(Championspk)On the move? (From left) Bafetimbi Gomis, Marco Reus, Leighton Baines and Alvaro Morata
It used to be the case that there was little or no quality to be had during the January transfer window.
Next month’s mid-season bonanza, however, is shaping up to be the biggest yet, with a host of top stars and promising youngsters desperate to play more regularly.
Throw into that mix a few under-fire bosses trying to stay in their jobs and the next five weeks look set to provide us with another dose of intrigue and drama.
The Football Spy team of Darren Lewis, John Cross, Martin Lipton, David McDonnell, James Nursey, David Anderson, Simon Bird, Neil McLeman and Alan Nixon, and the Mirror Online staff, will bring you all the twists and turns.
Here, we look at where each Premier League team needs to change.
Let the wheeling and dealing begin!
What they need A striker. Right-back, new No.2 keeper and holding midfielder can wait until the summer. The player the Gunners have watched most this season is Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa. They’ve also looked extensively in Germany for a striker. But it’s hard to see a deal being done mid-season.
Players they have targeted Alvaro Morata, a top-quality young striker at Real Madrid, is available on loan and would provide cover, back-up and a complement to workhorse Olivier Giroud. They also like Standard Liege striker Michy Batshuayi, 20, but that would most likely be to buy and then to loan him back.
Players that might be leaving Lukasz Fabianski is a January target for Schalke. Hard to see Arsene Wenger allowing him to go, but Fabianski is keen to go. Bacary Sagna is another out of contract at the end of the season. Such is his frustration with Arsenal over his contract, he will flirt with other clubs in January but the Gunners won’t sell.
What they need A creative box-to-box midfielder who can tackle, pass and score. Plus more cover up front for Christian Benteke, if the Villans’ talisman is going to be out injured long-term.
Who they have targeted Possible loan interest in Chelsea’s Kevin De Bruyne.
Players that might be leaving Alan Hutton, Shay Given and Nathan Delfouneso.
What they need The Welsh club desperately need a new left-back, an attacking midfielder and a striker. The man who succeeds sacked boss Malky Mackay will be given big money to improve the team.
Who they have targeted Thomas Ince at Blackpool and Manchester United’s Wilfried Zaha.
Players that might be leaving Nicky Maynard and Andreas Cornelius.
What they need A top striker. Any top striker. A proper striker. Wayne Rooney, Gonzalo Higuain, Robert Lewandowski or Radamel Falcao. None of whom, it’s fair to suggest, they are likely to get. Indeed, according to Jose Mourinho (who also admits all managers tell lies), the Blues will stick with the strikers they have. But also a proper, ball-playing central midfielder. Each passing week makes the decision not to go for Roma’s Daniele De Rossi in the summer harder to comprehend.
Who they have targeted There seems some genuine traction in Inter Milan’s Fredy Guarin. The idea of paying £25million to sign a player they let go for nothing – Benfica’s ex-Blue Nemanja Matic – seems less likely. Ashley Cole’s fall from grace could see a decisive move for Southampton’s Luke Shaw, although that would more likely be a buy and loan back until the end of the season deal.
Players that might be leaving Kevin De Bruyne – Mourinho doesn’t fancy him, and he doesn’t seem to fancy Mourinho either. Most of the Bundesliga will take him. Belgium boss Marc Wilmots says he won’t go to the World Cup unless he is playing regularly. Michael Essien – Looks a shadow of what he was. Injuries have taken a fearful toll. Juan Mata – The Spaniard is not agitating for a move, but it may depend on what advice he gets from Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque. Demba Ba – Not good enough and could be a makeweight in a Guarin transfer. Is wanted by former club West Ham, having turned them down in the summer.
What they need A centre-half, a midfielder, a striker and a clear-out of their dead wood after last summer’s scattergun spree by the south Londoners.
Who they have targeted Striker Peter Crouch at Stoke, who looks surplus to requirements, Celtic midfielder Joe Ledley and Blackburn defender Scott Dann. Don’t rule out moves for more of Tony Pulis’s former stars at the Brittania either.
