Premier League transfer needs: What’s been done and what’s left to do by Monday?

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The Premier League transfer window will close up for several months on Monday, and it’s possible this pretty inactive window could go down with a resounding thud.

[ RELATED: Latest transfer gossip ]

Louis van Gaal doesn’t expect to do much at Manchester United despite seemingly overwhelming need at the back, and plenty of other clubs have either stood pat or not added major pieces at all.

Let’s take a gander at how things may’ve changed since JPW checked the needs earlier this month.

PRIORITY
source:  Center back Chelsea: Are they really going to bring in Juan Cuadrado from Fiorentina? My goodness, the rich would feel uncomfortably richer in a truly “1 percent” sort of way.
source:  Defender/mid Manchester City: They’ve added Wilfried Bony from Swansea City, and both he and Yaya Toure’s returns from the Africa Cup of Nations will feel like a January haul. Could they use depth at holding mid or center back? Perhaps.
source:  Defenders   Manchester United: So far the Red Devils have brought in No. 2 keeper Victor Valdes and an unheard of commodity from semi-pro Salford City. Could they really make it through January without adding a single defender of consequence?!?
source:   Center Back West Ham: Brought in Doneil Henry of Toronto FC while letting Mauro Zarate skate on loan to QPR. Darren Fletcher is having a medical today in what would be a major coup for the Irons. Considering how much they added in the summer, the add would be a big one. They have not addressed the theoretical impending departure of Winston Reid.
source:  Holding Mid Arsenal: Snared 17-year-old midfielder Krystian Bielik from Legia Warsaw before hauling in the big one: Villarreal center back Gabriel Paulista. He’ll give the Gunners good depth behind Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny.
source:   Striker Stoke City: They said Peter Crouch could leave town this window, but QPR was rebuffed and the big one has signed a two-year extension. Center back Philipp Wollscheid has arrived on loan from Bayer Leverkusen, but striker depth has not been addressed. Perhaps Bojan Krkic’s season-ending injury could send them late into the market for an attacker?
source:   CB/Striker/GK Everton: No one’s come in yet, and Samuel Eto’o has skipped town. Tim Howard will return soon enough. Can the Toffees find their way without any reinforcements?
source:   Defender/GK Newcastle United: The Magpies have held onto Moussa Sissoko so far, which feels like a victory. But they still are in a predicament at center back, with Steven Taylor out for the year and Fabricio Coloccini matched up with either makeshift Paul Dummett or dicey Mike Williamson. Most of the players linked with Newcastle are the younger crowd, as that’s how chief scout Graham Carr operates.
source:  Striker Burnley: It’s really turned into “Hold onto Danny Ings” at all costs, right? Well so far, the Clarets have done that. Could that possibly be enough for the small club to stay up?
source:   Striker Southampton: Jack Cork has left for Swansea City, and James Ward-Prowse has signed an extension at St. Mary’s. Other than that, we’re waiting to see what further gems Ronald Koeman might unearth.
source:   Winger Tottenham Hotspur: Spurs have now watched DeAndre Yedlin come into town, and Kyle Naughton depart for Swansea. Will Mauricio Pochettino add anyone before the end of the window?
source:   Attacking mid Sunderland: Out goes Jozy, in comes Jermain Defoe. It’s a good get for the Black Cats, who gain in Premier League experience and production by the bushel.
source:   Striker/Winger Aston Villa: Fabian Delph is staying put long-term, and now creative midfielder Carles Gil has arrived from Valencia. Darren Bent has left for Derby County, and Scott Sinclair has been freed from Manchester City. Can the latter return to his once promising Premier League form?
source:  CB/Striker  West Brom: Callum McManaman is a sneaky good pickup from Wigan Athletic, and keeping Saido Berahino around will feel like a victory for the Baggies almost regardless of what happens in the next few days.
source:   Center Back QPR: Just a crime scene. Mauro Zarate is in on loan and the criminally used Jordon Mutch leaves Harry Redknapp’s side for Crystal Palace. What in the world is ‘Arry doing over there, and why hasn’t Tony Fernandes pulled the plug?
source:   CB/Striker Liverpool: Bringing Daniel Sturridge back sure is a nice way to end January, but what else? Suso and Oussama Assaidi are gone, and Steven Gerrard will join them. With all the new additions from the summer, Liverpool is still coming together.
source:   Center back Crystal Palace: Look at Alan Pardew go! The man can do no wrong at Selhurst Park, and is bringing in longtime NUFC man Shola Ameobi to help the strike force. Jordon Mutch was a Pardew target back during the kid’s time at Cardiff, and now the manager gets him in here, while Yaya Sanogo arrives to tantalize from Arsenal. Not bad.
source:   Striker Swansea City: Bony leaves for a load of dough, and Garry Monk makes a few shrewd pickups in Kyle Naughton, Kyle Naughton and Jack Cork. Still could use a striker in a hurry, though.
source:   Striker/CM/CB Hull City: Steve Bruce’s club has done very little, and have plenty of holes to fill. It’s unlikely they get that done by Monday. How much trouble are the Tigers in when it comes to relegation?
source:  Defenders Leicester City: Andrej Kramaric and Mark Schwarzer are solid pickups, with the former being a Chelsea target and choosing the Foxes. Can Nigel Pearson snare a bit more help in defense?

