Arsenal wanted to strengthen in the forward area in the summer when they tried to sign Raphinha from Leeds United. Manager Mikel Arteta has revealed the club are working on bringing players in – that was the case even before Gabriel Jesus got injured at the World Cup with Brazil.
One name that won’t go away is Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhailo Mudryk. The Gunners remain in talks with Shakhtar Donetsk over the signing of forward Mudryk, who is being valued at £85m. The Gunners, who reportedly had an opening offer worth around £55m including add-ons rejected, are yet to meet the demands of the Ukrainian club, with the payment structure also being discussed.
Shakhtar CEO Sergei Palkin confirmed the club had received offers for the 21-year-old, including from Arsenal, but they were “not the ones we would like to see” for a deal to be done.
Arsenal are seven points clear of Manchester City at the top and may see this as a unique opportunity to strengthen and maintain a title challenge.
Arteta will be backed in the window if the right player is available.
What did they do in the summer?
The summer window was another busy one for the Gunners, with Jesus the most expensive arrival at £45m, followed by Portuguese playmaker Fabio Vieira, who signed for £34m from Porto.
Oleksandr Zinchenko, Jesus’ former Manchester City team-mate, arrived for £32m, while there were also lower-profile deals for goalkeeper Matt Turner, a £7.5m signing from New England Revolution, and Brazilian youngster Marquinhos, who joined for £3m from Sao Paulo, taking their total spend to £121.5m.
The club’s Kroenke owners will be expected to continue the investment this winter as Arsenal bid to sustain their Premier League title challenge – especially given the success of their most recent round of recruitment.
Will Arsenal fill their Jesus-shaped hole?
While Mudryk appears to be the most likely new arrival, many fans will be hoping for an out-and-out striker too. With Jesus facing a three-month lay-off, and Eddie Nketiah Arsenal’s only other option in the position, the Gunners must decide whether to bring in additional support.
Jesus has not been prolific in terms of goals, scoring only five in 14 Premier League appearances, but his work-rate, link play and creativity – he has also provided five assists – means Arsenal will have their work cut out to fill the void he leaves.
“We are going to be active and active means we are looking to strengthen the team,” said Arteta.
“This squad still doesn’t have the luxury of not maximising every single window. We have to do that because it’s really important. But then we have to get the right profile, it has to be the right player to take us to the next level.”
Two victories from his opening two league games for Unai Emery perhaps proved that the quality of Villa’s squad wasn’t necessarily the problem in the early stages of the season, but the Spaniard will now look to remodel things more to his liking and the arrival of both Philippe Coutinho and Lucas Digne last January suggest Villa will be happy to back another new manager.
One of Villa’s big summer-signings Boubacar Kamara returned from injury just before the World Cup, another in Diego Carlos was with the squad in Dubai earlier this month and it means they have decent cover in most areas.
But Steven Gerrard favoured a narrow system meaning Leon Bailey is the only natural wide attacker currently at Emery’s disposal. Links with Joao Felix appear somewhat optimistic but two of Emery’s former Villarreal forwards Arnaut Danjuma and Senegal’s Nicolas Jackson have been linked regularly, Danjuma already has Premier League experience with Bournemouth.
How much have Villa spent recently?
Villa got the chequebook out in the summer to add Philippe Coutinho (£17m) on a permanent basis and centre-back Diego Carlos (£26m), who ruptured his Achilles tendon in just his second appearance.
Leander Dendoncker (£13m) also joined from Wolves along with Boubacar Kamara and Robin Olsen. Villa did sell left-back Matt Targett (£15m) to Newcastle after signing Lucas Digne (£25m) from Everton last January.
What issues do Villa need to address?
Emery appears to prefer a 4-2-2-2 formation but Villa will need reinforcements in wide areas if they are to continue with that system and push for a top-half finish.
Leon Bailey is the only natural winger with John McGinn expected to occupy the left on the other flank. After a busy 12 months of spending, will Villa be prepared to go big in the market again?
There’s nothing quite like a new owner and their first transfer window to show the fanbase they mean business.
A takeover in excess of £100 million completed, and a mere 24 hours after the takeover was rubber-stamped new owner, Billy Foley said “there’s no budget” when it comes to transfers, confirming they were hoping to add “4-5 more players…”
Chief executive Neill Blake and Technical Director Richard Hughes are still at the club meaning there will be a consistency of thinking and strategy in this window.
Key areas they’re looking to strengthen will be through midfield and in those attacking wide areas.
Extra defensive cover at left back and at left centre back are also areas they’re targeting.
A new contract for Jefferson Lerma is also on the agenda but it’s safe to say this will be one of the most eagerly-anticipated windows for some time down on the south coast.
With actor Michael B Jordan now an owner of the club who’s to say they won’t add some Hollywood stardust in the transfer window as well?
How much have Bournemouth spent recently?
