With Black Friday out the way, Christmas fast approaching and the New Years’ day hangover just a month away, it won’t be long before we all find ourselves lost in the January sales.
That goes for Premier League clubs too – most prefer not to do business after the New Year, but provided you know were to look, there are certainly some deals to be had in the winter window.
Just ask West Ham’s Sam Allardyce – a manager who can sniff out a bargain a continent away.
But just in case the Hammers gaffer is short on a few ideas for the coming window, here’s FIVE January bargains West Ham would be mad to ignore.
Marseille star Andre Ayew strikes the perfect balance between quality, age and availability for any potential suitor.
Indeed, the 24 year-old has proved himself to be one of Ligue 1’s most proficient widemen during his eight campaigns at Stade Velodrome, amassing 51 goals and 19 assists in 176 appearances for the French side. Here’s a clip of Ayew in action:
As you can see, he’s bizarrely good at heading for a 5 foot 9 winger, but the positives don’t stop there. Ayew is famed for his industry and versatility – as detailed below, he’s already been utilised in a plethora of diverse capacities this season:
With five tournament goals under his belt too, including two at Brazil 2014, the Ghana international is more than proven at top level.
Most appealingly, he looks almost certain to leave Marseille in January despite their rise to the top of the Ligue 1 table, having continually refused to extend his contract past the current season:
— Rise Of The Kop (@RiseOfTheKop) October 25, 2014
The tabloids claim Ayew could be available for as little as £1.5million, but understandably, that’s triggered a wealth of Premier League interest in his services:
Arsenal, Liverpool, Man Utd and Newcastle set to battle in January for £1.5m Andre Ayew: MARSEILLE winger Andr… http://t.co/EVDoXmJXW3
— Football Talk (@FootballTalk_) November 11, 2014
Rather interestingly however, the Ghanaian attacker was quoted as saying this in early November:
André Ayew: “I’m always interested to play abroad. There’s no offer from West Ham but if the chance arrived, West Ham is an excellent team.”
— West Ham Central (@WestHam_Central) November 3, 2014
West Ham have been strongly linked with Brighton prospect Lewis Dunk since the summer:
RUMOUR: West Ham are keeping tabs on 6ft 4″ Brighton defender Lewis Dunk. The 22 year old is rumoured to have a £5 million release clause.
— WHUFCTV.com (@WHUFCTV) October 22, 2014
And with the Seagulls suddenly finding themselves at the far less flattering end of the Championship table…
The January window is certainly the right time to buy – especially if the Hammers are forced to sell contract rebel centre-back Winston Reid.
Despite Brighton’s relegation zone plight, the 23 year-old has been in strong form this season, grabbing an incredible four goals and one assist from centre-back. Here’s a look at his vitals:
That rumoured £5million release clause is more than worth a gamble for the Hammers, and Brighton boss Sami Hyypia has admitted that he expects offers for Dunk in January, with Newcastle and Tottenham also linked.
This rather hilarious own goal might put Sam Allardyce off the towering centre-half however:
It’s been a sensational 18 months for Aston Villa midfielder Fabian Delph, with a series of gut-busting performances earning him the Villain of the Year award last term and more recently a spot in Roy Hodgson’s England squad. He now boasts three caps following his debut against Norway in September.
He’s currently sidelined until the New Year with a shoulder injury, but reports claim the 25 year-old could return to fitness at another club:
— Addicted to Spurs (@AddictedtoSpurs) November 11, 2014
Indeed, despite Paul Lambert holding crisis talks with Villa owner Randy Lerner and the Three Lions midfielder having plenty time to think about it in the physio room, it appears Delph won’t be extending his contract past the current season – as reported by The Telegraph.
A home-grown midfielder famed for his tenacity, athleticism, dribbling ability and positivity going forward, perhaps best illustrated by this stunning goal against Chelsea last season:
…Upton Park would be as good a home as any for the want-away Villa talisman.
With Lambert recently admitting he may have no choice but to sell Delph in January, it’s likely the Hammers can squeeze a real bargain from their fellow claret-and-blues.
Reported interest from Arsenal, Spurs and Everton however could be an issue.
Another midfielder that should be giving Sam Allardyce food for thought ahead of the January window is Tottenham’s Mousa Dembele.
The Belgium international has continually struggled to recapture the form that brought him to White Hart Lane from his two years with Fulham, and appears to have fallen particularly afoul of new boss Mauricio Pochettino, who has issued the midfielder just three starts in the Premier League this season.
It’s not that the 27 year-old’s form has been consistently woeful since 2012, as detailed below:
But Dembele’s habitual deep-lying role for the Lilywhites isn’t befitting of his natural qualities, and he needs a club that’s willing to play him further forward – or at least give licence to roam in midfield. This video shows exactly what the powerhouse midfielder is capable of in more advanced roles:
It’s likely Spurs would be willing to sell on the cheap in January, with Pochettino seemingly keen on an overhaul of personnel. But recent reports claim Everton are the most interested party:
— Gary Horkan (@GaryHorkan) September 22, 2014
In sharp contrast to the last few seasons, Sam Allardyce suddenly finds himself privy to an embarrassment of riches up top. But the opportunity to snap up another talented striker in January, namely Burnley’s Danny Ings, is impossible to overlook.
The 22 year-old netted an incredible 22 times in the Championship last season to fire Sean Dyche’s side to the top flight, working in close tandem with the equally prolific Sam Vokes. Here’s a clip of the duo in action:
And after initially struggling at Premier League level, Ings appears to have found his feet over the last few weeks, bagging four goals in his last five outings – including this calmly-taken penalty against Aston Villa:
More than simply a goal-scorer however, Ings is more of an elusive shadow striker, often taking up deeper positions and creating opportunities for his team-mates to score, as detailed below:
He doesn’t appear to rate Burnley’s survival chances too highly however, with the England U21 yet to extend his contract past the summer.
That could see the £10million-rated Aston Villa, Newcastle and Stoke City target leave Turf Moor on the cheap, but Burnley will be reluctant to sell a vital component of their Premier League safety bid.