Money is tight for many of course. The traditional panic buys will be triggered in the closing days of the window, but for now there is the usual speculation but little action.
Manchester United’s resurrection of Paul Scholes suggests they won’t be splashing the cash again. Darren Gibson has travelled down the East Lancs road to Everton, but that won’t release many funds, some reporting the fee as low as £500,000. The tiresome links to Wesley Sneijder will resurface once more of course, for a move that has virtually no chance of happening. Neighbours City may not have such money problems, but the dawn of Financial Fair play rules mean the club needs to sell before it buys. Carlos Tevez is the obvious departure, to somewhere in Milan, but the deal may only be a loan, with the option (or obligation) to buy in the summer. Talks have broken down with AC Milan, so it seems it is Inter who hold the advantage now. PSG would probably love to sign him, but it seems Tevez is not too keen on that particular option. Mancini is thought to be keen on a defender to cover his suddenly-creaking squad, but who that will be, if anyone, remains a mystery. He’d like Roma’s De Rossi too, but that could be prevented by the wages he’d demand, the lucrative new contract being offered by his current club, and his deep love of Rome. Fiorentina’s Alessio Cerci is another player on Mancini’s radar over the past year.
Chelsea seem oblivious to financial fair play rules, is speculation is to be believed. Already the biggest spenders of last year, they have been linked with big money bids for Angel De Maria and Edin Hazard. Only time will tell if this is baseless speculation. There can be little doubt though that after a troublesome first half-season for Villas-Boas, he will be keen to make the team his own by revamping the squad and spending bid. The big January stories may well emanate out of Stamford Bridge.
Frank Lampard was an early transfer rumour, with talk of a shock move to Manchester United – surely that’s an another move that’s extremely unlikely to happen. As Ferguson said, why would Chelsea sell him to them?
Across the capital and it may well be Spurs who also splash out most. Harry Redknapp will be keen to bolster a squad that seems genuine title contenders now, with the possible acquisition of Blackburn’s Chris Samba (who finally seems set to leave Ewood Park, and who could blame him?), though QPR want him too (a battle that Spurs would surely win). They have also been linked with Junior Hoilett at Blackburn. As have Bolton. And Liverpool. And…..
Over at Arsenal, there hasn’t been much transfer gossip from what I have seen. Reinforcements in full-back positions could be on the cards with injuries biting once more, and Lyon’s Aly Cissokho has been heavily linked. They have been linked too with Birmingham centre-back Scott Dann, whilst Andrei Arshavin has been linked with a £10m to Zenit St. Petersburg. A misfiring Chamakh up front may have been tempered for now by the arrival of Thierry Henry.
The arrival of a new manager in Mark Hughes at QPR with the promise of a £15m/£20m/£30m transfer kitty (depending on which newspaper you read) means that they are bound to be very active in January too. This could be a good opportunity for Manchester City to trim their squad with a permanent deal for Nedum Onuoha and a loan deal for the forgotten man Wayne Bridge just two of the rumoured deals in recent days. The stories write themselves of course nowadays, and inevitably it took only a couple of days before Hughes was linked to a cut-price £1m move for Roque Santa Cruz, currently sunning himself in Spain. The London Evening Standard reports that Bobby Zamora is a target, while The Times suggests Steven Pienaar and Tim Cahill are both targets as well. However, The Daily Star claims Chelsea centre-half Alex has turned down a move across London.
Another new manager at Sunderland could also see increased activity. Improved results may cool the necessity for immediate action, but recent rumours have mentioned Andrei Arshavin on loan (or him going to Russia), Sessegnon departing for PSG, the rather bizarre rumour linking Kieran Richardson to Arsenal, and plenty of other twitter rumours that probably have little basis in fact.
No one could fail to notice the amazing form of Jordan Rhodes for Huddersfield, and he will inevitably be linked with a Premier League club in January – an early guess at a possible bid could be from Martin Jol’s Fulham.
Kenny Dalglish (and Newcastle) have scotched rumours of Andy Carroll returning to Newcastle in a cut-price deal. It seemed ridiculous from the outset anyway. But with the £35m pony-tailed lothario continuing to disappoint, Dalglish may want to bolster his attacking options this month with Suarez only 3 games into an 8 match ban. They have been linked with a move for Darren Bent, which also seems unlikely, and more of a possibility could be a £10m move for Crystal Palace’s exciting star Wilfried Zaha. Dalglish himself though has said he expects it to be a quiet January. As for Newcastle, they seem to want United’s bad-boy Ravel Morrison, with United claimed to have turned down a bid.
The keenest buyers as always though may be at the bottom of the Premiership. The January window is their chance for redemption, a chance to buy players that could lead to survival in the top league. If Blackburn do have their best players taken then they will have to invest heavily – that’s if the owners trust Steve Kean with their money.
All teams will try and fill the gaps of course, however limited the funds are. Other plausible deals are Josh McEachran to Swansea on loan (so he says on Twitter), Kenwyne Jones on his way out of Stoke (possibly Wolves?), Scott Dann to Aston Villa (or Arsenal as we have seen), and Blackburn and QPR going for Andy Johnson. Bobby Zamora could go too after falling out with Jol (apparently). Also, Stoke have been linked to VVV Venlo striker Michael Uchebo, and Blackburn’s Nzonzi.
Transfer window action often relies on chain reactions – one move triggers a chain of events – the butterfly effect in full motion. If Manchester City decide to get rid of Aleksander Kolarov this month (to Juventus or Inter) then left-back reinforcements will be needed, and a new chain of activity begins. But this window feels different to others – it seems this could be one of the quietest for many a year.
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