Sacked just 26 days into the Premier League season, Scott Parker said Bournemouth were “underequipped for this level” after their 9-0 mauling by Liverpool – and it’s hard to argue with his assessment despite their upturn in form.
The Cherries spent just £23.3m following promotion on midfielder Marcus Tavernier (£12.5m) and centre-back Marcos Senesi (£13.5m). Ryan Fredericks, Joe Rothwell and Neto all signed on free transfers with Jack Stephens completing a disappointing summer arriving in a Deadline Day loan move from Southampton.
Former Bournemouth owner Maxim Demin will point to investment in the new training ground, the infrastructure and the academy impacting what Parker had to spend, but the new ownership will be bringing a different approach in January.
“We’ll spend money in the January transfer window,” new owner Bill Foley told Sky Sports. “Richard Hughes and Neill (Blake) have already identified several candidates we’re interested in. I wouldn’t be surprised to see us bring in four or five new players with the skill sets in some of the areas we need help. We’re supportive of that.”
What issues do Bournemouth need to address?
Gary O’Neil will be keen to add to his squad in defence although captain Lloyd Kelly is nearing a return from injury. Chris Mepham and Marcos Senesi have impressed at centre-back, but Bournemouth are light in the position while left-back Jordan Semura has no direct competition.
Dominic Solanke and Kieffer Moore have both grown into the season yet another out-and-out striker is needed with half the season remaining.
A re-shuffle to move out largely unused players like Emiliano Marcondes, Siriki Dembele, Junior Stanislas and Jamal Lowe is also necessary to bring in more quality.
Sitting comfortably in 10th position in the Premier League, Brentford continue to exceed expectations.
After a successful summer transfer window with the addition of Ben Mee and Mikkel Damsgaard, Thomas Frank may be facing a challenge in the winter window.
The most notable concern for the club will be bringing in striker reinforcements for Ivan Toney.
With 12 goals in 17 matches, Toney is the third top scorer in the Premier League so far this season. But after being changed with 262 alleged breaches of betting rules, Toney could face a lengthy ban.
Toney was also stretchered off in his side’s 2-0 win at West Ham on Friday so Brentford will be looking to bring in a striker with, ideally, Premier League experience that can fit into the team almost instantly.
How much have Brentford spent recently?
The Bees made five first-team signings in the summer, as they geared up for their second Premier League campaign. Goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha and defender Ben Mee arrived on free transfers from Lazio and Burnley respectively, while the remaining three incomings represented an outlay of almost £55 million.
Forward Keane Lewis-Potter signed from Hull for £20m, with defender Aaron Hickey joining from Bologna for £18m and Mikkel Damsgaard brought in from Sampdoria for £16.7m.
What issues to Brentford need to address?
First of all, if history is anything to go by, Brentford will not be busy in January. In the last five winter transfer windows combined, they have brought in seven first-team players on permanent deals, along with two enforced loan signings: Winston Reid from West Ham in January 2021 and Jonas Lossl in January 2022.
And speaking to the club’s official website earlier this month, director of football Phil Giles intimated that the club’s shrewd approach would continue next month.
He said: “I don’t look at this team and see an obvious gap or hole in the squad. We are pretty strong all over the place, we trust the players, and there’s no reason to go and throw money at someone for no reason.”
However, they are lining up potential striker options in the January transfer window in case Toney is hit with a significant ban or he faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines due to injury.
Following the sale of Marcus Forss to Middlesbrough in the summer, they no longer have an out-and-out No 9 to directly replace Toney. But given the fact Brentford’s recruitment team are incredibly proactive in that they plan two transfer windows ahead, it would be a mistake to suggest they do not have approaches for their preferred candidates lined up.
Brighton head coach Roberto De Zerbi is keen to add to an already impressive squad in January. The Italian held talks with chairman Tony Bloom, chief executive Paul Barber and technical director David Weir over a plan for the window and has pinpointed positions that he feels can be strengthened.
One name seemingly in the frame is Shakhtar Donetsk and Ukraine centre-back Mykola Matviyenko – a player De Zerbi knows from his time in charge of Shakhtar. De Zerbi has a clear and defined style he wants Brighton to play, so any new arrivals will have a particular skill set.
Brighton’s highly-regarded data-driven recruitment team will be hard at work as they are throughout the year identifying the best young prospects around the world as they look for the next Alexis Mac Allister and another World Cup winner. Mac Allister and fellow midfielder Moises Caicedo will attract interest but Brighton are extremely unlikely to entertain any bids for both this window.
How much have Brighton spent recently?
Brighton cashed in this summer seeing Marc Cucurella (£63m) join Chelsea, Yves Bissouma (£35m) to Tottenham and Neal Maupay (£15m) to Everton for a total of £113m.
