EPL Transfer Talk: Manchester United and Teams with Most Needs in January
There is no doubt that Manchester United, and a few other teams, could use some help come January.
The Premier League table has an unusual look about it with Manchester City peering down upon their neighbors and other teams in league.
In Europe, only two English teams have made it through to the knockout stages of the Champions League meaning there could be five total Premier league participants in the Europa League in the later round next year.
In some cases, priorities may have shifted a little, but it is highly doubtful that teams like Chelsea and Manchester United will let new boys Manchester City walk away with the league title.
Here are a few Premier league teams that need some reinforcements in January to help them improve their standing as the season progresses.
Team Needs: Defender, Combative Midfielder, Creative Midfielder
With captain and defensive talisman Nemanja Vidic out for the season, Manchester United need to strengthen their defense in January. Rio Ferdinand is old, Johnny Evans is inconsistent and Phil Jones will still need someone to guide him despite his great talent.
United's defensive statistics in the league have not been that bad. They, like Manchester City, have conceded the least amount of goals but, as with all other teams, they pale in comparison to the number of goals City has scored.
It is in Europe where the Red Devils defensive deficiencies have been noticeable.
In six games, United conceded eight goals but all those goals game in the four games against Benfica and Basel. Much of the opposition they will face in the Europa league is almost similar in standard to both Benfica and Basel, so defensive solidity will be necessary.
Further up the field, the midfield could do with one of two types of players. If a combative player such as Yann M'Vila were to join it would free up the more creative minds such as Anderson. A more creative midfielder, someone obviously better than the likes of Anderson, would help alleviate more pressure on the midfield as a whole and negate Wayne Rooney constantly having to come deep for the ball.
Manchester United has still scored a lot of goals this season but close run games against the likes of Sunderland and Swansea City show that some more firepower is needed on the offensive front.
Team Needs: Central Defender, Creative Midfielder
Chelsea's defensive prowess has been called into question on a number of occasions this season as the team has not shown its usual solidity. The team is getting used to a more attractive style of play under new boss Andre Villas-Boas and that has seemingly affected their usual stingy play at the back.
While a team like Chelsea could use more than just a central defender in the long term, it is necessary to shore up that spot right now.
Overall Chelsea's defensive statistics are not as horrific as some fans would have you believe but a new quality addition could propel the team to the heights expected by club owner Roman Abramovich.
In the league they have only given up four more goals than both Manchester clubs and in Europe they are actually second in goals conceded behind only Real Madrid and tied with the likes of Barcelona.
On the offensive side of things, Juan Mata has carried the team for the most part and Frank Lampard has done as much as his age allows but more help is needed. The possibility of both Didier Drogba and Nicholas Anelka leaving is not a good thing.
The team could use some more winger-type creative players like Mata to help Fernando Torres get back to his best.
Team Needs: Forward, Central Defender
Arsenal has not failed to score goals so far this season when Robin Van Persie has been on the pitch. If the Dutchman starts the game or comes on from the bench, the Gunners are more likely to score goals. Otherwise the team looks a little toothless in front of goal.
Marouane Chamakh has been a disappointment so far and it seems Wenger just bought Chu Young Park for cup games. With a few departures to come in January, including the aforementioned Chamakh to the African Nations Cup, some new faces will be needed.
Arsenal need a striker who can alleviate some pressure from Robin Van Persie and help give the Dutchman a rest. On the other end of the field, the defense is still rounding into shape but could use some help as well.
Johan Djourou has not replicated much of his form from last season and may be out the door during the summer at the latest. Sebastian Squillaci could be on the move in January.
With the injuries to Bacary Sagna and Carl Jenkinson, both Djourou and Laurent Koscielny have been played out of position at right back. While they have done OK, mostly Koscielny to be exact, the central defensive line is now thin. In that regard, a new man is needed in January.
Team Needs: Creative midfielder, Forward
David Moyes has done a lot with a little in recent years, and he is squeezing all he can out of this team at the moment. The Toffees lost Mikel Arteta at the deadline and were not able to get a replacement. January cannot come any sooner.
Everton has a negative two goal differential in the league and it is obvious why. They need help in both creating and scoring goals.
They could bring back someone like Pienaar on loan to provide creativity on the wings and bring in Landon Donovan to provide some much needed energy.
Romelu Lukaku needs time to get used to England and Everton would certainly give him a lot of it and Roman Pavyluchenko may get a new lease on life on the blue half of Merseyside.
If Everton wants to get back amongst the top seven positions where it has generally been for the last few years, some help will be needed.
Team Needs: Creative Midfielder, Forward
With only the league and domestic cups to play for, Liverpool should go for broke this season. After a pretty substantial financial output over the summer, Liverpool has not found the expected results.
The only constant bright light for the team offensively, on the field, is Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez. Steven Gerrard is still on the treatment table, and until he returns, Suarez needs some help.
That help could come in the form of another forward or a creative midfielder. Suarez does a good job of creating opportunities for himself and teammates but he could do with a more conventional, in-the-box type striker to latch on to and finish whatever he creates.
If a creative midfielder were to join it would free Suarez up for finishing off any team moves, something which he can do very well. Liverpool has only scored 17 goals so far this season and trail behind many of the top teams in that aspect. Some offensive help is necessary.
Team Needs: Forward
Tottenham has a lot of pieces in place to continue its good run in the league but one or two more additions could really help the team.
In the league, Tottenham has scored almost as many goals as the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United whilst playing one less game. That has not carried over to Europe.
In five games in Europe, the team has scored five goals and conceded four. On the defensive side that is not too bad but the offense is a problem.The lack of efficiency in front of goal in Europe highlights the need for a move on the offensive end.
The team has the creators such as Luka Modric and Rafael Van der Vaart but someone needs to get on the end of them.
Team Need: Central defender
Aston Villa has a lot of ingredients up front and in the middle to be an exciting team but the defense needs some help
Last year they finished with a goal differential of minus-11, and right now, despite being in ninth position, they have a minus-two differential.
Even with Shay Given out for a month or so, Villa has a decent backup in Brad Guzan. Guzan's stats may not be so decent with the players in front of him though.
Villa's defense is definitely its weak link at the moment and if that gets fixed, the team will find itself in a better position at the end of the season.