We move onto the third quarter of our alphabetical run through what each club needs and/or wants this January…
Having spent a shedload of cash last summer, on first glance the United team would appear to not need much spent on it. However, with the defence still a real concern and a place at the Champions League table potentially resting on it, there’s a good chance that Louis van Gaal might dip back into the transfer market if a quality central defender is available.
Mats Hummels has been mentioned as a potential United recruit for some time now, and with Dortmund in all sorts of disarray, if there was a time when the German international might think seriously about moving on, this is it.
First things first, a new manager needs to come in. January is not the best time to be waving goodbye to the man responsible for bringing new players in, but given the lack of signings chairman Mike Ashley has granted over the last few years, perhaps that didn’t even come into his thinking when he allowed Alan Pardew to leave for Crystal Palace.
The Magpies could do with a striker though, so if Ashley does get a new man in and he does fancy handing over his chequebook, a front-man to play alongside Ayose Perez seems like a prudent move.
Queens Park Rangers
Who will QPR get? Well, given that their manager is Harry Redknapp and he has always acted as if the January transfer window is a Boxing Day sale, we can probably expect Rangers to do a few deals (the chances are we’ll probably have to wait until deadline day, though).
First on the list is likely to be a winger, with a move for Aaron Lennon mooted. Given that Lennon played particularly well under Redknapp at Spurs, that seems like a pretty savvy idea, and although he passed his peak a long time ago, Lennon can still cause problems in the Premier League.
After the expensive exodus, Saints were left with precious few players and a whole bundle of cash. They invested some of the cash wisely, but there is no doubt that Ronald Koeman could still do with some more bodies if Southampton are serious about their charge for the top four.
When one considers the fact that Emmanuel Mayuka and Sadio Mane will be away on international duty during January, some creativity and goal-scoring prowess will need to be purchased quickly if they are to maintain their current position. Danny Ings is the name on a number of clubs’ lips, and one suspects that the striker would fit in rather well at St Marys.
Although he seems utterly miserable most of the time, one has to applaud the job that Mark Hughes has done at Stoke. Safely ensconced in 11th, it seems unlikely that the Potters will be embroiled in a relegation battle this season, and Hughes must take some credit for stabilising a club that had previously showed promise but had struggled during the latter years of Tony Pulis’ reign.
Given that they are already performing above expectations, significant investment in January is unlikely, with Hughes probably focusing on keeping the players that he wants. If he loses a couple – as it seems he may with Walters and Crouch – then he may want to bring in a new front-man, with Danny Ings making a permanent move or Joel Campbell joining on loan.