january transfer window preview


What they need: The strain of leading the Gunners attack is starting to show on Olivier Giroud, who is badly in need of an extended rest particularly ahead of the resumption of the Champions League. A forward who can balance reliability with a frequent stream of goals will be Arsene Wenger's priority in the New Year.

Who they've been linked with: Take your pick. The high-profile options include La Liga's top scorer Diego Costa of Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema, who continues to be linked with a move to north London. Alvaro Morata, also of Real, appears a more realistic possibility.

Aston Villa

What they need: When Villa were in dire straits last January, Paul Lambert refused to make knee-jerk signings. Now, even with his side hovering above the drop zone, expect more frugality. No side has conceded fewer goals in the bottom half than Villa, so it is in attack where strengthening might be made as Christian Benteke struggles for form and fitness.

Who they've been linked with: An audacious bid to re-sign Ashley Young has been mentioned while Villa have been credited with a desire to loan Wilfried Zaha from Manchester United. Mouse Dembele's troubles at Tottenham could also be eased with a spell in the second city.

Cardiff City

What they need: Despite suffering ten Premier League defeats, identifying a true area of weakness at Cardiff is more difficult than you might expect. Just four goals from leading striker Frazier Campbell suggests a new forward is required while Andrew Taylor's form at full-back has been alarming.

Who they've been linked with: With reports emerging that Malky Mackay's replacement will receive substantial funds in January, expect some fading stars to come calling in the hope of one last pay day. Aside, Blackpool's Tom Ince, who has attracted interest from Liverpool and Manchester United in the past, is the primary target.

Vincent Tan


What they need: Fernando Torres and Samuel Eto'o's problems in front of goal means a new forward to lead Jose Mourinho's side at the sharp end of the title race is an absolute necessity. With Ashley Cole's days numbered, a new full-back might also be on the Blues' shopping list.

Who they've been linked with: A new five-year deal signed in the summer is unlikely to prevent interest in Luke Shaw. In the forward department, Radamel Falcao continues to be linked with a move to Stamford Bridge while Porto's Jackson Martinez represents the more realistic, lower-priced option.

Crystal Palace

What they need: Dean Moxey has been among the poorest performers in the Premier League this season and the Eagles are in desperate need of back-up. In attack, Marouane Chamakh, Cameron Jerome, Kevin Phillips and Dwight Gayle have all misfired and in the middle Palace lack creative force. Tony Pulis has his work cut out.

Who they've been linked with: Naturally, Palace are among the clubs interested in ending Zaha's nightmare at Manchester United although their troubles this season might persuade David Moyes to look elsewhere. Blackburn hotshot Jordan Rhodes could bring consistency in attack but a move for Bafetimbi Gomis appears farfetched at best.


Who they need: Everton need added resources up front. Romelu Lukaku has been the only reliable striker for the side while Arouna Kone is injured long term and Nikica Jelavic remains unable to perform consistently. Everton have plenty of money to spend after retaining the majority of the £27m they received for Marouane Fellaini.

Who they've been linked with: Everton are one of a number of clubs who have been linked with 21-year-old winger Zaha while Nabil Bahoui (AIK Stockholm) Diogo Viana (Gil Vicente), Alfred Finnbogason (Haeerenveen) and Micy Batshuayi (Standard Liege) could also bring some much-needed additional attacking threat.

Romelu Lukaku


Who they need: Rene Meulensteen's number one priority will be to find a more suitable partner for Dimitar Berbatov with Bryan Ruiz and Darren Bent having failed to deliver the goods this season. In defence, opposition teams often exploit Fulham's soft centre and finding a plug to fill that hole could prove invaluable.

Who they've been linked with: Zaha once more makes an appearance as a possible option for the Cottagers' alongside Balazs Dzsudzsak from Dynamo Moscow while centre back Benjamin Angoua (Valenciennes) may be a viable solution.

Hull City

Who they need: No team has scored fewer goals in the top half of the Premier League than The Tigers, who are in desperate need of a consistent goalscorer. Without Robbie Brady, the Humberside club lack a genuine threat from wide areas so Steve Bruce may wish to invest in a new winger to supply the bullets for the club's new strike force.

Who they've been linked with: Newcastle's Shola Ameobi would be an ideal candidate but his ties to the north east make him an unlikely option. Other forwards who have been linked with the Tigers include Filip Djordjevic, who currently plays for Nantes, as well as Shane Long (West Bromwich Albion) and Steven Fletcher (Sunderland).


Who they need: Brendan Rodgers will admit himself that his Liverpool side are performing well and aren't crying out for change. But, if we're being picky, they could do with a second-choice striker to take some of the pressure off Luis Suarez, who has the hopes of the team resting on his shoulders, a situation accentuated by the absence of Daniel Sturridge.

Who they've been linked with: Barcelona winger Pedro is likely to be the only player linked with Liverpool who could be up to the task of competing with Suarez for a place in the squad. The Spanish forward has scored more goals for Barca this season than in the whole of last term, so would arrive at Anfield in form. Mohamed Salah is on the brink of joining if reports are to be believed.

Mohamed Salah

Manchester City

Who they need: City appear strong in all areas but at the back they have shown signs of falling apart. An additional centre-back to cover for Martin Demichelis' varying form and Vincent Kompany's inconsistent fitness is a priority. The extent of Sergio Aguero's injury might also spark a short-term move for a forward.

Who they've been linked with: Could Sergio Ramos be the solution? The Real Madrid defender has been linked with Manchester City along with teammate and 'keeper Iker Casillas. If either of these two find their way to the Etihad City could be laughing their way to the title.