The club reinvested some of that money into Pervis Estupinan (£15m) from Villarreal, Club Libertad’s Julio Enciso (£9.5m) and Chelsea midfielder Billy Gilmour (£9m).
Last January, Brighton spent £9m on Kacper Kozlowski from Pogon Szczecin, before loaning him out to Union SG for the rest of the season and did the same with Union £6m signing Deniz Undav from Union, before he too spent the rest of the campaign with the Belgian side.
What issues do Brighton need to address?
Mac Allister and Danny Welbeck need support in attack – and Brighton should begin a familiar search for a striker.
But despite their limited options up top, the club ranks among the top seven teams for goals, expected goals, shots, chances created, total passes, passes in the final third and reclaiming possession in the final third.
Perhaps then the focus should be in defence where they have conceded 24 goals so far this season and have looked light at the back. Pascal Gross was forced to play at right-back while Lewis Dunk partnered 19-year-old Chelsea loanee Levis Colwill before the break.
It’s no secret that Todd Boehly is targeting the best young players in world football as they embark on building a squad that can compete for many years.
It’s a policy that is consistent with giving Graham Potter a long-term contract and it’s an approach that will become normal practice at Stamford Bridge in the coming years.
It’s already been evident with the pre-contract summer agreement for France international Christopher Nkunku but this January they are on the lookout for a midfielder and a striker.
The injury to Armando Broja has left them light in forward positions and they are the lowest scorers in the top half with only 17. In midfield, N’Golo Kante has been regularly absent.
Like Nkunku, Declan Rice is likely to be available for the right price in the summer, but Chelsea won’t want to give up their bid to qualify for the Champions League without a fight. I expect them to attempt to make signings this January.
How much have Chelsea spent recently?
To put it simply – a lot. Chelsea were the highest spenders in the Premier League in the summer, paying £278.4m for 10 new players as the club’s new owners made their presence felt.
At £75m, Wesley Fofana was the Blues’ most expensive purchase, while £63m was spent on Marc Cucurella and £47.5m was paid to Manchester City for Raheem Sterling.
What issues do Chelsea need to address?
There would have been a number of issues troubling Graham Potter as he saw his side’s form collapse in the weeks leading up to the World Cup. However, there are two problems in particular that are hurting Chelsea – a lack of creativity and a lack of goals.
The Blues have an expected goals total of just 15.61 from their 14 Premier League games – only six other sides have recorded a lower figure – while they have scored only 17 times in those matches. For context, Manchester City have an xG total of 28.09 and have scored 40 goals over the same period.
The fact that no player has managed more than two assists in the league speaks volumes – as does Kai Havertz and Raheem Sterling being the top scorers with just three goals each.
Chelsea were hardly the great entertainers under Thomas Tuchel but they will continue to go backwards under Potter unless they address their dysfunctional attack.
As always with Crystal Palace, talk of a particular outgoing will dominate just as much as any incomings.
Eight senior players are out of contract at the end of the season, but Wilfried Zaha’s future will be on the agenda. Zaha has enjoyed life under Patrick Vieira and the two share an excellent relationship. Palace, under sporting director Dougie Freedman, are very well organised and will have plans in place if Zaha was to depart in the summer.
James McArthur and Luka Milivojevic’s contracts run out in the summer and further additions in midfield will be considered.
Joel Ward and Nathaniel Clyne are also out of contract in the summer so strengthening at right-back is also an option. The club remains interested in former academy graduate Aaron Wan-Bissaka but Erik Ten Hag praised the right-back for his performance against Burnley in the Carabao Cup before Christmas suggesting he has a future.
It’s also worth keeping a close eye on John Textor’s takeover at Lyon. Textor, who has a 40 per cent stake in Palace is involved in a multi-club ownership. Talks have taken place over players of Textor’s other club, Botafogo being suitable for the Premier League.
Vieira has made it clear he’d like a few more bodies in the squad after the permanent introduction of five substitutes and Palace will act if the right players are made available in January.
How much have Crystal Palace spent recently?
After overhauling their squad last season following the departure of Roy Hodgson, Vieira’s side had a more modest summer transfer window, making only one major signing on the face of it in Cheick Doucoure.
The Eagles’ purchase of Chris Richards from Bayern Munich has not gone to plan due to injury, while Malcolm Ebiowei is one for the future.
An interesting observation is that Palace have spent money on a striker in every January transfer window since 2018. The likes of Jean-Philippe Mateta, Alexander Sorloth, Michy Batshuayi and Cenk Tosun have all come into the team with varying degrees of success.
What issues do Crystal Palace need to address?
The January window will once again bring up the debate on whether Palace’s resolve will be tested should a bid come in for Zaha.
One area that Palace could look to strengthen is at right-back. The central defensive partnership of Joachim Andersen and Marc Guehi looks unbreakable, while Tyrick Mitchell is undroppable at left-back.
