We are fresh into 2022 and that can only mean one thing, the January transfer window is open. The trickiest transfer window in the calendar is open for business where clubs can bolster their squads to boost their season ambitions or even cash in on players whose contracts are set to expire. As always there is sure to be plenty of business dealings across the Premier League, and we assess where each club may look to strengthen this window.
Things are going rather well for Mikel Arteta and the Gunners so far this season and they look like a side that are mainly set for now. The only position they may consider strengthening in is up front. With former captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang frozen out due to another disciplinary breach his future at the club remains uncertain. Arsenal’s other strikers Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah both have their contracts expiring at the end of the season and the pair both seem content with leaving at the expiry of their deals. This could lead to a problem come the summer and Arteta may want to put a contingency plan in place so that there are at least two strikers at the club for the start of the 2022-23 campaign.
Steven Gerrard has had an instant impact on his squad since replacing Dean Smith and many of the areas which the club looked fragile in before he seems to have steadied for now, particularly the defence. But this is the standout area of the field where Gerrard could look to bolster this month as captain Tyrone Mings has shown several times this season he cannot be relied upon, having been responsible for several of the goals Villa concede. Talks will have already gone on behind the scenes between the manager and Christian Purslow about targets this window and it is likely that there will be some incomings at Villa Park.
Thomas Frank’s side have had a turbulent start to life in the Premier League, with some exceptional results but also some very disappointing ones too. The Bees currently have a fairly long injury list and may be forced to dip into the transfer market this month. With several injuries to their defensive options and Pontus Jansson’s contract expiring in the summer, Frank may be keen to look at defensive reinforcements to assist his side secure Premier League safety this term.
Graham Potter’s side had a bright start to the season, but with just one win in their last 13 league matches, the Seagulls could definitely benefit with one or two additions this window. Potter’s side have been praised for their style of play but criticised for their lack of goals with striker Neal Maupay not being deemed suitable enough to provide the goals that would help convert many of their draws into wins. That's the area that needs addressing.
The Clarets have a tough task ahead of them this year to maintain their Premier League status and they have been struggling to find the back of the net. Only Wolverhampton Wanderers and Norwich City have scored less goals than Sean Dyche’s side. If they are to boost their survival hopes they may need to bring in a striker this month. Chris Wood hasn’t been able to the impact that he had in front of goal last season and with Ashley Barnes sidelined, Dyche doesn’t have that many options.
We’re all aware of Chelsea’s injury problems but Thomas Tuchel may be going a bit overboard with his complaints surrounding the festive fixture list. He is currently without two of his strongest assets this season, wing-backs Ben Chilwell and Reece James. With a lack of squad depth in those positions, the German boss may look to find suitable short-term replacements for the duo this month to keep Chelsea’s title hopes alive.
The Eagles look to be developing nicely under Patrick Vieira, but there is always room for improvement. Conor Gallagher has been outstanding for them this season but his loan will end at the end of the season, and with the way he is playing, he could force his way into the Chelsea team next year. With the gifted midfielder playing a crucial role for Palace in the top-flight, Vieira may look to find a suitable long-term replacement this window for when Gallagher returns to Stamford Bridge in the summer.
The Toffees have been their own worst enemy a lot of the times this season, and that is mainly down to poor recruitment. For where they’ve picked up gems like Demarai Gray, they have failed to find a suitable replacement for veteran captain Seamus Coleman. A fresh, young energetic right-back would be a sensible addition for Rafa Benitez this window if he is truly to modernise and take Everton up a level.
Marcelo Bielsa’s philosophy for having a small squad has come back to haunt him this season, and the club’s injury list is staggering. Leeds may be forced into having a very active window to provide cover for the growing losses all over the pitch. Not only that but they are in serious danger of getting relegated and they will be desperate for fresh legs to come in and act as a catalyst in the side for the second half of the season, with a suitable stand-in for Kalvin Phillips top of the agenda.
Brendan Rodgers also knows too well the toll several injuries can have on a squad and his defensive options have been hit hard this year. He will be eager to bring in reinforcements this window to help strengthen his backline which would allow midfielder Wilfried Ndidi to return to the middle of the park (when he returns from the African Cup of Nations) after filling in at the heart of the defence in recent weeks.
While Jurgen Klopp has a strong starting XI when all his best players are available, he is sometimes let down by the options on his bench when it comes to needing an impact substitute. When compared to the likes of their title rivals Manchester City and Chelsea, Liverpool’s bench is inconsequential in comparison and they could perhaps benefit from adding some fresh young talent to the squad. They also need to consider the void that will be left when Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane travel to the AFCON later this week.
In all fairness, Pep Guardiola’s squad are well-stacked across the pitch and with plenty of depth on the bench. They are storming the league presently and do not appear as though they need any additions in this transfer window.
It’s the same old story with the Red Devils, they are in desperate need of an energetic but tactical midfielder who can dictate the tempo of a match, who is there to do the dirty work when things aren’t going to plan. The club should be very active in searching for a player who fits the bill because they will never truly move forward until they fix this problem.
Eddie Howe has definitely rallied the troops since he took over from Steve Bruce earlier in the season, but a weak defence continues to deny the Magpies turning a corner. Ciaran Clark has proven time and again to be a liability, with his early red card against Norwich and failing to close down Joao Cancelo against Manchester City. Howe will be aware that he needs an organised and disciplined backline, and he will likely look to bring in some defensive bodies with the funding from the club’s new owners, starting with Kieran Trippier.
Where to begin with the Canaries? They simply haven’t been good enough in all areas of the pitch with goalkeeper Tim Krul being the only exception. If Dean Smith is able to bring in a handful of new players, then it may give them a fighting chance, but currently they look a side devoid of any hope of staying in the Premier League. Given their goalscoring woes and reliance on Teemu Pukki, any attacking assets would be beneficial.
Ralph Hasenhuttl will be happy with how the season has gone so far, with his side 10 points clear of the relegation zone, but he may use the January window to make one or two additions to his well-balanced side to make his team a bigger goal threat. If he wants to return to a 4-4-2 formation, wide midfielders are the priority as the Saints look well set in other areas.
Spurs boss Antonio Conte will be itching to kick-start his squad-building process in north London and it is almost certain that he is going to be quite busy during this window. The Italian will likely look to strengthen key areas such as central defence, with Ben Davies filling in for the time being on the left of a back three, as Conte moulds Spurs into his perfect 3-4-3 or 5-3-2 system.
Claudio Ranieri will see the January window as a chance to help improve his side’s chances of a quick relegation back to the Championship. Although the defence could do with strengthening, Watford truly lack a Premier League goalkeeper with both Ben Foster and Daniel Bachmann not quite at this level, and an elite shot-stopper could be the difference between relegation and staying up. With eight losses out of the 10 matches the Italian boss has overseen so far, results will need to change quickly if Ranieri is to remain in charge.
West Ham United
David Moyes’ side have been thoroughly entertaining this season but their fair share of injuries has seen their results dip in recent weeks. Key injuries to defensive players Angelo Ogbonna, Kurt Zouma and recently Aaron Cresswell have made the Hammers more fragile at the back. Moyes may want to plug the gaps by finding suitable cover in the transfer window as Craig Dawson and Issa Diop, although capable, could be improved upon if the Hammers are to go deep in the Europa League.
Bruno Lage is trying to play some expansive attractive football at Molineux but one issue has hindered his side from progressing this season, goals. They simply don’t score enough of them and only bottom of the table Norwich have scored less than them. The team are too reliant on the forwards and the midfielders need to step up and help share the burden. Lage may feel the need to attempt to bring in another striker or a goalscoring midfielder to help make his side more clinical in front of goal.