Here we go:
After yesterday’s heroics against Manchester United, Newcastle will likely look to improve the existing squad to continue their early season push that had them sitting as high as third. Despite the need to improve, they may find it difficult to hang on to their existing squad considering Fabricio Coloccini and Chiek Tiote have both found themselves earning the attention of top clubs. Providing none of the core players at Newcastle are sold, expect Newcastle to make another move Swansea’s CB Ashley Williams and despite being initially turned down by the Swans, I expect them to cave once their reported £8 milliion asking price has been met. Newcastle has also been linked with a loan move for Juventus’ Vincenzo Iaquinta to add some striking depth. Newcastle have also had a £4 million bid for West Ham defender James Tomkins rejected, but another move could be in the making in the upcoming days. Newcastle has also been rumored to approach Montpellier for their 22 year old defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa.
Stoke City’s success has been largely because of their heroic defending led by captain center back Ryan Shawcross. Shawcross has already attracted the attention of his former club Manchester United, so the fight will be on for Stoke to keep him at the Brittania. Stoke has so far been rumored to be chasing Birmingham’s Liam Ridgewell in addition to being on the laundry list of clubs interested in Manchester City’s Nedum Onuoha.
Norwich overachieved in the first half of the season since their return to the Premier League thanks in large part to Grant Holt and Steve Morison. The Canaries are expected to make a move for Nottingham Forest defender Chris Gunter, but the asking price has not yet been met. Norwich has built their squad by poaching players off teams in the lower leagues so look for this trend to continue as they seek their place in next year’s Premier League campaign.
After an early season struggle which led to manager Steve Bruce’s departure, the Black Cats have rebounded fantastically under new manager Martin O’Neill. Sunderland has been linked early in the transfer window with Tottenham midfielder Steven Pienaar. While O’Neill has expressed interest in creating a Manchester City-esque revolution around the club, he has acknowledged that it will likely come without the massive financial backing that Roberto Mancini has enjoyed. Midfielder Stephane Sessegnon has been unsettled at Sunderland in recent months and a few clubs including Marseille are reportedly interested in him. Good news for Sunderland fans though as the club has signed a two year contract extension with their midfielder Jack Colback.
After beginning the season hovering around the relegation zone, Everton has recovered quite well and now find themselves in eleventh place. Their transfer business has already began as Landon Donovan has agreed to another two month load deal with the club, bringing in the American captain as they have done in the past. Everton despite their financial difficulties are looking to target French striker Guillaume Hoarau as well as his PSG teammate Mevlut Erdinc. Everton will also have to deal with the attention on their young starlet Ross Barkley who has attracted the eye of Sir Alex Ferguson. Everton are also expected to reach a contract extension with midfielder Sylvain Dystin which will keep him at Goodison Park until 2013.
The Premier League’s first Welsh representatives have done well for themselves, climbing to 12th position in the table thanks in large part to the heroic goalkeeping of Michel Vorm and some timely goals from Scott Sinclair and Danny Graham. Swansea already finds one of their key players Ashley Williams receiving the attention of Newcastle United. Swansea are rumored to be in the market for two Barcelona B players, defender Sergi Gomez on a loan deal, and striker Jonathan Soriano who may be available on a permanent deal if personal terms can be agreed between the player and club.
That’s all for today. Back tomorrow with the bottom of the table rumors and maybe an FA Cup preview.