January Transfer Window: Dream Scenarios for Every EPL Team
In one month, the January transfer window will be open for business and it will be a crucial time for many Premier League clubs.
Spending wisely could drastically improve the chances of a place in Europe, the security of a mid-table spot or a Houdini-like escape from the clutches of relegation.
Over the next 20 slides, we look at every top-flight side and try to pinpoint what should be at the top of their shopping lists.
Read on to see what would be each club's dream scenario.
Arsenal made no secret of their desire to sign a new striker over the summer—in January, they are certain to try again.
Arsene Wenger's side are currently top of the Premier League, they have lost just two games out of 12 and, at times, they have produced some truly enchanting football.
However, a feeling prevails that they lack the sufficient personnel to finish the season as title winners.
One of the main reasons for this is their lack of backup for Olivier Giroud. The French striker has been on fine form—netting seven top-flight goals so far this term—but should he sustain an injury, the Gunners' outlook will be as bleak as January itself.
Their dream signing would be Luis Suarez, the man they tried to sign during the summer. Yet it's unlikely that the Uruguayan will actually move to the Emirates.
With most clubs loath to sell star names midway through the season, happening upon a striker who meets Arsenal's criteria will be difficult and Wenger may well bide his time until the summer.
Aston Villa have made a decent start to the season; a return of 15 points from their first 12 games is much better than last season's nine.
If the Midlands club can keep hold of prized asset Christian Benteke this winter, Paul Lambert's good work looks set to continue.
The striker signed a new contract over the summer, but if rumours in the Daily Star are to be believed, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal are all chasing the Belgian, writes Harry Pratt.
The way things currently stand, Villa's biggest need is an out-and-out winger—a position in which the side lack real quality.
Charles N'Zogbia has been injured all season, Aleksandar Tonev is yet to make his mark on the side and Marc Albrighton is out on loan with Wigan.
Manager Paul Lambert has already insisted that he will not spend big in the new year, telling Skysports.com: "We won't be able to go out and buy the big type of players. We have to look at the market, the young lads. We give them an opportunity and hopefully they take it."
A solution to Lambert's budget restraints could be a loan move. If he tries to tempt anyone to Villa Park, it should be Manchester United's Wilfried Zaha.
The former Crystal Palace winger is looking for a move away from Old Trafford. As the Mirror's Liam Prenderville reports, five clubs are interested in signing the 21-year-old in January.
Malky Mackay has already achieved what many before him failed to do—winning Premier League promotion with Cardiff City.
For 51 years, the side tried to get to the top tier of English football, failing so often with slumps late on in the season.
Last term they made it, thanks in no small part to Mackay's management. A former defender himself, his side's back line were key in their promotion push, keeping 18 clean sheets throughout the 2012/13 Championship campaign.
Their dream scenario is that Mackay stays and continues to manage the side and keep them in the Premier League. If owner Vincent Tan doesn't make any more rash decisions, he will do just that.
Over the summer the Bluebirds spent big and they spent well, bringing in the likes of Gary Medel, Steven Caulker, Peter Odemwingie and Andreas Cornelius. The man behind these signings was the now-departed Iain Moody, who was sacked and replaced with a 23-year-old Kazakh friend of the chairman's son, as reported by David Conn in the Guardian.
You couldn't make this stuff up.
It was a move that many thought would unsettle Mackay who, so far, is still in the job. In January, Cardiff do not need to make signings, they need to make sure they do not lose the man who has guided them this far.
It seems, these days, like everyone needs a new striker. Chelsea are no different—they have needed a world-class frontman for some time.
Jose Mourinho's side can boast a wealth of riches in midfield, which only serves to highlight the deficiencies they have up front.
Demba Ba looks set to leave the side in January, having appeared in only four Premier League games this term. Samuel Eto'o, ever the poacher, is past his prime and Fernando Torres is unlikely ever to recapture the form he displayed at Liverpool.
The Blues must be delighted that their midfielders are scoring so many goals. Imagine if they added a 20-plus goals-a-season forward to their ranks. They would be a tour de force.
In September it was reported by Joe Bernstein in the Daily Mail that Mourinho had "demanded" a new striker in January.
More recently, the Mirror's Paul Gorst suggests that a move for Radamel Falcao could be on the cards, despite the fact that the 27-year-old has only been at Monaco for a matter of months.
Whether they revive their pursuit of Wayne Rooney, make a play for Falcao or try to lure Robert Lewandowski to SW6, one thing is clear: A prolific scorer is at the top of their wish list.
This week Tony Pulis was named as Crystal Palace's new manager.
