Osahon and I had a long podcast on our thoughts about the January transfer window.
For our thoughts and for our podcast, listen to us via Spotify and click on Reformed Hooligans!
Everton brought in Carlo Ancelotti, a man they wanted before his Napoli stint and have looked better since his appointment as manager. The problem for Everton lies the same as other Premier League sides Arsenal, Man U, Wolves, and Spurs with the need of midfield depth and perhaps starters. Everton have Gbamin and Gomes injured for the foreseeable future and will need a boost there. It’s tough to make such a move in January with so many teams looking for that extra boost.
Moise Kean and Dominic Calwert-Lewin have been used together in a 4-2-3-1 or in a 4-4-2 by Ancelotti and would like to see them use the pair together as the season progresses. They have Holgate and Mina at CBs, and I think they’re ok, not terrible. But spending as much money as they have to be placed worse than Wolves, Sheffield, Newcastle, and Southhampton is just unacceptable from an Everton standpoint.
Everton may show interest in some of the players from Italy that Ancelotti had interest in at Napoli like Vecino. Whether Everton can turn the corner in the second half is unclear considering the lack of form and the inconsistency throughout a game from their team. With Everton’s biggest news being an offer for Richarlison from Barcelona, not a good time for the Toffees.
Arsenal as a club has taken a few steps back since the last years of Arsène Wenger’s tenure as manager, Arsenal just hired Mikel Arteta, Pep Guardiola’s assistant head coach at Manchester City. Arteta will hope to help steer them back to the right direction. Considering the summer that Arsenal had and the names they brought in such as Dani Ceballos (loan), David Luiz (also loan), Kieran Tierney, and Nicholas Pepe. Of those four major signings, only Pepe has been anything close to a big impact, and even he hasn’t been at the level many perceived considering that he absolutely dominated with Ligue 1 side Lille in 18/19. Former Celtic WB Kieran Tierney hasn’t been healthy at all this year but we could see him in the second half emerge as the left back in the future. David Luiz was brought in as a temporary stopgap CB, and usually what happens with Luiz is that he’ll have some great games and some really awful games. That truly hasn’t changed since the end of his prime in 2018, and Ceballos who was brought in to help generate some creativity and that midfield was wrestling between staying or going and decided to stay. Maybe Ceballos can be the piece he was supposed to be.
There are a lot of positives with Arsenal, Brazilian youngster Gabriel Martinelli has actually been a really good spark for the London club despite only being 18 years old. Guendouzi, though and disciplined at times, has also shown his ability in the final third as a creative midfielder. Héctor Bellerín coming back from injury is huge for Arsenal, not to mention the tying goal is scored against Chelsea was some freaking magic. If summer signee William Saliba could find his way to form while finishing up his season at Ligue 1 side St Etienne, it could really set the stage for will be a monumental summer at Arsenal football club.
In real terms to improve the squad this January window, they do have a deal for Flamengo’s Pablo Mari. The Spaniard who happens to be playing in Brazil, was signed by Manchester city in 2016. Otherwise Arsenal appears to be stuck due to the high wages to some of their veterans like Mesut Özil, Granit Xhaka, Mustafi, and others. The rumors pertaining to the two strikers Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexander Lacazette are on-going. Aubameyang‘s contract is going to run out at the end of 2021, and as for Lacazette, Champions League football could be very crucial to the next point of his career. Do Arsenal sell them or try to keep one of them? It’s going to be interesting to see how much they can bring in for one or both elite level strikers.
Then there’s Manchester United… What more can be said about the disaster on the red side of Manchester over the last couple of years in this particular 2019–20 campaign… not only do they have the lowest point total in the Premier league era, never mind the injury to Marcus Rashford, the fact they are going to be stuck in the Europa League next year as well, and the never ending saga that is French midfielder Paul Pogba…
They won’t sell Pogba this month, but they did finally sign Sporting CP CAM Bruno Fernandes. The Portuguese midfielder scored 32 goals last season for Sporting CP. They won’t be bringing a striker to fill in for Rashford’s injury, it appears… it seems as if United are going to try and weather the storm and with the 2-0 loss to Burnley and coming up short in the FA Cup to Man City, fans are getting more and more restless.
Man U are only where they are by the sheer fact that Spurs, West Ham, Everton, and Arsenal have all struggled mightily this campaign. But considering what the payroll is, considering it’s Man U, and considering what they’ve spent on Wan-Bissaka and Maguire in the previous summer window. That age old conversation is starting to happen again and we can avoid that here.
Uncle Jose really went to London, I was quite skeptical as to how this was going to work. But despite some lapses in tactics in recent games and another injury to captain Harry Kane, they are down a true world class finisher. Adding Christian Erikson’s $17million sale to Inter just rubs salt in the wound for Spurs fans. However, they didn’t lose him in the summer for nothing. Spurs have brought in Benfica academy grad Gedson Fernandes, who looks to fill the role left behind by the injured Moussa Sissoko, and with the shared language link, I think Gedson could adjust to England faster than Fornals has at West Ham for example.
