Manchester United: With Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay increasingly likely to leave, it would be surprising if Jose Mourinho did not look to strengthen his squad during the January window. Although linked with Edinson Cavani and Antoine Griezmann, Mourinho appears to reluctant to buy another forward in this window considering Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s improving form. Reinforcements may arrive in midfield and defence however, with Antonio Rudiger, Benfica’s Nelson Semedo and Monaco’s Tiemoue Bakayoko being tipped for moves to Old Trafford, although the Victor Lindelof deal is a non-starter. The successful capture of Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic would signal the Manchester club’s aspirations to return to the big time.
Middlesbrough: Sixteenth in the table with nineteen games played and having scored the joint second-lowest number of goals in the league, it is clear which areas Boro need to recruit in. The likes of Rudy Gestede and Udinese’s Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu may not appear to be the star signings fans may desire at the Riverside, but Aitor Karanka is not one to panic and will not pay over the odds for players unless he feels they are guaranteed to add value to his existing squad.
Southampton: Sitting pretty in ninth in the table, Southampton have no reason to break the bank in this transfer window, although Claude Puel may be tempted to put a few finishing touches to the squad he inherited from Ronald Koeman. Of those on the radar, Schalke’s Eric Chupo-Moting and Arsenal’s Lucas Perez appear attractive if unlikely options to improve the firepower at St Mary’s, although a defensive deal is more likely if Jose Fonte does decide to depart. Kevin Wimmer and Fabian Schar would be amongst the first getting a call if that were to happen.
Stoke City: An inconsistent season so far for the Potters who really need to improve defensively to move up the table during the second-half of the campaign. A rather wild and varied selection of players have emerged in the gossip columns linked with moves to Staffordshire with the aforementioned Chupo-Moting and Manolo Gabbiadini leading the list. Stoke do not have a bad squad however and it may be a case of just adding one link player to make a key difference, or more likely Mark Hughes will wait until the summer before seriously pursuing his targets.
Sunderland: Having been in the relegation places for most of the season, but without much financial wiggle-room, David Moyes is looking at unfulfilling transfer window, compounded by the loss of several key players to the African Cup of Nations. If Moyes were to be entrusted with resources, a strike-partner for the prolific Jermain Defoe would be welcome as would a string of defensive signings to shore-up the league’s third worst defence. Leicester’s Leonardo Ulloa and Free agent Martin Caceres have been tipped.
Swansea: Bottom of the league with a goal difference better only to Hull’s, the Welsh team need to get a grip on the managerial merry-go-round that has consumed the club and work on a squad that is manifestly not up to the task. Fortunately, with new American owners averse to relegation in their first season, money should be available. With that, the new manager needs to improve across the board, with Spurs’ Tom Carroll, PSV Eindhoven’s Luciano Narsingh and Barcelona full-back Aleix Vidal appearing particularly attractive options. Whether they can be persuaded to move to a sinking ship is more doubtful with Swansea’s form guide reading LLLL.
Tottenham Hotspur: Not the season Spurs were looking for following the disappointing end to 2015/16. Nonetheless, Mauricio Pochettino’s team have a lot to play for in the second half of the season and have shown they aren’t afraid to splash the cash. This could translate into extremely bold moves for Real Madrid’s James Rodriguez and Everton’s Ross Barkley, although it’s more likely that striking options to complement Harry Kane and the underperforming Vincent Janssen will be brought in in the form of Javier Hernandez or Sandro Ramirez.
Watford: Twelfth after eighteen matches and with a misfiring strike duo, Watford need a goal scorer to take the pressure of Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney, whilst a slightly stronger defence would ensure Premier League survival for another year. In aid of this, Walter Mazzarri may be tempted to bid for Eibar’s Sergi Enrich and Chelsea’s holding midfielder, John Obi Mikel. It is unlikely that Watford will be particularly active in this window, but Mazzarri should bear in mind the long-term consequences of inaction considering the fluid nature of the bottom half of the table.
West Brom: This season’s major overachievers following on from West Ham last year. Tony Pulis’ outfit have been reformed from one that lacked recognizable talent to a team that can beat Southampton 2-1 away from home. As an experienced Premier League boss, Pulis understands the mixed blessings provided by the January transfer window, although he will be looking to alter the squad having missed out on so many high profile targets in the summer. A move for Morgan Schneiderlin may be a bridge too far, but Jay Rodriguez and Schalke’s Sead Kolasinac could be more amenable to a move.
West Ham: Following their early season trials, the Hammers have steadied the ship, currently residing in thirteenth place. The defence is a concern for Slaven Bilic though with an unsustainable thirty-three goals having been conceded already. The owners, David’s Sullivan and Gold, are acutely aware of the dangers of singing highly-priced, injury-prone strikers, so perhaps moves for Arsenal’s Carl Jenkinson and Eibar’s Dani Garcia are more realistic than those for Daniel Sturridge or Anthony Martial.