Players that might be leaving Kevin Phillips, Elliot Grandin, Neil Alexander and Owen Garvan are all poised to leave to make room for new signings.
What they need Another striker with Arouna Kone still injured, and a winger.
Who they have targeted The Toffees want to re-sign Landon Donovan on loan from LA Galaxy for a third time. Donovan had two successful spells at Goodison Park in 2010 and 2012. Manager Roberto Martinez also remains interested in long-time target Spartak Moscow winger Aidan McGeady, who is out of contract.
Players that might be leaving Martinez could be ready to allow Nikica Jelavic and John Heitinga to move on in search of first-team football.
What they need Younger talent. The Cottagers’ squad is the oldest in the Premier League. Specifically, they need a goalscoring midfielder, a striker and a mobile centre-half.
Who they have targeted Clint Dempsey has already signed on a two-month loan from Seattle Sounders. Boss Rene Meulensteen is also keen on taking Wilfried Zaha on loan from his former club Manchester United. The Dutchman is also a fan of Ravel Morrison at West Ham, but that midfielder will only leave for big money.
Players that might be leaving Bryan Ruiz has failed to impress.
What they need Steve Bruce is keen on another striker and a midfielder to maintain the Tigers’ excellent first half of the campaign.
Who they have targeted Bruce is still interested in West Brom striker Shane Long after failing to land the Republic of Ireland international on transfer deadline day. Long is rated at £6.5m by the Baggies. Bruce has also watched Nantes striker Filip Djordjevic, and would like to sign Egypt international midfielder Rami Rabia on loan from Al Ahly, although the Cairo club would prefer to strike a permanent deal.
Players that might be leaving Matty Fryatt and Aaron McClean could go to help fund the new arrivals.
What they need A new left-back, with Aly Cissokho failing to live up to expectations. Also another midfielder is a possible for the Reds, too.
Who they have targeted Full-back Martin Montoya (Barcelona) and midfielder Will Hughes (Derby).
Players that might be leaving Iago Aspas and Luis Alberto.
What they need The way they have been scoring goals in the first half of the season, what they need is to give the others a chance! Their weakness is in central defence, where they are short on depth. The Blues talked about filling that need if Vincent Kompany continued to have the injury problems that affected him early in the season but he has recovered well, making it less of a worry.
Who they have targeted City spent a lot of money in the summer and wanted to go even further by securing the services of Real Madrid defender Pepe – a move they could revive. There is a long way to go until May, when they hope to be rolling in silverware, and plugging the leaks that have seen them concede far too often would be a boost.
Players that might be leaving They are alive in all four competitions and with the squad they have, they could compete for all of them. But that will mean keeping a big squad. Unlikely to let anyone go.
What they need Two midfielders (one creative, one holding) and a left-back. The champions could also look at another right-back, with Rafael injured and Smalling/Jones only cover there as it stands. Moyes doesn’t rate Fabio.
Who they have targeted Koke (Atletico Madrid), Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund), Ilkay Gundogan (Borussia Dortmund), Ander Herrera (Athletic Bilbao), Leighton Baines (Everton), Luke Shaw (Southampton).
Players that might be leaving Midfielder Anderson and left-back Alexander Buttner.
What they need A striker, because Loic Remy is only on loan, Papiss Cisse is not scoring enough and Shola Ameobi is at end of his contract. Less urgent is a left-sided midfielder. But the Magpies do have an eye out for a creative midfielder should Yohan Cabaye be sold next month or in the summer.
Who they have targeted Lyon striker Bafetimbi Gomis, who almost signed the summer. They could also revive interest in a loan move for Manchester United’s Wilfried Zaha.
Players that might be leaving Steven Taylor, who wants first team football but struggles to even get on the bench. QPR remain interested in him. Cabaye could go for an offer considered too good to refuse (£20m-plus), as might Cisse if anyone comes up with £7m plus. Gabby Obertan and Sylvain Marveaux are also available at the right price.
What they need A central midfielder and a left-sided midfielder.
Who they have targeted Winger Aiden McGeady (Spartak Moscow) and striker Fabio Quagliarella (Juventus).
