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The January transfer window: One player each Premier League club should sign

The January transfer window: One player each Premier League club should sign

01/01/2019 at 16:33Updated 02/01/2019 at 00:44

With the January transfer window officially open, Marcus Foley looks at what might be in store for each Premier League country in the coming month.

All player values courtesy of transfermarkt.co.uk

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ARSENAL

Linked with:

  • Denis Suarez (Barcelona, midfield, £10m)
  • Gary Cahill (Chelsea, defender, £9m)
  • Eric Bailly (Manchester United, defender, £27m).

Areas of weakness:

Defence. Lucas Torreira has helped shore up the midfield but the frailties that undermined Arsene Wenger’s latter years continue to blight Unai Emery’s Arsenal. The Gunners’ porous defence remains and Emery has gone on record that he would like to sign a centre-half to bolster his side’s quest to return the Champions League.

The one target club should sign: Eric Bailly

If Arsenal can get a deal done for Bailly then they absolutely should do – his skillset perfectly suits the set up that Emery favours and would be an immediate upgrade on their existing options. The Ivorian fell out of favour under Jose Mourinho and remains very much a back up option thus far under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

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BOURNEMOUTH

Linked with:

  • Gary Cahill (Chelsea, defender, £9m)
  • Christoph Kramer (Borussia Mönchengladbach, midfielder, £10)
  • Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool, defender, £15m)

Areas of weakness:

Eddie Howe has done a pretty decent job of building a well-balanced squad with no glaring weaknesses, which is reflected in the mixed bag of players they have been linked with.

The loss of Lewis Cook to a cruciate ligament injury and right-backs Simon Francis (cruciate ligament) and Adam Smith (knee cartilage damage) might prompt Howe to delve into the market.

The one target club should sign: Nathaniel Clyne

A short-term loan would suit all parties, considering Bournemouth’s paucity of right-sided defenders.

However, more pressingly, if Chelsea firm up their interest in chief goal-getter Callum Wilson and stump up £30 million, then they will be in the market for a forward with Premier League experience – a tough find, that.

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BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION

Linked with:

  • Adam Lovatt (Hastings United, midfield, nominal fee)
  • Eduardo Pereira (Palmeiras, forward, £8 million)

Areas of weakness:

An over-reliance on Glenn Murray for goals and a lack of creativity.

The one target club should sign: Eduardo Pereira

The 26-year-old has three international caps for Brazil, and has experience in Europe, having played for Dynamo Kyiv between 2011 and 2014. Known by the moniker Dudu, the Brazilian has seven goals and 14 assists thus far this season for Brazilian club Palmeiras and would offer Chris Hughton much needed creativity but also a goal threat.

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BURNLEY

Linked with:

  • Jay Rodriguez (West Brom, forward, £10m)
  • Kemar Roofe (Leeds United, forward, £3.5m)
  • Godsway Donyoh (FC Nordsjealland, forward, £350,00)
  • Naim Sliti (Dijon, forward, £7.2m).

Areas of weakness:

Conceding too many; scoring too few. The Clarets conceded 39 goals in the whole of last season – they have been breached 41 times after 20 games this time out. At the other end of the field, Sean Dyche’s men are scoring at less than a goal a game (19 in 20).

The one target club should sign: Jay Rodriguez

Godsway Donyoh and Naim Sliti could provide the guile that Burnley so sorely miss. They desperately need a goalscorer, with centre-half James Tarkowski their joint leading marksman, along with Ashley Barnes, with three. Therefore, the glaring solution is Jay Rodriguez. A no brainer; knows the club and has Premier League experience.

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CARDIFF CITY

Linked with:

  • Charlie Austin (Southampton FC, forward, £9m)
  • Jay Rodriguez (West Brom, forward, £10m)
  • Dominic Solanke (Liverpool, forward, £9m)

Areas of weakness:

Steven Caulker has the most appearances for the club in the Premier League, with 38; Jordon Mutch has scored the most Premier League goals for the club with seven. This is a side that desperately lacks Premier League experience. They need goals and they need experience. However, those combined cost a pretty penny, so Cardiff will likely have to forgo one for the other.

The one target club should sign: Charlie Austin

The 29-year-old has 34 goals in 94 appearances in the Premier League, and at £9 million is within their price range. Austin has two goals thus far this season.