The former Stoke City boss faces an uphill task to keep the side in the Premier League, following their record of two wins, a draw and seven defeats this season.
His style of football may not be pretty and it's never going to be tiki-taka, but Pulis knows how to keep teams up.
Part of Palace's problems stem from their poor choices during the summer and their ideal situation, come January, is holding back on bringing in too many new names.
The Selhurst Park side brought in no fewer than 16 signings (16 signings!) over the summer. Assimilating this amount of new faces into a tightly-knit promotion-winning group was never going to be easy.
Former boss Ian Holloway was quoted by Sachin Nakrani and Dominic Fifield in the Guardian as saying:
We've lost five games since we named the [squad of] 25 and there's something wrong there. I don't feel we have the same spirit. That squad is what we've got till January, so they better buck up and learn to stick together.
It's going to be Tony Pulis' job to instill a sense of team spirit, turn Palace into a team that's hard to beat and maybe bring in one or two key players who can play "route one" football.
Kenwyne Jones, anyone?
Everton will need to find another striker in the January transfer window.
Signing Romelu Lukaku on loan was a great piece of business, but it is not a long-term option and now it looks like summer signing Arouna Kone might miss the rest of the season, following a knee operation—as reported by the Guardian.
Nikica Jelavic has not made the best start to the 2013/14 campaign. The 28-year-old is yet to score and is found warming the bench more often than not.
The Toffees may also be tempted to dip into the transfer market for a new central midfielder, as Darron Gibson has also been ruled out due to a knee injury.
Manager Roberto Martinez told Greg O'Keeffe in the Liverpool Echo:
Arouna and Darren [sic] are two unexpected absences and we need to be as strong as we can be in the final third of the season, so we'll have to look into it. We're always looking, and in January we'll have to see where we are. What's important though is we never bring in players for the sake of it.
If Everton are truly to enjoy a dream January, they will also manage to retain the services of Leighton Baines—the Manchester United target is currently sidelined with a fractured toe, as seen on the BBC Sport website.
After winning just three games all season, the pressure is on for Fulham manager Martin Jol.
In a move that smacks of forward planning for when Jol departs, club owner Shahid Khan recently installed former Manchester United coach and brief Anzhi Makhachkala boss Rene Meulensteen as head coach.
Jol, as reported by the Telegraph's Tom Prentki, insists he is happy with the appointment but has admitted that the Cottagers' current slump "is not the best period of my life."
Fulham have had five consecutive defeats and it doesn't look like Jol can turn things around. If results have not improved by January, they face a very realistic prospect of relegation and should look for another manager, if one isn't already waiting in the wings at Craven Cottage...
The side would also do well to bring in reinforcements in defence. They have kept just one clean sheet all season and need someone who will give his all in every game.
If the Daily Mail's John Drayton's is right in reporting that Fulham have been linked to Sunderland's Phil Bardsley, they should try to snap him up.
A new striker is going to be crucial to Hull City's hopes of staying in the Premier League.
The side have scored just nine goals in the top flight this season. Danny Graham, on loan from Sunderland, is yet to find the back of the net. Sone Aluko, who is currently out with a torn Achilles tendon, has notched one, and Gedo and Nick Proschwitz are just not good enough. This leaves only Yannick Sagbo, who has scored two this term.
Robbie Brady has been the side's top goalscorer this season with three, but he too has been on the sidelines after having a hernia operation.
Over the summer, Steve Bruce tried to sign West Bromwich Albion's Shane Long and if this report from Metro's Danny Griffiths is to be believed, he will try again in January.
Long has less than a year remaining on his contract at the Hawthorns.
Perhaps another option could be Arsenal's Niklas Bendtner—the Dane has been used by Bruce in the past, on loans when he was manager at both Birmingham City and Sunderland. Bendtner was a summer target for the club, as seen in the Mirror.
When the window closes on January 31, Liverpool will have achieved their dream scenario if Luis Suarez is still on the payroll.
The Uruguayan aside, Brendan Rodgers needs to dip into the market to recruit a new full-back. Jose Enrique has been ruled out until February after undergoing knee surgery, as seen on the BBC Sport website, and on-loan Aly Cissokho is yet to find his feet at Anfield.
The Telegraph's John Percy and Jason Burt claim that the Reds are planning on making a renewed bid for Chelsea's Ryan Bertrand.
Elsewhere, the Guardian's Andy Hunter suggests that Liverpool have opened talks with Barcelona over a possible transfer for Martin Montoya, who can play at left-back or right-back. Montoya's current contract at Camp Nou runs out at the end of the season.
