The Premier League is busily going through its annual Christmas fixture pile up. When every manager has the chance to catch his breath, what will they all be hoping the festive season brings them, a returning star? a contract dispute resolved, a January signing or two (or in one case an entire squad). Here we look at what we think every Premier League club would like for Christmas.
Arsenal- Alexander Lacazette to Stay Put
It wouldn’t be the January transfer window without a senior Arsenal player running down his contract. Arsenal have overpaid to keep demotivated stars in previous January’s and let players go they needed to keep, this time they’ve tried a different tact by pushing Lacezette’s transfer talks back to the summer. That makes sense in the short term provided Lacazette plays along, but he is now free to sign a pre-contract agreement with a foreign club and with Atletico Madrid and Marseille amongst a host of suitors there’s no guarantee he will.
Aston Villa- A Central Midfielder
Villa appeared to invest the Jack Grealish windfall sensibly last summer, but crucially they tried and failed to sign midfield metronome James Ward-Prowse. Southampton aren’t going to let their skipper go in January, but Villa’s midfield looks short on guile and creativity and exploring other options this January would appear a sensible move.
Brentford-An Experienced Goalkeeper
David Raya is out until spring and although Alvaro Fernandez has showed ability in goal, he has made mistakes and Brentford looked leakier without Raya. With 18-year-old Matthew Cox the only other option between the posts, Thomas Frank could use an experienced ‘keeper in his squad to at least compete with Fernandez, the best option would seem to be a loan for a veteran (as Villa did with Pepa Reina two years ago).
Brighton- A Centre Forward
Copy and Paste from every transfer window since Glenn Murray grew too old! Brighton are a fine footballing side who continually struggle to put teams away, Neal Maupay and Danny Welbeck have their merits but neither is prolific. Twenty goal a season strikers aren’t generally available in winter, but safely in midtable and with Europe a possibility The Seagulls should consider rolling the dice, possibly on want away Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah.
Burnley- A New Contract for James Tarkowski
No matter how much the tabloids wish it, Burnley will not be letting their defensive rock join Newcastle this month! That said Tarkowski has just six months left on his contract and the prospect of losing him for free this summer is very real. Tarkowski’s agent will undoudtedly advise him to wait and see rather than commit to a relegation threatened team, but that shouldn’t stop Burnley trying to get Tarkowski signed up to a longer deal .
Chelsea- Centre Backs to Sign New Deals
Antonio Rudiger is hitting the headlines with his hefty contract demands, but his hand is greatly strengthened by the potential exodus of central defenders from Stamford Bridge. Andreas Christensen and Thiago Silva are also out of contract at the end of the season. Chelsea simply can’t afford to lose all three and it would solve one headache for Thomas Tuchel if at least one of the trio signed an extension this month.
Crystal Palace- An extension of Conor Gallagher’s Loan
Conor Gallagher has been arguably the best signing in the Premier League this season, sadly for Palace it’s only a season long loan. Chelsea are unlikely to sell Gallagher, but that shouldn’t stop Palace testing the water on the possibility of a longer stay for England’s newest international. Perhaps extending the loan to a two year deal is a move that works for all parties?
Everton- Lucas Digne to come in from the cold
It’s been a trying few months for Rafa Benitez and the revelation of a bust up with left back Lucas Digne is an unwanted distraction. Digne is a vital player for a team already stretched by injuries to key players, but Rafa isn’t a man to mess around. However, Everton either need Digne raiding down the left-wing (where he claimed seven assists last season) or they need to find his replacement in January.
Leeds- Midfield Cover
Injuries have dogged Leeds’ season but they’ve always looked light in midfield. Kalvin Phillips won’t be back for a while, his back up Robin Koch is only just back from injury, Stuart Dallas has too often been pressed into service at fullback and Mateusz Klich appears to be waning. Had it not been for Adam Forshaw’s remarkable return from two years out, Marcelo Bielsa would be picking teenagers in midfield. Leeds need to add in the middle of the park and have been linked with Ross Barkley, Weston McKennie and John Swift. Leeds don’t have a good recent record of January signings (Kiko Casilla & Jean-Kevin Augustin) but an energetic midfielder (or two) on an upward trajectory would seem a smart move.
Leicester- A Fit Wesley Fofana
It’s hard to think of a player who’s been as sorely missed as Leicester centre back Wesley Fofana. Brendan Rodgers’ side have struggled defensively all season without Fofana, their lack of pace in defence has been routinely exploited. With Justin James also making strides towards regular football, Leicester’s defensive frailties could heal very quickly in 2022 if Fofana can make up for lost time when he makes his New Year return.