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Narratives: Some of the biggest transfer stories still left to be solved this month

We’re into the latter stages of the January transfer window and a relatively quiet period is expected to heat up as we reach the final days for business.

There has been limited movement amongst the Premier League’s leading sides so far this winter, but the rumour mill continues to work overtime ahead of Monday’s transfer deadline.

With time running out to conclude business this January, we look at the key transfer stories still left to be solved in the Premier League this month.

Arsenal’s striker search

Arsenal have been linked with a whole host of centre-forwards this month, but enter the final week of the window without the signing of a new number nine.

The Gunners had hoped to persuade Dusan Vlahovic to the Premier League from Fiorentina, but their pursuit of the Serbia international has ended in disappointment with the 21-year-old set for Juventus.

The addition of goals to Mikel Arteta’s side could be crucial in their bid to secure a top-four finish, with Alexandre Lacazette having managed just three league goals so far this season.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Alexander Isak have been mentioned as leading targets, though each would cost a significant sum and would be difficult to prise from Everton and Real Sociedad respectively in the closing stages of the window.

Isak possesses a release clause – believed to be around €90m – in what would represent a huge investment for the North Londoners after an expensive summer of recruitment.

Luka Jovic has been mentioned as an alternative with the potential option of a loan deal for the out-of-favour Real Madrid forward, but he would represent a gamble for the Gunners given his struggles in Spain.

Arsenal are without a goal in four consecutive games and their need for a striker is apparent.

Tottenham leave it late in search for new additions

Antonio Conte had hoped to overhaul his squad this month, but Tottenham have so far failed to bring in the additions desired.

The inability to shift on unwanted talent has hindered hopes of new additions, with the likes of Tanguy Ndombele, Dele Alli, Giovani Lo Celso and Matt Doherty amongst those free to leave before the deadline.

However, there has been movement in recent days with reports of a £46m bid for Porto winger Luis Diaz, whilst the North Londoners are also understood to be closing in on the signing of Adama Traore from Wolves.

That duo would improve and increase Conte’s options in wide areas and could prove the difference between Spurs finishing in the Premier League’s top four or falling short this season.

There is also interest in the signing of at least one new midfielder, but further arrivals could hinge on whether Spurs can shift the deadwood.

Will Watford back Hodgson?

Watford are onto their third manager of the season following the appointment of Roy Hodgson, the Hornets having turned to the wily old veteran after the appointment of another experienced hand in Claudio Ranieri backfired.

Watford dropped into the relegation places after a chastening 3-0 defeat to Norwich last time out and Hodgson has little time to assess his squad and seek reinforcements.

The Hornets are without a win in nine games and have failed to keep a clean sheet all season, defensive reinforcements perhaps top of the agenda for Hodgson – who at 74 years old becomes the oldest-ever Premier League manager.

Watford’s last clean sheet in the Premier League came during a 3-0 win over Liverpool in February 2020 – a run of 30 games across two seasons.

United outcasts still seeking exits

Anthony Martial has been granted his wish after leaving Manchester United for Sevilla, signing for the Spanish side on a loan deal in a bid to secure regular first-team football.

Martial was one of several high-profile players keen on an exit this month, but the likes of Dean Henderson, Jesse Lingard and Donny van de Beek have so far failed to engineer moves away from Old Trafford.

Lingard was linked with a loan switch to Newcastle, though a deal is now understood to be ‘dead’ after the two teams failed to find a compromise on a loan fee.

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The 29-year-old has not started a league fixture this season and will be a free agent next summer, but a lack of football across the second half of the season will hinder his hopes of making England’s World Cup squad later this year.

Van de Beek also wants a move to boost his international ambitions, having been overlooked for recent Netherlands squads given his lack of football at club level. Crystal Palace are interested in the midfielder and will hope to strike a loan deal before Monday’s deadline.

Which side will gamble on Dele Alli?

Rewind back to the start of the season and there were faint hopes of a renaissance for Dele Alli, the midfielder returning to the Spurs side under Nuno Espirito Santo.

The arrival of Antonio Conte as head coach has left Alli on the sidelines once again, however, starting just two league fixtures since the Italian’s arrival in North London.

The 25-year-old is free to leave this month and has interested several Premier League rivals, with the likes of Newcastle, Everton, Burnley and Brighton all believed to be interested in a loan deal.

Alli’s fall from grace has been spectacular in recent seasons, having been one of England’s brightest talents and a key figure for both club and country.

Questions continue to be asked over his attitude and application, but a fresh start is needed if he is to have any chance of returning to his former levels.

The potential upside is huge for any side willing to gamble on a short-term, low-cost loan deal.

Aubameyang an unwanted asset difficult to shift

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s future at Arsenal appears over, with the forward omitted from the Gunners’ squad for their training camp in Dubai this week.

Aubameyang has not featured since being stripped of the club captaincy for a disciplinary breach last month and the North Londoners are keen to move the Gabon international on before the transfer deadline.

The 32-year-old’s huge wages are a stumbling block, however, and it is a road Arsenal have been down before following the difficulty in finding a suitor for Mesut Ozil.

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A formal approach from Saudi Arabia has been received regarding a loan deal with an obligation to buy, but there are doubts whether Aubameyang would move to the Middle East at this stage of his career.

PSG, Marseille and AC Milan have all expressed an interest in the forward, though it will need a compromise from all parties to find a desired solution.

Newcastle need centre-back signing

For all the talk of marquee arrivals this month, the most pressing need for Newcastle’s new ownership was the signing of defensive reinforcements.

Almost four weeks into the window and no centre-back has arrived at St James’ Park, with the arrivals of Kieran Trippier and Chris Wood – whilst both needed – perhaps not enough to ensure survival this season.

Bruno Guimarães will also add quality as Newcastle close in on the Lyon midfielder, but there will be concerns that their centre-back search has been futile so far.

Newcastle’s search for a central defender has been extensive with moves for Sven Botman and Benoît Badiashile having failed to materialise and Sevilla digging their heels in over Diego Carlos, despite the defender having submitted a transfer request.

Clubs are well aware of Newcastle’s new-found wealth and the Magpies are keen to ensure they are not forced into paying over the odds for transfer targets, but it remains to be seen whether desperation takes over in the final stages of the window.

It could be a busy few days for Eddie Howe and his recruitment team, with Brighton’s Dan Burn and Burnley’s James Tarkwoski the latest names linked with a move to St James’ Park before the deadline.

Read – Five of the most controversial moments in Premier League history

Read Also – Hitmen: Five of the best Serie A strikers of the 90s

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