Premier League Transfer Needs: What all 20 teams need before the window shuts

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With not long to go until the January transfer window slams shut, 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’ve been breaking down the transfer needs of every PL team. 

Now we’ve put the transfer desires of all 20 teams in one place, as this post is brimming with the business each club should do.

Joe Prince-Wright and Mike Prindiville break the transfer needs down, as time is running out…

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 Berbatov (£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. MP

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. MP

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.

source: Getty Images
Chelsea add Egyptian winger Mohammed Salah.

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. Solksjaer has done plenty of business in the window, as Norwegian Jo Inge Berget, Stoke City’s Kenwyne Jones and Manchester United duo Wilfried Zaha and Fabio all signed in the final week of the window. Peter Odemwingie went to Stoke as part of the deal for Jones. MP

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. But after agreeing to sell Juan Mata to Manchester United, Jose Mourinho couldn’t resist having another pop in the market, buying Egyptian winger Mohammed Salah from FC Basel for $17 million. MP

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. MP

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

EVERTON

One striker and another versatile defender who can be used as cover. The Toffees lost Jelavic and could lose John Heitinga and I’m assuming Martinez will be looking for replacements. The signing of Aiden McGeady is a good one, and another attacking options should be Everton’s priority if they’re going to make their Champions League dream a reality. A loan deal for Monaco striker Lacina Traore will help massively with that, as the top four beckons for a young and talented Toffees side. JPW

FULHAM

Most Fulham fans would argue a clean sweep is necessary, but the area that needs must help is defense. The likes of Philippe Senderos and Fernando Amorebieta have struggled this season and the Cottagers need to stop leaking a bucket load of goals. If they can do that they have offensive weapons that can hurt most teams. JPW

source: Getty Images
Traore has joined Everton on loan from Monaco. the giant forward could hold the key to a top four finish.

HULL CITY

The Tigers are pretty set after doing their business early in the window. I would’ve said they needed a top striker to help with their scoring problems, and Steve Bruce went out and bought two last week in Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long. Job done. JPW

LIVERPOOL

I truly believe Liverpool need one more striker to really turn them into a top four contender. But I don’t think they will land one. Defensive reinforcements would be nice, as the likes of Martin Skrtel and Kolo Toure have been liabilities as times this season. In midfield they are set, although a tricky winger may tempt Rodgers as summer signings Victor Moses and Iago Aspas haven’t shone thus far.

The Reds look to have missed out on Salah, as Chelsea nipped in with a last-minute bid for the Egyptian winger. JPW

MANCHESTER CITY

City are pretty set in every position. But if they wanted to strengthen in one position, it may be left back. Gael Clichy and Aleksandar Kolarov have both been sharing the role for most of the season but neither have looked that great. Going forward they both add a lot, but defensively they leave plenty to be desire. Maybe City will splash the cash to make sure their squad is absolutely stacked heading into the final stretch. JPW

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

source: AP
Mata is finalizing his move to Untied, will he be the catalyst for a Red Devils revival?

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 for a club record fee of around $61 million sent out a huge message to everyone that the club backs David Moyes, as the Spanish midfielder will bring a whole new dimension to United’s midfield. A top four spot is dependent on United splashing the cash, and they’ve done that by bringing in Mata. Will more arrive in January? We will have to wait and see, but Moyes’ rebuild has finally got moving. JPW

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.

However it does look as though Cabaye is on his way to Paris Saint-Germain before the window shuts, as the Magpies have had big money bids come in for their French international midfielder and a fee has reportedly been agreed. JPW

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. JPW

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. JPW

source: Getty Images
Will Yohan Cabaye leave Newcastle in January?

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. Stoke did buy USMNT forward Juan Agudelo after work permit issues, but they’ve immediately loaned him out to FC Utrecht in Holland. While Stephen Ireland has sealed a permanent move to the Britannia and striker John Guidetti has arrived on loan from Man City.

Peter Odemwingie arriving from Cardiff in exchange for Kenwyne Jones seems like a decent deal, but the Potters need plenty more business like that in the final few days. JPW

MORE: Transfer needs – Manchester United, Newcastle, Norwich, Southampton, Stoke City

SUNDERLAND

Sunderland needed to strengthen a leaky defense and got down to business early in January, acquiring full-back Marcos Alonso (from Fiorentina) and center-back Santiago Vergini (from Estudiantes). As loanees both players are mere stop-gaps, meaning the Black Cats will reassess the back line come this summer. Argentine goalkeeper Oscar Ustari joined on loaned from Spanish side Almeria as another short-term replacement. On the offensive side of the ball Gus Poyet’s side has quality in Steven Fletcher and a talented group of wingers (Fabio Borini, Emanuel Giaccherini, Seb Larsson, Adam Johnson) but could use a more dependable holding midfielder to provide an alternative to Lee Cattermole.

