So the window is once again upon us and, in my first piece with TBR, will look at 5 transfers that may just be a season changer for certain clubs. Trying to look up and down the Premier League its hard to find too many sides that will be charging to add to their squads at the start of 2015 but we can be certain the sides battling the drop will feature in this transfer window.
Winston Reid to Liverpool: Okay, to get us started lets look at last season’s runners-up and under achievers, Liverpool. Obviously nothing has really gone right for them so far this season and it has seen a slight upturn of late but defensively they still seem shaky, particularly without Sakho. The Kiwi may not be the ideal option to play from the back as Rodgers would like, but its hard not to see that its time for some of Brendan’s stubborn tactics must change. The longer that they employ such idealistic football the worse their defensive situation seems to become.
Personally, it seems that Liverpool’s challenge for the top four is a bit out of reach from here but the cheap signing of Reid can at least build defensive foundations for next season. A partnership to be formed with Sakho would be a welcome change from the consistent errors of Lovren and downright idiocy of Skrtel.
Morgan Schneiderlin to Arsenal: A much touted transfer, this one and rightly so. A significant correlation between availability of Schneiderlin and Southampton’s form this season, as a quality defensive midfielder seems to flatter any back four. A player loved by the stats-obsessed Twitter fans, but a class act all the while seems a perfect fit as the deepest man of Arsenal’s midfield. It seems that Wenger has been concerned of playing a proper defensive midfielder in the past at the risk of compromising his sides’ ability on the ball; this certainly would not be an issue with Schneiderlin. The way he screens the centre-backs could be the protection that Per Mertesacker so dearly needs and provide freedom for Ramsey or Wilshere to break from along side him.
A title challenge is clearly out of reach from here for Arsenal, although the requirement for a quality defensive midfielder has been there for years. Once that issue is addressed the side can develop a stability they lost with the sale of Patrick Vieira. Team this up with the potential summer spending and the Gunners could be ready to mount a significant challenge in 2015/16.
Papiss Cisse to Crystal Palace: After that remarkable start to his career in England, Cisse has had droughts and big moments but injuries have made it tricky for him to be a regular starter. This is a bit of a left field suggestion considering the money that Newcastle would ask for is likely to be out of the reach of Palace. His brace against Chelsea could have been seen as the turning point in the Magpies’ season and his relationship with Pardew may make him a safe choice for the new Palace manager. With Chamakh playing deeper and even Zaha playing as the number 9, its clear the lack of goal scorers is costing Palace despite retaining the Pulis-built resilience.
Its all about safety for the Eagles and the attacking talents of Yannick Bolasie and Jason Puncheon would hopefully ensure the striker is going to find himself with plenty of chances. The biggest risk in this window could be the loss of Bolasie to a fellow Premier League club, even Jermaine Defoe should be targeted as a guaranteed goal scorer.
Serge Gnabry (loan) to Burnley: Maybe an ambitious choice for Burnley, but quality in the final third is what they need. The presence of George Boyd and Danny Ings has brought this recent spurt of fine form and the pace of Gnabry would surely add an extra attacking option to the industry in the Clarets’ midfield. Injured for a lot of this season, Gnabry may be more difficult to bring to Turf Moor considering the recent departures of Joel Campbell and Lukas Podolski. His quick feet and fearless play would be a scary prospect alongside the rapid Danny Ings that would set up Burnley perfectly to break at pace. Some Arsenal fans might not be so positive on this move and more hopeful of the German having some first team opportunities at Arsenal, Dyche could have his work cut out to seal a deal.
If its not Gnabry, Burnley may look to bring someone from the Championship or perhaps bring in Aaron Lennon or Andros Townsend on loan could add some pace and Premier League experience. Typically, money is going to be the significant challenge for Burnley in this window and any failings could condemn them to next season in the Championship. Maybe even the forgotten Scott Sinclair!
Adnan Januzaj (loan) to Sunderland: Linked with bigger clubs across Europe, the exciting Belgian prospect would be a sensational capture for the Black Cats. Following in the footsteps of Danny Welbeck and a successful loan spell in the North-East would surely stave off relegation as the draw-specialists crave a creative spark in midfield. The 3-5-2 at Old Trafford doesn’t lend itself to Januzaj in a wide role and cannot dislodge the in-form Rooney right now. The Belgian would be far more likely to take more time in the Premier League rather than a reunion with David Moyes at Real Sociedad.
A bit of an outside shout for Adnan, yet with chances limited in Manchester regular top flight football seems a great opportunity.