Heady times for clubs who must decide by next Monday, Feb. 1, whether their squads are strong enough to accomplish their season’s missions.
The Birmingham Mail has Aston Villa linked with a number of players who could help their aim to drag itself away from its first ever Premier League relegation. Arsenal outside back Mathieu Debuchy could make a loan move to join fellow Frenchman Remi Garde’s bunch, while the same report says Villa is hoping to land Torino goalkeeper Daniele Padelli. That latter sentence isn’t good news for Brad Guzan, who has already dropped to No. 2 on Garde’s depth chart.
The same paper has a wild and curious note regarding West Bromwich Albion, who is in need of help in the attack. But would Tony Pulis actually like the idea of brining in… wait for it… Mario Balotelli? Pulis has branded Saido Berahino as petulant and, while we wouldn’t want to start a “Who’s more destructive?” contest, how would this odd shout work?
Speaking of the relegation fight, Newcastle United needs to find some finish as Aleksandar Mitrovic is going through a cold spell. Kickoff.co.uk says the Magpies might make a move for Werder Bremen’s Anthony Ujah. He just left Koln for Bremen this summer, but might be available.
Staying in the Northeast, Sam Allardyce had his scouting luggage with him on a trip to an unspecified location in “Europe” on Sunday. Sunderland has a brutal schedule ahead: Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United and West Ham, with the two Manchester sides being home contests. He’s still being linked with Lorient right back Lamine Gassama.
Di Marzio claims that Real Madrid may’ve found a big buy ahead of their expected two-window transfer ban. Ricardo Rodriguez currently plies his trade with Wolfsburg, and what’s $44 million between friends? Real needs depth at left back behind Marcelo.
MLS and other growing leagues might want to watch out if China keeps splashing crazy cash for players in their prime. Chelsea veteran Ramires, 28, is getting long in the tooth but not there, and he hasn’t made Guus Hiddink’s plan. Jiangu Suning is coached by ex-Blues player Dan Petrescu, and the club may be willing to pony up $30 million to get the Brazilian to China. The Chinese league has seen a bevy of Brazilians move to the country, including a quartet from Corinthians.