Ignacio Scocco is close to sealing a switch, as the Black Cats look to add more firepower with the Argentine striker coming in to help with the relegation scrap. MP

SWANSEA CITY

The Swans are in a free-fall and need to add depth if they plan on continuing their Europa League run while avoiding relegation. Wilfried Bony has improved of late but with Michu‘s injury, the Swans should look to bring in another option up top. On the wings, Pablo Hernandez and Nathan Dyer‘s health issues could demand a new player be brought in while the center of the park has been solid with the likes of Jonjo Shelvey, Jonathan De Guzman and Jose Canas. Michael Laudrup can’t afford to lose anyone from his defense, especially Ashley Williams, and could use some added strength at right-back where Angel Rangel and Dwight Tiendalli have been average at best.

Laudrup has signed a new striker, as Bolton forward David Ngog has joined on loan for the rest of the season. I’m sure that’s not the type of signing Swans fans were hoping for. While Tom Ince has held talks with the Swans, as the tricky England U-21 winger is set to move on from Blackpool during the window. If he signs for Swansea, it will be a massive boost to the relegation hopes. MP

source: Reuters
Will Spurs add another striker after Defoe moved to TFC?

TOTTENHAM

Spurs arguably have more depth than any club in the Premier League so purchases are unlikely although we may see Tim Sherwood bring in a young striker to replace the loss of Jermain Defoe (to Toronto FC) and add cover to Emmanuel Adebayor and Roberto SoldadoMP

WEST HAM UNITED

If West Ham are to avoid relegation they must purchase a new striker. Andy Carroll recently returned from injury but the Hammers must provide cover in case the injury-prone Geordie goes down again. In the midfield, holding on to Ravel Morrison is an absolute must while bringing in another creative force to operate behind the strikers could be a good move considering Kevin Nolan‘s underwhelming season and Mo Diame’s new knee injury. At the back, Roger Johnson was brought in earlier this month but has struggled meaning Sam Allardyce would do well to bring in a center-back of proven quality.

The Hammers have added two notable players from Serie A, as Roma striker Marco Borriello and AC Milan midfielder Antonio Nocerino both joined the Upton Park side on loan. MP

WEST BROMWICH ALBION

The Albion made the unpopular decision to sell Shane Long but have cover up top in Saido Berahino, Nicholas Anelka and Victor Anichebe. Pepe Mel’s side could use some strengthening at right-back where Billy Jones has been average at best but money issues will constrict their ability to buy. MP

 MORE: Transfer needs – Sunderland, Swansea City, Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham, West Brom

Dropped points in Top Four race point to wild February

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Regardless of whether Wolves end Liverpool’s unbeaten Premier League season on Thursday, there will be five teams within seven points of fourth place heading into Matchweek 25.

Chelsea has 40, a comfortable-enough six-point lead on Manchester United, Spurs, and Wolves (who meet Liverpool at 3 p.m. ET Thursday on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com). Sheffield United has 33 points.

February, specifically the next three matchweeks, will see the teams inside that group learn a lot more about their fates, and give Chelsea and Sheffield United big opportunities to cement their places in the Top Four and Seven, respectively.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule

In the case of the latter, it’s because the Blades are the only team in the bunch who don’t face a Top Four six-pointer; Chris Wilder‘s men will meet Crystal Palace, Bournemouth, and Brighton, while the others will be beating up each other.

Chelsea’s path is fraught, but a big opportunity. The Blues travel to Leicester City before hosting both Manchester United and Spurs. Nine points there would effectively Top Four-proof Frank Lampard‘s side.

By the way, how’s this for a hot take? If any of Chelsea, Man Utd, or Spurs find their center forward or playmaker help in the window, they’ll have a leg up on their Top Four rivals. And, really, is that extra few million pounds worth the spoils of the Champions League? Yup.

Bruno Fernandes is not (yet) with United, and the Red Devils face Wolves and Chelsea in their next two matches. Spurs have City and Chelsea. Tumult is probable!

A draw with Newcastle and loss at Watford dampened Wolves’ hopes of riding into fourth. Beginning with Thursday’s visit from Liverpool, however, Nuno Espirito Santo‘s men face three of the Top Seven and then a visit from Norwich City. It’s not over.

And don’t entirely rule out Leicester City from dropping into the fray; The Foxes host Chelsea and Man City, and visit Wolves.

One more nod, however improbable: Arsenal sits 10 points back of fourth but meets Burnley, Newcastle, and Everton over those three match weeks. A perfect run could have the Gunners thinking big (Man City is after that, alas).

Matchday 25
Leicester City v. Chelsea
Crystal Palace v. Sheffield United
Manchester United v. Wolves
Spurs v. Man City

Matchday 25
Sheffield United v. Bournemouth
Wolves v. Leicester City
Chelsea v. Manchester United
Aston Villa v. Tottenham Hotspur

Matchday 27
Chelsea v. Tottenham Hotspur
Leicester City v. Man City
Wolves v. Norwich City
Sheffield United v. Brighton
Manchester United v. Watford

Spurs play Wolves the next week, too!

