January Transfer Deadline Day: Biggest Needs for the Premier League's Top Clubs
With the January transfer deadline approaching quickly, it's clear some business is in need.
There are seven clubs with legitimate eyes toward a top-four berth, and their greatest needs are assessed here.
Do Manchester City need fresh blood? What's Manchester United's Achilles' heel? What can Everton do to keep pace?
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With Arsenal, it's difficult to know where to begin.
Currently sitting 19 points off Manchester United in first place, it's clear something drastic needs to be done to reform this club's longing looks at the English Premier League trophy.
However, Arsene Wenger won't spend a bucket load to fix that chasm in quality, so we have to speculate within our means.
A world-class striker such as Edinson Cavani would be lovely. In reality, Wenger will point to Olivier Giroud's improving form and suggest he's the long-term answer.
Another powerful midfield option would also help their cause, as they rely on an injury-prone Abou Diaby who never plays more than half a season.
The biggest thing Wenger can do to provide long-term fixes this window is to start Carl Jenkinson whenever fit—Bacary Sagna will enter the final year of his contract this summer and his form is declining quickly.
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Chelsea now have a squad that can go far.
Recruiting a striker who actually stays in the penalty area and looks for those second balls while providing a target to hit was the No. 1 priority and they aced that.
This side was riddled with problems but Demba Ba fixed an awful lot of those. From here, the Blues' biggest need is a bit of unity.
Forget the Brentford result—in the FA Cup, that happens—and look at the superb away form Rafa Benitez's side is showing. Then check the home form.
Apart from the 8-0 win over Aston Villa, they've struggled.
This side is winning games at a canter when the boo-boys can't affect them.
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Everton's biggest need coming into January was not to lose anyone.
Marouane Fellaini, Leighton Baines, Steven Pienaar and Darron Gibson have all been outstanding, and David Moyes needs to make subtle—not drastic—additions.
A central midfielder who can create would be welcome. The Toffees struggled when Gibson went down, while Phil Neville is in the very twilight of his career.
In an ideal world, Blues fans would probably like to swap Johnny Heitinga for any other central defender, but the one-time FIFA World Cup finalist still provides decent cover.
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Liverpool fixed a big problem by signing Daniel Sturridge early in the transfer window. Philippe Coutinho is now inches from signing late on (via The Independent).
Attacking midfield isn't exactly the Reds' primary concern, though. The need to provide competition in holding midfield should be addressed.
Lucas Leiva is back to fitness and form, but without him, Brendan Rodgers' side look a little lost. He's a key player and someone needs to provide backup—a strong, physical character who gives energy but doesn't sacrifice the neat passing game.
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Manchester City's squad hasn't changed much.
Summer recruitment Matija Nastasic has been a revelation, while fans couldn't say "good riddance" to Stefan Savic soon enough. Jack Rodwell has barely played, and Javi Garcia has had his fair share of absences.
This is a squad that is capable of winning the English Premier League without any additions, but ridding themselves of Mario Balotelli would actually help the cause.
He's good fun as a neutral, but he drives City fans insane. Most of Roberto Mancini's grey hairs can be attributed to this kid, and AC Milan's interest is music to his ears.
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Sir Alex Ferguson laughs in the face of those who suggest his defence isn't up to scratch, choosing to score three, four or even five goals to make sure his side wins games.
The reunification of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic had many fans purring, but the game against Tottenham proved a younger body is needed.
Phil Jones and Chris Smalling look good and Jonny Evans is improving, but they're not the defensive figurehead Vidic has provided over the years—Jones will be used all over the pitch, while Smalling may deputise at right-back.
A combative, quick, holding midfielder could provide competition for Michael Carrick, but that's a luxury.
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Tottenham looked toothless against Leeds United at the weekend, and those 90 excruciating minutes served only to confirm what many believed—take Moussa Dembele and Jermain Defoe out and this side falls to pieces.
Defoe was given a rest, and Emmanuel Adebayor is with Togo. This meant the options were limited up front, but that's not usually the case.
Sandro's injury lay-off is a big concern, though, and Andre Villas-Boas needs to secure a midfielder this winter. Is Lewis Holtby the answer? Probably not. A destroyer is needed.