With Transfer Deadline day for the Premier League clubs fast approaching, here is an insight as to who could and should be coming in for the top clubs and who could also be seeing the exit door.
With Arsenal being notoriously quiet in the January transfer window it is surprising that they have been linked with a number of top players this month, particularly Julian Draxler. So who could be in?:
Julian Draxler – Currently playing in the Bundesliga for Schalke 04, the Gunners are reported to have been considering a £40 million bid for the 20 year old German international. Playing as a Central-attacking midfielder or striker, Draxler will add creativity, flair and goals to Arsenal’s play. However, with Arsenal having so many similar players on their books at the moment is he really what Arsenal needs?
Pros: Olivier Giroud quite simply is the only top-class striker in their ranks at the moment. Lukas Podolski could be too but Wenger favours playing the German in a wider role than up top, meaning the signing of Draxler could indeed relieve the huge workload Giroud has currently.
Cons: If I am being honest I have only seen Draxler play a few times so I don’t know his style of play in great detail, however, based on what I have seen he is exactly the sort of player Wenger likes. A No.10 with good passing, dribbling, balance and plenty of potential: effectively a carbon copy of many players already at the club like Ozil, Rosicsky, Cazorla and Ramsey. Ultimately, having forked out £42 million on Ozil in August, do Arsenal really need to splash another £40 million for another one of these players?
Alternatives: What I think Arsenal need foremost is an out and out striker to take some of the workload off of Giroud, something I feel Draxler cannot do. Reports earlier this month suggested Juventus’ Mirko Vucinic or Fulham’s Dimitar Berbatov could be making their way to the emirates. Being similar sorts of players I think the style of play both would fit Arsenal’s philosophy and contribute goals from a source other than Giroud up top. The big question with both these players is will Wenger be able to handle them? They are both egotistical players who constantly need to feel that they are the focal point at their club, something which Wenger cannot guarantee in any way.
A holding midfielder would not go a miss in Arsenal’s ranks, to provide an insurance policy in midfield for all of their attacking payers. Someone like Cheik Tiote or Yannes M’Villa- a player constantly linked to Arsenal- would provide some needed balance to the Arsenal XI.
City in my opinion have the best squad in the Premier League by some distance at the moment. They have at least two to three quality options in virtually every position on the park and they are scoring goals for fun, so I can’t see Manuel Pellegrini looking to add to his squad.
If I am being very cynical, the one area City could perhaps improve is at the centre of their defence. When Kompany is injured they just aren’t at the same level at the back, and thus with what seems the virtually unlimited transfer budget Pellegrini has at City I am sure he would be looking to bring in another world-class centre back to take some of the responsibility off Kompany and young Matija Nastasic. Someone like Tiago Silva, Dante or Mats Hummels would fit the bill but they would all take hefty sums to convince their clubs to sell.
Therefore, the bigger question in all of this, is who will potentially be seeing the exit door for City in this window? Possible candidates include the likes of Joleon Lescott, Jack Rodwell and James Milner who’s involvement in the City campaign so far have been as substitutes or Cup games. Lescott is reportedly considering a loan move to West Ham whilst Rodwell the same to Aston Villa as both look to enhance their chances of making England’s World Cup squad.
Chelsea have been the busiest top team thus far this January transfer window with the £25 million signing of old boy Nemanja Matic and the immenent £15 million signing of Mohamed Salah from FC Basel. Again like City, Chelsea have an exceptional Premier League squad with immense strength in depth. Many Chelsea fans have been crying out for a top class striker as until Samuel Eto’o's hat-trick against Manchester United last Sunday none of their three strikers have been firing. I think what many fans tend to forget is that Chelsea have so many good players out on loan and when they return more experienced in the Summer. The Loanee list at Chelsea includes the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Thibaut Courtois, Victor Moses, Marko Marin, Ryan Bertrand and Lucas Piazon; all very good young players who symbolize Chelsea’s next generation.