Charlie Austin of Southampton shoots a header and hits the crossbar during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton FC at Wembley Stadium on December 5, 2018 in London, United Kingdom

Charlie Austin of Southampton shoots a header and hits the crossbar during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton FC at Wembley Stadium on December 5, 2018 in London, United KingdomGetty Images

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CHELSEA

Linked with:

  • Krzysztof Piatek (Centre-forward, Genoa, £25m),
  • Callum Wilson (Bournemouth, £30m),
  • Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham, centre-forward, £20m),
  • Christian Pulisic (Dortmund, forward, £40m),
  • Alex Sandro (Juventus, left-back/left wing, £45m)

Areas of weakness:

Alvaro Morata. Harsh but true. His confidence is shot and does not suit Maurizio Sarri’s system. Olivier Giroud is a fine secondary striker but no club who has designs on challenging the Premier League should countenance having him as their main man.

The one target club should sign: Callum Wilson

Was Morata not on Chelsea’s books then Piatek would represent the outstanding candidate. However, Chelsea need goals, or just a player who suits their system, and they need it now. There is no bedding in period. Therefore, Wilson makes most sense as he suits the system and has 27 goals in 80 Premier League games. Furthermore, at 26, he has plenty of room for growth.

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CRYSTAL PALACE

Linked with:

  • Emiliano Sala (Nantes, forward, £16m)
  • Ismaïla Sarr (Rennes, forward £20m)
  • Dominic Solanke (Liverpool, forward, £9m)

Areas of weakness:

An over-reliance on Wilfried Zaha. Said reliance has lessened in recent weeks but Palace are a completely different outfit without the Ivorian. Zaha has hit three goals in the league this season, making him the club’s second top scorer behind penalty taker Luka Milivojevic. Zaha is currently operating up front with another converter winger, Andros Townsend. If Palace can sign a reliable striker then that would dramatically reduce the burden on Zaha.

The one target club should sign: Emiliano Sala

If Palace can get Emiliano Sala at £16m then they should absolutely take the risk on the Argentine, who is currently scoring a goal every 100 minutes. He has hit one less goal than leading scorer Kylian Mbappe (13) in Ligue Un for a side who sit 14th in the league. This is no one-season wonder – he has hit 48 goals in 110 league games in French football.

Palace will almost certainly end up with Solanke.

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EVERTON

Linked with:

  • Declan Rice (West Ham, midfield, £18m)
  • Andrija Zivkovic (Benfica, midfield, £16m),
  • Geoffrey Kondogbia (Valencia, midfield, £25m),
  • Abdoulaye Doucoure (Watford, midfield, £30m)

Areas of weakness:

Marco Silva prefers a 4-2-3-1 set up, which makes sense considering how laden his squad is with creative, attacking midfield players. However, with a back four that contains Seamus Coleman, Lucas Digne and Michael Keane, the two in front of the back four must be mobile, tactically astute and capable to dictate from deep.

At the time of writing, Silva only really has Idrissa Gueye capable of performing that role. The Toffees are a far inferior side when the Senagalese star is absent from the team.

The one target club should sign: Geoffrey Kondogbia

Declan Rice would have represented most sense but his contract renewal at West Ham means that is a no go. If the Toffees feel that they must sign in that area, Kondogbia is an option but represents a risk as his stock has fallen in recent years.

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FULHAM

Linked with:

  • Dominic Solanke (Liverpool, forward, £9m),
  • Dedryck Boyata (Celtic, defender, £2m),
  • Danny Drinkwater (Chelsea, midfielder, £15m),
  • Robert Huth (Defender, unattached)

Areas of weakness

A summer transfer policy based more around luck than judgement.

The one target club should sign: Danny Drinkwater

Fulham would be better served trimming their squad than going on another transfer splurge. However, if Drinkwater, a Premier League winner completely frozen out at Chelsea, is available at £15 million then he should be a priority. The England international’s range of passing and defensive nous was the driving force behind Leicester’s Premier League win and a reunion with Claudio Ranieri should prove mutually beneficial.

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HUDDERSFIELD TOWN

Linked with:

  • Simon Mignolet (Liverpool, goalkeeper £9m),
  • Neal Maupay (Brentford, forward, £4.5m),
  • Islam Slimani (Fenerbache, forward, on loan from Leicester City, £20m)
  • Jermain Defoe (Bournemouth, forward, £2m)

Areas of weakness:

Last season, they scored a joint-lowest 28 goals and this season through 20 games have scored a measly 12 goals – the lowest in the league. France U21 forward Adama Diakhaby was signed from Monaco over the summer but has only made one Premier League appearance. If the Terriers don’t start scoring goals then they are going down.

