As the ball touched down on New Year’s Eve, the January transfer window was thrown open. Clubs around the world are now scrambling to make the signings and secure departures that will allow them to push for the title, build for the future, or offload some talent that has become “distracting” (in Chelsea’s case all three). With the window just recently opened, let’s look at what to expect from Premier League teams in order of their current standings:
After starting out the season on fire, City has cooled off towards the end of 2011. After suffering losses to Chelsea and Sunderland and drawing to West Brow, but recovering to beat Liverpool handily just yesterday, the top ranked club is not expected to make any big splashes in the transfer market. However, that may quickly change if the unhappy Carlos Tevez can be sold early in the window. Rumors already have the Citizens linked with Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi. Rossi is rumored to have been given a contract ultimatum that is due by Friday, if nothing is signed expect the midfielder to move. De Rossi would add depth to the City midfield that will miss Yaya Toure for the upcoming African Cup of Nations. The move would also give support to David Silva who has struggled in recent weeks, but if no move is made it could be summer signing Samir Nasri who is forced to step up after a lackluster first half of the season.
Manchester United finished the year where Fergie wanted, in a deadlock with Manchester City for the top spot, but last season’s champions now see themselves 3 points behind with a game in hand before today’s match with Newcastle. United have had unfortunate luck this season with a season ending knee injury to captain Nemanja Vidic as well as smaller nagging injuries popping up throughout the squad. Phil Jones who was signed during the summer transfer window has stepped up tremendously for the club, and United will hope that their January signings will have a similar impact. Rumor has it United is targeting Inter midfielder Wesley Sneijder. Rumors have had Sneijder linked with Sir Alex’s squad since last summer, but as Inter’s title hopes dwindle for this season a move may be in the making. United could also be in the market to reacquire Ryan Shawcross. Shawcross was sold from the club in 2008, but has since become the hero-captain of Stoke City. An exit could be on the horizon their Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berabtov, whose uncelebrating goalscoring ability is always in demand.
Spurs have certainly proven a lot thus far this season. After Harry Redknapp refused to sell midfielder Luka Modric to Chelsea in the summer window, the midfielder has been a revelation for Spurs helping the team to their current position in 3rd. With a solid midfield, pacy wingers in Lennon and Bale, and a solid defense led by Michael Dawson, Redknapp doesn’t expect Spurs to be big spenders during the January window. However the squad could use some added depth up front, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Spurs sign a striker during the window. If they do enter the market look for them to target Lille’s Moussa Sow, Marseille’s Loic Remy, or possibly Blackburn captain Christopher Samba. Spurs have also been linked as a potential landing for the troubled Carlos Tevez, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Another transfer window begins with Chelsea expected to be big spenders. After splashing £50 million on Fernando Torres last January, the Spaniard has only found the net three times. With Didier Drogba, Solomon Kalou, and John Obi Mikel all leaving for the African Cup of Nations, as well as Nicolas Anelka’s sale to Shanghai and Florent Malouda’s possible exit, Chelsea will need to enter the transfer market. Michael Essien’s return to the squad will help cover for the missing players, but Chelsea’s inconsistency throughout the first half of the season has shown that the club will likely be big spenders during the January window. They have been linked with a wide range of players from Real Madrid’s Kaka to Napoli’s Marek Hamsik and Edinson Cavani. Chelsea were rumored to have closed a deal for Bolton’s Gary Cahill a few days ago, but that deal seems to have hit a snag regarding wages and a guaranteed spot in the starting eleven. Regardless, I still expect the Cahill transfer to go through and would not be surprised to see Chelsea splash big for one of the previously mentioned players or possibly one of Villas-Boas’ former players from Porto.
After an appalling start to the season Arsenal has recovered well to earn their spot in 5th place. Robin Van Persie has been on form for nearly the entire season, notching 17 Premier League goals thus far. For Arsenal to continue to succeed, Van Persie must continue his form and Wenger must make a splash in this transfer window. Arsenal has already been linked with Lille’s Eden Hazard along with the previously mentioned Loic Remy and Moussa Sow. Rumors have also linked the London club with Sunderland’s Kieran Richardson, German striker Lukas Podolski, and a little known 24 year old right back from Oman, Saad al-Mukhaini. It wouldn’t be the first relatively unknown player than Arsene Wenger has brought in, but we all know of Wenger’s inability to reach into his pocket. None of these rumored signing do much to bolster the Arsenal defense, which is an area that the club is certainly lacking.
With Liverpool beginning the year slightly below where they expected to be and Luis Suarez’s eight match ban for racist comments, you can certainly expect the Reds to spend big during the January window. Last season’s big signing of Andy Carroll has proven thus far to be a bust, but they still got the better end of the Fernando Torres deal, which is why the Spaniard has been linked with a possible loan move back to Anfield. Liverpool has already been linked with Crystal Palace striker Wilfried Zaha along with Porto midfielder Fernando. Darren Bent could possibly move to the Merseyside club, but expect the club to go with Esteban Granero or Nikica Jelavic from Rangers to bolster the squad while remaining within their budget. Fernando Reges from Porto has also been linked, but that would likely cost more than Kenny Daglish and Co. may be willing to spend.
That’s all for today. I’ll be back tomorrow with Part 2.