Which Premier League teams have the most work to do in the January transfer window?
Who needs what to strengthen their squad in January?
We’re almost halfway through the 2020/21 Premier League season, and with just seven points separating top spot from 10th, it could be the closest one to call yet.
The January transfer window gives those clubs fighting at both ends of the table the opportunity to enhance their chances of fighting for the league title or fighting for Premier League safety respectively.
But which sides are in desperate need of additions to bolster their chances for this Premier League season? We’ve picked out our top five Premier League clubs with the most work to do during the winter transfer window.
Although Jurgen Klopp’s side are still sitting at the top of this season’s Premier League table, albeit with others behind having played fewer games, the Reds have been prone to injuries this season.
Most of their issues have come in defence, with Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez sitting on the treatment table for the long term, while their main replacement Joel Matip has also been subject to spells on the sideline.
That’s left the Reds vulnerable at the back, which shows in their performances. They’ve conceded 33% more goals and accumulated 16 fewer points than at this point of last season’s title-winning campaign.
Klopp has previously stated that he’ll only invest in a new centre back if he feels that they fit his philosophy, which could be tricky to find in the January market. If he can find them, they’re likely to come at a premium too.
The Merseysiders have been linked with a couple of names that Klopp himself is reportedly interested in, with Schalke’s Ozan Kabak and Lille’s Sven Botman top of the wishlist.
A move for either is also dependant on the return dates for those at the club already. If Van Dijk, Gomez and co. are likely to return this season, could Liverpool hold off until the summer and still retain the title?
Three wins in their last three league matches has papered over some of the cracks we’ve seen from Arsenal so far this season.
Prior to those wins over Chelsea, Brighton and West Brom, the Gunners suffered from a real lack of firepower, with very little creativity in the centre of the park to provide any chances to the attackers.
With Mesut Ozil seemingly heading for the exit, it’s been Emile Smith Rowe providing a new lease of life to the Arsenal attack, creating chances and linking up with the attackers in a way we’ve not seen from the North London side so far this season.
But should that pressure be solely given to a 20-year-old youth product? Perhaps not, so therefore an attacking midfielder should be a priority in January to keep Alexandre Lacazette firing, and help Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang return to his devastating best.
To fill that role, the Gunners have been linked with former Spurs midfielder Christian Eriksen, though a move for him seems unlikely, as well as long-term target Houssem Aouar of Lyon and Norwich City’s Emiliano Buendia, who impressed in the Canaries poor Premier League campaign last season.
Real Madrid’s Isco could be available as a stop-gap on loan for the rest of the season should they wish to weigh up their options ahead of the summer, though if Arsenal have any aspirations of securing European football next season, they should look to bring in some added creativity in January.
After Diogo Jota made the move to Liverpool in the summer, Wolves failed to sign a ready-made replacement, heaping added pressure on Raul Jimenez to fire them up the table.
Just months later, Jimenez picked up a serious injury which Wolves aren’t putting a timeline of return on, leaving 18-year-old Fabio Silva as the only out and out striker in the squad.
While Wolves have total faith in Silva to fire, a reported price tag of £35m at such a young age could heap expectation on his shoulders, so he shouldn’t be solely relied on.
Head coach Nuno Espirito Santo could make a move in the transfer market to bring in a more experienced head, allowing Silva to gain experience off the bench.
While very few names have been linked, Liverpool’s Divock Origi could be of interest. The Belgian has only featured three times in the league this season and could look to pastures new for an opportunity to become a first teamer.
Wolves have six fewer goals than at this point last season so are clearly feeling the effects of being without their two first choices last season. They’ll have to move fast if they’re to keep pace in the race for a European spot.
Since the sacking of Slaven Bilic and the appointment of serial relegation survivor Sam Allardyce to replace him, the Baggies have seemingly gone backwards, losing three of his opening four matches in charge.
In that time, West Brom have only managed one goal, coming in a shock 1-1 draw against reigning champions Liverpool. In the other three matches, they’ve conceded 12 goals.
Allardyce reportedly has a lengthy list of positions he’d like to bring in new additions to, including the main spine of the team. The Baggies are unlikely to have the biggest budget to bolster Big Sam’s squad, so could look to take advantage of the loan market.
A centre back, centre midfielder and striker are top of his wishlist, with Albion the third lowest scorers so far this season with only 11 Premier League goals. They’ve been linked with a move for Cenk Tosun, a player Allardyce took to Everton in the January window of 2018, as well as a reunion with Andy Carroll.
They’ve got the leakiest defence too, conceding 39 goals in just 17 matches, including those 13 in four matches since Allardyce took charge. Crystal Palace defender James Tomkins has been linked, with the new Baggies boss going for previous experience and players he knows rather than delving into the unknown. Can they make the right moves to enhance their chances of survival this season?
Two points from a possible 51 so far this campaign tells you everything you need to know about rock-bottom Sheffield United. For Chris Wilder and his side, it’s just not clicking.
Despite the worst start to a Premier League season in history, Wilder still maintain the backing of the board and will be given a chance to improve the squad in January to help their fight for survival.
Given the current financial climate, the Blades will probably be dipping into the loan market rather than looking for permanent additions. But where exactly have they struggled this season?
Injuries to Jack O’Connell earlier this season caused a huge blow to the left-side of central defence, not only because of his defensive capabilities, but his energy, leadership and enthusiasm on the pitch has also been missed.
The Blades should look to prioritise defensive reinforcements to help steady the ship, with 29 goals conceded so far this season.
The summer signing of Rhian Brewster hasn’t yet paid off in front of goal either, with Wilder’s side really struggling to find the back of the net. They’re the league’s lowest scorers with just eight goals so far, so they could look to bring in more experience up front.
All odds and markets are correct as of date of publication.