EPL: 10 Bold Predictions for the January Transfer Window
The January transfer window has previously created much drama in the Premier League, and in turn, some title-winning transfers.
Arguably the most memorable exchange of players was back in January 2011, when Chelsea made an audacious move to sign Fernando Torres from Liverpool for a British record fee of £50 million, with the additional signing of Brazilian defender David Luiz.
And with the window just three weeks away from re-opening, what teams will splash the cash? Will Chelsea spend big under their new boss Rafa Benitez? Could Thierry Henry re-join Arsenal for a third spell?
Find out our predictions for the January transfer window right here.
David Beckham Returns to the Premier League
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Arguably the world's most famous and glamorous footballer, David Beckham is much more than a football player.
After 10 glorious years at Manchester United, Beckham decided to leave Old Trafford for a fresh challenge; at Spanish giants Real Madrid, signing a deal worth £25 million back in 2003. However, the reputation and sheer class of the former England captain meant that his shirt sales during his four-year spell far exceeded his price tag, with economists labelling his move the most profitable of all time in terms of sales revenue.
A set-piece specialist, Beckham had scored famous goals for both club and country, including a last-gasp free-kick against Greece to secure England's World Cup berth back in 2001.
However, Beckham secured yet another high-profile move to Los Angeles Galaxy after a public falling out with Real Madrid coach Fabio Capello in 2007, and the move changed American soccer forever. The MLS attendances rose, with players such as Thierry Henry and Rafael Marquez opting to follow Beckham to the riches of the MLS.
It's widely believed that despite Beckham turning 38 in May, French sides PSG and Monaco are keen to secure his services, as well as mounting interest from Australian outfit Central Coast Mariners (Yahoo) and several Chinese sides.
But Beckham's fame outside of football could see him return to the Premier League, with both QPR and West Ham desperate to bring him back to London. And after admitting his interest in returning to his homeland, it could well happen in January.
Mario Balotelli Finds Form After AC Milan Interest
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After Sunday's Manchester derby, the press seem to have finally lost patience with Mario Balotelli. And not just the press, but also his manager, Roberto Mancini.
For a long time now, the Italian has protected the 21-year-old since his £24 million move from Inter Milan in August 2010 after several incidents which have brought attention to his lifestyle. Unfortunately for Balotelli, his time at the Etihad Stadium could be coming to an end.
With Carlos Tevez, Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko all firing on a regular basis, Balotelli's paltry return of just three goals in 18 appearances this season is just not good enough. He's been mooted for a return to Milan, especially as he has just become a father to the child of his former partner who lives in, yes, you guessed it...Milan.
Could the interest from AC Milan (ESPN) prompt Balotelli to apply more effort and comradeship within the team? He's scored goals before, so what's to say he doesn't go on a run of scoring? It's certainly possible, but then, anything is possible with Mario Balotelli...
Chelsea Sign Radamel Falcao
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Is there a more prolific striker in the world right now other than Radamel Falcao? I'm not sure there is...
Sure, the inevitable answers lie within the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, but I'm sure you'll agree that the pair aren't out-and-out strikers. Robin Van Persie, Fernando Torres, Luis Suarez...this is the kind of striker I'm talking about.
The Colombian international scores goals everywhere he goes. An incredible haul of 17 goals in the Europa League helped Andre Villas-Boas achieve an unprecedented Treble with his Porto side back in 2011, and after Sergio Aguero's big-money move to Manchester City, it was a smart move by Atletico Madrid to spend £35 million on the 26-year-old just over a year ago.
After scoring an unstoppable 40 La Liga goals in just 48 appearances, it appears Chelsea are looking to bolster their attacking options by signing Falcao (Daily Mail) after Fernando Torres' lack of form, and with the former River Plate striker notching a superb hat-trick against the Blues earlier this season in the European Super Cup, who better than the 16-goal hitman to fire them back to the Premier League summit?
Arsenal and Chelsea to Recover, West Brom to Falter
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Surely, West Brom's rich vein of form must come to an end sometime soon? Well, the signs are suggesting that it has already begun, with the Baggies losing their last three games in the Premier League. Yet, they still find themselves in the top-six, far above where they were expecting to be at this stage.
On the other hand, Chelsea and Arsenal are teams in decline, with the Blues ending their worst run of seven games without a win since 1995 with a 3-1 win over Sunderland, while Arsenal grabbed a much-needed victory over West Brom.