Manchester United

Who they need: United are still to replace Paul Scholes after his second retirement in the summer and will therefore be looking still for a playmaker to reignite their title defence. However, obtaining a player who is of a sufficient quality and is still eligible to play in the Champions League makes David Moyes' task all the more difficult.

Who they've been linked with: Wesley Sneijder has once again been tipped to move to United however his European exploits with Galatasaray make the move unlikely. Nemanja Matic (Benfica). Fredy Guarin (Inter Milan), Ilkay Gundogan (Borussia Dortmund) and Koke (Athletico Madrid) are among the other candidates. From the Premier League, Everton's Leighton Baines and Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana from Southampton have been mentioned as January targets.

Newcastle United

Who they need: Scratch under the surface of Alan Pardew's overachieving squad and there is very little in reserve. Newcastle, who are reaping the rewards of their shrewd business last January, are short in almost every position and owner Mike Ashley may have to loosen the purse strings to secure a top four place.

Who they've been linked with: The Toon are reported the front-runners in the race for Zaha but more realistic targets come in the form of Alex McCarthy from Reading and Warner Hahn from Dordrecht. Lyon's Bafetimbi Gomis, Luuk de Jong of Borussia Monchengladbach and PSV Eindhoven midfielder Ola Toivonen have also been linked with the club.

Wilfried Zaha

Norwich City

Who they need: With Chris Hughton tending to refrain from attacking ambition, his reliance on defence is becoming ever-greater and adding to that position will be the Norwich manager's priority after substantial investment in his attack in the summer.

Who they've been linked with: Ola Toivonen remains a long-term target while Bristol Rovers Olly Mehew has also been mentioned a new recruit at Carrow Road. Malmo's Jiloan Hamad is another who could move to the Premier League. Luciano Becchio is among those linked with a swift exit.


Who they need: Southampton Boss Maurcio Pochettino's priority will be to keep his best players, particularly the likes of Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana who have been linked with a number of Premier League clubs leading up to the transfer window. Back up for Shaw, who has been overworked this term, might be an option.

Who they've been linked with: Although it might be unlikely that any new names will move to St Mary's this month the club have been linked with Davide Astori (Cagliari), Cheikhou Kouyate (Anderlecht) McDonald Mariga (Inter Milan), Ever Banega (Valencia) and Diego (Wolfsburg).

Stoke City

Who they need: Mark Hughes' reputation in the transfer window is a good one and he will be looking to work miracles with a limited budget at Stoke. Goals are as ever a problem while creativity from midfield is few and far between. The Potters still lack a match-winner.

Who they've been linked with: Joleon Lescott's World Cup dream could hinge on a move from Manchester City while Nick Powell's impressive form on loan at Wigan could see him make the jump to the Premier League. Forwards Luuk de Jong (Borussia Monchengladbach) and Ivica Olic (Wolfsburg) are very much in the Stoke make-up. Joe Hart's link with Stoke is slightly more farfetched.

Joleon Lescott


Who they need: After former manager Paolo di Canio's inauspicious dealings in the summer, Gus Poyet must risk selling some of his better players in order to bring in new faces. He is likely to place most of his attention on signing a new striker to help improve a record of just 15 goals this season.

Who they've been linked with: It wouldn't be a transfer window with Wayne Bridge being linked with a move somewhere, and the former England international is apparently attracting interest from the Black Cats. As for in attack, winger Nabil Bahoui(AIK Stockholm) and centre forward Valmir Berisha(Halmstads) are two youngster mentioned as possible recruits.

Swansea City

Who they need: Gerhard Tremmel's troubles since Michel Vorm's knee surgery means the Swans are in desperate need of an experienced goalkeeper. Elsewhere, with their domestic campaign damaged by their European commitments, the squad needs to be supplemented by depth. Michu's continued absence means a forward to compliment Wilfried Bony might be required.

Who they've been linked with: After Shay Given joined Middlesbrough on another loan spell, goalkeeping options are running out but a host of wide players have been linked with a move to south Wales. Thomas Ince and naturally Wilfried Zaha, are among them.

Tottenham Hotspur

Who they need: With many of the seven new summer additions having barely settled in, Spurs are unlikely to make wholesale changes once again. In addition, the license Tim Sherwood, only installed as temporary manager until the end of the campaign, might be limited. With Franco Baldini's position under review, expect a quiet January window.

Who they've been linked with: Kyle Naughton unease at left-back, Jan Vertonghen's positional problems and Danny Rose inconsistent form means Tottenham have been linked with a new full-back. Manchester United's unsettled Alexander Buttner and Southampton's Luke Shaw have been mentioned as possible solutions.

Luke Shaw

West Bromwich Albion

Who they need: When it comes to the January transfer window, West Brom have far bigger fish to fry. The absence of a manager is the primary concern for the club after Steve Clarke was sacked as the Baggies enter a second month without a permanent boss. Covering the sale of any of their big names including Shane Long and Youssouf Mulumbu will be the priority.

Who they've been linked with: With activity expected to be limited, rumoured moves are few and far between. West Brom are among the ten sides interested in a loan move for Zaha while Ipswich Town's impressive full back Aaron Cresswell is subject to interest after a December scouting trip by Hawthorns officials.

West Ham United

Who they need: No prizes for guessing that West Ham are in desperate need of a striker. Andy Carroll still hasn't played this season due to a foot problem and Modibo Maiga has just one league goal to his name. A defensive crisis has also reared its head in recent weeks and is another aspect manager Sam Allardyce must address.

Who they've been linked with: Unsurprisingly the Hammers have been linked with a huge number of forwards, most notably ex-Newcastle man Obafemi Martins, Chelsea's Demba Ba, Nikica Jelavic of Everton, former forward Jermain Defoe and Uruguayan Diego Forlan.