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Premier League Transfer Needs: Arsenal, Villa, Cardiff, Chelsea, Palace

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With just over a week left in the January transfer window, it’s time to assess what each Premier League team needs. Some need to splash the cash big time in their quest to make the top four, or stay up, while other may resist the urge to spend.

All this week at ProSoccerTalk, we’re breaking down the transfer needs of every PL team. Here’s the first batch.

ARSENAL

Arsenal’s sole need is for a striker. Olivier Giroud has been a revelation but overuse is a worry and with winger-come-striker Theo Walcott out for the season and Nicholas Bendtner being, well, Nicholas Bendtner, Arsenal need to add a new piece up top. Tha assumes, of course, that the Gunners want to win a title (Champions League or Premier League).

Famously content with his players, there’s no guarantee Arsene Wenger will bring someone in. If he does un-latch the money clip, Wenger could do the business on the cheap – Wolfburg’s Diego (free) and Fulham’s Dimitar Berbetov (£2m) – or on the Mesut Ozil type level – Schalke’s Julian Draxler (£37m) and Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa (£32m). Of course, attacking midfielders like Diego and Draxler would be striker-converts but would nevertheless be major boosts to Arsenal’s front line.

ASTON VILLA

Despite their vanilla form over the first half of the season Aston Villa are actually a squad with decent depth. Having already brought in striker Grant Holt and full-back Ryan Bertrand on loan, Villa now set their sites on a center midfielder with gusto. Karim El Ahmadi, Ashley Westwood and Fabian Delph form a strong core of center midfielders but none possess true creative, attacking talent.

Paul Lambert was rumored to be hot on the tails of Belgian midfielder Steven Defour, who the Villa manager dismissed talk of swooping for last week, and Norwich City playmaker Wes Hoolahan, who Lambert previously coached at Carrow Road.

CARDIFF CITY

Suddenly Cardiff find themselves in last place and in desperate need of some new blood. With only 17 goals through 22 matches, a striker would be nice and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer had hoped to land Mame Diouf from Hannover only for the Bundesliga club to refuse selling him. The new manager has already signed Heerenveen attacking midfielder Magnus Wolff Eikrem Molde and  versatile midfielder Matts Moeller Daehli.

Midfield is another area the Bluebirds could use some spice and Solksjaer would be happy to take Ravel Morrison off West Ham’s hands but luring the former Manchester United player to Wales is proving difficult. Some sharps also see Cardiff as the likely loan destination of Wilfried Zaha given Solksjaer’s connections to Old Trafford.

CHELSEA

With 20+ players on loan and having already bought attacking midfielder Bertrand Traoré (already sent on loan to Vitesse) and Benfica’s midfield destroyer Nemanja Matic (£22m), the Blues are one of the few Premier League clubs all set for a spring time run.

CRYSTAL PALACE

With the worst goals-per-game ratio in the Premier League, a striker is an obvious need but after missing out on former Everton striker Nikica Jelavic (to Hull City) and Carlton Cole (re-signed at West Ham) their options have dwindled. Stoke City striker Peter Crouch remains on Tony Pulis’ radar as does Lyon striker Bafetimbi Gomis and Chelsea’s Demba Ba, who would arrive at Selhurst Park on loan.

Damien Delaney and Danny Gabbidon have formed a remarkably strong center-back partnership but defensive depth will be key if the Eagles are to avoid relegation. Look for Tony Pulis to bolster the back line with a move for a player with Premier League experience. Blackburn defender Scott Dann would certainly fit the bill.

Pep Guardiola: “Maybe I’m not good enough”

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Pep Guardiola has admitted he “may not be good enough” for his players at Manchester City.

Ahead of City’s clash against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com) Guardiola has been defended his squad after severe criticism from the media.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

City were hammered 4-0 at Everton last weekend, their worst league defeat since 2008 and Guardiola’s worst-ever league defeat as a manager.

With plenty pointing the finger of blame at goalkeeper Claudio Bravo and City’s defense, their manager put himself in the firing line.

