Premier League Transfer Needs: Manchester United, Newcastle, Norwich, Southampton, Stoke

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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 next batch.

Manchester United

Where do we start with the Red Devils? Arguably only four players have done enough to warrant not being replaced this season: David de Gea, Adnan Januzaj, Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie. The real problem area is midfield as United tried desperately to bring in a whole host of players in the summer window and failed. A move for Juan Mata could work, but David Moyes needs a new central midfield and central defense. A top four spot is dependent on United splashing the cash.

Newcastle United

No massive needs for Newcastle, as they are banging goals in from all over the pitch and look pretty solid at the back. Keeping hold of the likes of Yohan Cabaye and Tim Krul will be crucial in this window, but adding another striker to compliment Loic Remy would be worthwhile. Dutchman Luuk De Jong is close to a loan move, as Alan Pardew’s side have an outside chance of making the top four.

Norwich City

The Canaries still need more firepower, after summer signings Gary Hooper, Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Johan Elmander haven’t delivered more goals. Apart from that Norwich are solid across midfield and in defense, and have impressive strength in-depth. But if Chris Hughton’s men want to stave off relegation, a new striker is a must.

Southampton

Much like Newcastle, Southampton only really need to add one player but focus on keeping their star performers at the club. The likes of Luke Shaw, Jay Rodriguez, Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana have all been linked with moves away but Mauricio Pochettino is adamant nobody will leave. A few injuries could see Saints dipping into the loan market, Pochettino knows La Liga well so don’t be surprised if he heads in that direction for a playmaker/defender.

Stoke City

The Potters must shed a few off the wage bill before they can bring players in, and Mark Hughes must do that quickly if he’s going to make his squad stronger. Notoriously Stoke always do plenty of business on deadline day, and it will need to be another big window if they aren’t going to get dragged into the relegation battle. One quality new player up front, in midfield and in defense is needed.

MORE: Transfer needs – Arsenal, Aston Villa, Cardiff, Chelsea, Crystal Palace

MORE: Transfer needs – Everton, Fulham, Hull City, Liverpool, Manchester City

Croatia coach says “we have nothing to lose” against Argentina

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Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic chose his words wisely when discussing their final Group D opponent, Argentina, but his side won’t be backing down when they take on Lionel Messi and Co.

[ MORE: Spain gets win after Iran equalizer called off by replay ]

With three points already in the bag for the European nation, Croatia currently sits atop their group, however, Dalic recognizes the task that lies in front of him and his team on Thursday.

“I didn’t say that Argentina was the easiest opponent,” Dalic said. “I said that this was the easiest game for us. We have nothing to lose. We are playing against one of the best.”

Croatia does have the benefit of having won its first match in group play, which has given the side a decided enthusiasm heading into the meeting.

For Ivan Rakitic — who plays at Barcelona with Messi — he believes there isn’t much he or anyone on his team can say or do to further prepare themselves for the Albiceleste.

“What can I tell them that they don’t know?” Rakitic said. “The world knows. Messi is one of the best players in the world. He will have his moments, clearly. It is up to us to stop him, to play the right way against him, and to enjoy the match and play our best.

“It’s a beautiful thing to play against one of the best teams in the world. We are especially motivated.”

In four all-time meetings, Argentina leads 2-1-1 against Croatia, including a 1-0 victory during the 1998 World Cup in France.

The two teams last met in 2014 following Argentina’s World Cup final defeat to Germany, with Messi and Co. earning a 2-1 victory over Croatia.

Mexico receives FIFA fine for insulting chant

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FIFA handed a $10,400 fine down to Mexico on Wednesday for “discriminatory and insulting chants” that occurred during El Tri’s 1-0 victory over Germany.

[ MORE: Spain tops Iran after overruled goal ]

The FIFA disciplinary committee reportedly levied the fine to Mexico for directing a derogatory chant towards German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

“The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has sanctioned the Mexican Football Federation (FMF) with a fine of CHF 10,000 for the misconduct of a group of Mexican fans (cf. art. 67 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code) in relation to discriminatory and insulting chants during the first half of the 2018 FIFA World Cup match played between Germany and Mexico,” FIFA declared in a press release.

The Mexican Football Federation has aimed to eliminate an ongoing epidemic of homophobic chants that supporters have screamed during goal kicks for some time.

El Tri was sanctioned 12 times during CONCACAF World Cup qualifying for those chants.

Ronaldo explains his new chin hair at World Cup

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Now that Cristiano Ronaldo has taken to sporting a reasonable hairstyle atop his head, people are talking about the foliage on his face.

[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Portugal ]

Ronaldo, 33, drew speculation when he stroked his chin following a goal in his hat trick performance against Spain in the World Cup opener. Some said he was demonstrating defiance against Lionel Messi posing with a goat (Greatest Of All Time) in a recent photograph.

Ronaldo scored again on Wednesday, and there was seemingly little doubt his goatee was a wink to the speculators. But what did it mean, CR7? From ESPN:

“This goatee? It’s a joke I had with [Ricardo] Quaresma. “We were in the sauna [before Friday’s match against Spain] and I started to shave and I left the goatee. I said if I score tomorrow, I would leave it for the rest of the tournament. And it gave me luck.

“I scored in that game, I scored in this one, so it stays.”

Personally, I like to imagine Ronaldo starting to get as wild with his facial hair as he did his head hair.

Perhaps a beatnik style, or something like Serj Tankian from System of a Down. Get nuts, C-Ron.

Report: Southampton could sell Tadic to Ajax for $20m

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Could Southampton be selling one of its most creative forces?

Dusan Tadic, 29, is in the middle of a World Cup run with dark horse Serbia, but the Saints star is also being talked about as a purchase item for Ajax.

[ MORE: Serbia tops Costa Rica ]

The celebrated Eredivisie has traditionally been a selling club for the Premier League, but could be a $20 million buy for Ajax.

The report says director of players Marc Overmars and financial director Jeroen Slop have flown to Southampton to work out a deal.

Tadic starred for Dutch sides Groningen and Twente between 2010-14 before moving to St. Mary’s for a reported $12 million.

He’s scored 24 goals with 35 assists in 162 appearances for Saints, 21 and 30 of which came in the Premier League.