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Celtic announces loan deal for PSG, USMNT teen Weah

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Might Jermain Defoe and Tim Weah define the Scottish Premiership title fight?

Okay, okay, maybe that’s a bit rich, but Celtic and Rangers have both added exciting new loan strikers this week.

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Rangers announced a 18-month loan deal with Bournemouth’s Defoe on Sunday, and Celtic confirmed their capture of Paris Saint-Germain and USMNT youngster Tim Weah on Monday.

Weah turns 19 on Feb. 22, and has two goals in six appearances for PSG but is stuck behind Edinson Cavani, Neymar, and Kylian Mbappe on the depth chart. He’s eight-times capped with one goal for the United States.

Here’s what Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers had to say about his new forward:

“Timothy’s a young talent who is full international player. He has a long career ahead of him but he has those natural attributes in terms of his pace and technique. He’s hungry too. …

“He has really good qualities technically, and tactically is always improving his game. Physically he’s very good, very fast and is a strong player. He’ll add competition to the squad.”

Celtic is also taking Oliver Burke on loan from West Brom in its bid to win its eighth-straight Scottish top-flight title, and 50th all-time.

Transfer needs for Premier League clubs

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The transfer window is open and, so far, there hasn’t been that much business done by the 20 Premier League clubs.

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As we creep towards the deadline at 6 p.m. ET on Jan. 31, you just know so many deals will be done between now and then. But what are the key areas where each Premier League club should strengthen in, if they can, this month?

With that in mind, below is a look at the key transfer needs for each PL team in January.


Arsenal
Key transfer needs: Center back, CAM – Unai Emery has had so many injuries in this area, but aside from that fact, the quality needed to sustain a top four charge just isn’t there. Replacing Aaron Ramsey, long-term, would also be savvy and the arrival of Denis Suarez from Barcelona seems likely. The Spanish central midfielder play for Emery while he was on loan at Sevilla and he can add that extra bit of quality to supply the likes of Aubameyrang and Lacazette.


Bournemouth
Key transfer needs: None – They’ve done their business nice and early with Nathaniel Clyne and Dominic Solanke arriving from Liverpool. With Jermain Defoe moving to Rangers, buying Solanke was a big risk at $24.1 million. He has bags of potential and Eddie Howe will think he can develop that talent a la David Brooks, Ryan Fraser and Callum Wilson. Clyne is only on loan, but you can see a permanent deal happening this summer.


Brighton & Hove Albion
Key transfer need: Central midfield – Some extra depth in central midfield is all that is needed, as Chris Hughton has a strong squad and the quality of his starting XI doesn’t drop significantly when a regular is replaced. Having some extra nous in central midfield would be a good move.


Burnley
Key transfer needs: Winger, attacking midfielder – Injuries to key players in attack have hampered Burnley for most of this season, and with their defense sorted out in recent weeks and Tom Heaton back in goal, they are shored up at the back. They could do with adding more creativity in the final third as the likes of Steven Defour just hasn’t recovered from his horrible injury.


Cardiff City
Key transfer needs: Striker, winger, right back – Neil Warnock is already miffed after missing out on signing Clyne, but the Bluebirds have long been linked with Emiliano Sala and Youseff Msakni. However, both attackers are said to not be keen on a move to the Welsh capital despite Cardiff currently sitting just outside of the relegation zone. Work to do for Cardiff to seal some signings, but they do not have a big budget and will have to wait for the last minute. Will it be too late by then?


Chelsea

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Key transfer needs: Striker, central midfield – With Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud misfiring, Maurizio Sarri needs a new striker. Gonzalo Higuain has been linked with a move to Stamford Bridge, but it could be tough to sort out considering he is currently on loan from Juventus to AC Milan. With Cesc Fabregas on his way out, Sarri also wants a new central midfielder. Chelsea have been linked with a $55 million move for Cagliari midfielder Nicolo Barella, which would be another huge outlay after they bought Christian Pulisic for $73 million before loaning him back to Dortmund until the summer.


