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2020 January Transfer Window
Who needs what in the Transfer Window?
As the Premier League moves well into the second half of the season, we’re taking a look at the areas of their squads that some clubs need to strengthen in the transfer window - whether to push for European success, qualification for next year’s European competitions, or to survive in the competitive lower reaches of the bottom half.
Many spectators and pundits are asking what Manchester City’s aims are for the remainder of the season. It would require a pretty sizeable miracle for any of the chasing teams to unsettle Liverpool’s dominance in the Premier League, which may allow City to refocus their efforts on achieving the elusive success in the Champions League. Pep says he’s got no plans to buy anybody, but would a dabble in the transfer window give his side a better chance in Europe? Are there any players available who would help them, or is it not a gamble worth taking? A mouth-watering two-legged tie with Real Madrid awaits City in February and March, by which time retaining their domestic title may be even further away. Losing Aymeric Laporte was a big blow early in the season, but with his return to the training ground imminent, maybe this will be the best addition to Guardiola’s squad.
Chelsea looked set to have a quiet window purely due to the fact that they had been banned by FIFA from getting involved. But with that ruling revoked, which players might tempt Frank Lampard in a post-Christmas spending spree? There is big talk of Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake - who Chelsea sold to the South Coast club - returning for double the £20m they sold him for; and the club hierarchy is known to admire Jadon Sancho, along with every other club in Europe! Also on the shopping list is Lyon’s Moussa Dembele, formerly of Celtic. Chelsea play Bayern Munich in the Champions League and are battling to hold on to their current position in the top 4 of the Premier League. With such a young squad they may look to add some experience to consolidate their place in the top 4.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seems determined to hang on to Paul Pogba, in spite of his state of fitness, the actions of his agent and the views of most people associated with football that they should cash in. Nobody questions his talent, but there’s a strong argument that the player and the club would be better off if they parted company. With or without Pogba, where do United need to strengthen their existing squad? The summer saw the arrival of £80m Harry Maguire, so perhaps defensively they are sound, and the emergence of Mason Greenwood to support Rashford and Martial has been encouraging. But in the midfield, perhaps they are lacking guile and creativity. Juan Mata has been a wonderful player, but isn’t getting any younger. They would love a Jack Grealish or a James Maddison, but neither player is likely to move in January. Christian Eriksen might be a possibility, but would United pay out for a player who is going to be available on a free transfer in the Summer? Benfica’s Portuguese midfielder Gedson Fernandes is an option - and is apparently available for transfer.
Mikel Arteta seems to have a clear vision of the way he wants his Arsenal team to play, but it remains to be seen how many of the current squad form part of his future plans. He seems keen to hang on to Granit Xhaka, who has had a difficult start to this campaign, in spite of the midfielder having apparently agreed terms on a move to Hertha Berlin. The reality is that Arsenal are unlikely to mount a challenge for the top 6, let alone the top 4, so it may be prudent for the new boss to consolidate this season, and do their transfer business in the summer with a clean slate. If they somehow manage to secure European football next season it might help entice new players, otherwise they are relying on their historic reputation and the pedigree of their new manager to attract some fresh talent, and crucially keep hold of the better players they have. That said, with Calum Chambers set for a lengthy spell on the treatment table, getting a defender in might force Arteta’s hand.
Even after a short period of time at the helm, Carlo Ancelotti seems to have instilled some belief in his Everton players, dragging them towards the top half of the Premier League table. He’ll look to spend the second half of the season getting the best out of the players he has - giving the much improved Dominic Calvert-Lewin the belief and encouragement to push on even further in his development, and hopefully improving the outlook for his compatriot Moise Kean, who hasn’t yet turned 20 years of age. Losing Andre Gomes to injury was a blow, but there is plenty of talent in the squad, with the likes of Richarlison, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Bernard and Alex Iwobi, plus the experienced Fabian Delph and Morgan Schneiderlin in the midfield.
Like Ancelotti, David Moyes believes that the squad he has inherited is good enough to keep West Ham in the Premier League. West Ham conceded 32 goals in their opening 20 Premier League matches, and lost half of those games, so it’s pretty obvious that David Moyes needs to make them harder to beat by making the defence meaner. Whether that means bringing players in or working with the current squad remains to be seen, but he is unlikely to splash the cash during this window, more likely looking for some back up to the existing roster - which should include a goalkeeper given the lack of quality behind Lukasz Fabianski.
It doesn’t take a genius to see what makes Aston Villa tick - it’s their skipper and talisman Jack Grealish. Without Grealish there’s a strong argument that Villa would be doomed, given the number of goals (6) and assists (5) he has made in the first part of the season. Villa boss Dean Smith hasn’t got a bottomless pit of cash to spend in January, and it’s unfortunate that the £127m they spent in the summer hasn’t had a more fruitful return - but with John McGinn out of action through injury, and now the record signing Wesley also set for a prolonged spell on the sidelines, the outlook is not great for Villa - making the addition of a goalscorer in January the most likely target - Liverpool’s Rhian Brewster and former England striker Daniel Sturridge have been mentioned as possibilities, but would be difficult deals to get over the line for different reasons. A third option is a loan deal for Chelsea’s Michy Batshuayi, but given his regular involvement in the Chelsea matchday squad it might be a tough sell to the young forward. Tom Heaton also looks set to miss a chunk of the year with a knee injury so Villa may rival West Ham for a new goalkeeping option.
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