The pitches are freezing over, the gloves are out, the cold air blows in the mist. This can only mean one thing. We’re into winter and only a couple of weeks away from the winter transfer window being opened. This season, a lot of great talent joined the Premier League such as Arsenal’s midfield maestro Mesut Özil. But some real gems left England like a certain Welshman who went to a club called Real Madrid for a small fee of £86m. The top 4 teams have all been linked with world-class players and all these transfers could actually happen in January.
In: Alexandre Pato
Out: Carl Jenkinson
Though Pato’s recently been out of favour at Corinthians, we all know how good Pato is in front of goal. This season Arsenal have been excellent, currently 5 points clear of 2nd placed Liverpool and a massive 8 points ahead of current champions Manchester United who sit miserably in 9th. Arsenal have also only lost 2 matches in the Premier League so far, a record only bettered by Merseyside team Everton who have only lost one match this season to Chelsea. Even with all this recent success, Arsenal are missing a prolific striker. Not to say Giroud isn’t a good player, far from it, but Arsenal need someone a bit more reliable upfront who will tuck in a majority of their chances. In the summer Arsenal were linked with forwards like Gonzalo Higuain and Luis Saurez but were not successful in securing any forwards in the 2 month window. Pato would make a great addition to the Arsenal squad as it is already full of talent, especially in their midfield so the Brazilian would love to exploit their strengths in the middle of the park to bag some goals and show why he deserves to with Europe’s elite again.
Arsenal’s defence is arguably one of the best if not the best in the league with the likes of German Giant Per Mertesacker and French Force Laurent Koscielny in the middle of the back 4, rock solid partnership especially with fellow Frenchman Mathieu Flamini now back at Arsenal holding down the midfield as well as offering protection to the defenders. Their first choice fullbacks are also very good, Kieran Gibbs and Bacary Sagna both similar in their play, both high-flying fullbacks who often make overlapping runs beyond the wingers to give more width when attacking. One defender I would like to see leave Arsenal is Carl Jenkinson. When Sagna was ruled out for about 2 weeks earlier in the season, Jenkinson was brought in to play right back and lets just say he did little to convince Wenger to implement Carl into the starting XI over Sagna. He gave the ball away, was often caught ball watching and just generally didn’t perform in the chances he got in the starting eleven. Jenkinson is the only weak spot in Arsenal’s otherwise strong defence in my eyes and parting ways with Arsenal would benefit both parties, Carl could join a club at which he would be first choice and develop as a player and for Wenger, it frees up wages which can be used to lure a top class striker, such as Alexandre Pato.
In: Claudio Marchisio
Out: Tom Cleverley
Manchester United have been awful in the league this season, only getting 25 points in 16 games and really off the pace in the title race, although they are through to the last 16 of the Champions League and in the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup. Manchester United seem to be lacking creativity in midfield, very much the opposite of Arsenal who’s midfield is full of creative players, something United don’t seem to have after Paul Scholes retired. New manager David Moyes obviously saw this problem as he tried to get Barcelona’s Cesc Fabregas with 3 offers, each publicly rejected by the Catalan club and the only midfielder that was brought in by the Scotsman was the afro haired man Marouane Fellaini who hasn’t preformed for the Red Devils and certainly hasn’t proven his £28m price tag. With Juventus being drafted into the Europa League after a disastrous Champions League run, a lot of players are eyeing a move out of the Italian champions and one is Claudio Marchisio. The Italian would be a perfect signing for Moyes as Marchisio is a very versatile player, he can play down the middle, on either side, as a defensive mid and even at centre back if needed. The Italian is also exactly what Manchester United need, a spark of creativity in the middle of the park.
Though their midfield is the main weak spot in the United team, they do have some dead weight in their squad such as Tom Cleverley. He is increasingly becoming a victim of abuse from fans and pundits alike, picking on his constant mistakes whilst playing. He isn’t first team quality and for sure isn’t Manchester United quality. He also really hasn’t secured a spot in the England set-up, only being called up purely because he is at a big club and this is from bias towards the big English clubs but that’s another argument. But Tom Cleverley doesn’t deserve his spot, the number 23 should be Marchisio’s or even Wesley Sneijder’s who is also open to moving to England after reportedly looking for a way out of Turkey.