“They are good players. I have respect for the guys, so why would I say the guys are not good? So I don’t understand the lack of respect for the professionals when they have been amazing players, and [people saying] they are not good enough for me. Maybe I am not good enough for them,” Guardiola said. “They are Manchester City players, top players. They have a lot of quality. They have shown that many times in the past and this season.”

Mind games.

Guardiola, 46, is no doubt facing the biggest challenge of his season as City look to at least seal a top four spot in this his debut season in England. The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager has already “said goodbye to the title” and if they lose against red-hot Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium then more questions will be asked of his tactics and if they can work in the Premier League.

So far the possession-based slow build up style has been hot and cold for City, with plenty of counter-attacking teams in the PL (Chelsea, Spurs, Everton, Leicester etc.) having a field day against a shaky defense.

Despite being 10 points off the pace, Guardiola is sticking by his philosophy. One thing really sticks out to me from his first few press conferences in England: “We will see if my style of play can work in the Premier League.”

So far, it’s not.

Watch Live: Liverpool vs. Swansea City (Lineups, Stream)

SWANSEA, WALES - MARCH 16:  Kyle Naughton of Swansea City is closed down by Philippe Coutinho of Liverpool during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Liverpool at Liberty Stadium on March 16, 2015 in Swansea, Wales.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
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Liverpool host Swansea City to Anfield on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) with the Reds aiming to stretch their unbeaten run at home in the Premier League to 18 games.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE HERE

Jurgen Klopp is a little concerned with the number of games his team have had to play over the past few weeks, but a victory against the struggling Swans would momentarily move his side just four points behind leaders Chelsea who play on Sunday.

As for Swansea, new manager Paul Clement knows a win would take his team out of the relegation zone and with new signings arriving that would be a massive boost. It would also be a massive ask for the Welsh side to get anything at Anfield but this may be a good time to play Liveprool after their midweek trip to Plymouth in the FA Cup and the EFL Cup semifinal second leg against Southampton coming up on Wednesday.

In team news Liverpool start with Philippe Coutinho once again, while Joel Matip is on the bench after the Reds finally settled the dispute with Cameroon. Swansea hand debuts to new signings Martin Olsson and Tom Carroll.

LINEUPS

Liverpool: Mignolet; Clyne, Lovren, Klavan, Milner; Can, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Lallana, Coutinho, Firmino. Subs: Karius, Sturridge, Moreno, Lucas, Origi, Matip, Woodburn

Swansea City: Fabianski; Olsson, Mawson, Fernandez, Naughton; Cork, Carroll, Fer; Sigurdsson, Llorente, Routledge. Subs: Nordfeldt, Rangel, Amat, Fulton, Dyer, Borja, McBurnie

Viktoria Plzen set to sign midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz

Obafemi Martins, Oniel Fisher, Andreas Ivanschitz
Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)
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PRAGUE (AP) Czech champion Viktoria Plzen is close to signing Austrian midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz.

Plzen says Ivanschitz agreed terms for a contract lasting 1 + seasons and will sign it when the team returns from a training camp in Spain. Ivanschitz has already joined the squad at the Oliva Nova resort, the club says.

Ivanschitz helped the Seattle Sounders win their first MLS Cup in December.

[ NEW HOMES: Fonte | Berahino ]

No financial details were given.

The 33-year-old Ivanschitz also played for Rapid Vienna and Red Bull Salzburg in Austria, Mainz in the Bundesliga, Levante in Spain and Panathinaikos in Athens.

Ivanschitz played 69 games for Austria in 2003-14, scoring 12 goals.

FIFA allows Matip to represent Liverpool during AFCON

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 29: Joel Matip of Liverpool heads to score his team's third goal during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Liverpool at Selhurst Park on October 29, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)
Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images
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Joel Matip is going to get to play for Liverpool during AFCON after all.

The center back had turned down the chance to represent Cameroon at the Africa Cup of Nations, and Liverpool was forced to apply to FIFA for a waiver.

[ PL PREVIEW: Swansea vs. Liverpool ]

Matip suffered an ankle injury in December, adding to his desire to stay at Anfield. He declared himself internationally retired and was one of six Cameroon players who refused call-ups for AFCON.

He last played for the Reds on Dec. 11, and can be selected by Jurgen Klopp against Swansea City on Saturday.