On the right of the backline, Vieira has rotated between Nathaniel Clyne and Joel Ward – this area could need a refresh.
Will Palace go for another striker? They have plenty of options in Odsonne Edouard, Jordan Ayew and Mateta, while most Premier League teams dream of adding a new forward in the winter. But if the right target becomes available…
Everton need to strengthen their attacking options. Whether or not Dominic Calvert-Lewin can stay fit between now and the end of the season, Frank Lampard knows he needs to bolster a forward line that failed to score in five of their last seven league games in the lead up to the World Cup.
Mohammed Kudus had been lined up in the summer. In the end, with Antony going to Manchester United, Ajax wouldn’t let him go. Clearly a player in the style of Kudus could have made a big difference to a side that managed 11 goals in their first 15 Premier League games of the season.
Lampard is also looking to ensure Conor Coady remains at the club long-term with the possibility his loan move could become permanent in the January transfer window if not the summer.
Three other important pieces of business could also be completed in the coming weeks by agreeing new contracts with Jordan Pickford, Alex Iwobi and Anthony Gordon, with talks said to be progressing well.
How much have Everton spent recently?
After escaping relegation in their penultimate match of last season, the Toffees have won just three games and lost five of their last seven fixtures prior to the mid-season break.
Lampard’s record at the club since taking over from Rafael Benitez at the end of January is 12 wins in 38 league matches, averaging just 1.1 points per game.
Everton had to balance the books last summer in order not to fall foul of the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules. The club received a hefty £60m for Richarlison from Tottenham which allowed Lampard to strengthen in areas of need.
Amadou Onana, Conor Coady, Idrissa Gueyem Dwight McNeil, James Garner and Neal Maupay were all brought in for a combined outlay of £78.48m.
What issues do Everton need to address?
Everton’s struggles have become more pronounced over the years. The mentality cannot be faulted. Lampard said as much after his side’s 3-0 defeat to Bournemouth before the World Cup break – “they’re not bad lads” were his exact words. But whether this squad has the necessary quality to pull themselves clear of the drop is being tested. Anthony Gordon and Demarai Gray are joint-top goalscorers on three each. Extra firepower is a necessity, accentuated by the harrowing home loss to Wolves.
Fulham’s priority for the transfer window is to sign a right-back and a central midfielder.
Sky Sports News has already reported Cedric Soares from Arsenal and Abdoulaye Doucoure of Everton are top targets for these positions.
Both players are well known to manager Marco Silva; Soares being his fellow Portuguese and Doucoure having worked with him at Watford.
Both players have also spent most of their time on the bench for their respective clubs so far this season and maybe interested in more first-team games elsewhere.
What issues do Fulham need to address?
It is understood Fulham will prioritise bringing in a new right back and central midfielder during the January window, with Arsenal’s Cedric Soares being lined up to fill the former role.
Meanwhile, manager Marco Silva will also want to keep close tabs on the fitness of top scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic, who despite travelling to the World Cup with a foot injury, still started all three of Serbia’s group games in Qatar.
How much have Fulham spent recently?
Fulham certainly did not hold back from splashing the cash last summer after confirming their return to the Premier League, spending £20m to sign Joao Palhinha from Sporting Lisbon.
As well as the Portugal midfielder, the Cottagers also forked out £8m on Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno, £10m on Manchester United forward Andreas Pereira, £6.5m on Wolfsburg right-back Kevin Mbabu and £15m on West Ham centre-back Issa Diop.
Leeds are looking to add a new left back and another striker to their squad next month.
There has been criticism of Junior Firpo since his arrival from Spain but Jesse Marsch believes he can still develop into a top player.
In the meantime though the club are looking for some help on the left of defence, while better strikers are always sought-after by teams looking to secure their top-flight status for next season.
Leeds are no different – but top goalscorers come at a premium.
How much have Leeds spent recently?
After narrowly avoiding relegation last season, there was an overhaul at Leeds in the summer with Raphinha (£55m) sold to Barcelona and Kalvin Phillips (£50m) moving to Manchester City. £95.4m of the incomings from those sales was spent on the likes of Luis Sinisterra (£25.4m), Brenden Aaronson (£25m) and Tyler Adams (£20m).
In total, there were eight signings made in the summer, with Marc Roca (£10m) and Rasmus Kristensen (£10m) also brought in, along with Darko Gyabi (£5m) and Joel Robles and Sonny Perkins (both free).
What issues do Leeds need to address?
Excitement or chaos? However you want to look at it, Leeds were the most entertaining Premier League side to watch before the World Cup break, with 22 goals in their final four league games, which included a win at Liverpool and a fightback from 3-1 down to beat Bournemouth.
But Jesse Marsch will know his side will have to tighten up defensively in the second half of this campaign if they’re to expand their two-point gap on the relegation zone, and the Leeds boss has made it clear he’s looking for more additions in January to boost the strength of his group.
