s got Grzegorz Krychowiak at his disposal but he might want to add another player who has a similar profile.
Dani Garcia of Eibar could be that player. He’s available on a free in the summer so wouldn’t cost much in January. He makes 5.4 tackles and interceptions per 90 but knows how to use the ball. He could be invaluable to the WBA side as a squad player.
West Ham have looked a lot more resilient since David Moyes came in but they aren’t blessed with an abundance of options at centre-back.
Jose Fonte’s form has been patchy since moving to the club and there are still question marks over Angelo Ogbonna. Perhaps that’s why the Hammers have been linked with Lille centre-back Adama Soumaoro.
He’s able to play as a right-back but Football Whispers’ very own Andrew Gibney believes his long-term position is at the heart of the defence: “If a manager plays him as a centre-back, there is little in the way of a downside.
“He is good in the air, strong, has good pace and with over 90 per cent of his passes hitting their target, he’s calm in possession.”