What can we expect from the January window?

Tottenham manager Harry RedknappLet’s face it; the transfer window system is a little rubbish. The concept of convenience is thrown out the window (how apt) as football clubs are forced to do their business in accordance to the rules laid down by an external governing body. This only benefits teams with well-developed squads and often leaves newly-promoted sides in the lurch as they fail to bolster any success they may have earned by bringing in reinforcements. The day of the short-term replacement is well and truly over.

Once the season has begun, injury-struck teams are unable to plug the leaks in their squad until January. Each and every club is forced to participate in a confined player-feeding-frenzy, which can often reveal the worst side of football – accusations of tapping up, transfer bungs and the manipulation of the press to unsettle the players (I’m looking at you Marca). It’s not pretty.

Hate it or love it, the January transfer window plays a defining role in the course of a season. So how important is the transfer window likely to be for the top five teams this season? Who needs to spend what if they can hope to win anything this season?

Manchester United have already claimed that they aren’t looking to strengthen their squad during the January transfer window. Despite this, I wouldn’t be surprised if they did make an addition or two. They’re currently in pole position for the Premier League title and may want to add some strength in depth as they attempt to maintain their grip. This season United have been lacking down the wings: Giggs isn’t getting any younger, Ji-Sung Park is off at the Asian Cup, and Gabriel Obertan isn’t making the grade. I wouldn’t be surprised to see United make an addition in that area of the park.

Manchester City are likely to be the window’s biggest spenders. They’ve already agreed a fee for Wolfsburg striker Edin Dzeko. Rated at £27 million, the 24-year-old represents an important acquisition for City. With strikers like Roque Santa Cruz and Emmanuel Adebayor on the way out they needed to reinforce that area of the pitch. It would surprise nobody if they made further purchases this January in order to build on the success they have had so far this season.

Not so long ago Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti spoke about how he saw no need to add to Chelsea’s squad in the oncoming transfer window. After the last month or so, I wouldn’t be surprised if he had changed his tune. With a history of big-spending, Chelsea are likely to make some additions to their squad in the hope that they can improve their form. I expect that at the very least they’ll bring in a striker to perk up their aging attack force.

Arsene Wenger has been typically obtuse regarding the January transfer window. The Gunners are notoriously tight-pursed when it comes to spending and I can’t see things being any different this time round. Any spending is likely to depend on whether or not Vermaelen recovers from his troublesome ankle-injury. If he doesn’t, expect to see Wenger bring in another defender as the Gunners attempt to deal with their fragility at the back.

Tottenham are a whole different kettle of fish. If they are to stand any chance of winning the Premier League they will have to spend and spend big. This doesn’t mean bringing in players just for the sake of it. With Harry Redknapp in charge, I’m sure Spurs will only go after players who add something to their squad. That’s why I was glad to see Redknapp express some concern at the prospect of Tottenham signing David Beckham. The likes of Ashley Young or Luis Suarez would make more suitable additions at White Hart Lane. If Spurs play their cards right, who knows what they can achieve?

Whose January transfer window do you think will be the most significant? Are there any players you’d like to see join your club? Please feel free to leave comments or to follow me on Twitter @ThePerfectPass.

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