There is a feeling Leeds will move to add to their striking options, too. Patrick Bamford will hopefully have benefitted from the World Cup break but has struggled with fitness and looked low on confidence last month.
Attackers Crysencio Summerville, 21, and Wilfried Gnoto, 19, have stepped up and caught the eye but given the fact Leeds were “99.9 per cent” of the way to signing Netherlands and PSV striker Cody Gakpo in the summer, they will be aiming for a frontman who can hit the ground running this January.
Leicester had a very difficult summer, bringing in only centre-back Wout Faes, having needed to seek a high-profile sale before reinvesting. That came late with the £75m departure of Wesley Fofana to Chelsea – and too late to significantly redeploy those funds.
They will look to use some of it this time around, prioritising a new left-back amid injury concerns and doubts over the long-term future of Ryan Bertrand.
They have also long courted a new right-winger to help balance things in attack and will try to find a solution in this position too. Leicester are, though, open to improving across the board.
How much have Leicester spent recently?
In short, not a lot – by Premier League standards, at least. In the summer, the Foxes brought in experienced goalkeeper Alex Smithies on a free transfer from Cardiff and Belgian centre-back Faes from Reims, who cost a reported £15m.
Their last prolonged interest in the transfer market came in the summer of 2021, when they brought in Patson Daka, Boubakary Soumare and Jannik Vestergaard for around £46m combined.
What issues do Leicester need to address?
It does appear that their frontline needs a boost: Jamie Vardy, Patson Daka and Kelechi Iheanacho have just eight goals in all competitions between them. James Maddison and Harvey Barnes, however, have contributed 13 goals, so there does seem to be a reliance on those more creative players.
We all know finding an in-form striker available in January is, more often than not, like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
They will be aided by new head of recruitment Martyn Glover, who left Southampton for the King Power earlier this year, though was placed on gardening leave by the Saints and thus unable to orchestrate anything for the Foxes in the summer. With months of planning under his belt and a wealth of experience in the game, he will be hopeful of getting off to a fast start.
Everyone wants a Jude Bellingham. Liverpool did in the summer and could do with one now. The loan signing of Arthur Melo as a stop-gap hasn’t worked out after a thigh injury ruled him out until February at the earliest.
Of course, after proving impossible to get a deal done for Bellingham in the summer, his status has been elevated further by his performances at the World Cup, while it would be a surprise if Dortmund were to sanction his departure before the summer.
With £105m quoted as the asking price for another potential target in Enzo Fernandez, however, it’s unclear what funds would be available to further strengthen the squad, with owners FSG looking for new investment.
How much have Liverpool spent recently?
The Reds shelled out a club-record £85m in order to bring Uruguay striker Darwin Nunez to Anfield last summer, having already signed exciting youngsters Calvin Ramsay from Aberdeen for £6.5m and Fulham’s Fabio Carvalho for an undisclosed fee.
And they have already splashed the cash for this market, agreeing a deal worth between £35m and £45m for forward Cody Gakpo.
What issues do Liverpool need to address?
Cody Gakpo was someone Manchester United scouted extensively – and while his price will have gone up after his impressive World Cup – Liverpool have agreed a deal to sign the PSV Eindhoven forward.
Gakpo is able to slot into any of the front three positions, and his arrival will absorb the temporary injury losses of Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino and Luis Diaz.
The Reds also struggled for options in the centre of the park before the World Cup due to a spate of midfield knocks and with Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Artur Melo all massively injury-prone, Klopp may also be considering bringing in an extra body to give him more competition for places here.
Opposition managers are always describing Manchester City as the best team in the world, so it would take a unique opportunity to arise for them to enter the market in January.
The two areas where the club has been looking to strengthen are at left-back and in central midfield, with a number of targets identified in both positions. Jude Bellingham’s future looks like it will be decided in the summer, so City’s Director of Football Txiki Begiristain still has a number of months to try to convince him to follow Erling Haaland to the Etihad Stadium.
If City are to be tempted into the January market, then a full-back would seem to be more likely. However, the stratospheric rise of 18-year-old Rico Lewis from Academy prospect to the first-team squad has made that less of a priority.
How much have Man City spent recently?
Manchester City spent £128.8m in the summer, with Erling Haaland (£51.1m) and Kalvin Phillips (£50m) being their marquee signings. However, the Premier League champions made a net profit of £57.2m in the window after allowing 26 players to leave, including Gabriel Jesus (£45m) and Raheem Sterling (£47.5m), meaning they should have money to spend in January.
What issues do Man City need to address?
City’s squad is undoubtedly packed with quality but is a little lacking in quantity. They are overly reliant on Kyle Walker and Joao Cancelo, with any unavailability of their first-choice full-backs either thrusting inexperienced duo Sergio Gomez and Rico Lewis into the limelight or requiring centre-backs to play out of position.