The one target club should sign: Islam Slimani

The above list hardly guarantees goals. Defoe has barely set the world alight with the Cherries, with four goals in two seasons. Neither has Islam Slimani during his spells with Leicester or Newcastle. However, his haul of eight goals and five assists in 39 Premier League games is not to be sniffed at. He has a proven track record at Sporting and the feeling remains for him to truly succeed, that a team needs to be built around him.

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LEICESTER CITY

Linked with:

  • Phil Jones (£18m, defender, Manchester United),
  • Joao Mario (Inter Milan, midfielder, £18m),
  • Emiliano Sala (Nantes, forward, £16m)

Areas of weakness:

Complaints around style aside, Claude Puel has done a fine job at the King Power, with the Foxes sitting in eighth position. At some point, the 2016 Premier League winners will need a Jamie Vardy succession plan. In fact, Puel’s side lack a reliable scorer Vardy aside.

The one target club should sign: Emiliano Sala

Manager Puel’s dislike of the January transfer window is on record but if Sala becomes available then a January swoop could work perfectly. Puel has benched Vardy at times this season, leading to rumours that the 31-year-old’s time at the club could be coming to an end – if that is the case, it makes sense to give a replacement time to bed in.

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LIVERPOOL

Linked with:

  • Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona, forward, £72m),
  • Luka Jovic (Eintracht Frankfurt, forward, £36m),
  • Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund, forward, £45m),
  • Pascal Gross (Brighton, midfield, £10m)

Areas of weakness:

Despite the summer acquisitions of Fabinho and Naby Keita, Reds boss Jurgen Klopp would probably welcome a touch more guile in the middle of midfield.

The one target club should sign: Pascal Gross

Granted the other players the club have been linked to have higher ceilings but this is what about Liverpool need now. So. Gross, who has eight goals and eight assists in 49 Premier League appearances, would represent an astute addition as Liverpool look to seal a first title since 1990. Furthermore, were Liverpool make a higher profile, more expensive addition to their squad, it could upset the balance of the squad. Would, for example, Pulisic, be happy to sit on the bench as he acclimatised to a new league?

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MANCHESTER CITY

Linked with:

  • Frenkie de Jong (Ajax, midfield, £54m),
  • Isco (Real Madrid, Forward, £67m),
  • Sandro Tonali (Brescia, forward, £6m)

Areas of weakness:

A lack of cover/competition for Fernandinho.

The one target club should sign: Frenkie de Jong

The club tried to address their over-reliance on Fernandinho over the summer but were beaten to the signing of Jorginho by Chelsea. While Pep Guardiola was left frustrated when Fernandinho’s countryman Douglas Luiz, on City’s books since 2017, was denied a work permit and eventually sent out on loan to Girona.

Frenkie de Jong (Ajax Amsterdam)

Frenkie de Jong (Ajax Amsterdam)Getty Images

Much of City’s subpar performances this season have come with Fernandinho absent so it would be quite a surprise if City did not attempt to address the issue in January. If a De Jong proves difficult, City could move for Andrea Pirlo-esque Brescia midfielder Sandro Tonali.

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MANCHESTER UNITED

Linked with:

  • Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli, defender, £65m),
  • Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid, defender, £22m),
  • Toby Alderweireld (Defender, defender, £36m)

Areas of weakness:

The defence. United have not had a settled defence since, well, Louis van Gaal was coach. Victor Lindelof is currently en vogue under new boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but, truth be told, all of United’s defenders have deficiencies.

The one target club should sign: Kalidou Koulibaly

The Napoli centre-half is in the top five defenders in the world. At 27, he is just entering his prime and would represent a significant upgrade on every defender currently at the club. He is an immaculate defender more than capable of setting the tone from deep. United’s north-west neighbours Liverpool are an example of the transformative effect shoring up a porous defence can have.

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NEWCASTLE UNITED

Linked with:

  • Luuk de Jong (PSV, forward, £7m)
  • Bradley Dack (Blackburn Rovers, forward, £4.5m)
  • Maxime Poundje (Bordeaux, defender, £4m)

Areas of weakness:

Newcastle hit a fairly paltry 39 goals last season but failed to properly bolster their frontline over the summer, with summer recruits Yoshinori Muto (£9.5m) and Salomon Rondon (loan) scoring five league goal between them.

