Arsenal: Perennial wobblers, capable of the fantastic, but also of defeats to those around them. Linked with Yacine Brahimi and Dmitri Payet, and with the possible loss of either Alexis Sanchez or Mesut Ozil in upcoming windows, Arsene Wenger appears hungry for another playmaker in midfield. Unusually for Arsenal, their defence has also appeared resolute this season and the annual search of the continent for a new centre-half looks unlikely, although the loss of Laurent Koscielny would seriously compromise Arsenal’s already distant title prospects.
Bournemouth: Eddie Howe pulled off a masterstroke in the summer by getting Jack Wilshere to join on-loan for the season, and it appears unlikely that he’ll be able to replicate that feat in this window. However, Bournemouth could certainly do with some defensive reinforcements considering their minus eight goal difference with eighteen games played, whilst a few more goals would not go amiss either. As demonstrated against Chelsea, they are not lacking in creating decent chances. Deals for Ragnar Klavan and Dwight Gayle would represent good business, but are not very likely.
Burnley: Blessed with decent home form and abysmal performances elsewhere, Burnley’s best piece of transfer business may be keeping the highly-regarded Michael Keane, who is on the radar of several Premier League clubs. If the money were available, which it almost assuredly isn’t, Burnley would benefit from an overhaul across the park with goal scoring a particular issue. Barnes and Vokes are not cut out at the top level and reinforcements in the form of Michy Batshuayi or Yaya Sanogo would be very well received.
Chelsea: Apparently, Antonio Conte has money to spend, but whether that will be enough to sign a world-class player to complement an already strong team is open to question. Chelsea have been linked with Virgil Van Dijk, Marco Verratti, Geoffrey Kondogbia, Antonio Rudiger and Ben Gibson amongst others. All would add something in squad depth, but realistically, Kondogbia is not going to move to Chelsea when he would be second choice behind N’Golo Kante. Verratti is a more realistic buy considering the recent sale of Oscar and defensive cover considering Chelsea’s limited squad size would be welcome, although they would have to fight it out with both Manchester clubs for Van Dijk’s signature.
Crystal Palace: With Sam Allardyce having just been appointed, it would be understandable if the Premier League stalwart wanted to tinker with his squad considering the relegation scrap to come. Kieran Gibbs has been touted as a possible figure of interest which is understandable considering the defensive frailties that have seen Palace concede the second-highest number of goals in the league so far. Considering that Allardyce likes to build from the back, it would be a surprise if a deal for a centre-half or a defensive midfielder was not completed with Michael Keane and Jon Obi Mikel likely to be on the radar.
Everton: Could be very busy this window with Ronald Koeman acknowledging that the team needs an overhaul, possibly in the form of Morgan Schneiderlin, Memphis Depay, Ademola Lookman, Yacine Brahimi and Manolo Gabbiadini. Toffees’ Director of Football Steve Walsh has prioritised Lookman’s signature and it looks like that deal could be completed early, before Koeman goes hunting for bigger fish. Of those above, Schneiderlin and Depay would represent real transfer coups for the Dutchman although a defender would be a real bonus considering they have conceded more goals than any other team in the top eight. Jose Fonte appears out of favour at Southampton, and Koeman knows him very well.
Hull: Where do you start with a team who have scored the fewest goals in the league and conceded the second most? Mike Phelan has his work cut out on Humberside, but looks unlikely to be handed any considerable funds to do anything about it. Lazio’s Ravel Morrison has been tipped although they are long odds and there will be issues in convincing any players of a certain quality that Premier League football will be a fixture in the long-term. At least Hull are unlikely to be raded for their current players.
Leicester City: Following last season’s heroics, Claudio Ranieri’s men lie in 15th place coming up to the new year, with brilliant results against Manchester City (4-2) being wiped out by poor losses to Sunderland and Hull. It is likely though that the number of incomings will be matched by those leaving, with Jeffrey Schlupp, Bartosz Kapustka and Leonardo Ulloa all having been linked with moves away from the King Power Stadium. In their place, the signing of midfielder Wilfred Ndidi appears close to completion with deals also possible for Michael Keane and Sporting Lisbon’s Adrien Silva. Leicester are also likely to be short on squad depth next month with Islam Slimani, Riyad Mahrez and Daniel Amartey all likely to play in the African Cup of Nations, so it is possible that Ranieri may have to make some speculative moves as the deadline draws closer.
Liverpool: One of the teams whose transfer activity is least straightforward to predict. Liverpool are currently flying high at second in the league, having comfortably scored more goals than any other team. In attack, the trio of Adam Lallana, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane have proved lethal, although they have suffered the loss of Phillipe Coutinho to injury. Celtic striker Moussa Dembele, Spartak Moscow’s Quincy Promes, Bayer Leverkusen defender Jonathan Tah, Paul-Georges Ntep and Geoffrey Kondogbia have all been tipped as possible signings, although Klopp is a shrewd boss and will not spend unnecessarily on an already talented squad.
Manchester City: Sitting disappointingly third in the league and with Pep Guardiola so far unable to weave his magic at the Etihad, it is entirely possible that Man City will shell out in order to mount a determined title push. Real Madrid’s Isco is seen as a possibility, as are Antonio Rudiger, nineteen-year-old striker Kasper Dolberg and Antoine Griezmann. Of those, Rudiger has to be a priority considering John Stones’ defensive frailties, although Griezmann would be a major marquee signing for the club and the league. Pep would have to convince him of something special to up sticks from Madrid to Manchester though.