Cole returns to Chelsea as youth team coach

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One of Chelsea’s best players in club history is back at his old stomping grounds in a new role.

Chelsea finally confirmed over their social media channels that former left back Ashley Cole is back at the club coaching in the academy, helping the next generation of stars grow and learn the games. Specifically, Cole is coaching the U-15 squad.

[READ: Top Premier League Storylines]

“I’m also doing my badges at the moment and so being here at Chelsea means I have the chance to coach every day, whereas maybe if I wasn’t working at a club it would be hard for me to get the hours in,” Cole told Chelsea’s website. “I’m learning not just how to be a coach and how to speak to people in a different environment but the side of coaching that you don’t see like planning the sessions and setting up the equipment.

“As a player, you just turn up for a session and do it. If it’s a possession drill, you just arrive and try to keep the ball but now I’m getting to understand that there are always ideas behind a particular session or practice. Organization has to be key and those are the little details that it takes to be a great coach.”

While plenty from Cole’s era have moved into the media for lucrative punditry roles, it’s nice to see players like Cole and his former teammate Frank Lampard, now Chelsea coach, go into coaching to help pass on some of the great lessons they’ve learned during their careers. .

Cole said in the interview that he wasn’t sure what was next after playing three seasons for the LA Galaxy and then joining Lampard at Derby County for the second half of last season. He added that he got his first taste of coaching kids while with the Galaxy, helping some of the academy players and taking part in video sessions.

“The Academy are very good at giving ex-players a route back to the club and a chance to learn as coaches,” Cole said. “They’re eager to bring in people who understand what it means to be at Chelsea and what it means to wear the badge. You have to be a top player to play for Chelsea so they want those top ex-players influencing and trying to help the next generation develop and be better players.”

Spanish FA once again opposes La Liga match in U.S.

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For the second consecutive season, La Liga and Relevant Sports have proposed a league match to take place this winter in the U.S.

And once again, the La Liga proposal doesn’t have the support of its national soccer federation.

[READ: La Liga wants to move Villarreal-Atletico Madrid to Miami]

Luis Rubiales, president of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), told reporters on Thursday that it would oppose the match taking place outside of Spain’s borders, keeping a consistent line in the sand on how far globalization can go in soccer.

“It would disrupt the competition,” Rubiales said, via AS. “To play a game in Miami, La Liga needs permission from five bodies that it doesn’t have.”

The five bodies Rubiales referred to are the RFEF, FIFA, CONCACAF, U.S. Soccer and MLS.

Last time around, Relevant Sports and La Liga announced a long-term, lucrative marketing contract to expand the brand’s footprint in the Americas, and soon after, petitioned to move Girona’s home game against Barcelona to Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium, the home stadium of Relevant Sports owner Stephen Ross and his Miami Dolphins.

Ultimately, La Liga president Javier Tebas and Relevant Sports were unable to get permission from the RFEF or FIFA to hold the event outside Spain and it went off as expected in Girona. At the time, Spain’s player’s union and fans groups opposed the move. Tebas has filed a lawsuit in Spain to try to force the RFEF to approve their request, but it seems unlikely to be awarded and it surely doesn’t provide any good will between the two parties.

There’s been plenty of talk about bringing league games abroad before, but it has just been talk so far. The Premier League considered adding an extra game to the season to be played all over the world, but never went through with creating plans for matches.