Players that might be leaving Luciano Becchio could fly the Canaries’ nest in search of first-team action.
What they need Defensive cover. The Saints had the best defensive record in the Premier League until keeper Artur Boruc and defenders Nathaniel Clyne and Dejan Lovren were injured.
Who they have targeted Out of contract QPR and Brazil keeper Julio Cesar is a possible. Cagliari and Italy centre-back Davide Astori is also a live candidate and has been on the Saints’ radar for some time.
Players that might be leaving Midfielder Gaston Ramirez could move in search of the regular football he believes will keep his World Cup dream with Uruguay alive. Striker Billy Sharp also wants out, as he accepts he has no future under Mauricio Pochettino. Saints are adamant left-back Luke Shaw will NOT be going to Chelsea in January and midfielder Adam Lallana has committed his future to the club amid talk of a move to Manchester United.
What they need Another striker – the Potters did not find the net anywhere near enough during the first half of the season. Also, another defender.
Who they have targeted Mark Hughes will revive his interest in Hannover striker Mame Biram Diouf and could rival West Ham for Everton hitman Nikica Jelavic. Stoke failed to land former Manchester United man Diouf in the summer and chairman Peter Coates has confirmed that Hughes will be given cash next month to land another forward.
Players that might be leaving Strikers Peter Crouch and Kenwyne Jones.
What they need Gus Poyet will look to improve in all positions as the Black Cats’ fight for survival becomes increasingly desperate. Poyet is prioritising left-back and striker, and possibly a creative midfielder
Who they have targeted They are desperate for a new striker. Poyet has also swooped for Marcos Alonso, the left-back from Fiorentina. He will be an early-January loan arrival. Midfielder Liam Bridcutt from Poyet’s previous club Brighton is another possible.
Players that might be leaving There are nine men set to be out of contract in summer, and Sunderland would take cash now for any of them. Steven Fletcher has been looked at by Hull. Ji Dong Won is set to go to Borussia Dortmund and Connor Wickham could be off to Nottingham Forest.
What they need Another centre-half to return the steel to the Swans’ back four alongside Ashley Williams. Another striker with Michu injured and a goal-scoring midfielder to take the pressure off the Spaniard when he returns.
Who they have targeted Thomas Ince (Blackpool), Iago Aspas (Liverpool), Hector Moreno (Espanyol).
Players that might be leaving No departures expected.
What they need A new left-back and possibly another striker with Jermain Defoe set to leave the Londoners for Toronto FC, Roberto Soldado yet to find his stride and doubts about whether Emmanuel Adebayor’s recent form will last.
Jermain-Defoe-HatWho they have targeted Two long-term targets are frontmen Javier Hernandez at Manchester United and Pato at Corinthians in Brazil.
Players that might be leaving All eyes will be on Argentine 21-year-old Erik Lamela. Spurs insist he will not be leaving in search of the regular football he craves, but he and his father are known to be concerned that, as Tottenham’s £30million record signing, he is not playing enough in the Premier League. Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid have received enough encouragement to maintain their push for him on loan.
What they need Another winger as Scott Sinclair has disappointed since joining the Baggies. More cover at the back – summer signing Diego Lugano has been poor.
Who they have targeted Manchester United winger Wilfried Zaha on loan.
Players that might be leaving Flop striker Markus Rosenberg.
What they need A new striker. Possibly two of them. Desperately. All other positions are of secondary importance.
Who they have targeted The east Londoners have been working their way through a list of possible loan deals or permanent transfers for weeks. Ex-Sunderland striker Asamoah Gyan – who moved to UAE club Al Ain two years ago – has already rejected them, but they could yet make him an offer that he cannot refuse. The likes of Everton’s Nikica Jelavic and Atletico Madrid’s Leo Baptistao are also possibles on loan.
Players that might be leaving Ravel Morrison is the surprising candidate – he could go to raise much-needed cash to fund the new signings. Morrison, 20, has been arguably West Ham’s most impressive player during the first half of the season, but his contract is complicated and the club believe strikers who can keep them up are a far bigger priority.