HomePL - TeamsArsenalBiggest January Needs For Each Premier League Team - Part 1

Biggest January Needs For Each Premier League Team – Part 1

Premier League January Needs

The January Transfer Window has snuck up on us and, as usual, the Premier League will likely lead the way in spending ahead of the other major European leagues.

Normally teams make one, maybe two, signings during the January window but sometimes teams will splurge considerable money to add more to their squad in order to combat a potential battle against relegation.

Last season Chelsea decided to tear up the standard January playbook and spent £300mil plus considerable add-ons on eight permanent signings and a loan deal. It was all very exciting for their fans but resulted in a disastrous second half of the campaign that saw them win just 3 of their 18 league matches after the transfer window closed.

Sometimes less is more, and that should be the mindset Chelsea take into this window. After three windows and a billion pounds spent you would hope that Todd Boehly will have learned that not every window requires you to sign a new team.

We’ll get to Chelsea, but let’s go A-Z through the Premier League and pick out one need for each club in the upcoming window. Today we’ll focus on Arsenal, Aston Villa, Bournemouth and Brentford. And yes Bournemouth fans, you will be third. You can try and cheat the system with at AFC Bournemouth nonsense placing you top of the table before a game is kicked but you’re just Bournemouth on these pages, so you’ll be up third.

Arsenal

The Gunners sit second at time of writing and should be pretty happy with how things are going overall, but they also have reason for concern in multiple positions.

Despite spending £170mil on Declan Rice and Kai Havertz, the midfield balance has not been good. Arsenal are struggling in their build-up play with Rice’s limitations on the ball being a significant issue. The bigger problem is Havertz, who simply isn’t a midfielder.

But Arsenal have bigger issues at the ends of the pitch than they do in the middle of it.

David Raya does not inspire confidence, and Mikel Arteta’s decision to banish Aaron Ramsdale to the bench has ruined the confidence of Arsenal’s alternative. In the history of the Premier League only two teams have ever won the title without having one of the three best goalkeepers in the league at the time. 99-00 Manchester United with Mark Bosnich and 15-16 Leicester with Kasper Schmeichel.

That Leicester season remains an anomaly, a freak season in which the top sides all struggled, while the 99-00 United team had won the treble the previous season and was, outside of Bosnich, outstanding from back to front.

Arsenal won’t change goalkeepers this January, not when they’re already on the hook to pay £25mil for Raya next summer, so they need to focus on the other end of the pitch.

Bukaya Saka, Gabriel Jesus, and Gabriel Martinelli have a combined 10 goals in the league this season. For context, Dominic Solanke has scored more for Bournemouth by himself. Combine that with just four goals from Martin Odegaard, who scored 15 last season, and you have a very serious issue. Arsenal are dominating games but struggling to score goals and with a questionable goalkeeper that is a recipe for a lot of dropped points.

Arsenal need to add goals to their mix. Perhaps a move for a young striker like Gift Orban would make sense, given Arteta spent big money on Gabriel Jesus to be his number nine and might not want to drop him in favour of another big money striker.

The question is, do they have the money to do anything? They’re up against the wall for Profit and Sustainability and may not be able to spend much over the next two windows given Mikel Arteta has already spent over £600mil in the past three years.

Aston Villa

Villa fans must be thrilled with how their season is going, as they sit third at time of writing. Fifteen months ago they looked more far likely to rejoin the hoards of the Championship than to compete for a Champions League spot.

Unai Emery has done masterful work since replacing Steven Gerrard, and has not yet spent huge amounts of money. A net spend of around £100mil for the turnaround he has delivered is why he has to be considered the best Premier League manager for the calendar year of 2023.

Aston Villa possess a very strong starting 11 but little in the way of real quality depth. The obvious move would be to add depth but Villa aren’t at that point just yet. Their team is not good enough to deem all 11 as “undroppable”.

The two fullback positions look easily upgradeable though Ezri Konsa has been excellent when sliding to right back and given Emery likes to have a back three in possession he makes sense in that position. Emery himself signed Alex Moreno just 12 months after Gerrard brought in Lucas Digne so it seems unlikely that another left back will be on the cards despite neither of them impressing.

That leaves the right sided central defensive position as the pick here.

Diego Carlos is not a bad player, but he is a rash defender who can look a little bit lead-footed at times. Finding a pacier partner for Pau Torres should be a priority for Villa with Nice’s Jean-Clair Todibo looking like an obvious target for them.

Photo: IMAGO

Bournemouth

After 11 games of this Premier League season the English media were falling over themselves to slander Bournemouth for the decision to part ways with Gary O’Neil and hire Andoni Iraola. The Cherries had just been beaten 6-1 by Manchester City and the boffins had decided to stop the count. Six points from a possible 33 meant that the Spaniard had to go, surely?

Thankfully the decision makers at Bournemouth are smarter than the pundits who talk about them and held their nerve, backing Iraola to turn things around. They’ve taken 19 of a possible 21 points since and currently sitting level with O’Neil’s Wolves, and Chelsea, while having a game in hand on both.

Bournemouth made big moves last January to ensure their survival but similar spending is unlikely in this window. They do have a couple of needs but with Tyler Adams and Hamed Traore due back in February, and Alex Scott back from injury, midfield is not an area they need to mess with.

They could use an upgrade in goal but that seems like a summer task, as does finding a quality partner for Zabarnyi in the middle of their back four.

The main need for January is a reliable back-up for Dominic Solanke. The former Liverpool striker is having the best season of his Premier League career but he is being asked to carry a huge work load upfront so finding someone who could offer him some rest, and play with him at times, would be a sensible addition.

Photo Imago

Could Bournemouth revisit their failed summer move for Patson Daka? The Zambian has spent most of the season out of favour at Leicester and although he has recently been reintroduced to the team with Jamie Vardy out injured, and immediately found a rich vein of goalscoring form, the Foxes might be open to a sale in January.

Brentford

Brentford’s season to date has been destroyed by injuries and the suspension of Ivan Toney and they are beginning to drift a little too close to the relegation zone for Thomas Frank’s liking.

With Toney out Kevin Schade was expected to take on a bigger role in the team, before he was ruled out for months after surgery. Bryan Mbeumo stepped up to carry a lot of the load and kept the Bees treading water but he has now been ruled out until March leaving Brentford struggling to find goals.

They will get Toney back in a few weeks, but will they be able to hang on to him? He has been linked with Chelsea and Arsenal and might be the subject of a significant offer that forces a sale, given he only has 18 months left on his contract.

Photo: IMAGO

That makes signing a striker a priority, but potentially can be pushed back until the summer if they can keep Toney in West London for another six months.

If they can shelve the search for a striker then a full back has to be priority. They have plenty of bodies in central defence and in midfield, but none at fullback with Rico Henry out for the year and Aaron Hickey injured.

It feels like the priority should be a starting calibre right back who can play opposite Henry when he returns and allow Hickey to be a third fullback who can play both sides. With 76 Premier League starts available between the two spots handing 25 to Henry, 25 to a right back and the remaining 13 on either side to Hickey would seem the ideal way to manage the position and keep all three fit.

So who could be the target? Kyle Walker-Peters just seems like such an obvious fit. At 26 he fits the age-profile of this Brentford team and is a proven operator in the Premier League. He’s shown himself to be far too good for the Championship this season and would likely be keen on a move back to the Premier League, and particularly a move back to London.


Next up we’ll have Brighton, Burnley, Chelsea and Crystal Palace, and it’s fair to say that three of those clubs have major needs – though of very different types.

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