It seems ridiculous to suggest Pep Guardiola could do with additional attacking midfielders and forwards, given the outstanding options already at his disposal, but the manager’s squad would look worryingly thin.
The arrival of a new full-back and creative midfielder could prove invaluable as the champions battle on four fronts – particularly with a five-point gap to league leaders Arsenal to make up.
Manchester United are looking at forwards and right backs – but there is a significant chance they will not recruit in January. Manager Erik ten Hag wants to bring in a forward following Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure – but only “if the right player” is available.
United could keep their powder dry ahead of the summer – though they are exploring the loan market. Bringing in a right back is likely to depend on whether they can get suitable offer for Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who is not in Ten Hag’s long-term plans.
How much have Man Utd spent recently?
Man Utd’s poor start to the season forced the Glazers to free up more money than initially planned for Ten Hag in his first summer at Old Trafford.
Following defeats to Brighton and Brentford, big-money transfers for Casemiro (£70m) and Antony (£86m) were sanctioned to take United’s overall spend to £227.4m.
Martinez (£56.7m), Eriksen (free) and Tyrell Malacia (£14.7m) had already arrived as United began to rebuild after a big summer of change.
Paul Pogba, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Edinson Cavani and Nemanja Matic all left on free transfers, with Eric Bailly and Alex Telles departing on loan.
So many exits means that despite six new signings in the summer, United will need to keep investing to compete with their rivals at the top.
What issues do Man Utd need to address?
United’s first order of business in the transfer market is finding a way to fill the Ronaldo-shaped hole in their squad.
Anthony Martial seems to be Ten Hag’s preferred choice in that central striker role, but has been unlucky with injuries this season. The Frenchman is yet to show he can be relied on. Marcus Rashford can be used there, too, but would ideally play from the left.
When you consider there is no timeframe on Jadon Sancho’s return – after Ten Hag said he is not physically or mentally fit enough to be with the squad – the need for a new attacker becomes even more pressing.
Ten Hag has been open about his side’s need to score more goals. They rank 11th in the Premier League for goals scored, averaging less than two goals a game. Gary Neville says United’s front three is the weakest of the top six and the numbers back him up.
Diogo Dalot, meanwhile, is practically United’s only specialist right-back, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka completely out of favour under Ten Hag. Reinforcements are being discussed but, as with a potential forward, there is a distinct possibility that there are no arrivals at Old Trafford in January.
Eddie Howe’s biggest task in January is to tweak his squad without upsetting the team spirit and morale that has helped them surge up the Premier League table.
The priority is to add a right-back who can provide cover for Kieran Trippier. Howe tried and failed to sign West Ham’s Harrison Ashby on Deadline Day in the summer and he could revisit that. His recruitment team have also been scouring Europe for alternates, with the wish being a young player that can learn from England star Trippier.
Newcastle are also keen to add in the forward area, with someone who can play both off the left and right attractive. The red-hot form of Miguel Almiron has lessened the need for an addition in this area but I still expect Newcastle to attempt to add. Christian Pulisic and James Maddison are big-name options that the club attempted to bring north in the summer, with the American a more viable option this window. However, Pulisic wouldn’t come cheap and Chelsea would be selling to a rival which adds complications.
The next on the list would be a holding midfielder, but this is more likely to happen in the summer rather than in January.
How much have Newcastle spent recently?
Newcastle splashed out a club-record £63m fee for striker Alexander Isak in the summer – but predictions their spending would surpass the Premier League’s big-hitters following their Saudi-backed takeover were wide of the mark.
Matt Targett (£15m), Nick Pope (£10m) and Sven Botman (£35m) were the other big names to arrive in the north east in what was a considered and sensible summer transfer window.
The club also recruited well in the new ownership’s first window last January adding Trippier (£15m), Chris Wood (£25m), Bruno Guimaraes (£40m) and Dan Burn (£13m). Newcastle’s business has arguably been the best in the division and a key reason why they’re challenging for among the top six.
What issues do Newcastle need to address?
Newcastle’s squad is well-equipped apart from in central midfield. Injuries to Jonjo Shelvey and Bruno Guimaraes in the early part of the season coincided with a winless set of results. They must strengthen in that area if they are to finish in the top six, let alone top four.
James Maddison remains the dream signing for many supporters on Tyneside.
Forest are not afraid to be ambitious and add more players they believe can improve them, despite signing upwards of two new first elevens in the summer.
They are need of doing so too, still very much fighting against relegation back to the Championship.
Manager Steve Cooper said: “There’s a little bit more interest in what we do because of what happened in the summer – the numbers, the changes and the turnaround. But we can’t pay attention to that.
“We have to deal with the here and now, treat the transfer window for what it is – and that’s an opportunity to strengthen and improve the squad, if we think that’s what we need to do.”
