The January transfer window is always a peculiar period in the annual football calendar. The first half of the season usually shows many teams’ early weaknesses and flaws, and the new year window gives teams a way to resolve these. However, in the case of Arsenal and many other teams in the League, few actually act, and those who do usually end up signing a crooked midfielder akin to Kim Kallström.
The majority of all big teams in the league lack defensive players of a world-class level
This may be subject to change though, as all of the league’s behemoths have ever-increasing transfer budgets and new aspirations, in an attempt to pry the title away from last year’s champions, Manchester City. Who will dip into their pockets and who will not? Will a big money departure to Europe be on the cards? It seems as though all is currently up in the air, like the majority of Lukaku’s first touches.
A key problem for a lot of the Premier League’s biggest teams has been their spine and, in particular, their centre halves. Whether these teams suffer from erratic or foolish defenders, or simply defensive-prone ones, the majority of all big teams in the league lack defensive players of a world-class level. The biggest victims of a weak centre-back pairing at this stage are Arsenal, Manchester United and arguably, Chelsea.
With potential arrivals come predicted exits, with the likes of United’s Eric Bailly potentially being on the chopping block
Being an Arsenal fan, I often dub Mustafi ‘Bambi on Ice’, and generally an incompetent footballer, so having a player of De Ligt or Manolas’s calibre (despite how unlikely these two deals would be) would certainly be welcomed. Manchester United are currently showing a keen interest in West Ham’s Declan Rice and potentially putting in a gargantuan bid for Kalidou Koulibaly in a deal, although this is unlikely to happen in reality.
Of course, with potential arrivals come predicted exits, with the likes of United’s Eric Bailly potentially being on the chopping block. Shifting attention to Tottenham Hotspur, another interesting situation may rise out of Toby Alderweireld’s contract negotiations, in a saga which could run until the start of the summer. These four teams, who are streets behind the two strongest teams in the league in Liverpool and City, need to and most likely will consider activity in the January window in order to compete.
Manchester City seem the most competent and complete team in the league by a country mile
Other questions to be asked of the Premier League’s biggest teams concern their midfield and attack. While all of the Premier League’s big six can be reassured by their relatively stable midfields, with new partnerships of Torreira and Xhaka for Arsenal and Jorginho and Kanté for Chelsea reaping rewards for both clubs, the majority of these teams need an additional attacking threat.
With all this paper and Twitter ‘ITK’ talk, what will come out of this window? With moves such as Arsenal’s Aubameyang deal last year occurring in January transfer windows of the past, one can hope a lot. In anticipation, some clubs are trying to keep prices down and have not revealed their intentions as of yet. However, in watching this season’s performances, some European clubs will be eager to tie their stars down to contracts in order to protect them from raids from England’s giants.
Will any activity alter the title race? In my honest opinion, no. Again, Manchester City seem the most competent and complete team in the league by a country mile. However, improvement has never been a bad thing, has it?