Christmas is fast approaching which means one thing for football fans: the January transfer window will soon be with us.
Despite the excitement that usually builds towards transfer windows, January is usually a notoriously difficult month to recruit in.
However, there have been some big transfers made in January in recent years. These include Virgil Van Dijk’s £75 million move to Liverpool from Southampton and Bruno Fernandes joining Manchester United from Sporting.
With it being tight at the top, places in Europe up for grabs, and the battle to avoid relegation heating up, doing some key transfer business in January could be the difference between winning or losing the title or staying in or being relegated from the Premier League.
Here is a look at what one position each Premier League club should strengthen next month.
January Transfer Window: What Each Premier League Team Need
Manchester City – Striker
The current league leaders have been in imperious form of late winning their last five Premier League games.
They are currently the second-most top-scorers in the Premier League with 44 goals, so it may be strange to say that they need a striker in January.
However, they struggled without an out and out centre forward in the defeat to Tottenham on the opening day of the season and the loss at home against Crystal Palace.
Getting a striker in January does look unlikely but if they could, it would make them favourites to retain their title and even possibly win the Champions League.
Liverpool – Winger
Liverpool have looked back to their best this season after a disappointing title defence last season. They have lost just once this season and are the league’s top goalscorers.
However, if the African Cup of Nations goes ahead, they will be without Saido Mane and Mo Salah for some key games in January.
For that reason, they could do with bringing in another winger to act as cover for both players.
Chelsea – Centre-Back
Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea started the season strongly and looked like favourites for the Premier League title, but they have tailed off in recent weeks and have allowed Manchester City and Liverpool to open up a gap.
They may have the second-best defensive record in the Premier League but with Antonio Rudiger looking unlikely to sign a new contract, Chelsea could do with bringing in another centre-back to bolster their defence.
Arsenal – Striker
After a dismal start to the season, Arsenal perhaps surprisingly find themselves in the top four after 18 Premier League games. Mikel Arteta will be looking to push on and challenge for the Champions League spot.
Given the form of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and the fact he was stripped of the captaincy and the row between him and Arteta rumbles on, bringing in another striker could well be number one on Arteta’s list of priorities in January.
West Ham United – Centre-Back
What a job David Moyes has done since returning to West Ham. They have beaten both Chelsea and Liverpool this season and are just four points off the top four with a game in hand.
David Moyes will be looking for his side to kick on and perhaps sneak into the top four. To do that they could do with another centre-back in January, especially given recent injuries to Angelo Ogbonna and Kurt Zouma.
Manchester United – Central Midfielder
It has been a tumultuous first half of the season for Manchester United. Their poor form and results led to the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
New interim boss Ralf Rangnick likes to play a fast pressing style of play and adding a box-to-box central midfielder will help him be able to implement that style of play.
Fred has played well in recent weeks but there is no doubt this is an area United needs to strengthen if they are to challenge once again.
Tottenham Hotspur – Centre-Back
Tottenham are expected to be one of the busiest teams in January. Antonio Conte will be eager to strengthen as he looks to guide Spurs back into the top four.
One of the priority positions has to be centre-back.
They have struggled to replace the likes of Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen, both of whom were key to Tottenham finishing consistently in the top four under Mauricio Pochettino.
There are a number of areas Conte will look to improve upon but centre-back should be top of the list.
Wolves – Striker
Incredibly, Wolves currently find themselves in eighth place despite being the second lowest goalscorers in the Premier League. Defensively they have been solid but have struggled to score goals.
If they could add another striker in January, it could help Wolves challenge for the European spots and take the pressure off Raul Jimenez.
Leicester City – Centre-Back
Leicester City have the worst defence in the top 10 of the Premier League so far this season. Losing Wesley Fofana due to injury on the eve of the season was a huge blow.
Centre-back Caglar Soyuncu has been poor so far this season.
Also, Leicester have a big issue in conceding goals from set-pieces. They could do with adding a towering, commanding centre-back to strengthen their backline.
