5 Premier League Clubs who need to strengthen in January & who they’ll sign

Last year was a tumultuous one on and off the pitch for Premier League clubs and football’s new financial landscape may make for less lavish spending this January.

But it remains as important as ever for clubs to hit their targets, whether that be securing survival or achieving a European berth so we have selected five clubs who need to do business this transfer window if they are to progress and the players they could realistically add to their ranks.

And remember, you can find all our Premier League predictions for every game right here on FST.


Arsenal

Position needed: Attacking midfielder

Approximate budget: £45 million

Ideal player: Marcel Sabitzer (RB Leipzig)

Arsenal rank as one of the Premier League’s biggest underachieving sides this season and while they seem to have turned a corner recently, acquisitions are still required this January.

The greatest problem facing Mikel Arteta’s men is a dearth of creativity with only 20 goals scored from their opening 17 league fixtures.

They lack a midfielder who can consistently create chances for hungry forwards Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah with Dani Ceballos often deployed in a deeper role than desired and Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny reluctant to play the ball anywhere but sideways.

Real Madrid’s forgotten man Isco has been touted as a potential solution but he has featured in only ten of their 17 league matches this term and it looks like only being a loan deal.

Arsenal need a permanent solution and the ideal candidate is RB Leipzig’s Marcel Sabitzer. Chelsea-bound Timo Werner got all the plaudits for the Bundesliga outfit last season but Austrian maestro Sabitzer scored 16 goals in all competitions and laid on seven assists in the league.

He is versatile, quick and has taken Julian Nagelsmann’s advice about becoming a goal-scoring midfielder.

Tottenham are also reportedly interested and £45 million has been suggested as the price tag but given the modern market and the fact Arsenal forked out close to £70 million on Gabriel and Thomas Partey last transfer window, it should not be too difficult to scrape together the pennies to get Sabitzer to the Emirates Stadium.

COMPLIANT - Chris Wilder pictured at Sheffield United's friendly against Dundee United

Sheffield United

Position needed: Striker

Approximate budget: Only loan deals or free transfers expected

Ideal player: Daniel Sturridge (Free agent)

Though Arsenal’s season has been a challenging one, their problems pale in comparison to basement boys Sheffield United, who have lost 15 of their opening 17 Premier League contests this campaign.

And while they have been leakier at the back than last season, it is a lack of quality in the final third which has held them back with only eight goals scored in the Premier League in 2020-21.

It is a frustrating reality for the Blades who have splashed more than £40 million on forwards Oliver McBurnie, Lys Mousset, Luke Freeman, Callum Robinson, Oliver Burke and Rhian Brewster since gaining promotion at the start of 2019-20 and yet something more is needed in the final third.

Jesse Lingard has been linked with a move to the club on loan but has himself scored only one league goal since the beginning of last season while reported Hibernian target Kevin Nisbet who has 12 goals in 24 domestic games in Scotland this term may struggle to adjust to the Premier League so quickly.

Instead an experienced but typically prolific forward is required and free agent Daniel Sturridge could be the best United can get on a stretched budget.

The 31-year-old netted seven goals in 16 games for Trabzonspor last season before being released and has previously turned out for Man City, Chelsea, Bolton, Liverpool and West Brom in the English top flight. It will take a lot to salvage Sheffield United’s season but not a lot can go wrong with this potential signing.

West Brom

Position needed: Defensive midfielder

Approximate budget: Only loan deals or free transfers expected

Ideal player: Hamza Choudhury (Leicester City)

Sam Allardyce faces arguably the biggest challenge of his career in keeping West Brom afloat in the Premier League this season and if he is to have any chance of doing so, the club need reinforcements.

With 39 goals conceded after 17 matches, defence is a key area of concern but while centre-backs Dara O’Shea and Semi Ajayi have been inconsistent, a more pressing area to attend to is the defensive midfield position in front of them.

Too often have teams bypassed the midfield combination of Romaine Sawyers and youngster Conor Gallagher and shoring up the midfield anchor position could be their first step towards survival.

With Gallagher in their ranks, they are limited to only one more domestic loan this season and their budget is stretched but fortunately for the Baggies, they have been offered the chance to sign Leicester middle-man Hamza Choudhury for the remainder of the campaign.

Choudhury, who is also thought to have been offered to Newcastle and Southampton, has made ten appearances this season but is looking for more game time and under Allardyce’s stewardship could become the robust midfielder the club desperately require.

Wolves predictions and betting tips

Wolves

Position needed: Striker

Approximate budget: £30 million

Ideal player: Moussa Marega (FC Porto)

Wolves spent £35 million on young striker Fabio Silva at the end of the summer suggesting there is money for manager Nuno Santo to spend even in the current financial climate.

And the best area in which Wanderers can invest the money could be in attack with Diogo Jota sold to Liverpool last year, Raul Jimenez sidelined through injury and 18-year-old Silva arguably too raw to lead a side targeting a top-six spot in the Premier League.

Wide players Pedro Neto and Daniel Podence have been used as makeshift centre forwards this season but the Midland outfit have still struggled for goals, managing only 18 in their first 17 affairs, and a target-man figure in the final third could give their European aspirations a boost.

And given the club’s affinity for players in Portugal, Porto marksman Moussa Marega could be an excellent fit, having scored regularly for the Primeira Liga outfit since the 2017-18 campaign.

The 29-year-old has hit six goals in all competitions this term, including one in the Champions League, and at 6ft 1in, he could benefit massively from the wingers Wolves have at their disposal.

Although he would be coming from abroad, he has the pace and physicality to adjust quickly to the Premier League and would surely feel at home in an environment of predominantly Portuguese-speaking players.

Newcastle United

Position needed: Centre-back

Approximate budget: Only loan deals or free transfers expected

Ideal player: Fikayo Tomori (Chelsea)

In normal circumstances, Newcastle United’s transfer priorities would and should be focused on improving their attacking threat but bringing in cover at the back should now be paramount for Steve Bruce’s side.

After spending big in the summer and given the current financial situation for most Premier League clubs, Newcastle’s dealings this January are likely to be limited to bringing in back-up players.

And for a club who have built their moderate success around their defence, ensuring they have plenty of numbers at the back is crucial.

Defender Jamaal Lascelles has been out of action for a number of weeks due to Covid-19 and while Fabian Schar, Federico Fernandez and Ciaran Clark have, for the most part, been able to cover the absence, adding another defender to the ranks would not be a bad idea.

That is especially true when it is reported that Newcastle have been offered a Premier League defender on loan in the form of Fikayo Tomori, who perhaps offers a little more pace than their current options through the centre of defence and has racked up a decent amount of top-flight experience in a short space of time.

Tomori wants more game time and Newcastle could do with another body in their squad as a relegation battle looms so this looks like one deal they are capable of getting over the line before the end of the window.


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