Crystal Palace
Key transfer needs: Striker, striker, striker… – Roy Hodgson needs one thing to turn this team into a midtable side: a striker. Michy Batshuayi has been mentioned on several occasions, and given the poor form of Alexander Sorloth (who could be heading to Germany) and the untimely injury to Christian Benteke, relying on the less than prolific Andros Townsend, Wilfried Zaha and Jordan Ayew for their goals has been far from ideal. Palace are set elsewhere, but need a targetman.


Everton
Key transfer needs: Striker, center back – The Toffees need a new center forward too, as Cenk Tosun‘s move just hasn’t worked out and Dominic Calvert-Lewin may not cut the mustard at the top level. Richarlison has had to play through the middle a lot this season and he is clearly better coming off the left. As for defense, Kurt Zouma, Michael Keane and Yerry Mina have had rollercoaster campaigns and getting them extra cover, especially in a 3-4-3 formation, is vital.


Fulham

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Key transfer needs: Center back, full backs – Claudio Ranieri has improved this Fulham defense significantly but this may be all he can do with his group of players. Gary Cahill has been linked with a loan move from Chelsea, while full back Timothy Fosu-Mensah has been told he can head back to parent club Manchester United. That suggests a new right back is on the way, and Ranieri could do with strengthening both full back positions and adding two new center backs. Going forward they look more than adequate, but there’s no real balance in this team.


Huddersfield Town
Key transfer needs: Everywhere – It is quite simple, Huddersfield need to spend big in the transfer window or they are going to get relegated. After eight-straight defeats they are eight points from safety and scoring goals has been a huge problem all season. Jason Puncheon has arrived from Crystal Palace on loan and he is of course an experienced pro, but top quality in midfield and attack is needed. Losing Aaron Mooy and Danny Williams for a key part of the season was a blow, and the Terriers know they will have to act fast this month to give themselves a chance of staying up.


Leicester City
Key transfer needs: Striker, central midfield – With Vicente Iborra sold to Villarreal, there is a hole in central midfield for Claude Puel to plug. Up top the likes of Shinji Okazaki and Kelechi Iheanacho continue to deliver lackluster displays and Jamie Vardy really needs some support. Bringing in a strong center forward who can link up with Vardy would be ideal.


Liverpool

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Key transfer needs: Attacking midfielder, left back – Nabil Fekir has been linked with a move to Liverpool, again, as the Frenchman’s move to Anfield collapsed at the last minute this summer. In some of their big games they’ve lacked a calming presence in midfield, and Naby Keita just hasn’t settled down. Liverpool need a No.10 type who can slow the tempo down a little when they want to. Adam Lallana can be that man if he stays fit, but a new playmaker would give them a big push towards the title. Alberto Moreno is a decent back up option at left back to Andrew Robertson, but he is set to leave in the summer so adding a new left back would be ideal.


Manchester City
Key transfer needs: Left back, defensive midfielder – Benjamin Mendy‘s injury problems mean that left back is the main area needed to strengthen in. Pep Guardiola‘s plan to play Fabian Delph there worked last season, but not so much this season, while Oleksandr Zinchenko hasn’t settled in that role. Aymeric Laporte has plugged the gap for now, but a long-term left back to challenge Mendy is badly needed. A long-term replacement for Fernandinho is needed too, as the Brazilian is badly missed when he’s been out injured.


Manchester United
Key transfer needs: Center back, left back – Defensively United need some serious help, as their stable of center backs just isn’t good enough and are injured far too often. Luke Shaw is their only real option at left back, with Matteo Darmian, Marcos Rojo and Ashley Young able to play there out of position in a pinch.