Aston Villa – Central Midfielder
Aston Villa are another club expected to be busy in January. They have had a renaissance under Steven Gerrard winning four of their six games with the former Liverpool midfielder in charge.
Gerrard will be looking for reinforcements in January as they look to cement their spot in the top 10 and push for a European place. Adding a central midfielder who can run and control games would go a long way to achieving that.
Crystal Palace – Left-back
Crystal Palace have probably exceeded expectations so far this season. Currently, 11th, Palace fans will be hoping they can push on and finish in the top half.
One of the areas they need to strengthen in January is at left-back. If Tyrick Mitchell got injured they would have to fill that gap with an unrecognised left-back which wouldn’t be ideal.
Brentford – Right-Back
The big success story so far this season, Brentford have impressed in their Premier League debut. Currently, sitting a solid 12th, they will be looking to strengthen in January to kick on and perhaps push for a remarkable top 10 finish. An area they will be looking to strengthen is at right-back.
They appear to be close to signing Brazilian Vanderson and that doesn’t look to be the end of their January transfer spending. Could be a busy window for the Bees.
Brighton – Striker
Brighton’s biggest problem this season has been scoring goals. They have scored just 14 in 16 Premier League games. Graham Potter’s side play some great football and create chances but haven’t been able to convert those chances into goals.
If they could get a prolific striker in the January transfer window, then this is a side that could easily finish in the top ten of the Premier League.
Everton – Winger
Everton boss Rafael Benitez added wingers Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend in the summer. Both have added pace and directness to Everton’s game, but both have had their injury problems this season and the Toffees could do with adding another winger in January to increase their strength in depth.
Whether Everton has the finances to do so is another thing.
Southampton – Striker
It is fair to say that Southampton have failed to replace Danny Ings who left in the summer for Aston Villa. Their top scorer in the Premier League Armando Borja has scored just four goals so far this season.
Adam Armstrong, who was signed to be his replacement, hasn’t really hit the ground running at St Mary’s; he has scored just twice despite having 40 shots this campaign.
They could do with another striker in January to help lift them up the league table.
Leeds United – Attacking midfielder
This is a big transfer window for Leeds United and Marcelo Bielsa. After finishing in the top half last season, many pundits and Leeds fans would have expected to push on this season.
However, that hasn’t been the case and they have won just three Premier League games so far this season.
In the January transfer window, they should prioritise an attacking midfielder to give their attack more versatility instead of relying on the pace of Raphinha and Dan James.
Watford – Centre-Back
Watford currently have the fourth worse defence in the Premier League so far this season. Also, they haven’t managed to keep a clean sheet for this campaign either.
Claudio Ranieri will be looking to strengthen Watford’s backline and getting another centre-back could go a long way to helping Watford avoid relegation.
They simply have to start keeping clean sheets if they are to have any chance of staying up.
Burnley – Striker
Burnley’s league position on paper looks deceiving. They may be third bottom with just one win this season but they have drawn over half of their Premier League games so far this season.
Their biggest issue is scoring goals and turning draws into wins. They have scored just 14 goals in 15 league games.
If they can get a striker in the January window it could help propel Sean Dyche’s side up the league table.
Newcastle United – Centre Back
Newcastle fans will be hoping for a big spending spree in January given the wealth of their new owners.
The squad needs a big overhaul but that won’t happen in the January transfer window where it is very tough to do deals. Given their current situation and clubs knowing they can pay top dollar, it makes it even harder.
Nevertheless, the one position they have to strengthen is centre-back. The Magpies have the worst defence in the Premier League and need to plug that leaky defence if they are to stay up.
Norwich City – Striker
Currently bottom of the Premier League, there is an argument that there is more than one area Norwich need to strengthen to avoid relegation.
However, the number one area has to be to get another striker. The Canaries have scored a measly eight goals in 17 Premier League games.
They are too reliant on Teemu Pukki who has five goals this season and need someone to contribute as well. Josh Sargent has been disappointing so far and Norwich needs more goals if they are to stay up.