What Your Team Needs this Transfer Window
Manchester United- A medical staff
By the end of January they should hopefully have their full squad completely healthy, hopefully being the key word. No matter whose fault it is, United need to stay out of the training room. If they hope to make a run at Champions League and hold onto their crown, they must keep their starters on the field, unlike during the first half of the season.
Manchester City- A Coach
This team has all the pieces to win in any league or cup no matter who their manager is, so it is a shame that I’m even writing this segment. While most seem to be pointing the blame on the forwards inability to score, I believe (as I’ve been saying for awhile) that their issues stem from Roberto Mancini being a bad manager. I mean think about it, do they really need to spend another 50-million to bring in Falcao when they already have Aguero, Tevez, Balotelli and Dzeko?
Arsenal- A Star
If they bring in another mediocre player such as Thierry Henry as some are speculating, or stick with the men they have in house (such as Walcott) then they will most likely finish 3rd or 4th just like every other year. But if Arsene Wenger really has dreams of winning Champions League and a league title then it is time for Arsenal to spend the big bucks in order to compete. Sadly, I don’t think Arsenal has the money and I don’t think the right star is available. Oh well, hopefully they can lock in their Champions League birth for next year in this ever more competitive EPL with what they already have.
Tottenham- Not Wesley Sneijder
Tons of rumors are linking the Dutchmen with Tottenham and I pray to god that he doesn’t end up at White Hart Lane. Aside from a two year spell under Jose Mourinho at Inter, the rest of Sneijder’s career has been mildly mediocre. Yeah, he did have a wonderful 2010 World Cup, but that was right in his peak, at the end of the Mourinho era and Tottenham already has plenty of above average players on their roster to qualify for next year’s Champions League. The last thing they need to do is give Andre-Villas Boas another toy to play with that screws up this team’s chemistry and wrecks the formidable season they have enjoyed thus far.
Liverpool- Someone to help Suarez
Please give the man someone to play with. Anyone! The filth that occupies at least six of the other ten positions on the field for Liverpool (and that’s being generous) is ludicrous and an insult to Suarez that he must attempt to play soccer with these players. Another strike partner would be perfect, and although I think Falcao, Lewandowski or Cavani may be out of reach, the thought of a guy like Gomis or Higuain joining should Lyon or Madrid choose to part ways with their strikers, would be perfect. But their needs also stem to the wings, central midfield and back as well, where Lewis Holtby of Schalke seems like a logical choice. If Holtby doesn’t go this window, expect for the youngster to end up at Anfield by summer’s end.
The media and all of Stamford Bridge are crying for a striker and all I have to say is, “you’re all spoiled brats that need to stop complaining.” Fernando Torres has 14 goals this year in all competitions and seven in the EPL (Tied for 9th!), as does his fellow Spaniard Juan Mata who have combined to help Chelsea score 37 goals, good enough to put them second in the EPL in that category. This team has plenty of good players both old and young all over the pitch, they just signed a ton of young talent in the summer who are developing each day and they still sit third in the league. Give new manager Rafael Benitez some time here to work out the kinks from Di Matteo’s system and I can promise you the finished product at the end of the season will be far better then it is today. As much as Abramovich likes to spend I hope he refrains this January because no move is going to have the immediate impact that he is looking for.
Newcastle- Let Demba Ba go
With Strikers being the most coveted position on the market and Demba Ba’s fantastic form so far this season, it is inevitable that the Senegalese man will depart this January from St. James Park. While most Newcastle faithful probably see this as a bad thing, I’ll take a more optimistic point of view. Since Newcastle brought in Papiss Cisse from Freiburg last January, one thing has been made very clear, Ba and Cisse cannot coexist on the same pitch together. In Alan Pardew’s favored 4-3-3 system, whichever of the two that has been forced to play the wing has struggled mightily. In this high demand market for a striker, Ba’s value is at a all time high and Newcastle can take the money they get for him and fill other needs on their roster, such as at right back with Lille’s Matheiu Debuchy or wing forward, by going after a team looking to sell some baggage such as Milan or Arsenal. I think an ideal option would be a loan move to acquire David Villa for a few months, but that might be out of reach and more realistic for a team like Arsenal.
Barcelona- Hold on to David Villa
Right now most of the roster is set in stone with Alves, Pique, Puyol, Mascherano, Alba and Adriano as the true defensive options, Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets, Fabregas, Thiago and Song providing differentiation in the midfield, but what about up top? When Fabregas, Iniesta, Xavi and Busquets aren’t all on the field at once (something Tito, unlike Pep, doesn’t do often), Messi will need two strike partners with him. Presently, his options are Pedro, Tello, Villa and Alexis. Even with his struggles since his broken leg last year, I know I would feel much more comfortable down the stretch with Villa available as an option if they really want to contest for another treble. The thought of Alexis splitting time with Tello frightens me at this point and they need another option aside from those two to play opposite Pedro.