What issues do Nottingham Forest need to address?
A glance at the Premier League table would suggest Forest need to invest further resources in a leaky defence, with an average of more than two goals being conceding per game. However, Steve Cooper looked to have started to plug many of those leaks before the mid-season break, with his side keeping four clean sheets in their last six matches.
Forest also recorded wins over Liverpool and Tottenham in that time, but more needs to be done to get the most from the attacking players they signed in the summer, with Taiwo Awoniyi, Morgan Gibbs-White, Emmanuel Dennis and Jesse Lingard having just six goals between them.
The improved form coincided with Cooper’s decision to move away from a three-at-the-back system, with a 4-3-3 formation now often deployed by the manager. Cooper has a variety of versatile forwards to choose from when putting together his front three but his squad lacks natural wingers. A creative midfielder could also help to generate more chances for the underperforming strikers.
How much have Nottingham Forest spent recently?
It was more a case of who didn’t Nottingham Forest sign by the time they concluded their summer transfer business. An astonishing 23 players arrived at the City Ground following their return to the Premier League at a cost of £157.25m – the fifth-highest figure in the country.
Forest’s most extravagant signing was Gibbs-White, who was brought in from Wolves at a cost of £42.5m, while Dennis (£20m), Awoniyi (£17.5m) and Neco Williams (£17m) also caught the eye.
Southampton’s new era began in the summer. The first window for their new owners, a new philosophy and a clear plan for incomings. Six of their 10 summer acquisitions were under the age of 21.
But for all of their new faces, the one position they couldn’t fill was arguably the most crucial, a striker. Which means that’s their key priority for this window.
Amazingly they were closer to signing Gakpo and Goncalo Ramos than any other Premier League side last summer; even to the point that flights were booked. The ones that got away, most definitely so, particularly after their performances in the World Cup.
As for other positions they’re monitoring a couple of areas and, of course, Nathan Jones will want to sign players that fit into his mould but the £75m summer spend won’t be replicated during January.
One or two new faces but unlikely to be many more.
How much have Southampton spent recently?
It was nearly a year ago when Serbian businessman Dragan Solak and sports investment firm Sport Republic completed their £100m takeover of Southampton. Chairman Henrik Kraft promised to be “an active and engaged owner” without “any revolutions” – but this window will test his resolve to stick with the same approach as last summer where a bold strategy based on high-risk investment was the order of the day.
It is a club that have never been known to loosen the purse strings but the new owners have brought with them greater spending power. A calculated rebuild to the tune of £60m was forked out on emerging talent in the last window with no player costing more than £12m.
Gavin Bazunu (20), fellow Manchester City academy graduate Romeo Lavia (18), forward Sekou Mara (19) and Armel Bella-Kotchap (20) were brought in under the previous regime. Like with many other clubs, Southampton must seek to add goals in the attacking third.
What issues do Southampton need to address?
Nathan Jones is a manager known for his intensity on the training ground and such a fastidious approach isn’t too dissimilar to the one taken by his predecessor Ralph Hasenhuttl.
There is no need to panic just yet with over 60 per cent of the campaign still to run, but Jones may look to add some ready-made experience to his group to ensure the club remain in the top flight. Hasenhuttl took the brave route of buying for the future last summer, meaning Southampton have thus far boasted the youngest starting XI with an average of 24.1 years old.
Jones offers hint on January plans
Southampton boss Nathan Jones: “If you’re an organised football club, you do your recruitment well, well in advance. At my previous club [Luton] we were six months in advance, always looking at windows, always looking at the next level, always looking at pushing boundaries. And here they are exactly the same.
“We have one of the best recruiters in the world in terms of Rasmus Ankersen and Sport Republic in how they do that. So we’ve been really regimented in what we want, we’ve been clear in what we want, what type of player, what position, everything we want.
“We’ve narrowed that down and we’ll be having conversations to try and get those through the door as early as we can because there are certain things we need and we need them quickly. So they are well in advance, any well organised, well run, diligent football club would have already done that weeks and months in advance.
“Obviously it’s been difficult for Southampton with the change in manager, only six weeks to restart, but we’ve restarted immediately.”
That average would be even younger were Tino Livramento, Romeo Lavia and Bella-Kotchap available for all of the season. Injuries have blighted the team but to reverse the late-season implosion of 2021/22, Jones may look to a more pragmatic approach. The side’s 13 direct attacks ranks as the fewest in the league and yet Saints’ average possession has dropped to 46.1 per cent from 48.4 last term.
Teams have looked to swarm Southampton as they have looked to play through the thirds with the 237 pressed sequences against them second only to Bournemouth. In terms of the distance moved upfield when in possession, Saints’ 10.23m per sequence is the second-worst in the division. Put simply, Jones must make Saints more proactive on the ball.