In terms of leaving Chelsea, Michael Essien has confirmed his permanent transfer to AC Milan after struggling with injuries and form for a few years, whilst young German winger Andre Schurrle has been linked with a loan move away from the club to increase his game time.
United for me are the team that need this January transfer market more than anyone. Their squad is nowhere near good enough to contend for the title as recent months have shown and transfers such as Marouane Fellaini have thus far been a huge flop. David Moyes needs to put his stamp on the Manchester United team and certainly- as the recent victory over Cardiff City showed- the signature of Juan Mata is a significant step towards this. Mata will provide some desperately needed creativity to the United midfield as well as a boost to moral in the United camp. However, his signature alone will not be enough to turn around what so far has been a dismal season for United fans. In both midfield and defense United are not fulfilling the standards they should be. The likes of Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra have been incredible servants but are now past their best, with Rafael and Alex Buttner struggling for consistency. It doesn’t seem fair that the likes of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones keep having to cover in the fullback areas as ultimately they are centre-backs and if United keep playing them in the fullback position, they may not reach their full potential at centre half for both United and England. So who could sign to give Manchester United this solution?
The 20 year old left-back has been outstanding for Southampton this season. Going forward he has pace, flair and the ability to put in a good cross. However, it has not been only his presence going forward that has been impressive this season as defensively too he has been outstanding and has contributed immensely to Southampton’s impressive defensive record this season (defending these days seems to be something that most fullbacks don’t think they have to do anymore). Overall he has bags of potential to be a fantastic player for United, the question is for what price will Southampton be willing to let him go?
Coleman has exactly the same abilities as Shaw but on the opposite side of defence. Furthermore, he has already played under Moyes when he was at Everton so will know exactly what is expected of him. Again, like Shaw it just depends on what price Everton are willing to let him go for considering he has quite a number of years left on his contract.
Cheik Tiote has been one of the stand out players for Newcastle United for a few years now so I am still scratching my head as to why none of the top teams have made an offer for him. I watched him in the game against Manchester City last month and he was immense. Not only is he the only midfielder who I have seen compete with Yaya Toure this season but his range of passing and break up play was fantastic. At United he would be that much needed hard man in midfield who have United have really lacked since the likes of Roy Keane back in 2005. Tiote would compliment the likes of Michael Carrick in midfield and be the much needed defensive insurance policy that United midfield.
However, the arguably much bigger question at United this window is who will be leaving? There are too many dead-weight players at Manchester United who are not needed, and with the likes of Anderson seeing the exit door this window there is much speculation that one or two more could be following him. The likes of Nani, Buttner, Bebe, Frederico Macheda and Ashley Young have done anything but impress at United this season and many fans feel they need to cash in on such misfits. Nani has been linked with moves to Juventus and his old club Sporting Lisbon, Macheda in a loan move to Cardiff and numerous Championship clubs and Buttner.
The recent appointment of Tim Sherwood was an excellent one for me following the sacking of Andre Villas Boas as he has brought back a much needed attacking mentality to Tottenham’s side and has faith in the youth players he himself has spent time coaching in the youth team at Spurs. Sherwood is not a naive manager; he knows that Tottenham spent massively in the Summer Window following the £85 million cash in on Gareth Bale’s departure to Real Madrid, bringing in 11 new players to the club. He knows better than anyone that the majority of players they bought at world-class players and they make a title contending squad. However, when you have such a drastic overhaul of players as they did in the summer, it takes time to gel the individual world-class players into a world-class team. Therefore, I highly doubt Spurs will bring in any new faces in this window. Some, as Jermain Defoe did earlier this window, may be seeing the exit door but I doubt there will be anyone else coming in. Tottenham’s squad is fantastic and what is more Sherwood is much happier to put faith in his young boys such as Townshend, Naughton and most recently Bentaleb rather than bringing in experienced new players.
With only a few days remaining of this transfer window the unexpected as always is to be expected. I’m sure if your an avid football fan like me you will be checking the transfer blogs and columns on the BBC Sport and Sky Sports websites constantly.