January Transfer Window: Biggest Need for Every EPL Club

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistOctober 8, 2012

January Transfer Window: Biggest Need for Every EPL Club

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    After seven matches of the English Premier League season, there have been plenty of storylines for fans to follow.

    One of those storylines is what improvements each club needs to make due to each club's various shortcomings.

    Whether it be just one small need that a club or a few gaping holes in the club that need to be filled, each club will be looking to make improvements when the January transfer window comes around.

    Here is what each EPL club needs as they continue forward towards the January transfer window.

Queens Park Rangers

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    Place in Table: 20th

    Biggest Need: New manager

    QPR has made enough signings over the past two seasons, including 11 over the summer, and their players have not been able to mesh together under manager Mark Hughes.

    There have been signs of progression with the new signings under Hughes, but no results as the club have not won a match yet this season.

    If QPR keep playing like they have this season, Hughes will be sacked very soon by chairman Tony Fernandes.

    With a new manager, the R's will hopefully be able to mesh together with the current players they have on the roster, instead of going out and buying more players.

Norwich City

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    Place in Table: 19th

    Biggest Need: Defender

    In Norwich's lackluster start to the EPL season, there have been many weaknesses of the club that have been exposed.

    On Saturday against Chelsea, the biggest weakness was shown in the back four.

    The Canaries did bring in reinforcements for the defense in the summer with four defenders with EPL experience coming into the club.

    However, when the backups to those experienced defenders take the pitch, like they did on Saturday, Norwich are in a lot of trouble.

    For Chris Hughton to survive in the EPL this season with the club, he needs to bring in more reinforcements to the back four to fix the worst goal differential in the league, which right now stands at -12.


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    Place in Table: 18th

    Biggest Need: Player with Premier League experience

    Last season's Championship winners have not had it easy in their first season back in the EPL since the 2007-08 season.

    One thing that the current players at the Madejski Stadium lack is experience in the top flight.

    Of the few players that are on the roster with EPL experience, Danny Guthrie and Nicky Shorey are the most experienced while Pavel Pogrebnyak has played in the Bundesliga for many years.

    Other than that, most of the players on the roster have plenty of experience in the lower tiers of English football, but as we all know the EPL is a completely different animal than the lower leagues.

    Out of all the positions on the pitch, the midfield is where the Royals could use the most experience.


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    Place in Table: 17th

    Biggest Need: Goalkeeper

    After the first seven matches of the season, Southampton have given up the most goals in the EPL with 20, three more than the next club in that category.

    Although the defense is to blame, the goalkeeping position is the real issue for Nigel Adkins.

    Veteran keeper Kelvin Davis has already been replaced by Paulo Gazzaniga, but the problem with both players is that they have not played above the Championship in their careers.

    Adkins has already been proactive with this situation as former Celtic keeper Artur Boruc has been brought into the club.

    If the Boruc experiment does not work out, Adkins will have to turn to the transfer market to go after a player with EPL experience, most likely on a loan deal and then go after an experienced keeper for the long term during the summer.

Aston Villa

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    Place in Table: 16th

    Biggest Need: Darren Bent

    Aston Villa will be a much better club than they are now if manager Paul Lambert made the right decision in who to start up front for his club.

    Darren Bent has been benched for the past two matches and his replacements are not doing the job for the Villains.

    Bent's main replacement has been new signing Christian Benteke, who looked very lazy against West Brom and failed to finish on wide open chances against Tottenham.

    Villa have only scored six goals in seven matches and the perfect answer to that problem would be a player that has scored close to 200 goals in his career like Bent.

Wigan Athletic

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    Place in Table: 15th

    Biggest Need: Another Arouna Kone

    Not many people have noticed this, but Arouna Kone may be one of the best signings of the summer transfer window.

    Wigan manager Roberto Martinez signed Kone from Sevilla and the striker has proven that he may be the player that the Latics need to help them stay up.

    Martinez has been known to go into Spain and bring talent to the DW Stadium like Kone and Jordi Gomez. If Martinez can pull off that magic again in January and find another diamond in the rough that can be a force in the Latics attack, the club may not have to face the relegation battle this season.


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    Place in Table: 14th

    Biggest Need: Player with experience over the age of 25

    Liverpool are one of the youngest clubs in the EPL and their youth is showing so far this season.

    The only players with a consistent spot in the starting lineup that are over the age of 25 are Pepe Reina, Martin Skrtel, Glen Johnson and Steven Gerrard.

