Tue. Oct 20th, 2020

How are the Premier League’s top sides doing in the January transfer window?

6 min read

Arsenal

Arsenal’s need for defensive solidity has been obvious for a very long time. The Gunners have teenage centre-back William Saliba arriving in the summer – he was signed from Saint-Etienne last summer and loaned back for the season – but still need reinforcements. Beyond Sokratis and David Luiz, boss Mikel Arteta has Shkodran Mustafi, Rob Holding and Konstantinos Mavropanos.

ALSO READ: 5 players Arsenal could sign this January

Kieran Tierney’s injury issues are another worry. The Scot’s Arsenal career is yet to really begin – he’s currently out with a shoulder problem until March and struggled early on in the season with fitness issues too. Sead Kolasinac – who was seen more of a left wing-back under Unai Emery than a left-back – is deputising at the moment, with youngster Bukayo Saka in reserve if needed. 

The word coming out of north London is that Arteta is keen to bring a box-to-box midfielder to the club, too. Lucas Torreira’s sparkling form has been key to Arsenal’s resurgence, and it’s clear that Arsenal require energy in the centre of the park. The fitness levels of the players are improving but another option in central midfield would be a welcome boost for Arteta to see him through until May. 

Positions needed: CB, LB, CM

Players signed: None

Players linked with: Layvan Kurzawa, Jerome Boateng, Bruno Guimarães

Chelsea

Frank Lampard, Chelsea

A striker appears to be high on the priority list for Frank Lampard, with Chelsea’s transfer ban lifted for the window. The Blues have been heavily reliant on Tammy Abraham, with Michy Batshuayi providing cameos in the young England international’s absence. The imminent departure of Olivier Giroud means that the likeliness of Chelsea securing a new forward is increasingly likely. 

ALSO READ: 5 players Chelsea could sign this January

Despite already having a plethora of options in wide areas, Chelsea are also chasing another winger. Lampard has often opted for the likes of Mason Mount and Willian in wide spots, though Mount can also play as a no. 10. The club apparently want to bring a little more pace and directness to the flanks at Stamford Bridge and are open to big signings.

Lampard has switched between and back three and a back four this season, using Cesar Azpilicueta and Emerson as his first choice full-backs. It’s thought that Chelsea are open to upgrading in either of these positions, and a little more depth in the midfield – which N’Golo Kanté has been absent from at times this season – would be beneficial if the right player came along. 

Positions needed: ST, LW, LB

Players signed: None

Players linked with: Moussa Dembele, Wilfried Zaha

Leicester

Leicester City are having a fantastic season – recruitment in January is more about how they can sustain their bid for European football, rather than looking to upgrade on a first team that are already performing capably. 

In the centre of defence, Caglar Soyoncu has impressed alongside the veteran Johnny Evans, but Brendan Rodgers may wish to dip into the market to improve on the options beyond his first-choice pairing. Title-winning captain Wes Morgan is now 35 years old and Filip Benkovic left the field against Wigan with a knee injury. Whilst Leicester may not shell out for an expensive new defender, they could well buy a young player to groom into a future star. 

The Foxes are also in the market for someone who can share Jamie Vardy’s burden of providing goals. Leicester have relied mostly on Harvey Barnes and Ayoze Perez on the wings, with Kelechi Iheanacho making the odd appearance – sometimes in a front two – with Vardy. Leicester would welcome a wide goalscorer this window, should one become available.

On top of these targets, there is ever-growing interest in Ben Chilwell from other clubs. It looks like Leicester could prepare for life without the England left-back and sign a replacement before they sell.

Positions needed: CB, LW, LB

Players signed: None

Players linked with: Jarrod Bowen, Dwight McNeil  

Liverpool

With Liverpool’s first team firing on all cylinders at the top of the league and his youngsters looking promising in the cup, there isn’t a huge need for Jurgen Klopp to strengthen his squad – but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t.

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The German has added Taumi Minamino to a team chasing Arsenal’s unbeaten streak in the league but aside from giving his squad more depth, it’s unlikely that Liverpool will sign anyone else this January. Despite this, the Reds may well welcome new recruits in the event of summer targets becoming available now.

Positions needed: LW

Players signed: Takumi Minamino

Players linked with: Kylian Mbappé, Sandro Tonali, Timo Werner

Manchester City

Manchester City have had an injury-stricken season, with stars Aymeric Laporte and Leroy Sané sidelined for months on end. With Laporte back in training, the desperation for a new defender is not quite as urgent as it was, but Pep Guardiola could be convinced to move for one should the right deal be reached before the end of the window. 

ALSO READ: 5 players Man City could sign this January

It’s largely assumed that Sané will depart Manchester this summer anyway, and given the adaptation period that Riyad Mahrez and Bernardo Silva have had to life at the Etihad, now might be the right time to pounce for a new attacker. Another forward to challenge for a place in the starting line-up could be exactly the boost that the Citizens need in their bid for the Champions League.

Elsewhere, Guardiola is thought to be open to strengthening across the pitch, with pursuits for a new left-back and central midfielders being considered. A more thorough rebuild should take place in the summer, however.

Positions needed: CB, LW, LB

Players signed: None

Players linked with: Lautaro Martinez, Caglar Soyuncu

Manchester United

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Manchester United

Manchester United’s lack of goals this season has been punctuated by the fact that they let Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez both leave Old Trafford last summer without signing replacements. It’s heavily rumoured that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will bring an attacker to the club, should the right one present himself in the market.

Along with the lack of goals, the lack of chances that United create is a concern. Paul Pogba has been a big miss and the Red Devils could well swoop for a player with some creation in midfield. 

ALSO READ: 5 players Manchester United could sign this January

The lack of Ander Herrera this season – coupled with a long-term injury sustained by Scott McTominay – has also highlighted the need for new blood deeper in midfield. United have been linked with various midfield profiles but could wait until the summer if the right deal can’t be found. 

Positions needed: CM, ST

Players signed: None

Players linked with: Bruno Fernandes, Donny van de Beek, Edinson Cavani

Tottenham

Tottenham Hotspur have already brought in Benfica youngster Gedson Fernandes on a long-term loan, but Jose Mourinho’s business in the January transfer window is far from over.

With the possibility that Spurs may miss the talismanic Harry Kane to injury for the rest of the campaign, there are persistent rumours linking strikers with the North Londoners. Mourinho’s penchant for a big man up top may prove to be the decisive factor in what kind of player comes to the club. 

ALSO READ: 5 players Tottenham could sign this January

Spurs have also struggled with injuries in midfield. Tanguy Ndombele has suffered a stop-start first season in English football and Mousa Sissoko is also sidelined. Harry Winks is thought to be out of favour with Jose Mourinho too – Gedson Fernandes certainly provides extra legs in the engine room, though. 

After selling Kieran Trippier to Atletico Madrid last summer, Tottenham may look to recruit a new right-back in this window. Serge Aurier struggled to impress under Mauricio Pochettino and beyond the Ivorian, there isn’t too much depth. Gedson may prove to be an option at right-back but it’s a possibility that Mourinho will want either another defender or midfielder to join this January. 

Positions needed: CM, ST, RB

Players signed: Gedson Fernandes

Players linked with: Krzysztof Piatek, Ze Luis

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