Liverpool would also benefit from signing a defensive midfielder—they need pace, they need bite and they need to challenge Lucas Leiva's spot in the starting XI.
With rumours suggesting that Raheem Sterling may be heading out on loan in January, as seen in the Mirror, the Reds would also do well to bring in a new and experienced winger.
They may have a lot of needs on their shopping list, but Rodgers has been clear that the club will be spending when the window opens, as reported by Dominic King in the Daily Mail.
The Jekyll and Hyde team of the season is undoubtedly Manchester City. Fearsome at home, frightful on the road, the Citizens need to add reinforcements in January.
Going forward, the side have no problems—their 34 top-flight goals pay testament to that area of their game. At the back, however, they are a different team.
It's fair to assume that they will be in the market for a new goalkeeper before long, but it's unlikely that this role will be changed at the midway point of the season.
Manager Manuel Pellegrini was quoted by the Daily Mail's John Edwards, saying: "There is a lot of news about six or seven goalkeepers that we want to buy, but they are not true. There is no chance that Joe Hart could go out of this squad in January."
One area that needs urgent attention is the back line. Vincent Kompany has been in and out of the side due to injury and his replacements are just not up to scratch.
It would not be a surprise to see Joleon Lescott leave the Etihad this season while the 32-year-old Martin Demichelis is a backup player, at best. This leaves just Matija Nastasic as the club's only other recognised centre-back.
The Mirror's David McDonnell names Porto's Eliaquim Mangala and Benfica's Ezequiel Garay as two potential targets.
Over the summer, Manchester United were very public in their pursuit of a new attacking midfielder. From Ander Herrera to Cesc Fabregas to Thiago Alcantara and more, it was a search that proved ultimately fruitless.
Expect David Moyes and his chief executive Ed Woodward to return to the market once more with a renewed determination to bolster United's midfield options.
A potential target, according to the Express' Charles Perrin is Borussia Dortmund's Marco Reus. Elsewhere, the Mirror's Ben Burrows links Atletico Madrid's Koke and Real Madrid winger Angel di Maria with United.
As far as "dream signings" go, it doesn't get much better than Iniesta.
Moyes would also be delighted if he could prise Leighton Baines away from Everton after trying to sign the left-back all summer.
In an ideal world, Newcastle United would make Loic Remy's loan move permanent in January.
The Frenchman's arrival at St James' Park has given the side a huge upturn in fortunes. After a disappointing start to the season, the Magpies have been on the up—putting together a run which sees them at eighth in the table.
Remy's impact cannot be underestimated—Newcastle have scored 17 goals so far this season and the 26-year-old is responsible for eight in his 10 league appearances.
The slump in form of fellow striker Papiss Cisse means that Alan Pardew's side should consider searching for another striker in the new year.
Lyon's Bafetimbi Gomis continues to be linked with the club, as reported by the Express' Ben Jefferson.
Elsewhere, the Sunderland Echo's Ross Gregory claims that Pardew's side are considering a loan move for FC Twente's Luuk de Jong.
Three wins from 12 games has left Norwich City in the lower depths of the Premier League. For their form to improve, Chris Hughton must invest in his defence this January.
The Canaries have conceded more away goals than any other team in the top flight and, in total, the side have shipped 23 goals all season. Only Sunderland have let in more goals and they're currently mired at the foot of the table.
Over the summer, Norwich spent well—at least that's how it looked on paper. In a bid to improve the previous season's lack of goals, money was invested into the likes of Gary Hooper, Ricky van Wolfswinkel, Leroy Fer and Nathan Redmond.
Of the £26.5 million spent during the summer months, less than £4 million was spent on defensive reinforcements—on left-back Martin Olsson and right-back Javier Garrido.
In January, that needs to change.
Instead, it seems that January success will depend on player retention.
Southampton have enjoyed a fantastic start to the season where, at the time of writing, they are fifth in the Premier League table.
The Saints have taken points off the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United, are unbeaten at home and can boast the lowest amount of goals conceded in the top flight in 2013/14.
Recent successes have shone a spotlight on Mauricio Pochettino's players and with that comes the inevitable speculation of a move away from St Mary's.
In the past, they have been a selling club—allowing burgeoning stars such as Theo Walcott, Gareth Bale and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to leave in their teens. However, these days keeping hold of their prized assets is the way forward.
If the club can bat away interest for their current crop of talent, including the likes of Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana and Jay Rodriguez, that will count for a lot in January and beyond.
Stoke City need to keep hold of goalkeeper Asmir Begovic until the end of the season.
