The January transfer window is just over a week away, and Premier League clubs will be targeting new additions as they bid to bolster their squads ahead of the second half of the campaign.
Several of the division’s leading sides are expected to be active in the winter window, in particular, the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea, the latter freed to sign new players next month following the recent lifting of the club’s transfer-ban.
Ahead of the window, we’ve decided to analyse the weaknesses in need of strengthening, with a look at an ideal signing for each of the Premier League’s top six in January…
Arsenal – Jonathan Tah
The Germany international has previously been linked with a move to the Emirates, having established himself as key figure for Bayer Leverkusen whilst being reintroduced to the national fold over the course of the past year.
Tah would emerge at Hamburg as teenager before joining Leverkusen four years ago, where he has flourished into a powerful defender who seems capable of handling the demands of the Premier League.
The 23-year-old stands at 6ft 5 and boasts a hulking presence, though he remains athletic and possesses the composed distribution that is likely to fit into new manager Mikel Arteta’s plans.
Leverkusen’s Champions League exit makes Tah a realistic transfer target, and whilst signing from foreign markets is always a risk, he looks to have the capabilities to instantly improve an Arsenal defence that has long been the club’s Achilles heel.
Chelsea – Jadon Sancho
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has spoken of replacing the creativity of Eden Hazard following the Belgian’s departure to Real Madrid last summer, the Blues predicted to be active in January following the lifting of their transfer-ban upon appeal.
The sale of Hazard will see Lampard armed with a significant transfer kitty, of which a huge amount could be spent on Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho.
Sancho has flourished since leaving the Premier League in search of first-team football two-and-a-half years ago, developing into one of the most exciting young talents in world football and establishing himself in the England squad.
There has been a growing feeling that Dortmund are increasingly willing to part with their prized asset, with the 19-year-old having endured some difficult moments recently with disciplinary issues and a humiliating first-half substitution against Bayern Munich.
Despite those struggles, Sancho has proven as productive as ever on the field, scoring nine goals and providing nine assists in just 14 Bundesliga starts. The player is also a London-native and enjoys a close relationship with Chelsea forwards Tammy Abraham and Calum Hudson-Odoi, whilst his signing would represent a coup for the club with a host of Europe’s elite interested.
His signing won’t come cheap, but it would prove a real statement of intent from Lampard’s Chelsea.
Liverpool – Timo Werner
Liverpool have already announced their first signing of the transfer window with Red Bull Salzburg’s Takumi Minamino set to arrive in the new year, the Premier League leaders having activated the £7.25m release clause in the contract of the Japanese international as they bid to add creative quality and depth to their squad.
Jurgen Klopp’s squad is well balanced and not in need of any drastic alterations, though one criticism often labelled is a lack of quality back up to their first-choice forward line. Whilst Minamino will go some way to solving this, the 24-year-old is more of a creative option and hardly prolific, so a move for RB Leipzig forward Werner could make sense.
The Germany international has enjoyed a blistering start to the Bundesliga season, scoring 18 goals in just 17 league appearances and providing a further six assists. Roberto Firmino is often the player who makes Liverpool tick but his lack of goals is often noted, and Werner could provide a high-class alternative when the occasion suits.
Whether the 23-year-old would be willing to make a move to a club where he is not guaranteed to be an automatic starter remains to be seen, though with a rumoured release clause of just €30m he would prove a sensible addition to any team in search of firepower.
Manchester City – Milan Skriniar
Manchester City’s defence of their Premier League title has faltered due to their depleted defensive options, the long term injury suffered by Aymeric Laporte and the failure to replace Vincent Kompany having come back to haunt Pep Guardiola’s side.
Midfielder Fernandinho has been utilised in an unfamiliar central defensive role due to the club’s lack of options, Guardiola seemingly unconvinced by both John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi.
The signing of an elite centre-back would go someway to solidifying the champions, even with Laporte set to return in the new year and Inter Milan’s Skriniar could be a viable option, the Slovakian having developed a reputation as one of Serie A’s best defenders since moving to the San Siro from Sampdoria two years ago.
At just 24-years-old he is the right profile to develop further at the Etihad, whilst his leadership skills have been noted for a player often described as a ‘natural defender’.
Real Madrid and Barcelona are reported to be amongst those considering a move, so City would have to act quickly to bolster their defensive options with his signing.
Manchester United – Erling Braut Haaland
Manchester United’s reported interest in the teenage forward has been no secret, Haaland having attracted the interest of European football’s leading clubs following a stunning season at Red Bull Salzburg.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are in need of additions in several areas to address their unbalanced squad, but a centre-forward is clearly required following their failure to replace the departed Romelu Lukaku last summer.
Having scored 28 goals in just 22 appearances for Salzburg this season, including eight in six Champions League group stage games, Haaland has proved he can score prolifically and is only likely to improve in the coming years.
Just 19-years-old, he possesses pace and a formidable physical presence, whilst having previously worked under Solskjaer at Molde he could fancy a reunion at Old Trafford with his compatriot.
Likely to be guaranteed regular first-team football should he make the switch, Haaland could opt for a move to the Theatre of Dreams as he continues his rapid rise in European football.
Tottenham – James Maddison
Despite the arrival of Jose Mourinho as manager, Spurs look unable to convince Christian Eriksen that his long term future remains with the north London side as he enters the final months of his contract.
The Danish international looks almost certain to leave after over six years as a Spurs player, either in next months transfer window or on a free transfer during the summer.
His departure will see Mourinho’s side lose one of the best creative midfield talents in the Premier League, and they could look to replace the 27-year-old next month with summer signing Giovani Lo Celso having endured a difficult adaptation to English football.
Leicester’s James Maddison would be a perfect signing for the club should it be possible, no player having created more chances than the 23-year-old in Europe’s top five leagues last season whilst he has started in similar vain this time around.
Maddison has scored five goals and provided three assists for Brendan Rodgers’ second-placed side so far this season, whilst his threat from set-pieces would also help compensate for Eriksen’s expected departure.
Prising him from the King Power Stadium would prove difficult due to Leicester’s push towards Champions League qualification, though the Foxes have shown with the likes of N’Golo Kante, Riyad Mahrez and Harry Maguire in recent years that they are willing to sell for the right price.