Who needs who in January: Part 1

January is finally upon us and we all know what that means; the re-opening of the transfer window. 31 days of gossip fuelled news and players making the moves from club-to-club, either on loan or permanently. But, who does need to sign who before February 1st? Find out below.


A stuttering start to the season but Arsenal ended 2011 in the top four. Much of the credit goes down to Robin Van Persie, with the Gunners winning every league game he has scored in since the 3-0 win over Bolton Wanderers in September. However, it is therein that the initial problem lies. When the Dutchman doesn’t score, the top four hopefuls don’t win. Arsene Wenger needs to bring in a striker that can find the back of the net when his captain doesn’t and while Thierry Henry may be a temporary answer to a permanent problem, a front-man who knows how to score is imperative this month, especially with Gervinho and Marouane Chamakh due to fly out for the African Cup of Nations shortly.

Furthermore, with mounting injuries problems in both full-back positions, a short-term loan move may be on the cards for the Arsenal manager. Wayne Bridge has been linked with a loan move to the Emirates, something Wenger has claimed he knows nothing about, but he could be a solution until the likes of Kieran Gibbs and Andre Santos return from injury. AC Milan left-back Taye Taiwo has also been linked with a move but he has already stated his intention to remain in the Italian capital. Nevertheless, with the Frenchman forced into playing centre-backs out of position and with Thomas Vermaelen now out for a majority of the month, two arrivals could well be a minimum for the North London side.

Aston Villa

If Aston Villa’s emphatic 3-1 win over Chelsea is anything to go by, it is that the Villains will be in need of a striker who, like Darren Bent, knows where the net is. The fact that, despite being 10th in the league, Alex McLeish’s side have scored less than both Blackburn Rovers and Bolton Wanderers, the two teams that occupy 19th and 20th in the Premiership.  The England international is the club’s top scorer with six goals to his name and while Gabriel Agbonlahor is second behind him with five, both Nathan Delfouneso and Emile Heskey have just one goal between them this season.

With Bent out injured, the club managed only one goal in the three games prior to the aforementioned win over the Blues and with a lack of goals hindering their push up the table, like Arsenal a new front-man may be a necessity even if it is at the expense of Delfouneso and Heskey. Many suspected a creative midfielder could be added to the squad but following Stephen Ireland’s performance on New Year’s eve, the Irishman will be hoping for an extended run in the team as he looks to replicate his form which saw him become such a success during his time with Manchester City.

Blackburn Rovers

Where to start with Blackburn Rovers? Four points from their last two games against Liverpool and Manchester United doesn’t quite mask the problems happening at Ewood Park, as impressive as the results may have been. Languishing in the bottom three, and bottom of the table at Christmas, Rovers are in dire need of some investment to help stop the rut at Ewood Park. First and foremost, the fans need to back Steve Kean rather than continue to pressure the under-fire Scot and trust in him to turn the clubs fortunes around because, if the owners are to be believed, he won’t be getting the sack anytime soon.

With that in mind, The Venky’s now need to back Kean financially this month. Some proven Premier League talent will help push Blackburn out of the relegation zone and as important as that is, tying down Junior Hoilett to a new contract is essential. The Canadian youngster has been one of the shining stars for the club this season but, with his contract expiring in six months time, Blackburn will be hoping to sign him back on rather than risk losing him on the cheap. Kean already insists he has targets lined up this month and it is crucial that they move quickly in order to aid in the clubs fight against relegation.

Bolton Wanderers

The Trotters are in a similar position to Blackburn Rovers, both in the Premiership and in the fight to keep hold of star men. In demand Gary Cahill has been courted by the likes of Tottenham and Chelsea over the summer and the latter are now close to sealing to sealing a switch for the England international, who is out of contract in the summer. A replacement will be needed to fill the gap that the centre-back will leave but finding one of similar quality may be somewhat of an uphill task for manager Owen Coyle, while bringing in someone to partner him could help having conceded 43 goals already this year.

The goal situation could be improved as well for Bolton, with the relegation fodder only scoring 25 goals in the Premiership and despite the seven goals from Ivan Klasnic sending him to the top of scoring charts, the next highest scoring striker is summer signing David N’Gog with a measly two strikes to his name. A big name striker isn’t of the must but one who knows where the net is to help ease the goal-scoring burden, while firing them out of the bottom three, will help take the pressure off Coyle. Roman Pavlyuchenko from Tottenham would be a good acquisition, provided Chris Eagles can continue to provide the service from the right flank.


If the first five months of the season is anything to by, Chelsea are in desperate need of some quality centre-backs. John Terry is a mainstay but David Luiz, at times, doesn’t really look like he knows he is a defender, Alex is shooting off this month after having a transfer request accepted last month, while Branislav Ivanovic is too similar to the current Chelsea captain for them to form a decent partnership in the back four. Gary Cahill is very much expected to make the move to Stamford Bridge over the next couple of weeks and his arrival will certainly shore up the Blues leaky defence with manager Andre Villas-Boas keen on recreating the England defensive partnership.

Elsewhere, rumours are continuously linking Didier Drogba with a move away from the West Londoners and even so, the African Cup of Nations will tear him and team-mate Saloman Kalou away for the rest of January and, should Ivory Coast make it through to the knockout stages most of February as well. With Fernando Torres out-of-form, Romelu Lukaku still finding his feet in England and Nicholas Anelka already packed off to China, a new front-man wouldn’t go amiss. Edinson Cavani has been strongly linked with move to England and with Villas-Boas, reportedly, handed a £150m war chest to help strengthen the clubs position in the league.