    The rest of the starters include a handful of teenagers from Liverpool's academy and new signings that are in their early 20s.

    A move for an older player like Darren Bent may go against the philosophy of Brendan Rodgers, but it may be needed if the Liverpool youth are unable to produce results leading up to the January transfer window.


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    Place in Table: 13th

    Biggest Need: Another goal scorer

    Sunderland made one of the best summer signings in the EPL by bringing in Steven Fletcher from Wolves.

    Fletcher has scored five goals in the league this season, but he is the only goal scorer that the Black Cats have had this season. The options behind Fletcher at the forward position are very slim with journeyman Louis Saha being the best option for Martin O'Neill to turn to off the bench.

    In January, O'Neill will have to go out into the transfer market and find an insurance policy for Fletcher in the form of another goal scoring forward.

    To do that, the Black Cats manager may have to sell some of his current forward options like Saha, Ji-Dong Won or Fraizer Campbell, but the problem may be that no one would pay a decent price for any of those players.


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    Place in Table: 12th

    Biggest Need: Anyone who can find the back of the net

    Stoke's trademark during their time in the EPL has been their defense and that is no different this season.

    The Potters stocked up on defensive minded players in the summer by bringing in Geoff Cameron, Maurice Edu and Steven N'Zonzi to bolster their already strong back line.

    Manager Tony Pulis did very few things to strengthen his attack that only scored 36 goals last season, which was the least amount scored by any EPL club.

    Pulis brought in veteran forward Michael Owen but that has not worked out as planned yet.

    Peter Crouch has scored four goals for the club already, but they face the same problem that Sunderland face—the back-ups to their main scorer have not produced yet this season.

    The Potters would have potential to be a top eight club in the EPL if they had a consistent strong attack to partner with their already strong defense. Bringing in another forward could help solve that issue.

Swansea City

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    Place in Table: 11th

    Biggest Need: Left Back

    After a strong start to the season, Swansea are beginning to fade away from the top half of the table as they have only managed one point in their last four matches.

    Whether it is a coincidence or not, the Swans have not won a match since their starting left back, Neil Taylor, has been out injured.

    Taylor suffered an injury against Sunderland on September 1st and is out for the season.

    Since Taylor's injury, 19-year-old academy graduate Ben Davies has taken over the starting role at the position.

    Manager Michael Laudrup filled the needs his squad had in the summer with Michu, Chico Flores and Pablo Hernandez. All three have performed well for the squad so far.

    Laudrup will be forced to do the same thing in January to fill the void left by his blooming star at left back.

Newcastle United

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    Place in Table: 10th

    Biggest Need: A healthy Tim Krul

    Tim Krul has established himself as one of the top young keepers in world football and he has been a key to Newcastle's success over the past year.

    Since Krul suffered an elbow injury while on international duty with Holland, Steve Harper has taken over as the first-choice keeper for Alan Pardew's club. Krul has not played for the Magpies since the club's 1-1 draw with Aston Villa on September 2nd.

    Harper has not been very effective in net for the Magpies since Krul went down with his injury. The Englishman has conceded seven goals in four EPL matches.

    Krul should be back from injury within the next few weeks and Newcastle fans will be more than excited to see the 24-year-old back in net after Harper's lackluster performance during Krul's absence.


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    Place in Table: 9th

    Biggest Need: Youth in defense

    Fulham solved their attacking issues in the summer by replacing the departed Moussa Dembele and Clint Dempsey with Dimitar Berbatov, Mladen Petric and Hugo Rodallega.

    Now, Martin Jol will have to look to the defensive side of the ball for his January transfers.

    There is no doubt that the Cottagers' defense is still efficient but the core of the back four are all over 30 years old.

    In January, Jol will have to start looking for younger defensive players to bring into Craven Cottage to learn under the likes of 31-year-old Brede Hangeland while they are still at the club.

    Jol has already started this process by bringing Matthew Briggs and Alex Smith into the senior team from the academy, but the Dutchman will have to look to bring in defenders from outside the club as well. These players could possibly come from to lower league in England as they will have time to develop.

West Ham

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    Place in Table: 8th

    Biggest Need: Replacement for Ricardo Vaz Te

    West Ham are having a great start to the season under Sam Allardyce after spending a season in the Championship.

    The Hammers look like a season in the second tier of English football did them well and they have a squad worthy of staying in the Premier League for a long time.

    One of the key members of the squad over the past year and a half has been Ricardo Vaz Te.