Mourinho doesn’t have attacking options, but he does have ‘family’

Mourinho on Spurs win
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In this “whole new Jose Mourinho” world, the key word is family.

Mourinho said it six times in his post-match presser after Tottenham Hotspur scrapped to a 2-1 defeat of Norwich City on Wednesday in London.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Spurs had an early lead disappear when Ryan Sessegnon gave away a penalty to Max Aarons, and Teemu Pukki converted it for a 70th-minute deadlock.

Heung-Min Son scored nine minutes later. It was a win that is good for the whole family.

From Football.London:

“It was fantastic what happened after the 1-1, which happens in a difficult moment for us where I look to the bench and I don’t have attacking players to change the game the team is a little bit fatigued, especially Lucas, Son and of course Lamela. I took him off because he was in trouble and he is a player who is coming from very important and long injury, so very difficult.

“How can we change the game? With the family spirit, the family character and desire.”

Mourinho also praised Giovani Lo Celso‘s work on the wing for attack-short Spurs as “a good experience for the family,” and Paulo Gazzaniga‘s support for returned goalkeeper Hugo Lloris as “a good member of the family and he is such a special friend of Hugo.”

I mean, I’m getting the warm and fuzzies.

Clearly, Mourinho is stressing unity and there’s a bit of bunker mentality involved, as the manager mentioned some dicey calls not going their way against Watford, Liverpool, and now Norwich.

Solskjaer: Manchester United ‘looked mentally tired’ versus Burnley

Solskjaer reacts to Manchester United loss
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OIe Gunnar Solskjaer doesn’t have the answers to what ails Manchester United without Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba, and he can’t even fake it.

The United boss could only hang his side’s 2-0 loss to Burnley on sharpness, as the Red Devils out-attempted the visitors by a 24-5 margin.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

United also had 72 percent of the ball, but Burnley’s whole philosophy is cool with you having the ball if you don’t have the lead.

The Red Devils never looked quite ready to grab that, either, from the moment an early Aaron Wan-Bissaka cross sailed through the six absent receiver. From the BBC:

“The boys looked mentally tired towards the end, we didn’t find that creativity,” Solskjaer said. “We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. When you are at Man United you are privileged because you are playing for the best club in the world.

“Sometimes you go through periods like that and it is a test I am sure they are going to come through.”

It’s all formulaic from the Norwegian manager. “The we’re United and it’s a special place” struck all the right chords when he first took the reins at Old Trafford, but the club hasn’t bought much quality since then and it’s ringing hollow as the depth fails to bail them out.

Spoiler alert: He did.

You can accept that Solskjaer is going nowhere and also accept that the whole thing is not going to improve any time soon. United should absolutely be in the Top Four given the failings of Chelsea, but cannot stop tripping over its own feet.

Man Utd shocked by advantageous Burnley

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Manchester United never showed up at Old Trafford, and Burnley reaped all the benefits.

Chris Wood and Jay Rodriguez scored as the Clarets stunned the Red Devils 2-0 on Wednesday.

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United fails to take advantage of Chelsea’s draw with Arsenal, and sits six points back of the Top Four.

Burnley climbs seven points clear of the drop zone, level with five teams on 30 points.


Three things we learned

1. Wood shines up top: It was a 10th goal to go with his first assist of the season for the New Zealand international, who used a half-yard of space from Harry Maguire to put Burnley in front. Burnley’s philosophy is to find their forwards at all cost, and when Wood is delivering that ethos looks genius.

2. United’s absent wings cost it dear (and jeer): Juan Mata and Anthony Martial were lively, but both Daniel James and Andreas Pereira did little to inspire hope of a goal for the home side. The Red Devils were the focus of crowd derision on the day, as they again wasted a chance to improve their Top Four credentials. Most teams will suffer without their top two attackers, but this is Manchester United. Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford missing or not, Wednesday was iugly stuff.

3. Jay Rodriguez’s new nickname is “Bangers Only”: Joking aside, it’s difficult to remember Rodriguez goals that don’t get you out of your seat. His insurance goal absolutely buried United, and gives him seven across all competitions. It also gives Sean Dyche plenty of competition in training, with Ashley Barnes on the periphery.

Man of the Match: Wood


United’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka cut a promising 15th minute cross through the 18, but no teammate could get a foot to it.

Fred continued his lively play when he hit a low drive to Nick Pope in the 23rd, good endeavor without the required sharpness.

Daniel James forced Pope into a leaping save in the 32nd, and Martial couldn’t get his feet right when Nemanja Matic rolled him to the doorstep in the 34th.

Burnley took the lead out of absolute nothing, Wood taking advantage of Harry Maguire when Ben Mee flicked a long free kick to the Kiwi.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Rodriguez went bar down with a beauty in the 57th minute to make it 2-0, and real trouble arrived at Old Trafford.