They also signed PSV’s Steven Bergwijn after teammate Gaston Perrero moved to Aston Villa. The deal cost €30.00m for Spurs and he’s shown flashes of a young Lucas Moura/Memphis, perhaps shades of Serge Gnabry at Bayern, But he could be filling the creative shoes of Erikson, despite Son and Ali being options as well. Bergwijn has a very bright future in front of him as Euro 2020s draw ever closer.
Spurs squad were reluctant to make changes until Poch despite being top 4 for the majority of his tenure, now Jose comes in and they want to spend major money despite knowing Levy should’ve been prepared to move them earlier than this point. Spurs really missed the mark. They really did…. From Champions League runner ups to barely reaching Europa League…Amar, Felipe and I did go more in depth on Tottenham’s roster in the Champions League preview episode Diez Y Seis as they will be taking on RB Leipzig in the knockout stages.
There were high expectations for Manuel Pellegrini and the London club as they signed Pablo Fornals and Sebastien Haller this past summer and finished 10th, and their best finish since coming back from the Championship is 7th. David Moyes is currently their manager, and at this stage are going to be in a very insane relegation battle for that and final spot with Watford and Burnley resurging, it’ll come down to getting results.
Haller has only scored six times in nineteen appearances for the Hammers, but coming from Eintracht Frankfurt, a team who battled far into Europa League last season, the expectations were higher. Spaniard Pablo Fornals has played in nineteen games, but he was brought in to be more of a creative outlet and West Ham haven’t been good enough.
West Ham have a lot of guys who are labeled as injury prone, guys like Yarmelenko, Antonio, Wilshere, and Lanzini. Now, there’s some misfortune here, but these guys also have their moments of brilliance and yet are a tease because they miss so much time with injuries.
West Ham did sign Slavia Prague youngster Tomas Soucek, showing the urge to want to build a sustainable growth for the London club. Captain Mark Noble is 32, and his contract expires at the end of next season, with Declan Rice possibly a big money move in the future, this is a great piece to lure in and develop before Noble’s eventual departure.
Wolves were in the Championship two seasons ago, and Nuno Espirito Santo, aka football’s Rasputin, has gotten Wolves in the race for the European spots, and has them in position to challenge even the almighty Liverpool team that hasn’t been defeated in the EPL for over the last year. If Wolves want to maintain their place in the EPL top 8 places, they’ll need to sign a backup striker for Raul Jimenez. Diogo Jota and Pedro Neto are more suited to be wingers, but Nuno’s deep Portuguese ties have tied to Daniel Podence and Nelson Oliveira, both playing in Greece, and both could be assets to an attack that has been very dangerous this season. Having landed Podence, interesting to see if they sign anyone else.
Having loaned out flop Patrick Cutrone to Fiorentina unctil June, this has been a glaring hole to fill for Wolves, who have shelled out some cash to bring in Jimenez on loan from Benfica to keep him permanently. Belgian born Leander Denedocker was a loanee from Anderlecht and has been a big piece for them in the DM and at CB.
The presence of Traore has been getting them through as he creates those 50/50 chances off the counter, it’s not shocking some of the players that played in a more counter attacking centric Portugal side in the mid 2010s would be ideal fits at Wolves. Ones to wonder how Nuno’s master 3-4-3/3-5-2 hybrid works as the season goes on, but it seems as if they are committed to just that, and perhaps challenging in the Europa League.
Villa were a traditional power, a European champion, and now they are back and in a relegation fight that includes Watford, Norwich, West Ham, Brighton, Burnley and Newcastle if they slide. Aston Villa have had devastating injuries to John McGinn, Tyrone Mings, and Wesley, all three are key starters as well as star Jack Grealish, who has been carrying the Lions this season.
There’s a lot at stake if Villa get relegated for them, they had snuck into the Championship playoff last season and beating Derby County, coached by Frank Lampard and fielded the likes of Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Fiyako Tomori, now at Chelsea, to win promotion to the EPL after a three season absence. Losing McGinn, Grealish, and Mings at cut rates would cripple the long-term future of the club and everything that has been building since the takeover in 2016. Grealish will also probably make the England 2020 roster as well, only making the bidding war that much more brutal for what could be a relegated Villa.
Pepe Reina will be on loan to fill Tom Heaton’s spot at GK, and his resume speaks for itself as he has played for Liverpool and Barca most notably before the recent stint with AC Milan. They are also rumored for Daniel Sturridge, the former Liverpool striker was at Trabzonspor in Turkey, if Villa can compliment him with new signing Mbwana Samatta ($8.5 million), they can offset the injuries they’ve taken in the attack.
Considering the next five games for Villa in the league are Bournemouth, Tottenham, Southhampton, Sheffield United, and Leicester City… they need help as quickly as they can get. If Villa can manage to not get relegated, this team could come back with some real depth. Otherwise, it’s going to be a tough road back for the Birmingham club.
Sheffield United have been the love story this season, and a club record signing of Sander Berge at 22 million Euros from Belgian side Genk. He has been a part of the Norwegian national side in recent times. Considering the moves that were made for other midfielders in this window, this could be a big steal when you consider that his options would’ve been greater in the summer.