Newcastle United
Key transfer needs: Striker, central midfielder, winger – Now, it is very unlikely Rafael Benitez will be given money to spend in January, but he does need to strengthen in a few areas. Defensively they are solid enough and are all set there. But going forward he is woefully short of quality options. Extra quality off the wing, a No. 10 and a striker to partner Salomon Rondon is needed. Miguel Almiron from Atlanta United has been linked with a move to St James’ Park but the Magpies are baulking at the $35 million transfer fee.


Southampton

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Key transfer needs: Winger, striker, center back – Saints have a lot of center backs, but Ralph Hasenhuttl has pretty much hinted that Wesley Hoedt is available to leave and that will open a spot up for them to strengthen in. Bednarek, Yoshida and Vestergaard have played okay at times, but RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano has been linked with a move to St Mary’s. Up top there will be an almighty shake up as Manolo Gabbiadini is leaving, Shane Long is on his way out and with Danny Ings‘ injuries flaring up, Hasenhuttl needs reinforcements. His style of play is all about pace, so adding extra pace out wide and up top is the main aim this month. Saints have to sell before they buy, so that will be challenging. Roger Guedes, Yussuf Poulsen and Odio Ighalo have been a few names linked with Saints.


Tottenham Hotspur
Key transfer needs: Central midfield, striker – Although Mauricio Pochettino has admitted he will not be looking to buy anyone in January due to the lack of funds available with the new stadium move almost complete, Spurs are likely to promote youngsters into their squad. But if they are going to be serious about mounting a title bid or going far in the Champions League, more help for Harry Kane (Fernando Llorente is fine for FA Cup games) is needed. Oliver Skipp has stepped in admirably in midfield, and given the fact that Mousa Dembele seems destined to leave, they could have some money to spend on a new midfielder.


Watford
Key transfer need: Center back – It is one of the areas which Watford have ignored for some time, but they always seem to get by. The likes of Cathcart and Kabasele could be upgraded quite easily, and Watford should aim to add extra quality in central defense as they’ve thrown away plenty of points this season. Going forward and in midfield they are littered with options for Javi Gracia. Sort out their defense ahead of the brilliant Ben Foster and they will push hard for European qualification.


West Ham United
Key transfer needs: Nowhere – The Hammers are pretty set and spent a lot of money in the summer. They have a plethora of options up top, in defense and especially in midfield. Consiering Jack Wilshere has hardly kicked a ball this season, Andriy Yarmolenko is out of the rest of the season and Manuel Lanzini is on his way back after a lengthy injury, they have plenty of quality in reserve too. Maybe some extra cover defensively could help, but apart from that Manuel Pellegrini has a very strong squad to choose from.


Wolverhampton Wanderers

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Key transfer need: Striker – Linked with a move for Tammy Abraham, who has spent the first half of the season on loan at Aston Villa, Wolves need help for Raul Jimenez. The Mexican striker has been far from prolific, but he creates so many chances yet doesn’t have a lot of support in games. Nuno Espirito Santo is well stocked elsewhere, but adding a new center back to work into their three-man defense would do wonders for that rotation.

Bournemouth’s Defoe inks 18-month loan deal with Rangers

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Could Jermain Defoe swing the Scottish Premiership title race to the side of the Glasgow Rangers?

Bournemouth announced the veteran striker’s loan on Sunday after weeks of speculation, and manager Steven Gerrard is thrilled to bring the fellow and former English national team striker to the Ibrox Stadium.

[ REPORT: Mourinho turns down job ]

The 36-year-old hasn’t scored in 254 minutes this season, only 21 of which came in the Premier League. He scored four times last season after bagging 30 combined PL goals for Sunderland in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons.

Defoe last place in a league similar to Scotland when he joined Toronto FC in 2014, scoring 11 times in 19 matches for the Reds. Provided he’s not totally lost his game, it could be possible he puts up a similar strike rate for Gerrard’s men.

The majority of Defoe’s 57 caps came during Gerrard’s time with England, so there’s going to be a solid bond there, and his leadership should further help 22-year-old Alfredo Morales find consistency.

