The missing piece in every squad
Here we are, in the middle of the January 2020 transfer window. No big names coming into the Premier League so far, but we do expect some more action in this area towards the end of the month. The reason behind this is simple: there are top teams performing below expectations, so they need a change.
Although spending a huge amount of money in the winter transfer window can often prove to be uninspired – see the likes of Fernando Torres or Andy Carroll – here are the moves that each club in the Big Six should make:
6. Manchester United
Central Midfielder – It is now pretty obvious that Paul Pogba is no longer the player that the Red Devils can rely on. He thrived in the first matches with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ‘at the wheel’, but then he faded. He now has less than 90 minutes played in the last 4 months, so United should really look for a replacement. Sporting’s Bruno Fernandes looks to be a great option and he would surely bring back some of Old Trafford’s enthusiasm.
Centre Back – The Gunners already made their most important move. Sacking Unai Emery was badly needed in order for the club to breathe fresh air again. Mikel Arteta is a great choice for the bench, but the tools he is working with require some resharpening. Ozil’s “revival” makes Arsenal look good up front, but Leno is being massively tested game by game by the opposing strikers. David Luiz and Sokratis are just not good enough for Arsenal’s defence. Chambers is now injured for the rest of the season, Rob Holding is insecure and Mustafi… Arteta has to get a centre back!
Striker – Of course, it’s all about Harry Kane’s serious injury. Spurs doesn’t have any backup striker in his squad, although Kane has not been deprived of injuries at all in the past seasons. The Champions League finalist is now 9 points behind the top 4, and they can only get closer by scoring goals and winning their matches. Difficult to do it without a proper number 9, but maybe Krzysztof Piatek is not that hard to get, now that Zlatan Ibrahimovic arrived in Milan.
Left Back – With their transfer ban lifted, The Blues can go out there and look to improve their squad. However, Frank Lampard doesn’t seem too keen on spending. Though inconsistent at times, the team is generally playing well. Promising young players like Mount, Abraham or Tomori are key figures in Chelsea’s squad. I still believe that Azpilicueta is beginning to look a bit rusty and playing him on the other side of the pitch will cost points for Chelsea in the following matches. With Marcos Alonso getting closer to a transfer out and Emerson not proving a viable solution, the Londoners should look for a new left back.
2. Manchester City
Centre Back – No matter how much Guardiola likes to improvise, he is always risking by playing Rodri or Fernandinho in the middle of the defensive line. The worst part is that putting Stones or Otamendi in the same spot doesn’t really guarantee much safety either. I am sure Pep is counting the days left until Laporte is back from injury and I also think that he needs another defender of the exact same level. Otherwise, the Champions League tie against Real Madrid in February could be the last one in this competition with Guardiola on the bench.
Defensive Midfielder – I left this part for the end, because it is really hard to say where The Reds are exposed. They look so strong right now and the results speak for themselves. The matches against Atletico Madrid next month will maybe highlight the vulnerabilities of the european champions. Until then, Klopp seems to digest Fabinho’s injury with ease in the Premier League. The Brazilian’s duties in this team are extremely important and I just think that The Cormorans should maybe look for another player with his abilities to replace him when Liverpool will play from three to three days again. Henderson is good, but he is not Fabinho, and he performed better as a right midfielder last season. But again, at the moment, Liverpool looks so good that they don’t need any new signings to win trophies this season.
As I was saying, I don’t expect us to have new record-signings in the Premier League this winter. Still, we could see some interesting loan moves that can turn into permanent deals in the summer. Whether these moves will change the evolution of the Big Six teams in the second part of the season or not is something that remains to be seen.
Photo credit: The Sportsman.
Nicu Vădan Quality Assurance