The Premier League is heating up with competition strong at the top. Manchester City were seemingly running away with the league but a small slip up has given Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool an outside chance of catching the Sky Blues. The relegation battle is even more exciting than usual this season with 11 teams trying to avoid dropping down to the EFL Championship. The January transfer window is the final time sides can improve their squads before the end of the season, we looked at where each side can improve their team.
The Gunners have been linked with bringing in attacking players such as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan however, it’s defensively where they need to improve. Arsenal have the worst defence out of the top six teams having conceded 31 goals in 24 games, 13 more than league leaders Manchester City. Laurent Koscielny is 32 years old and rarely makes it through a full game with his poor injury record. Shokdran Mustafi has been hit and miss since he arrived at the Emirates last season sometimes making mistakes at the back leading to goals. Calum Chambers and Rob Holding are young prospects in Arsenal’s defence, but aren’t quite elite defenders in the Premier League. Arsenal need a marquee defensive player that will sure up their backline and remind Gunners fans of the Tony Adams, Martin Keown and Steve Bould days.
The Cherries impressed everyone last season when they finished 9th in the Premier League. Arriving from Arsenal on loan, Jack Wilshere played a key role for Bournemouth, but once his loan came to an end Bournemouth didn’t bring in a replacement. They lack creativity in midfield at times and a playmaker of Jack Wilshere’s standards would boost Bournemouth back into the top half of the table.
Brighton and Hove Albion
Brighton have potentially already signed the player they most needed. The Seagulls have only scored 17 goals in their debut season in the Premier League but the arrival of Jurgen Locadia from PSV Eindhoven. Locadia has scored 9 goals this season in the Eredivisie and will bring power and pace to Brighton’s attack. An influential midfield player would be welcomed as well to assist these goals, with Pascal Gross being the only Brighton player with more than 2 assists this season. Goals will keep Brighton in the top flight for at least another year, but without them a return to the Championship is likely.
Ideally a pacy striker would be on his way to Turf Moor, as they have lacked pace up front since Andre Gray’s departure in the summer. Georges-Kevin N’Koudou has arrived from Spurs to add some pace to the side but Ashley Barnes, Chris Wood and Sam Vokes up front aren’t the most dynamic of players. However, what Burnely desperately need is to sign Sean Dyche to a long-term contract. The ‘Ginger Mourinho’ has transformed Burnley this season into a top half team and have caused issues for Chelseas, Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United. Dyche committing to the club will only be beneficial for Burnley.
If you ask Chelsea what they need apparently it’s a new striker, specifically a target man. They have been linked with the likes of Peter Crouch, Andy Carroll, Ashley Barnes and Edin Dzeko. Alvaro Morata had a fast start to his career at Chelsea and looked to have settled well in the Premier League, but the Spanish forward has struggled as of late and looks low on confidence in front of goal. With Michy Batshuayi not favoured by Antonio Conte a back up to Morata would go down well at Stamford Bridge.
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Palace look a complete new side under Roy Hodgson. The ex-England manager has turned Palace from a side without a win to a side pushing into the top half of the table. Wilfried Zaha has looked dangerous in attack and has scored some crucial goals in their rise up the table. However, Palace’s star striker Christian Benteke has been misfiring. The big Belgian scored 15 goals last season in the Premier League but has only one this campaign. Palace should be looking to invest in a new striker to add further options outside of Benteke and Bakary Sako.
With Seamus Coleman And Leighton Baines being injured for the majority of this season, Everton have predominantly relied on Jonjoe Kenny and Cuco Martina in the wing back positions. Kenny has had a promising start to his career but at the age of 20 is very raw in the Premier League. Martina struggled to make Southampton’s side last season and it was quite surprising when Everton snapped him up however, he has improved under Allardyce. The Toffees always look better with both Baines and Coleman on the pitch, so a top rated full back to cover them when they get injured would allow Everton more depth in their wing back positions.
Huddersfield have exceeded many peoples expectations this season with them not stuck at the bottom of the Premier League. The Terriers are still in a relegation battle and will benefit from Premier League experience in midfield. Aaron Mooy is relishing playing in the top flight but needs a player of experience alongside him to increase Huddersfield’s chances of making it back to back Premier League campaigns and lessen Mooy’s workload.
Mahrez will leave Leicester eventually. It’s inevitable. A player of his calibre will be signed by one of the top European sides leaving Leicester with a hole in their attack. The Foxes have recently signed some wonderful unknown players and they could easily find the next Mahrez by looking around the French leagues, but with the potential income from Mahrez’s outgoing Leicester shouldn’t be scared to splash the cash.