In: Radamel Falcao
Out: Kevin De Bruyne
At the start of the season, Chelsea looked like certain champions with Jose Mourinho back in charge of The Blues and having won their 2nd European trophy in a row by winning the Europa League last season they had a very good squad, arguably the best in the league. At the start of the season, they had a chance to win their first silverware of the season and the first silverware for Jose since coming back to Chelsea. Chelsea lost 5-4 on penalties after a 2-2 draw in which in a way the Londoners were robbed as Javi Martinez equalised for Bayern in the 120th min of extra time, essentially in the last kick of the game. It was Swiss winger Xherdan Shaqiri who won the UEFA Super Cup for Bayern from 12 yards but the majority of the blame went to 19-year-old Romelu Lukaku who missed the decisive spot-kick. This probably made up Mourinho’s mind about loaning out the Belgian, who went on a season long loan to Merseyside team Everton in the dying minutes of transfer deadline day. The season before when Lukaku was on loan to West Brom, in which he scored 17 league goals in 35 apps (20 starts,15 off the bench) for the Baggies and carried them to an 8th finishing position. Now at Everton, he is excelling at a rate not even The Special One could foresee and is arguably the best striker Chelsea has contracted at the moment as current strikers Torres,Ba and Eto’o have 5 goals and 4 assists in 27 apps between them, whilst the Romelu has 8 goals and 3 assists at Everton. Recently Jose Mourinho has been monitoring Columbian forward Radamel Falcao for quite some time, admittedly saying that he looked to lure the striker whilst at Real Madrid. Mourinho was spotted observing Falcao while he was complying to international duties, when Columbia beat Belgium 2-0 but was booed by the Belgium fans because of the way he used Kevin De Bruyne this season or underuse I should say. Getting Falaco would greatly increase Chelsea’s chances of winning the league and making the special one’s 2nd spell at Chelsea even more special.
I personally don’t think Kevin De Bruyne should leave Chelsea due to him not being good enough, quite the opposite. De Bruyne is a young attacking midfielder who can also operate on the wings. Sound familiar? Oscar and Juan Mata already dominate these positions and are integral parts of the Chelsea team. De Bruyne would literally be a 3rd wheel if he stayed at Chelsea, down the pecking order behind the Brazilian and Spaniard and although he is very talented, even Kevin would find it hard to break into the already pretty strong midfield such as Chelsea’s. Last season he had a successful loan spell at Bundesliga club Werder Bremen in which he scored 10 goals and got 9 assists in 33 apps. He is also a starter for the Belgian national team which is quite an achievement, considering the talent they have in the middle of the park such as Moussa Dembele, Axel Witsel and Marouane Fellaini. It has been reported that Werder Bremen are looking to buy the Belgian after his loan spell and fellow German club Bayer Leverkusen are also looking into acquiring De Bruyne’s services. Kevin De Bruyne leaving Chelsea would help his career flourish. He might go to a smaller club, but he will get more playing time and show why he’s one of Europe’s greatest young prospects at the moment.
In: Mateo Musacchio
Out: Joleon Lescott
Manchester City are looking much stronger this season than last, arguably they have a better squad now then they did in the title-winning 2011/12 season with the likes of Fernandinho and Sevilla Spanish duo Negrado and Jesus Navas. The ‘spine’ of Manchester City is also vital to their success which is Joe Hart – Kompany – Yaya Toure – Aguero. Even with Hart not playing and Romanian lamp-post Pantilimon between the sticks, City are doing very well and their home form is excellent, an unbeaten run that stretches over 20 games. Although I see one major weakness in the City team. Their centre backs. When Kompany was out through injury, the City team looked lost on the pitch, sure this could have been because he is the captain but a commanding centre back is vital to a successful team. Just look at their cross town rivals Manchester United. They have Serbian Nemanja Vidic who looks like he headbutts the posts in training when he lets an attacker past him. On the pitch he is very vocal and isn’t afraid to voice his opinion. Rio Ferdinand is also like this, thus their partnership is one of the best in the league. Mateo Musacchio is someone Manuel Pellegrini is looking at from Villareal in La Liga. Pellegrini knows too well how good Musacchio is as the Chilean managed him for a while at Villareal and also faced him as a manager for Real Madrid and Malaga. The Argentine would be a perfect buy for Manchester City as he will be cheap, valued at around £5m and will link up well with fellow countrymen Pablo Zabaleta and Sergio Aguero.
Joleon Lescott has found himself way down the pecking order in recent years at City,with Vincent Kompany a certain starter and new signing Martín Demichelis slowly making his way into the team, the former Everton defender is left on the bench most matches and sometimes not even called up. This lack of game time has also affected his spot in the England set up, which now has Phil Jagielka and Gary Cahill as the preferred centre back partnership with Phil Jones as back-up. Although Joleon is 31 and is probably coming to the end of his career in a season or two, he should move to another club for more playing time and as a last-ditch attempt to impress Roy Hodgson and be on that plane to Brazil next year for the world cup.
I for one, can’t wait for the winter transfer window to open and to see what moves are made in and out of the Premier League as well as La Liga, the Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1.