Admit it, Premier League is not a four-horse-race anymore. With the evolution of teams like Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City, the league is now wide open and is now everyone’s for the taking. But there’s a tad bit that each of these top-6 teams are lacking. With January approaching quick and fast, here are the players they should consider buying. We start off with the champions.
Manchester United – Central Midfielder, Winger
For the past 5 seasons or so, buying a quality central midfielder has been the top-most priority for the champions, but it’s exactly what they fail to do. Given the squad the Red Devils have at their disposal, the mediocrity in the centre of midfield is glaring. With Paul Scholes retiring last season, the weight of midfield was put entirely upon Michael Carrick’s shoulder. The former Spurs’ man, despite his quality, crumbled under the pressure.
Tom Cleverley and Anderson are given a wildcard entry into the first team every now and then, but they simply fail to impress. Yes, David Moyes bought Marouanne Fellaini in the summer for $27.5 million, but the performances of the lanky Belgian have proved to be equally lackluster as his midfield counterparts. Given the current state of the squad, former Everton boss needs to make some stern recruitments that can fit straight into the first team.
United need to find a player who sets a tempo for them in games. We saw in their game against Cardiff City just how average their midfield looked. Borussia Dortmund’s midfield dynamo, Ilkay Gundogan seems to be the man to remedy the wrong. The player, despite his young age, has established himself amongst the best in the game. His box-to-box style of play, keen vision, blunt tenacity, indefatigable work-rate and excellent physique make him an instant Premier League fit. Placing a bid for Golden Boy of the Year 2013, Paul Pogba, will make me rejoice personally!
Althletico Madrid and Spain U-21 starlet, Koke and Dutch international Wesley Sneijder also look like realistic options. What’s also bothering United is the performance of their wingers. Luis Nani and Ashley Young have underperformed, which means that David Moyes will have to hunt down a replacement. With reports suggesting a bid for Marco Reus, fans can relax a bit. The money will be spent.
Chelsea – Central Defensive Midfielder
Despite the having one of the best squad in world football at their disposal, Chelsea look far from balanced. Over the last two or three seasons, they’ve bought all the attacking force available on the market, but yet they look patchy and incomplete. The defensive midfield area is extremely impotent and the replenishment needs to be done sooner rather than later.
They were linked with Danielle De Rossi in the past, but latter’s loyal Roman blood keeps him glued to the AS Roma colours. Paul Pogba was also linked with the Blues. The French international is pretty much the next big thing in football and Mourinho knows it. Juventus were clever enough to get him from Manchester United and didn’t it pay off. With the financial power they have bestowed over them by Roman Abrahimovic, no player looks ‘expensive’.
In such a case, Arturo Vidal could also be a distant possibilty. Arguably the best midfielder in the world last season, the Chilean international is a powerhouse who never falls short of resources. His ball winning capability and dead ball striking are the best you’re likely to see. With Micael Essien and Frank Lampard ageing and John Obi Mikel showing no signs of improvement, money spent on Vidal will be worth every penny. How often do we say that in Chelsea’s case?
Manchester City – Goalkeeper
They are the richest club in the world, they buy who they want, but once again the money was not spent where it should’ve been spent. If you revisit the last few season’s highlights, Joe Hart will be up there among the best. His performances were so good that he was voted the best goalkeeper in the Premier League. But as the time progressed, he did his credentials no justice. The England international’s form has been pathetic, so much so, that he has now been replaced by second choice Romanian international Costel Pantilimon as a first team regular.
The dreadful display between the sticks against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League stimulated City manager Manuel Pellegrini’s interest in Stoke City’s number one, Asmir Begovic. The Bosnian international was pretty much the shot-stopper of the season last year alongwith Man United’s Spanish prodigy David De Gea. His comfort in handling the ball in a crowded penalty area, his quick reflexes and amazing athleticism make his profile richer than that of most of the goalkeepers today. Not sure if his goal against Southhampton will count though!
Celtic’s Fraser Forster looks like another alternative. His performances against Barcelona caught eveybody’s eye. The Catalan giants themselves developed an infatuation for the England international. Marc-Andre der Stegen from Borrusia Monchengladbach is more likely to end up at Camp Nou though, so Forster could be available for City to latch upon.
Arsenal – Centre Back, Right Back
Despite topping the league, Arsenal are still being written-off by the experts everywhere. The reason? The depth of the squad. The Gunners have been in rampant form since their first day defeat against Aston Villa. They haven’t lost a game yet and if they want to continue with the same spirit, the amendments should be made come January.
If you look at the Arsenal squad, the one thing that strikes you the most is the gauzy defense. With Per Mertesacker being their main defender or talisman, if you will, the state of the backline speaks for itself. There’s no doubt that Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny are excellent defenders, but then who do you have if one of them goes down injured?
With Bacary Sagna injured, Arsene Wenger must be looking for a solid right back replacement. Lukasz Piszczek from Borussia Dortmund looks like a great replacement for the 30-year-old French international. The Polish international has been excellent for the German side and he is highly rated by the fans too. His pace, string upper body and deadly crosses make him an instant Christmas buy for the North Londoners.
In the centre of defense, Ashley Williams from Swansea City looks like the right man for the Gunners. His exemplary strength, clean tackles, good aerial ability and the fact that he “almost killed” Robin van Persie will go down quite well with the Arsenal fans.
Liverpool – Central Midfielder, Right Back
The Premier League is evolving. It’s more competitive than ever. And Liverpool refuse to fall behind. Brendan Rodgers has made a few great signings in his 2 years at Anfield. Be it the French international Mamadou Sakho or the former Chelsea man Daniel Sturrdige, his recruitments have been stern and well-thought.
But as the season progresses, Liverpool will need fresh legs, for their squad is ageing quickly. The central defensive midfield is not meant for just Steven Gerrard and Lucas Leiva anymore. They are too slow to handle the pressure all alone, which calls for a change. Also, with Glen Johnson being the only player to play at right-back, somebody else has to come in.
With Cristian Eriksen and Henrikh Mkhitaryan joining Spurs and Dortmund respectively, Liverpool should be chasing the Newcastle United man, Cheick Tiote. Since coming in the Premier League from FC Twente, the impact made by him has astounded everybody and Liverpool are no strangers. They can also consider buying Yohann Cabaye who also plays for the Toons. With the French international wanting to leave, Alan Pardew stated that he wants 20 million euros for the man.
As far as the right back position is concerned, the Merseysiders could capitalize on Micah Richards’ ongoing situation at City. With the England international revaluating his future plans, Liverpool should get some advertising done in his mind.
Tottenham Hotspur – Striker
They broke their all-time transfer recored thrice this season, but they still haven’t been scoring any goals. With Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor in bad form and Jermaine Defoe wanting to allegedly leave the Premier League for the MLS, buying a new striker is the need of the hour.
Christian Benteke was about to leave Aston Villa last season, but thanks to their manager Paul Lambert, he stayed. Spurs should not be thinking about this deal twice. The player wants to play for a bigger club and Tottenham need a top-notch striker who can wriggle his way past defenders rather than picking pockets. It looks like moving to White Hart Lane will be the right option for the Belgian international.
But, until January, brace yourselves.