Many have their reservations about the January transfer window. Sir Alex Ferguson was never a fan, stating that the turn of the year was not an ideal time for Manchester United to make acquisitions, usually because of the inflation associated with potential deals.
The January transfer window is often referred to as "a seller's market." It is a time for clubs to cash-in—should they need to—on players who have had an impressive first half of the season.
In years gone by, we have witnessed a high demand for strikers during January. This is usually due to the fact that teams gunning for the title are keen on adding to their firepower in the run-up to the business end of the season. Either that, or those at the other end of the table are looking for something to aid them in their quest for survival.
Any team looking to add to their squad following the festive period will know full well that they'll be paying a premium.
In what position do Aston Villa need to strengthen their squad?
Of course, that doesn't usually act as a deterrent. If a team isn't performing to the manager's expectations, then it is expected that business will be done.
Now, I'm not suggesting that Paul Lambert's Aston Villa have not lived up to his expectations—they are 11th in the league, after all. Despite some pretty average performances along the way and a couple of disappointing defeats, Villa's season so far has been a huge improvement on the shambles that was last year's campaign.
However, the ambitious Scotsman, like every other manager, strives for improvement and will certainly look to add to his squad when the transfer window opens on January 1.
Villa have a solid and very promising spine to their team, from goalkeeper Brad Guzan through defenders Ron Vlaar and Ciaran Clark or Nathan Baker, to Fabian Delph and Ashley Westwood in the centre of midfield. Others around them, such as full-backs Antonio Luna and Leandro Bacuna, have all performed to the highest standard of what could be expected of them in their debut season.
Not by any stretch of the imagination do I think that Villa's squad is complete, nor is it anywhere near the strongest in the league, but a solid spine is a key ingredient in a recipe for success in the Premier League.
Where Villa do lack strength in depth, and one would go as far as to say quality—Christian Benteke obviously not included—is further upfield.
Lambert acquired the services of Nicklas Helenius and Libor Kozak in the summer, but both strikers have failed to make anything like the impact the Villa boss and fans would have expected. Helenius has played just 52 minutes of football this season, whilst Kozak, who has chipped in with two goals, has struggled when given the opportunity to play.
Villa could do with acquiring another striker in January, irrespective of the two that came in during the last window, and that man is PSV Eindhoven's Jurgen Locadia.
According to the Daily Mirror's Alan Nixon, Villa have been linked with the Netherlands Under-21 international and could be tempted by a rumoured £4 million price tag:
Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert is chasing PSV Eindhoven striker Jurgen Locadia – as he searches for Christian Benteke’s replacement.
Lambert made a hush-hush trip to Holland to see the big and bustling 20-year-old hitman in action for the Dutch giants last weekend.
The Villans' chief is on red alert in case he gets a huge offer for Benteke next month, with Manchester United and Chelsea circling the Belgian battering-ram.
Villa fans will be hoping that Benteke will, of course, remain with them beyond January and for many years to come, but Locadia could be another diamond in the rough and would be a super signing—regardless of whether the Belgian stays or not.
Locadia joined Willem II from hometown club Emmen in 2009, but was snapped up by Eredivisie giants PSV just 12 months later after an astonishing first season. He continued progressing in the PSV youth ranks and was handed his first-team debut shortly before his 18th birthday—scoring in an 8-0 cup triumph.
Locadia made his first league appearance just over a year later, as he was introduced with just 22 minutes left in PSV's match with VVV-Venlo. That was all he needed, however, as he fired an astounding hat-trick—the first time such a feat had been achieved on a debut in Holland since Harald Berg did it for ADO Den Haag in 1969.
The Eindhoven club realised Locadia's potential after the hat-trick performance—and were obviously aware that others in Holland had, too—and tied the striker down to a five-year deal.
The powerful 6'3" striker continues to impress and has been likened to former Dutch international Patrick Kluivert.
If reports are to be believed, then Locadia's acquisition would depend largely on whether Lambert can retain the services of Villa's star striker.
If Lambert has been made aware that the Claret and Blue must offload a striker before another one is able to come through doors—an entirely understandable scenario—then the Scot should endeavour to offload either Kozak or Helenius.
The potential partnership of Benteke and Locadia could be one to fire Villa back to the realms of European football.