Virgil Van Dijk is an excellent signing for Liverpool who needed to improve defensively. However, question marks will still be raised over Liverpool’s defence. Going forward there aren’t many better teams in the world. Going backwards and Liverpool fans worry. It’s no surprise the Reds were willing to spend even more money to get Naby Keita in this window, 6 months before he is due to arrive at Anfield, but with Red Bull Leipzig not willing to budge on their star midfielder, Liverpool may need to sign another midfielder before the window closes.
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The best team in the Premier League without a doubt. Manchester City have blown everyone away and the signing of Ederson in the summer seems like the best bit of business City have done in recent years. Nicolas Otamendi has improved a lot this season and even popped up with some crucial goals, including one in the Manchester derby. However, City still don’t look comfortable at the back. Vincent Kompany is injured more often than not, which is a shame for such a world class centre back. Eliaquim Mangala and John Stones can both be fantastic on their day but consistency at the back is what Pep Guardiola will expect of his team. A new centre back to challenge at the back will turn City from almost unbeatable to invincible.
Alexis Sanchez. It’s going to happen and it needs to happen. When United are without Paul Pogba they lack an enigma in their side to get the team going. Alexis is a superb footballer who can create goals from anywhere on the pitch. The Chilean forward will benefit working just off of Romelu Lukaku as it will give him freedom to create in an attacking United side. Mkhitaryan would have been seen as a big loss after his start to the season but the Armenian has gone off the pace as of late and needs a team that will use him in his favoured central position.
Another one of the lower scoring teams in the Premier League this season, Newcastle have struggled to have a consistent goal threat up front. Dwight Gayle has struggled to make the step up from the Championship where he scored 23 goals last season, one more goal than the entire Newcastle team have after 24 games this season. The Magpies are currently one point above the relegation zone and like many of the teams in this list they require a goal-scorer who will fire Newcastle to key results in their attempt to avoid relegation.
Manolo Gabbiadini was on fine form when he arrived at Southampton in January last year however, the Italian has struggled to find the back of the net this season having only scored three times in the league. Southampton’s lack of goals has seen them enter a relegation battle this season having previously been pushing for European football. With £75 million in the bank after Van Dijk’s transfer to Liverpool, the Saints can afford to buy an exciting striker as well as a replacement for Van Dijk.
50 goals conceded in 24 games is beyond poor. They are only six goals off their total conceded for the entirety of last season. Stoke need to sure up their defence and stop leaking so many goals. They weren’t helped with Mame Biram Diouf, a striker, being played at right wing back in some game. Signing more defenders would avoid having to play star attackers out of position and allow for Stoke to be more solid in defence and more prominent in attack.
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14 goals this season is the worst return for any side in the Premier League. Wilfried Bony and Tammy Abraham were both bought in to score goals and they only have six between them. The biggest concern however, is the lack of goals from midfield with only three scored all season. The Swans are currently bottom of the Premier League table and will stay there if the goals don’t start flying in. A midfielder who can score goals will increase Swansea’s chances of an 8th successive season in the top flight.
Spurs need more squad numbers. Their starting XI is one of the best in the Premier League but past those starters the squad struggles, especially with their busy schedule. When you take Eriksen, Alli, Son and Kane out of a Spurs side then it leaves very little imagination up front. Spurs would benefit from bringing in more squad players as it would allow for their star men to get some much needed rest.
Abdoulaye Doucoure’s impressive campaign has taken a lot of pressure off of the Watford strike force but you can’t always rely on your midfielders to score all your goals. Andre Gray and Troy Deeney have scored six goals between them but left the club wanting more. Hornets fans were expecting Gray to score a decent amount of goals like he had with Burnley previously but the Englishman has struggled to settle at his new club. Deeney hasn’t played as many games as normal with suspensions and injuries tampering his season, so a new striker who can make an impact immediately will benefit Watford as they look for a top half finish.
West Bromwich Albion
Another side who requires goals. West Brom currently sit in the relegation zone but with a couple of wins could push up into the top half of the table. In order to push up the table the Baggies need to score goals, striker Salomon Rondon has only three goals this season and summer signing Jay Rodriguez is the clubs top-scorer with four. They have been linked with Newcastle forward Alexsandar Mitrovic who has struggled for game time having only played six times in the Premier League. Two years ago Mitrovic scored nine goals in a struggling Newcastle side so has experience of scoring goals in the top flight.
West Ham United
Marko Arnautovic finding form has been the best thing to happen to West Ham under David Moyes. The next best thing would be signing a marquee midfielder. The Hammers have been linked with the likes of William Carvalho, Joao Mario and Leander Dendoncker but have so far not convinced any of these players to make the switch to London. Cheikhou Kouyate and Pedro Obiang’s inconsistency has left many Hammers fans frustrated and with Mark Noble not getting any younger a new marquee midfielder would benefit West Ham in the long run.
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