Real Madrid- Hold on to your assets
It is a fact that Real Madrid will not win La Liga again this year, I can promise you that. But what I can’t guarantee you is whether or not they won’t win a cup this season. This squad is oozing with talent in every spot on the pitch and they still have a very real shot at Champions League and/or Copa Del Rey if they pull it together. If they can keep their hands out of the cookie jar this January and hold on to guys like Benzema, Higuain and Callejon, than this team could make a real shot at some silverware. Led by a fantastic Champions League manager in Jose Mourinho and one of the most talented players in the world, this team must stay the course they committed to in the summer when they shelled out big bucks for Modric and Essien, rather then panic and call the season a wash because they still have the best formula for beating Barcelona in a single game if needed.
Juventus- A Striker
For most of the teams on this list in need of a striker I would say avoid Didier Drogba, as enticing as he may seem. But for Juventus I say go for it. The team from Turin has nothing to lose, already in first place and successfully stormed through the Champions League group stage, even a below average Drogba would provide more of a threat then the array of options being selected upfront at present. With Pirlo playing general in a system that doesn’t ask too much of the high striker, this seems like it could be a match made in heaven for Juventus and Drogba. But if it doesn’t work out, Demba Ba might be an interesting option, or possibly Eden Dzeko should he become available.
AC Milan- Sell Pato and Robinho
For a team that just sold Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva, to recommend selling Pato and Robinho might seem like Hari Kari, but trust me it isn’t. Pato has done absolutely nothing in his time with Milan so losing him won’t leave a mark and although Robinho has enjoyed some nice spells, this squad is in rebuilding mode and needing money badly. The club should be able to hold it’s own in Serie A without these two either way and probably wasn’t going to qualify for Champions League even if they decide to keep them. My advice is to take the money and play with what you got left, see if Bojan really is worth anything and come up with a plan to get a better side on the pitch in 2013.
Inter- Get rid of Sneijder
If you’re an Inter fan you have to be pretty happy that your squad is in fourth place at this point in the season. Since Jose Mourinho’s departure a few seasons ago, nothing has gone right for Inter Milan. Eto’o left, Forlan was a bust, they missed out on Champions league and Sneijder has complained the entire time. However, Inter has a pool of youth players waiting to hit the scene in the next few seasons, and Wesley Sneijder’s attitude is causing nothing but problems from with in the club, setting a bad example for these youngsters. Simply take what you can get for the overrated midfielder and let him attempt to revive his career elsewhere.
Napoli- Sell Cavani, for the right price
As I have been saying, the demand for strikers has never been higher and Edinson Cavani would be right near the top of that list in terms of talent. He may cost a team 35-60 million pounds, but if Napoli can get an offer in that range I don’t see why they wouldn’t take it. I know they are just off the pace for a Champions League spot, but after losing Lavezzi to PSG and Gargano to Inter, this squad should look to move forward behind the younger talent on the squad. If the offer is right for Cavani, I advise them to take it and stop being stubborn, his value will never be higher.
Bayern Munich- Sell Loose Ends
After two seasons in Dortmund’s shadow, Bayern has finally appeared to figure it out in what is shaping up to be a near perfect season so far. 1st in the Bundesliga, top of their group in Champions League, summer transfers Javi Martinez and Mario Mandzukic have both been huge contributors and the side has a perfect balance of young and old. With plenty of depth in essentially every position, I would say they could a shed a man or two to create slightly less competition for playing time, just to make sure you are keeping all these egos happy. For example Pizarro, Emre or Tymoschuk might be good options to part ways with for the class of Germany.
Borussia Dortmund- Prepare for Lewandowski’s departure
Robert Lewandowski is leaving for Manchester United this summer it looks like, one way or another. They don’t want to mess up their chemistry with a huge opportunity in front of them in Champions League, but if the right striker such as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyeng (St. Entienne) or Bafetimbi Gomis (Lyon) become available for the right price, Dortmund could pounce to add some depth for the spring and prepare for Lewandowski’s departure in 2013.
