As 2014 comes to a timely end, with fans of the English game being treated to yet another great year of Premier League football, the action simply doesn’t let up in 2015 with the re-emergence of the January transfer window.
In recent years, mid-season transfer shenanigans have proved to be the scourge of Premier League managers desperately hoping to keep hold of their best players. Pressure from the fans and press alike often mounts up on top-flight bosses who will be looking to avoid any last minute panic buys or sells that just never would have happened under more relaxed circumstances.
As common sense and rational thinking never seems to take much priority in English football at this time of year, however, just who will be on the move in the Premier League, and which players represent the best deals?
Only Chelsea could have a player as good as Andre Schurrle on their books, but somehow not find a suitable use for the pacy striker. When deployed as either one of two centre-forwards, or as a tricky winger with the ability to beat his man, this dangerous German should easily be making the starting XI of any side in the Premier League, and will likely move on as a result of his mere substitute role.
The World Cup winning attacker was simply sublime during the 2014 finals in Brazil, however, playing several key roles in helping Germany advance through the knock-out stages without many notable problems. His calm composure mixed with ridiculous pace and a keen eye for goal make him one of the most useful and effective players who are currently plying their trade within the European football scene.
However, Jose Mourinho has always been known for preferring wingers who prioritise their defensive game as over their role as attackers. As Chelsea’s no. 14 doesn’t fall wholeheartedly into this category, it seems that his time at Stamford Bridge will come to an abrupt end sooner rather than later. For that reason, Andre Schurrle has cropped up on several team’s radars, with PSG reported to be the front-runners in the hunt for the German’s signature.
New Zealand’s marquee player and defender for West Ham United might just prove to be one of the least well known stars of the Premier League, but equally one of the most sensible deals on offer. His stock may have risen in recent weeks with the Hammers’ vast improvement, but Winston Reid has been making his mark in English football ever since his side were relegated to the Championship in 2011.
Since West Ham’s dark days under Avram Grant, the Hammers have slowly been on the rise with Winston Reid being a defining factor behind the team’s success. He is simply one of the most consistent players in the league – when the ball comes up in the air for the opposition’s striker to challenge, you just know that Winston will come away the victor.
Now that his contract is due to finish in the summer, however, West Ham may be forced into accepting a bid for their prized centre back this January, in order to make sure they don’t lose him for nothing as the season finishes. Such a move would surely displease the Upton Park faithful, but it may be a deal made more out of necessity rather than choice.
Unless Winston Reid doesn’t sign a new contract in the east end, the Emirates may be his next likely destination. The Gunners could certainly do with some strengthening at the back, and with Reid one board, that is exactly what Wenger will get. Whether or not he can make the step up to the very best the Premier League has to offer, however, is still a matter very much up for debate.
Whilst it is highly unlikely that QPR will want to sell their star man anytime soon, Charlie Austin is a player who many Premier League sides wish they had among their own ranks. Although his burly nature as an English centre-forward paints a picture of Austin being somewhat lacking in the technical department, the Hoops striker has proved so far this season that he can score great goals, and loads of them.
With an impressive 12 goals scored already this campaign, Charlie Austin remains the highest scoring Englishman, behind only Diego Costa and Sergio Aguero in the overall Premier League goal charts. That statistic is simply remarkable considering how much Arsenal and Liverpool have paid for their strikers in the past. Austin has the ability to score with his left, or right foot, and he also proves to be a force in the air with his strong heading ability.
Yes, it’s still early days in regards to how well Charlie Austin can do in the future, but so far things couldn’t have gone much better for the QPR forward. Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool has subsequently been the sides most heavily linked with the English target man so far, but as new contract talks are planned for Austin already, perhaps signing this latest Premier League sensation will become a task easier said than done.
Liverpool are also be reportedly in contention to land a goalkeeper this January, with their main target likely to be Chelsea’s out of favour man between the sticks – Petr Cech. The Czech Republic international was a former star at Stamford Bridge, but since the arrival of the impressive Thibaut Courtois in the West London, Cech has seen his activity at Chelsea largely restricted to the subs bench this year.
That is not to say that the skull-cap wearing keeper no longer has anything to offer, however. Petr Cech is still considered by many as a world-class player who could do an important job or any team looking to acquire his services. At 32-years-old Cech’s career is far from over, especially considering that he is a goalkeeper, and for that reason his name should spark severe interest in the upcoming January transfer window.
Whilst it would seem unlikely that Chelsea would opt to sell one of their once most prized assets to rivals Liverpool, seeing as Brendan Rodger’s vulnerable looking side are no longer in contention for the title, this deal is now beginning to seem more likely to happen than ever before. As Simon Mignolet has now been dropped for the equally unconvincing Brad Jones at Anfield, expect a new keeper to arrive at Liverpool this winter, whether or not that player is Petr Cech.
Even the most devout Premier League fans would have to be forgiven for forgetting Scott Sinclair ever existed. His move to Manchester City always seemed like a dubious switch, as he didn’t exactly prove to be the complete player at Swansea, and many were left believing that his signing was made just to make sure the Champions had enough English players in their squad.
Under such circumstances, Scott Sinclair has had very little game time, and he has subsequently seen his overall progress as a player decline dramatically. The City no. 12 was once an exciting, and albeit slightly over-hyped, young talent who had a good cross on him, as well as the priceless ability to score goals. All of which has now deserted Sinclair, with his time to find a more suitable club running ever shorter with every passing year.
This could be just the kind of move some of the Premier League’s lower sides would be calling out for, however. Whilst a move back to Swansea would seem unlikely given the impressive form of Wayne Routledge and Gylfi Sigurdsson, Scott Sinclair has reportedly been touted by Crystal Palace in their attempts to redefine themselves as a solid Premier League side. Only time will tell if this ex-Chelsea man still has it in him however.