Solanke signs for Bournemouth; Clyne joins on loan

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Dominic Solanke has signed for Bournemouth from Liverpool for a fee reported to be in the region of $24.1 million.

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Solanke, 21, didn’t feature this season after becoming a regular off the bench during the 2017-18 campaign. The Chelsea academy product moved to Liverpool in the summer of 2017, hot off the heels of leading England’s U-20 side to World Cup glory.

Speaking about the move to Bournemouth, the English striker is excited to get the opportunity to work with Eddie Howe and the fine young forwards they already possess.

“I think the club is going somewhere. Over the past few years, they have been really good in the Premier League and had some good positional finishes as well. I think it’s a good club to be at, especially for someone of my age,” Solanke said. “I spoke with the manager this morning [Friday]. He is a really nice guy. From playing and watching the Premier League, I know the sort of manager he is. I was excited to meet him and am really looking forward to working with him and seeing what he’s about.”

Solanke is no doubt one of the top English prospects up front (he made his full international debut in November 2017 against Brazil), and this move makes a lot of sense.

At Bournemouth he will get to play in a young, exciting attacking unit where the likes of Ryan Fraser, Josh King and David Brooks have flourished and he can hold the ball up and knit things together in attack. At Liverpool he played a bit-part last season but picked up some great experiences in the UEFA Champions League and in cup competitions.

Does Solanke’s arrival suggest that Callum Wilson is heading to Chelsea, as reported?

We will have to wait and see, but given Jermain Defoe‘s impending loan move to Glasgow Rangers Howe needed reinforcements up front and Solanke suits Bournemouth’s speedy forward play, with a focus on strikers running into wide areas, perfectly.

And Solanke will take Nathaniel Clyne with him to the South Coast from Liverpool, as the right back has arrived on loan for the rest of the season.

The right back has had terrible luck with injuries in recent years, but is back to full fitness now and played extremely well in Liverpool’s victory against Manchester United last month.

However, with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez ahead of him in the pecking order at Anfield, Clyne needs regular minutes and he will get that at Bournemouth with regular right back Adam Smith out for another few months with a knee injury and Simon Francis also injured.

At the age of 27, Clyne is in the prime of his career and it is easy to forget he was a regular for England during his days with Southampton and the early part of his Liverpool career.

Two very good, and sensible, pick ups by Bournemouth.

Transfer gossip: $91m for Arsenal target; Chelsea man in Pulisic swap?

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English youngsters? After signing Jadon Sancho, Borussia Dortmund wants all of them.

Well, not quite, but Goal is reporting that BVB asked for Callum Hudson-Odoi while discussing the potential transfer of Christian Pulisic to Chelsea.

[ MORE: Pogba thankful for Mourinho ]

The report says that Chelsea wasn’t moved by the idea and is hoping to sign Hudson-Odoi to a new deal, but the idea of losing him for nothing could become scarier as January moves nearer.

Bayern Munich is also interested in the player, who turned 18 in November and has a goal and an assist in the Europa League amongst nine senior appearances for Chelsea.

Lille winger Nicolas Pepe is going to cost at least $91 million, according to director Luis Campos, a bit more than the $56 million Arsenal was reportedly ready to spend on the 23-year-old.

The right winger has 12 goals and seven assists in 18 Ligue 1 matches this season, and has scored against Paris Saint-Germain, Lyon, and Marseille. He also has three goals in 10 caps for the Ivory Coast.

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers is reportedly reaching back to his Premier League days in a bid to improve his strike force.

The Hoops may chase either Jermain Defoe or Andy Carroll in a move which would sure to take the fight for an eighth-straight Scottish championship.

Celtic has a one-point lead on Rangers and a three-point lead on Aberdeen, having played one less game. The club is also the highest-scoring team in the league, but with all due respect: either, when healthy, would light up the scoreboard in Scotland.