Guide To The January Transfers: Part Three

This could be a defining transfer window for Manchester United after the debacle in the summer, while Newcastle need strength in depth to maintain their excellent start...

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MANCHESTER UNITED

What they need
Everything they needed in the summer - creativity in midfield, steel in midfield and another left-back, although that can perhaps wait until the end of the season. Despite arriving for the handsome fee of £27million, Marouane Fellaini has failed to make an impact, while it took United 16 Premier League matches before any of the club's midfielders registered a goal or an assist. Given Moyes' comments on the champions' top targets choosing to move elsewhere, United could really do with pulling something out of the bag to restore their dented reputation and credibility in the fight for fourth.

What they will probably get
Less than they need. This could be a defining transfer window for United after the debacle of last summer and, should they end the season outside the top four, it will be even harder to attract the biggest names next year. A move for Wesley Sneijder may not carry the appeal it did three years ago, but the 29-year-old still has plenty to offer and would certainly be an upgrade on several of United's options in the middle. Moyes should ditch his plans to sign Leighton Baines - now a symbol of the manager's failure to broaden his vision - and pursue the promising Luke Shaw or make a rekindled loan move for Fabio Coentrao.

What's been said
"I have a good squad. Can I improve it? Of course I can. Am I going to improve it? Yes I am. Undoubtedly we will alter things in the coming months and transfer windows. Will they come in January? I don't know" - Moyes, December 13.


NEWCASTLE

What they need
Strength in depth. Along with Hull, Newcastle are the side that have performed the highest above expectation this season, but that has been largely due to a lack of injuries to any key players (other than Jonas Gutierrez's extensive sojourn in South America). Newcastle have been fortunate that a rather thin-looking squad has not been fully tested as yet, and they do have the opportunity to kick on. Support for Loic Remy up front may be a priority (Bafetimbi Gomis has been oft-mentioned), whilst another winger would remove the necessity to ever need to bring on Gabriel Obertan in the Premier League - always a good thing.

What they will probably get
With Joe Kinnear seemingly in charge, goodness only knows. It would be a surprise if Newcastle splurged significantly in January, especially given the morale and form within the squad currently. One or two arrivals shouldn't be ruled out, however.

What's been said
"The transfer window is open soon and that might be an opportunity for us to galvanise ourselves. I haven't really talked too much about the finance available but we've talked about players. We're making sure that we don't miss what might be a key signing." - Alan Pardew, December 22.


NORWICH

What they need
Only three sides have scored fewer and only one has conceded more, so you do the maths. With Gary Hooper (who has impressed of late), Ricky Van Wolfswinkel, Johan Elmander and Luciano Becchio all on the books a new striker would seem unlikely, but some defensive solidity and more bite in midfield (where Leroy Fer has been ploughing a lone furrow) may prove the difference between sink and swim. The problem is, that's exactly what everyone wants.

What they will probably get
Norwich's first problem is that they have too many Championship-level players in their squad. Their second problem is that they are unlikely to attract much better in January. Loan deals (Nick Powell, Kyle Naughton, perhaps?) or those at the upper end of the Championship (Jake Buxton, Kieran Trippier) seem the likely options. Who's playing well at Leeds?

What's been said
"We are looking to build and make progress - not to disrupt. We will make decisions in January where we want to strengthen the squad. If that is not the case, then we are happy to go with what we have got." - Chris Hughton, December 14.


SOUTHAMPTON

What they need
The first thing is to keep hold of their manager, and possibly Luke Shaw as well. Once those tasks are ticked off the 'To do' list, a little squad depth would be very handy, particularly in the middle of their defence. In addition, if they can conjure a decent goalkeeper from somewhere that doesn't try Cruyff turns in his own penalty box and isn't Paolo Gazzaniga, that would be lovely too.

What they will probably get
Well, not a great deal, if the words of their manager are anything to go by...

What's been said
"We're not really concerned, we're happy with the young players that are part of this team. That gives us an important balance but we're not really looking at the January transfer window. We're happy with our young players' contributions, so we're not really looking to use the window" - Mauricio Pochettino, December 20.


STOKE

What they need
A striker. Boy, do they need a striker. Stoke seem to have made not scoring many goals their 'thing' in the Premier League. They scored the second-fewest goals last season, the fewest the season before, etc and so on. Their top scorer this season is Charlie Adam with three, and only two other players have scored more than once. Yes, they could probably do with someone to stick the thing in the net.

What they will probably get
Peter Coates has a history of giving his managers money, and it's hardly his fault that some of that money has been spent on the Secret Footb...sorry, Dave Kitson. They probably will recruit at least one forward, with Shane Long and Luuk de Jong mentioned. If they could sign both those men, a rhyming forward line would be just splendid.

What's been said
"There will be money available for Mark in January and it's pretty clear that we are looking for a striker. That's the one position where we need to strengthen but they're not cheap and we haven't been able to find one for one reason or another...There is nobody singled out at this moment but it will be Mark's choice and there is money for him" - Peter Coates, December 3.

Come this way for Parts One and Two...

Matt Stanger, Daniel Storey and Nick Miller

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