The Magpies are therefore after a striker but on a Sports Direct budget.

The one target club should sign: Luuk de Jong

The 28-year-old’s loan spell at Newcastle was an unmitigated disaster back in 2014, scoring no goals in 12 games, but, at £7 million, is probably worth the risk considering he has hit 12 goals in 13 league games and a further four in seven in Europe for PSV.

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SOUTHAMPTON

Linked with:

  • Ademola Lookman (Everton, forward, £18m)
  • Kyle Walker-Peters (Tottenham, defender, £5m)
  • Shoya Nakajima (Portimonense SC, forward, £13.5m)

Areas of weakness:

There have been improvements under new boss Ralph Hasenhüttl but the Saints still look light in forward positions. Former RB Leipzig boss Hasenhüttl’s philosophy leans heavily on pace and the Saints are barely blessed with that commodity in forward areas so links to Ademola Lookman and Shoya Nakajima, the Japanese Messi, make sense. Right back is a problem area but may not represent a priority considering the issues in other areas.

The one target club should sign: Ademola Lookman

The England U21 international spent last season on loan at Leipzig and scored five goals in 11 appearances. He offers everything that Southampton lack and is already versed in Hasenhüttl’s methods.

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR

Linked with:

  • Riqui Puig (FC Barcelona B, midfield, £4.5m),
  • Abdoulaye Doucoure (Watford, midfield, £27m)
  • Jarrod Bowen (Hull, midfield, £4m)

Areas of weakness:

Central midfield is increasingly becoming an area of worry for Tottenahm. Neither Mousa Dembele or Victor Wanyama have the requisite fitness to play with the required intensity that the Premier League demands

The one target club should sign: Jarrod Bowen

The 22-year-old might not be the most glamorous name on the list but his signing makes most sense. He has a Dele Alli-esque 24 goals in 74 league appearances from midfield and is relatively cheap, young and will also help with Tottenham’s home grown quota.

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WATFORD

Linked with:

  • Alberto Moreno (Liverpool, defender, £8m)
  • Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool, forward, £13.5m)
  • Diego Demme (RB Leipzig, midfield, £11m)

Areas of weakness:

Javi Gracia has exceeded expectations to the extent that the former Rubin Kazan boss was rewarded with a new four-year contract in late November. The club still lack a reliable goalscorer. Troy Deeney remains integral to the ethos of the club, but the goals have dried up, with just three this season, so a reliable scorer could prove the difference maker.

The one target club should sign: Daniel Sturridge

His contract is due to expire in the summer and Liverpool might be tempted by the right offer. The England international remains one of the Premier League’s most lethal marksman but his time at Liverpool is nearing its conclusion, either this month or come the summer.

Jurgen Klopp (L) instructs Liverpool's English striker Daniel Sturridge during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge in London on September 29, 2018.

Jurgen Klopp (L) instructs Liverpool's English striker Daniel Sturridge during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge in London on September 29, 2018.Eurosport

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WEST HAM UNITED

Linked with:

  • Domagoj Vida (Defender, Besiktas, £10m),
  • Mohamed Elneny (Midfielder, Arsenal, £9m)
  • Gary Medel (Midfield, Besiktas, £4.4m)

Areas of weakness:

Things have improved steadily since the start of the season that began with four straight losses but the Hammers remain a little flimsy down their spine - a situation that has not been helped by a deepening injury crisis.

The one target club should sign: Gary Medel

Having signed Samir Nasri, manager Manuel Pellegrini could do worse than further shoring up their midfield with Medel, who has bags of experience and is still only 31. He would provide cover for - and provide guidance to - the exceptional-looking Declan Rice, who might be called upon to drop into the backline on occasion.

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WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS

Linked with:

  • Jamie Vardy (Leicester City, forward, £18m)
  • Tammy Abraham (Chelsea, forward, £9m)
  • Radamel Falcao (Monaco, forward, £10m)

Areas of weakness:

Nuno Espírito Santo needs competition and cover for Raúl Jiménez. Should injury befall the on-loan Benfica forward then it could derail Wolves’ fine start to the season.

The one target club should sign: Tammy Abraham

The 21-year-old, who has hit 14 league goals in 19 games on loan at Aston Villa in the Championship, is ready to have another shot at the Premier League. A role as back-up/cover to Jiménez would offer the two-cap England player a low pressure environment to test himself at Premier League level while Wolves would have a player of considerable potential.

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