The European champions are expected to spend in January and as a result are poised to make a vast recovery after Christmas. Arsenal have had their worst start to the season under Arsene Wenger, although the signings of Thierry Henry and Wilfried Zaha would ease the pressure on the Frenchman.
QPR to Finally Win Their First Game of the Season
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The 'Harry Redknapp effect' hasn't exactly taken it's course yet, but have no fear, QPR fans, he'll come good soon.
Three consecutive draws means that the R's have now gone 16 games without a win, and no club has ever started a season without winning in that period; a Premier League record that Tony Fernandes did not expect when he invested heavily in the club.
Signings such as Junior Hoilett and Esteban Granero show the club is going in the right direction, but the club is desperate for their influential wheeler-dealer manager Redknapp to pull off a few bargains in the January transfer window.
Moves for Nicolas Anelka and Loic Remy (The Mirror) have been mooted, and signing the pair certainly wouldn't harm the West Londoners.
Theo Walcott to Move to Liverpool
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Theo Walcott has long been criticised for his lack of talent, but as a firm believer in his talents, Arsene Wenger will be desperate for the 23-year-old to sign a new deal at the Emirates Stadium.
Sadly, I feel that after six years at the club, Walcott may be seeking a fresh challenge, and where better than Brendan Rodgers' revolution at Anfield? With the Reds severely lacking in firepower with Luis Suarez the only recognised striker, they could be set for a cut-price move for Walcott (The Telegraph).
With pace and clear finishing ability, Rodgers is a keen admirer of Walcott, and the constant delay in negotiations makes his future more uncertain by the day.
Thierry Henry to Return to Arsenal on Loan
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His first spell was magical. 174 goals in 251 Premier League games, to be precise. His second spell saw him struggle for fitness but the magic was still there. And now, could Thierry Henry be set for a third, and final, spell in North London?
With the MLS season currently at a close, Henry's current club New York Red Bulls are said to be open to the idea of the 34-year-old gaining fitness while training at the English club. And with the likes of Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud lacking composure in front of goal, Wenger is ready to turn to Henry as an answer to their goalscoring crisis (Fox Sports).
With the former Barcelona forward a fans' favourite at the Emirates Stadium, it could be a glorious third spell for him if he helps fire them into the Champions League for a 15th consecutive season.
Rafa Benitez to Return from Japan with the Club World Cup
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Chelsea are currently in Japan with the hope of winning the FIFA Club World Cup as they enter at the semi-final stage, with Mexican outfit Monterrey in their way. But could the fans become a larger obstacle for their 'interim' coach Rafa Benitez?
Benitez has struggled to win over the fans, despite indications from Fernando Torres and the team as a whole that performances are getting better with every game.
The only way for Benitez to win the fans' approval is to bring home the Club World Cup after their recent Champions League exit. Making the Blues World Champions would help the fans forgive Benitez for any past comments.
Monterrey could be a difficult team to beat but Chelsea should reach the final, where the likes of Juan Mata and Eden Hazard can help them achieve what could be a once-in-a-lifetime triumph.
Crystal Palace Reject £15 Million Bids from Manchester United and Arsenal
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To say that Wilfried Zaha is in demand is an understatement. The Crystal Palace winger, who was called up by England last month after some eye-catching displays at Selhurst Park, has certainly impressed Premier League managers Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger.
With Nani looking to leave the Red Devils this summer, Manchester United could be willing to wait until the summer. But if Theo Walcott left Arsenal in January as expected, they could make the move for Zaha (Goal.com). The question is, would Zaha make the move if it came calling?
Probably, for every footballer has their ambition to become one of the best in the world. And although the winger has expressed his confidence in his own ability already, he is far from a finished article. A move, however, is certainly on the cards.
Swansea Continue to Challenge for Europe
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They had a magnificent start to the season, and after a slight slump under Michael Laudrup, Swansea are back in business.
They do have one Spaniard to thank, or maybe two, for their revival. Their signing of Pablo Hernandez from Valencia was an astute one, for just £5.5 million. But Laudrup's insistence on signing Michu from Rayo Vallecano has been the reason for their magnificent start to the season.
Twelve goals in 16 Premier League games is a fantastic return for the likes of Robin Van Persie, a £24 million striker. But for just £3 million, Michu is surely one of the finest signings this side of the millennium.
If he can continue his incredible form, he can help Swansea achieve European football for the first time in their history.