Antonio Conte wants to continue to improve and tweak his squad in certain areas. I think Spurs will try to do some business in January.
This time last year they got deals done for Rodrigo Bentancur and Dejan Kulusevski and both have impressed. It shows Conte and Fabio Paratici can be trusted with the money.
The January window will play out amid the uncertainty over Conte’s contract. It expires at the end of the season and, although Spurs have an option to extend by a year, they will be mindful that he, Harry Kane and other senior players want to see continuous improvement to match their ambitions.
A central midfielder is expected to be high on the list of priorities along with another defender.
Tottenham did target Yannick Carrasco in the past and I’ve been told he could be available for the right price. Whether that interest is still alive remains to be seen, especially as his position is not necessarily a priority now.
How much have Tottenham spent recently?
After Tottenham’s owners ENIC publicly announced a £150 million cash injection in May, the club enjoyed a busy summer transfer window.
Including the permanent signing of Cristian Romero (£42.5m), after the Argentine had spent the previous season on loan from Atalanta, Spurs spent around £172m on new recruits.
The most expensive signing was Richarlison at £60m while another marquee signing, Yves Bissouma, cost £35m from Brighton.
What issues do Tottenham need to address?
Right wing-back. Neither Emerson Royal nor Matt Doherty have convinced this season while Djed Spence is not getting the opportunities.
A move for Inter Milan’s Denzel Dumfries would be an exciting one that could transform this area for Spurs. The club have also been linked with Sporting Lisbon’s Pedro Porro, who impressed against them in the Champions League.
A central midfielder is another priority. An injury to Bentancur, who has been Spurs’ player of the season so far, or Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg would be a huge blow so reinforcing this area makes sense.
Therefore it was not surprising to see Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot emerge as a rumoured target – the last time Spurs bought from the Italian club was in January when they signed Bentancur and Kulusevski, who have become two of their most important players.
Elsewhere, an attacking midfielder and a centre-back are also positions the club should be looking to strengthen – Leicester’s James Maddison and Inter Milan defender Alessandro Bastoni could be potential targets – although these positions are likely to be looked at next summer.
WEST HAM UNITED
West Ham have their eyes open in the market, but increasingly likely to be a quiet window following the record spend in the summer. Manager David Moyes has re-iterated his new look squad needs time to gel. There has been lots of talk about Declan Rice’s future – he won’t leave in January, but he could be one of the big stories in the summer. West Ham have a few injury concerns in defence and do not want to let anyone go – however, right back Vladimir Coufal is growing increasingly frustrated with his limited game time. He could be one to watch in January.
How much have West Ham spent recently?
West Ham spent more than £150m on new players in the summer, with Lucas Paqueta, Nayef Aguerd, Gianluca Scamacca and Maxwel Cornet all arriving for big fees.
There was no January transfer window purchase for the Hammers last year, so do not be surprised if it goes a similar route this year.
What issues do West Ham need to address?
David Moyes knows full well that West Ham’s improvement comes down to raising the on-pitch quality of the players he already has and getting key men back from injury, rather than looking elsewhere.
Because of their major summer influx, the Hammers will likely shift more players than they bring in this January. Should a squad player like Coufal leave due to a lack of game time, a new player in that position could be targeted.
There is also room for a new midfielder to play as back-up to Declan Rice, Tomas Soucek and Paqueta, with only Flynn Downes acting as adequate back-up.
Speaking of Rice, there will be plenty of talk about his future after another solid major tournament outing for England at the World Cup, but that may be one for the summer.
Wolves’ main priority was to get a goalscorer this winter, hence the signing of Matheus Cunha from Atletico Madrid.
The Brazil forward was a target before his move to Spain and it’s hoped will be a catalyst for goals for the Wolves frontline.
As has been the case with Wolves, they face tough decisions over their star players.
Ruben Neves is perennially linked with a move away but is unlikely to be sold this window.
Raul Jimenez, however, is a different proposition. The forward, who’s struggled for fitness and form over the last couple of seasons, is one of the club’s top earners and interest from MLS and Liga MX will be entertained for the right price.
How much have Wolves spent recently?
Wolves invested heavily in the summer with midfielder Matheus Nunes becoming their club record-signing soon after fellow Portugal international Goncalo Guedes had also arrived for a large fee. Nathan Collins was another significant investment for a sum in excess of £20m.
What issues do Wolves need to address?
Wolves are the lowest scorers in the Premier League. Sasa Kalajdzic is out for the season with a knee injury and there are huge question marks over the ability of Diego Costa and Raul Jimenez to continue to deliver at the highest level. Can they find a goalscorer?
Elsewhere on the pitch, depth is needed in the centre of defence following the departures of Conor Coady and Willy Boly – illustrated by the fact that Ruben Neves was forced to fill in there earlier in the season. Wolves are also without a natural holding midfielder.