PSG- Spend wisely
They dropped over a quarter of a BILLION dollar tab in the past 12 months on players so maybe they take this window off: but probably not. The new look PSG has been almost everything advertised, but not quite. With Champions League dreams in the forefront, PSG will most likely buy a guy or two to make a push for the title, even though Brazilian starlet Lucas, who agreed to join PSG in the summer, will already make one new arrival in Paris this January. My advice would be to sell Nene and Kevin Gameiro; it seems they have agreed to ship Nene to Besikatas in principle, but will see in the coming days if that is finalized, while Gameiro has no place on this squad anymore and needs a way out. Aside from that, PSG needs to play out the season and re-evaluate the squad in the summer once these men have been given a chance to earn their huge contracts.
Whose Staying, Whose Going
- Daniele De Rossi (Roma) – Staying
De Rossi has been a top target for two or three seasons now and hasn’t moved yet. Last summer, Roma president slapped a 100 million euro price tag on the Italian just to tell the rest of clubs that he is not for sale. Man City really wants the midfielder, but De Rossi loves living in Rome and playing for Roma, so I just don’t think anyone will be desperate enough to make an offer that the Roma board will accept especially considering that the team is having one of their most successful season in a few years.
- Radamel Falcao (Atletico Madrid) – Staying
I think the Colombian will surprisingly stay with Atletico this winter. He seems to be extremely loyal and their doesn’t appear to be a logical home for him at the moment. Having a career season at Atletico already, Falcao will continue his form in the spring, bring back another Europa League crown and help Atletico beat Real for the first time in forever mbefore exiting Madrid for a big name club in the summer. Everyone wins.
- Fernando Llorente (Athletic Bilbao) – Going
With Cavani most likely staying for the time being and Dzeko’s future at City still undecided, Llorente may arguably be the best forward on the market at the moment. Coming off a wonderful campaign in which he tallied 29 goals in all competitions, Llorente helped lead tiny Athletic Bilbao to 7th in La Liga and the finals of Europa League and Copa Del Rey. This season has been a far different season for the tall Spaniard, as internal disputes with management have kept him as a healthy scratch frequently. Llorente wants to leave and will get his wish this winter, as plenty of suitors will be calling Athletic about him. Anyone who misses out on Falcao, should seriously consider Llorente as a very strong plan B candidate.
- Demba Ba (Newcastle) -Staying
As much as I want him to leave, I just can’t find a team he will spend the money to bring him in. In my eyes, Ba fits perfectly in the Premier League, but no better club then Newcastle is really in the services for a new forward in my eyes. Arsenal already bought Giroud, Podoloski and want to re sign Walcott so they should be out, Man City don’t need him, neither does Tottenham or United. Maybe Chelsea will make a run at the Senegalese forward, but usually Abramovich let’s you know who he is interested in and so far I’ve heard nothing about Ba being linked to Chelsea.
- Lewis Holtby – Staying
As I said above, Liverpool needs new players and Holtby is certainty a young emerging talent with a ton of upside, but it sounds more and more as if he will be staying until his contract expires at season’s end. Liverpool is interested in waiting until the summer instead of paying Schalke a ton of money right now. Other teams looking for his services will likely follow this mold and try to lure him in this summer.
- Wesley Sneijder – Going
Inter isn’t even putting him on the roster anymore so it is time for him to leave. The Dutchmen is very particular however about where he would like to play, which may make getting rid of him extremely difficult. While squads in Russia such as Anzhi may inquire about his services, Sneijder will most likely decline any deal that tries to get done. A move to the EPL would be ideal, but the only sides I think he would make an impact at are mid table, low budget sides which obviously won’t happen. He won’t be reunited with Jose Mourinho no matter how much he loves the coach, as Madrid already has Ozil and Modric to play his role. Wesley should consider taking a small pay cut and head back to his beloved Ajax as I believe they would bring him back, but the former star has always had a huge ego and will seek big bucks on a club that doesn’t need his services. Tottenham is the team most mentioned in links with Sneijder so we will see if he ends up there.
- Bafetimbi Gomis (Lyon) – Going
It is hard to find a player with more to offer then Gomis on a soccer field, if only he could put it all together consistently. The French international has all the tools and god given abilities to be a full fledged star, but for whatever reason it has never fully clicked at Lyon. They want to part with Gomis and with all the teams either looking for strikers, or sending ones off, Gomis will have plenty of landing spots for Lyon to ship him off to. By no means is Gomis a top tier option, but as top clubs set the market and scoop up the biggest names, Gomis should find a new home shortly after.
- Didier Drogba (Shanghai Shenshua) – Going
When Shanghai spent a fortune to bring Drogba over to China last summer, I don’t think they thought he’d be gone so soon, but financial crisis has changed everything. Drogba is headed somewhere in January, the only question is where? Former clubs Chelsea and Marseille, as well as Juventus, are the logical choices for the Ivorian international, but at almost 35 years of age questions lie about how much more Drogba has left in the tank. If last year’s Champions League is any indication, someone needs to take a shot on him as we have all seen just how ‘magical’ Drogba can be.
- Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls) – Staying
Arsenal doesn’t need him and as the aging striker comes closer to the end of his career does he really want to be playing a full 12 month season every year? Rumors are swirling that the Arsenal great has made his way to the practice pitches in an attempt to teach Theo Walcott a thing or two about playing center forward, and this seems like the kind of positive contribution he can make for a club. Let’s have Henry use this time to take a break from the game, rest his aging legs, catch some EPL games from the stands and get ready to help New York make a run at the MLS cup in 2013.
- Leighton Baines (Everton) – Staying
Although the English international is emerging as one of the best wing backs in the world (at least the English press thinks so), Everton has had a great season with high hopes of qualifying for Europa League or potentially even Champions League this spring. With that in mind, this isn’t the right time for Everton to crush the fans hearts by parting ways with a crowd favorite on a winning squad.
- Gareth Bale (Tottenham) – Going
This may be me trying to make the call of the transfer season, but this January Gareth Bale will exit White Heart Lane for the Santiago Bernabeu. Remember where you heard it first. In what will be the biggest move of the January window, Mourinho will get the player he has wanted for several years now. The versatile winger would fit perfectly into Real Madrid’s high flying counter attacking style either as a wing back or a wing forward so why not pay Tottenham the 40+ million they want; it is chump change in the grand scheme of things anyway. This move, if it happens, will change the whole landscape of the transfer window, as Tottenham will likely be searching to find a replacement (or replacements) for Bale with the extra cash on hand, while Madrid will be looking to ship a player such as Higuain out the door. Reports of this deal actually happening seem to say it is a long shot, but Mourinho is unhappy, and we have seen in the past how an angry Mourinho gets his way one way or another. I’m buying this one all the way.
- Daniel Sturridge (Chelsea) – Going
I believe Sturridge’s future depends solely upon the future of Rafael Benitez. In the coming weeks if Benitez does well and shows signs that may lead to him getting a new contract past this season, then Sturridge will most likely depart as the two haven’t seen eye-to-eye in the brief time they have been working together it seems. However, should Benitez do poorly, than Abramovich may decide to hold onto the starlet for future use. I hope he goes to Liverpool, where a front three of Sterling, Sturridge and Suarez (or S-Cubed) could be quite explosive come next season. He hasn’t played since AVB left almost a year ago, so it is time to let the youngster move on with his career elsewhere.
- Theo Walcott (Arsenal) – Staying
Arsenal has always been one of my favorite teams, so it pains me to see them still have Theo Walcott after all these years. A player who was always over hyped in the media has been a huge disappointment at Arsenal no matter what anyone says. The speedy winger has rarely shown up in big games, is afraid to get in on challenges and displays awful first touch way too frequently. His recent ranting and complaining has earned him a trial period at center forward, which has gone surprisingly well. It appears Walcott has earned himself a new contract and more time in London, where he will most likely be good enough to play for Arsenal, but never good enough to help them win anything for years to come, but then again maybe center forward is his calling.
- David Beckham (Free Agent) – Going
Last but not least we’re talking about good ol’ David Beckham. The LA Galaxy man is finished with the MLS and has his sights set on trophies in Europe once more, the only problem is he has been gone for five years and is now 37 years old. After watching Beckham play this summer in the MLS I can tell you his ball striking ability is as beautiful as I ever remember, and his service and distribution is still top notch, but the aging Englishmen has no real position on the field anymore. The man is too old and slow to play the wing as he once did in his glory days, and was forced into a central midfield role in his final season in the MLS. Playing for a team that dominated most of the league however, allowed for Beckham to roam and serve balls without being asked to do much defending. No top tier side will want a 37-year old who can’t defend and has to play in the middle of the park. He is a liability on the field for any top European club for this reason, however when Beckham realizes his services are not needed by big teams, he will most likely fall back on a mid table English side, maybe Newcastle, Sunderland or Stoke? But honestly with Becks, their isn’t much use in speculating because who really knows.
Andre Schurrle (Bayer Leverkusen), Joao Moutinho (Porto), Yann M’Vila (Rennes), Nani (Manchester United), Maourane Chamakh (Arsenal), Andrey Arshavin (Arsenal), Yanga M’Biwa (Montpellier), Loic Remy (Marsaille), David Villa (Barcelona), Edinson Cavani (Napoli), Gisseppi Rossi (Villareal), Alvaro Negredo (Sevilla), Alexandre Pato (Milan), Robinho (Milan)