The Bosnia international is being linked with a move to Manchester City, reported here by the Daily Mail's John Drayton.
They also need to find a striker. Manager Mark Hughes told the Stoke Sentinel's Martin Spinks:
I'm sure we will look and see if there's players we can afford and that we need and than can stimulate the group.
But I've said the capability of the players we've got is good and we are just lacking in goals. That hasn't really been resolved.
I said I was looking for a striker and we didn't bring one in, apart from Marko [Arnautovic] who's more of a wide player.
The Potters have scored just 12 goals in 12 games this season, just three of those strikes being from the side's strikers.
New England Revolution's Juan Agudelo has already signed a pre-contract agreement to come to the Britannia Stadium in January, as seen on ESPNfc.com.
However, Hughes should make a proven Premier League striker his priority in January.
Forget an influx of new players, what Sunderland really need in the new year is consistency, boardroom peace and a manager who still has his job by February 1.
The transfer window may be a month away, but it's already caused some tension for the Black Cats, whose new manager Gus Poyet has threatened to leave if his views on January dealings are ignored.
The Uruguayan has been in the job since early October and, in January, he will be working alongside director of football Roberto de Fanti and chief scout Valentino Angeloni. Poyet told the Guardian's Louise Taylor:
We talked about a position the other day and considered four players. I picked two. It was simple. One of the other two [selected by De Fanti] was a definite no. If that one is coming, I won't be here. The player has to be the right one for me. If not, I'm not going to accept it.
Currently bottom of the Premier League, something needs to change. But who will Sunderland be on the lookout for in January? After buying 14 new players over the summer, it's unlikely that we'll see any big names coming to the club.
Loan moves may play a key part in keeping Sunderland up. According to ESPNfc.com, Poyet is keen on making Sung-Yueng Ki's loan deal permanent.
The Mirror's Simon Bird also claims that Poyet wants to keep Fabio Borini on loan, despite the Liverpool player's reported anger at his lack of first team opportunities.
After buying nine new players during the last transfer window, it's unlikely that Michael Laudrup's side will be big spenders in the new year. However, it looks like a winger is at the top of their wish list.
Over the summer Swansea City were interested in bringing Tom Ince to the Liberty Stadium. The 21-year-old will be out of contract at the end of the season and he has a host of clubs chasing his signature, as reported by the Daily Mail's Sam Cunningham and Joe Bernstein.
Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins revealed that he baulked at the £8 million asking price that Blackpool wanted for Ince in the last transfer window. However, he also claimed that he is going to make another attempt to sign the winger, as seen in this article from the Daily Mail's Riath Al-Sammarai.
The Mirror's Dean Jones suggests that Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling could be set for a January loan move to Swansea, claiming that Sterling is keen on a move as it would improve his chances of making England's World Cup squad next summer.
Tottenham Hotspur need to keep their faith in manager Andre Villas-Boas and they don't need to bring in a raft of new players in January.
The club's summer signings are yet to find their feet—drafted in during the last window were some top class players including Paulinho, Erik Lamela, Roberto Soldado and Christian Eriksen.
Although the side have suffered some humiliating results, most notably last weekend's 6-0 loss at the hands of Manchester City, this is a side that is undergoing a period of transition. A fact worth remembering by trigger-happy fans and chairmen alike.
The one area in which the side needs to strengthen in January is at left-back. Spurs have been fielding an out-of-position Jan Vertonghen in the role, their hand forced by injuries to Danny Rose and Kyle Naughton, who can also deputise as a left-back.
According to Tom Collomosse in the Independent, Spurs are being linked with Southampton's Luke Shaw and Real Madrid's Fabio Coentrao.
West Bromwich Albion
West Bromwich Albion's good start to the season and last term's eighth-place finish has seen many admiring glances cast their way.
They have a good squad which can probably last out the season, but the crucial part is keeping hold of key players.
As reported in the Mirror, Hull City want to sign Shane Long in January. Also in the Mirror are Ralph Ellis' claims that Arsenal are interested in Youssouf Mulumbu.
The Baggies have already made a good move in signing Saido Berahino to a new deal, as seen on the BBC Sport website.
Hopefully they can see the season out without any departures from the Hawthorns.
As the days go by, West Ham's decision to spend £15 million on Andy Carroll over the summer seems like pretty bad business.
After picking up an injury during preseason, the striker is yet to play a game for Sam Allardyce's team this term.
What West Ham so desperately need is a striker and they must find one in January if they are to start their ascent up the Premier League table.
As it stands, the Hammers are in 17th place, having scored just nine goals all season.
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