    The former Portuguese under-23 player has finally found a home at Upton Park and just as he was starting to get into good form this season, he was struck down by the injury bug.

    Vaz Te could be out until the new year and when he comes back it will take him a while to get back in form.

    For the time being, Allardyce will have to rely on the current players he has like Modibo Maiga and Matt Jarvis to step up in the place of Vaz Te, but it would be a wise decision on the manager's part to bring in a similar player to Vaz Te in January just in case he does not return from injury in form.


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    Place in Table: 7th

    Biggest Need: Jack Wilshere's return from injury

    Arsenal made plenty of big name signings in the summer, but the biggest addition to the squad could come in the form of a player that is currently injured.

    Jack Wilshere is one of world football's top young players and his impact on the Gunners was immense during the 2010-11 season.

    Ever since, Wilshere has been out injured and is finally on track to rejoin the Gunners. He has begun to play with the reserve squad to get back in shape.

    With a healthy Wilshere in the lineup, the Gunners could be a deadly force in attack with Arsene Wenger having a plethora of options to go to.

    Adding Wilshere back into the squad will also provide some pressure on the current starters who are under performing that will have to play better if they want to keep their spot ahead of Wilshere on the depth chart.

West Brom

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    Place in Table: 6th

    Biggest Need: Depth in defense

    One concern that is becoming bigger each week for West Brom during their impressive start is the number of injuries that they have picked up in defense.

    Two weeks ago against Aston Villa, Billy Jones was the latest Baggies defender to go down with an injury. Before Jones went out with his injury, Steven Reid went out injured as well.

    The good news for Steve Clarke and the Baggies is that they do have a good amount of cover for the two players out.

    If any more defenders go out with an injury in the near future, Clarke will have to consider going into the transfer market in January for some more depth at the position.


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    Place in Table: 5th

    Biggest Need: Forward

    Tottenham do not need much after their summer spending spree but they could use another true forward to join Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor on the depth chart.

    Spurs already have plenty of attack-minded midfielders on the roster and their defense is getting better with each week.

    The one concern that Spurs fans may have is that who will play up front if something happens to Defoe or Adebayor.

    Spurs do not need a forward that can start every match, but they do need one to come off the bench to provide a few goals throughout the end of the season, especially if the club continue with their heavy fixture list all year.


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    Place in Table: 4th

    Biggest Need: Possible replacement for Marouane Fellaini

    One of the hottest commodities in the January transfer window may be Everton's star midfielder Marouane Fellaini.

    With a potential move away from Goodison Park by the Belgian playmaker due to a need for cash, David Moyes and company will have to be looking at a potential replacement for Fellaini.

    Another player with a dominant aerial attack like Fellaini would be a welcome replacement.

Manchester City

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    Place in Table: 3rd

    Biggest Need: Development of young players

    Manchester City took care of all their needs in the summer transfer window by bringing in four defensive-minded players to secure the depth at that position.

    Of the players brought in during the summer, all of them except for Maicon are 25 years old or younger.

    It is clear that the next step in Roberto Mancini's plan for long term success is to bring in players that can not only help now, but help in the future as well.

    Mancini may not bring in any big names to the club in January, but he may take a chance on young players at smaller clubs like he did in the summer with Scott Sinclair and Jack Rodwell, to develop them into future stars.

Manchester United

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    Place in Table: 2nd

    Biggest Need: Center Back

    This season, almost every player that plays on defense for Manchester United has suffered an injury.

    Sir Alex Ferguson has been forced to use plenty of young players like Scott Wootton, Michael Keane and Ryan Tunnicliffe so far this season.

    On the injury list on the moment are Nemanja Vidic, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, while Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans are not the most reliable center-backs when it comes to staying fit.

    With plenty of injury-prone players at the position on the current roster, Ferguson will have to go after a center-back with European experience to provide cover for the often injured quintet that currently reside at the position.


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    Place in Table: 1st

    Biggest Need: Left Back

    What do you get a club that seems to everything going right at the moment?

    The answer for Chelsea is a player to provide cover for England international Ashley Cole.

    The Blues have plenty of options in attack to provide cover for anyone who goes out injured, but the only backup at Cole's position at the moment is Ryan Bertrand, who has been starting on the left wing this season.

    The London club did sign Cesar Azpilicueta in the summer, but he is a natural right back and manager Roberto di Matteo would feel more more comfortable if he had a natural left back on his depth chart to cover for Cole.