Associations – not leagues, to be clear – have brought things like Super Cups abroad. For example, the RFEF moved the 2018 Spanish Super Cup to Tangiers, Morocco, while the France Football Federation has brought its national Super Cup match to both the U.S. and Montreal, Canada in recent years. However, the argument in favor of bringing those games abroad is they’re basically meaningless. Meanwhile, one result in a league season could – in theory – determine whether a team is relegated or not, especially if the margin is three points or less.

We could see another legal fight on our hands, so watch this space, there’s plenty more to come.

Rodgers excuses Maddison’s behavior after England departure

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Leicester City and England midfielder James Maddison made headlines for the wrong reasons after he was pictured last week watching the England match at the Czech Republic from a casino.

Despite the negative attention from Maddison’s decision to watch the game at that venue, he has the backing of his club manager, Brendan Rodgers.

“The kid went away with the international team and took ill while he was away,” Rodgers said, via the Guardian. “He wanted to stay and hopefully be ready for the second game. But the England medical staff – which I can understand, as he had flu and they didn’t want that to spread to his teammates – decided it’s best for him to leave the camp. So he leaves, gets some tablets with our guys at the club, then he feels better.

“He watched the game at home on his own on the Friday and then goes out at half-time – probably he’ll make better decisions in his life but he went to a casino on his own to sit and watch the second half by a poker table. The suggestions are he left England purposelessly and then goes to a casino but that’s totally not the case at all. But his eyes have been opened now to the wider world in terms of what he did. He knows in hindsight he’s made a mistake.”

Considering all that went on during England’s international break, from the poor performance in Prague to the horrible racism endured in Bulgaria, this is a bit of a silly scandal. To be honest, as long as Maddison is taking care of his body and himself, why does it matter if he was at a casino, or a pub, or anywhere?

However, there’s no denying that the optics look bad. Folks didn’t know that he arrived to England camp with the flu, or a flu-like illness at least, and the England medical staff are right to send him away to make sure no one else gets sick. He may have been feeling better by Friday and wanted to get out of the house. I think we’ve all been there after being sick for a few days.

The most important lesson for Maddison is to learn that his actions, out of context, can be misunderstood. In terms of soccer, after Ross Barkley’s performance for England, Maddison will have to prove in his club form that he should still have a place in the England team for the near future. There’s only two more international dates left before the 2020 Euros, so time is running out for Maddison to make an impact to Southgate.

Tierney, Lacazette available for Arsenal

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Arsenal are edging closer to finally having a full-strength squad.

Ahead of Monday’s prime-time matchup with Sheffield United, Arsenal manager Unai Emery confirmed that Kieran Tierney was in line to make his Premier League debut, while Alexandre Lacazette was back in full training and should be in the gameday squad.

“Today is Lacazette’s first training back with us,” Emery said in a press conference on Thursday. “He finished it well and he’s feeling well with his injuries. Tomorrow we will be training again and he will be with us. We will decide.

“The most important thing is that first he is training, then secondly it’s whether he can be with us and it depends how he can feel in the next days training with us, whether his ankle is not giving him any more problems.”

This is a huge boost to Arsenal, which has had to rely on some youngsters and have made some lineup changes to accommodate not having Lacazette on the field. Tierney meanwhile could step into a position where there’s already a decent starter, Sead Kolasinac.

Lacazette’s return also couldn’t have come at a better time. In Premier League action, Arsenal’s high-powered offense has been stymied, scoring just two goals in the last two league games. Meanwhile, against weaker defenses in the UEFA Europa League and the Carabao Cup, Arsenal has bagged a total of 12 goals.

The veteran Frenchman has scored two goals in three appearances so far this season, including a big goal just before halftime in the 2-2 draw with Tottenham. However, he suffered a long-term ankle injury in that match that has kept him on the sidelines for more than a month.

“[Tierney is] ready to play,” Emery later said. Now we have two options in that left-back role with Sead Kolasinac and him. We’re going to play a lot of matches after Monday. We will need every player. It depends how he comes into the first training with us, Sead, after his international matches. We now have two players in that position and we can use one on Monday, it depends how they are, one or the other.”

Tierney, the 22-year-old Scottish left back, has made two appearances for the Arsenal first team since recovering from a double hernia operation over the summer. Signed from Celtic for around $32 million, Tierney adds a skill that Kolasinac has struggled with – expert crosser of the ball into the box, where the likes of Lacazette, Nicolas Pepe, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang can score when given a decent chance.