Who the top six need in the January sales
Published 15/12/2011 | 05:00
Manchester City Carlos Tevez might have played his last game for Roberto Mancini, but the dilettante Argentinian's impact on the Premier League leaders is not yet at an end.
It is whether Paris Saint-Germain or Milan can tempt Manchester City into either a cut-price sale or a loan for the 27-year-old -- something all at the Etihad Stadium have thus far ruled out -- which will determine to what extent Mancini can strengthen what is an already formidable hand next month.
Ideally, the Italian would add Roma's vastly experienced central midfielder Daniele de Rossi to his squad. The 28-year-old has yet to agree terms on a new contract at his boyhood, home-town club, and though he has long insisted that his priority is to remain, should the impasse continue, the Serie A side will listen to offers of as little as £5m for the international.
The problem for City, though, is that Uefa's looming financial fair play legislation precludes them adding De Rossi's £200,000-a-week salary to their huge wage bill without first ridding themselves of the drain presented by paying Tevez not to play.
Lose the Argentinian, and the Italian becomes a possibility, though Milan are also in contention.
Mancini has also been impressed by the altogether cheaper option of 19-year-old Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha.
Unlike their table-topping noisy neighbours, the need to add to their squad is pressing at Old Trafford.
With Nemanja Vidic sidelined by injury for the remainder of the campaign, Tom Cleverley and Anderson struggling for fitness and Darren Fletcher afforded an extended break for health reasons, Alex Ferguson would appear to require at least two signings -- one in midfield and one in defence.
The Scot, 70 this month and ever canny, may look to kill two birds with one stone, though, with United believed to be keen to sign a player capable of deputising in both positions.
That may lead them to revive their long-standing interest in Everton's Jack Rodwell (right). The 20-year-old midfielder was thought to be close to a move to Old Trafford 18 months ago, before a dip in form and a spate of injuries over the last season slowed his development.
Should Everton, despite their financial privations, resist an offer from United, Anderlecht midfielder Lucas Biglia is thought to be one alternative. Ferguson will not, though, spend heavily on a player with little resale value.
Harry Redknapp loathes his reputation as the Premier League's great wheeler-dealer, seeing it as a slight on his other myriad managerial abilities.
His time at Tottenham can almost be interpreted as an attempt to prove he does not need to import a raft of players at every available opportunity, creating an atmosphere of permanent revolution, to enjoy success. He added just three first-team players this summer.
Redknapp is unlikely, then, to break with that policy next month. The 64-year-old will, though, make exceptions for Bolton defender Gary Cahill, available for as little as £7m, and Blackburn winger Junior Hoilett, whose contract expires at the end of the season. The likes of Heurelho Gomes and Roman Pavlyuchenko could depart in an attempt to make space.
His side's chronic defensive frailty, combined with the departures of Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou for
the African Cup of Nations, the poor form of Fernando Torres and the sale of Nicolas Anelka should force Andre Villas-Boas into strengthening both his attack and his central defence.
Instead, his priority seems to be signing Alvaro Pereira, the Porto left-winger available for around £20m.
Villas-Boas has insisted he will not move for the Uruguay international -- one of his most trusted performers at Porto -- but with his former club in dire need of funds and out of the Champions League, he may yet be persuaded otherwise.
Pereira's arrival would allow the Portuguese to switch Juan Mata into central midfield, a position the Spaniard prefers.
Chelsea are also likely to compete with Spurs for the signature of Cahill.
Arsene Wenger has already promised he will not sign a new full-back, despite his chronic injury problems on both sides of defence, and suggested he is not in the market for a striker, despite the absence throughout January of both Marouane Chamakh and Gervinho for the African Cup of Nations.
The Arsenal manager, though, remains highly active: he dispatched scouts to watch both Yann M'Vila and Nolan Roux in Rennes' game with Brest last week, while Borussia Monchengladbach manager Lucien Favre has revealed that the Frenchman has been in touch to discuss striker Marco Reus.
It is another Bundesliga player, though, who would fit Arsenal best: Lukas Podolski, out of contract at cash-strapped Cologne next summer, and thought to be available, albeit for a hefty sum.
Last January's deadline-day events, it seems, have sated Anfield's desire for winter drama for some time to come.
Kenny Dalglish's side may find themselves on the cusp of the race for a Champions League place and in desperate need to find a ruthless goalscorer to rid them of their damaging profligacy, but the Scot is not thought to be preparing to spend substantial funds next month.
That may change should a proven goalscorer become available -- Liverpool would be third if shots against the woodwork counted as goals -- while a loan replacement may be sought for Lucas Leiva, who will miss the rest of the season through injury, with Real Madrid's Lassana Diarra one option. (© Independent News Service)