F365's January Transfer Guide (Part Two)

Liverpool have started their business early and Tom Ince could follow Daniel Sturridge. Despite their league positions, there is room for improvement at both United and City...

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Part three will be with you shortly...

LIVERPOOL

What they need: A new seven-and-a-half and an inside-outside winger who understands what it means to play 'vertically'. Similar to Arsenal, Liverpool could be improved in most areas of the pitch with serious investment, but FSG have made it clear that they will no longer fund silly sums such as the £35million paid for Andy Carroll in January 2011. Daniel Sturridge provides another option in attack but, despite Fabio Borini closing in on a return, Brendan Rodgers will continue to look for forward recruits as Liverpool lurk at the back of the chasing pack in the race for fourth.

What they're likely to get: A £6million move (or less, when the sell-on clause has been worked out) for Tom Ince seems almost certain, which is rather embarrassing considering that Liverpool allowed the winger to leave for peanuts just 18 months ago. There is talk of Nuri Sahin having his loan spell cut short, allowing Rodgers to borrow PSG striker Kevin Gameiro.

What's been said? Brendan Rodgers: "The owners have been great and I have no complaints in terms of where we are as a club at this time. The support the club will give us (for transfers) will be excellent."

MANCHESTER CITY

What they need: Robin van Persie, according to Roberto Mancini, who says the striker has been the difference in the title race so far. City's summer business left much to be desired and despite being linked with a host big names such as Daniele De Rossi, Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi, the champions waited until the very end of the window to bring in several new faces. However, Jack Rodwell, Scott Sinclair and Javi Garcia have all failed to improve the team in the first half of the season (although Matija Nastasic has been excellent) and, with Yaya Toure set to depart for the Africa Cup of Nations, Mancini is left to rue City's failure to capture De Rossi. There is talk of a big-money move for Cavani, who already has 20 goals this season.

What they're likely to get: City have splashed the cash in January before, signing Edin Dzeko for £27million from Wolfsburg in 2011. But the squad is strong enough to challenge United for the title without significant investment and, similar to last year when he brought in David Pizarro, Mancini may look to the loan market again. A move for BeƱat has been rumoured, and it would be a joy to see the exciting Real Betis midfielder in the Premier League.

What's been said? Roberto Mancini: "Probably (we will look for players). We can't sell players. We don't have enough players to play if we sell players. We can have a problem because we lose three players and we have Micah Richards, I don't think he play until the end of February."

MANCHESTER UNITED

What they need: United are motoring along at the moment but there are still one or two areas of the squad that could be improved. A midfield enforcer is a long-standing priority and Sevilla's Gary Medel, who may be available for a cut-price fee considering the La Liga club's financial woes, would be an excellent squad player. Sir Alex Ferguson has denied that Nani is set to leave, but if the Portuguese does depart a new winger (possibly Theo Walcott?) should be sought.

What they're likely to get: Nada. Zip. Nothing. Nowt. United are apparently one of several clubs chasing Crystal Palace starlet Wilfried Zaha, but Ferguson is notoriously parsimonious in January. Considering the Reds are going strong in the Premier League, it's unlikely the manager will bother the Glazers this month.

What's been said? Sir Alex Ferguson: "If you believed everything you read we would have the biggest squad in Europe, not to mention becoming bankrupt. You can never say never in football because you don't know who might become available, but speaking generally, I am not looking to do any serious business in January."

NEWCASTLE

What they need: The focus is on a new striker after Demba Ba's exit, but strengthening the defence should also be a priority for Alan Pardew. Newcastle have kept only three clean sheets so far this campaign (compared to eight after 21 games last season) and looked particularly porous over a disappointing Christmas. A new centre-back partner for Fabricio Coloccini would help to shore-up the leaky back-line, while the excellent acquisition of Mathieu Debuchy will also help in that respect.

What they're likely to get: Pardew has made it clear to Mike Ashley that the club have to repeat last year's successful January business by bringing in a new striker. Loic Remy is supposedly the club's leading target, but Pardew may also seek to bring in a back-up forward on loan. It's unlikely that Newcastle will spend a fortune, with Jonas Gutierrez, Hatem Ben Arfa and Yohan Cabaye all on the road to recovery after injury lay-offs.

What's been said? Alan Pardew: "Mike has been supportive, and he has to be even more supportive now. He has to find the extra money for a striker, as we're not going to get one in for the Ba money. There's always a player who can enhance a team and we wouldn't be competent if we didn't look to replace him, which we have. Hopefully we can get that one in."

NORWICH

What they need: After suffering three defeats in a row over the festive period Norwich may be tempted to loosen the purse strings in January, with Celtic midfielder Beram Kayal a rumoured target. There has been plenty of talk of an exit for Steve Morison and Chris Hughton will need to replace the striker if he does depart.

What they're likely to get: Norwich are one of several clubs to be linked with Swansea forward Danny Graham and it wouldn't be a surprise to see the 27-year-old switch clubs this month. Kayal was linked with a move to Manchester United in his first season at Celtic, but has stagnated somewhat after several injuries. However, he could still prove to be an excellent addition to Hughton's small squad.

What's been said? Chris Hughton: "Sometimes players who you might think can strengthen your team, it is not the best time to do that in January. We will look at it, but if you are asking me will we definitely bring in, then I don't know."


Matthew Stanger - on Twitter

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