Goals appears to be the problem for a majority of the Premier League’s top side and Everton are no different. A low of just 20 goals for the season, an average of almost a goal-a-game sees the Toffees languishing in the lower half of the table, albeit, with a game in hand over 10th placed Sunderland and Norwich City in 9th, one point separating the three teams. Their joint top scorers have just three goals between them and, perhaps even worse, is the fact that one of them is left-back Leighton Baines. A natural goalscorer is what David Moyes is in desperate need of at Goodison Park and he needs to find it sooner rather than later otherwise they run the risk of falling behind the pack in the hunt for a Europa League spot.

However, elsewhere on the pitch, the Merseysiders appear to be fine with the club boasting the fifth best defensive record in the Premiership, the four above them being the top three teams Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham along with locals rivals Liverpool. Everton just need someone who knows where the net is. However, with the board unwilling to splash the cash, it is easier said than done for Moyes.


Martin Jol’s outfit, despite possessing four players with five or more goals for the season, still lack a consistent front-man to lead the line. Bobby Zamora and Andy Johnson have both been linked with respective exits from the club and despite Clint Dempsey scoring nine goals already; the aforementioned duo have double that between them. It is unclear as to who Jol will try and bring in this month; Andre-Pierre Gignac of Marseille has already been ruled out by the Dutchman while Mounir El Hamdaoui of Ajax is another name to have been linked with the Cottagers in recent weeks and, more recently, Maxi Lopez of Catania denied speculation he is set for a move to Craven Cottage.

The platform for success with the West London outfit is there for all to see but, a lack of consistency at the back has really hindered their push up the table. Captain Brede Hangeland recently admitted he has played alongside no less than eight team-mates in the back-four and perhaps all Fulham need to aid them is for Jol to find a defence and settle on it.


Despite spending heavily in the last 12 months, with the minimum requirement set to Kenny Dalglish expected to be a top-four finish, Liverpool currently find themselves three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea. Again, goals appear to be the hindrance for success like a majority of the teams in the league. The Reds have hit the woodwork the most out of any team in the Premiership this season and, creatively, they are fine. The problem remains on the front-line. Top scorer Luis Suarez has just eight goals to his name and is currently just beginning his eight-game ban for racially abusing Patrice Evra.

Andy Carroll, bought in to replicate his Newcastle United form, has scored just four league goals for the top-four hopefuls since his £35m move and it had been expected that he would be the one to pick up from where Suarez left off. However, he hasn’t been able to find consistency at his new surroundings and, as such, looks short of confidence and in return, is short on goals. Darren Bent has been mooted as a possible arrival and, with his record for Aston Villa and Sunderland, it is hardly surprising. Like a number of clubs, they just need a striker to put the ball in the net.

Manchester City

It used to be the case of whoever Roberto Mancini wants, he gets. However, the Italian recently admitted he will be forced to sell before he can before in order to comply with the Financial Fair Play regulations that are set to come into place at the end of the season. He recently admitted that he needs to make one or two new signings this month in order to push on for their quest for glory. If that is the case, the priority must be a new midfielder and centre-back. Both Yaya and Kolo Toure are set to depart for the African Cup of Nations this week and, like Chelsea striker Didier Drogba, should Ivory Coast make it through the group stages, City will be without the brothers for a substantial period of time.

Daniele De Rossi has been linked and, with the Italian international out of contract in June, could be available at a cut-price. Meanwhile, a centre-back could come in on a short-term deal to help cover Kolo over the course of the competition. Up front, the Citizens could be left light-footed with Carlos Tevez expected to leave this month. Edinson Cavani and Robin Van Persie have both been linked as possible replacements for the Argentine but any move for the dup is dependent on Tevez departing the Etihad stadium over the next three weeks.

Manchester United

The defending champions have failed to replicate the form that made them such a prolific force last season and saw them out-do Liverpool’s title winning record. However, any hopes of making it 20 this season have taken a serious dent this season with rivals Manchester City currently leading the race for the title. The major flaw in the United set-up this season has been the lack of quality in the midfield. Following the retirement of Paul Scholes, many had expected Sir Alex Ferguson to bring in a player of similar ilk to replace for the former United legend.

However, without bringing in a replacement, the Red Devil’s title pursuit has stuttered as of late. With Michael Carrick the only match fit midfielder at the moment; the club appear to be struggling to overcome opponents who they would have beaten last season. Tom Cleverley started the season brightly but an ankle injury has kept him sidelined for a majority of the season, Darren Fletcher will miss the rest of campaign while Anderson is lacking match fitness. Wesley Sneijder was linked before and, unsurprisingly, has been linked again this month and the Dutchman can provide the creative spark that the team have been desperately lacking this season. Meanwhile, a dominant presence in the middle of the park would help provide the back-four with the necessary protection that has been lacking thus far. Cheik Tiote has been mooted as a possible arrival and his displays for Newcastle United has been exactly the ones the defending Premier League champions have been lacking.

Ben McAleer

Football Friends bring you the latest football news and opinion from football fans around the world.
Football News