One (Last) January Suggestion For Each Premier League Club

January has already had a hectic start to the window and with a little less than a week remaining, work is still to be done for many Premier League sides. While some clubs seem to have gone all out, this is probably the most interesting pool of available players in the winter window that we’ve seen in some time.

Arsenal: Manu Koné, CM (Borussia M’gladbach)

Honorable mention: Jesper Lindstrøm, CAM/LM (Eintracht Frankfurt)

As busy as Arsenal seem in the market, this was a tough pick since all the cheap options committed to a summer exit or have gone to another club. The Mudryk drama has definitely shaken up the Gunners more than they’d like to admit and the rumored signing of disgruntled Leandro Trossard smells like a kneejerk signing but there are holes in the squad still.

An excellent title charge aside, depth continues to be an issue and can catch up when games start to pile up. In comes Manu Koné; one of the best dribblers in the middle of the park as well as a very quick-thinking and intelligent progressor of the ball.

The profile doesn’t fit Granit Xhaka’s role and the lack of defensive output perhaps isn’t at Thomas Partey’s level, but getting in a raw prospect now while also relieving workload from the hardest workers on the team could be smart business for Arteta and Co.

Aston Villa: Juan Foyth, RB/CB (Villarreal)

Honorable mention: Randal Kolo Muani, ST (Eintracht Frankfurt)

The Villans are in somewhat of a weird state despite a mediocre spot in the league right now but with a manager like Unai Emery, you may need to give in to his demands in order to keep someone of his caliber committed to the rebuild.

Villa has missed on some transfers since the sale of Jack Grealish but some of the recent business such as Boubacar Kamara and Alex Moreno is stepping in the right direction in terms of defensive solidity. The attack needs some revamping but in the Premier League, a solid defense is just as valuable, thus the selection of Juan Foyth.

One of the most defensively sound full-backs in La Liga, Foyth is no stranger to the Premier League or working under Emery, giving some security on that end while also having the output to assure Aston Villa can fully focus on the attack in the summer.

He’s currently valued at $27 million according to transfermarkt which can be questionable for a January signing to a mid-table team, but it may be the difference between that and European football down the line.

Bournemouth: Arnaut Danjuma, LW (Villarreal)

Honorable mention: Luka Sucic, CAM/CM (RB Salzburg)

Is this lazy? Yes; but with the random willingness of Villarreal to let Danjuma hop around England and find a suitable club, a reunion is hard to resist. Bournemouth needs the creativity anyways as every defensive solution seems to have not worked, making it somewhat of a lost cause.

At the surface level, poaching one of last season’s European stars from a side in European competition as a relegation-bound club may be random, but an underwhelming season from the Nigerian-born winger could help with the price.

It also was rumored that he was hearing from any club, debunking a possible “Big 6” move. A loan may even work but at this point, the Cherries are a tough read.

(The added complication and laziness here is that Danjuma seems set on Everton. Very awkward times)

Brentford: Jonas Wind, ST (VfL Wolfsburg)

Honorable mention: None

Brentford has been flying and really doesn’t need much beyond depth, but why not shoot for depth and a possible piece to build an attack around?

The Danish link is there and always will be but in terms of a like-for-like, backup to Ivan Toney, Wind is truly the closest the Bees could get. Excellent in holdup play and distribution with his back to the goal, Wind also possesses a natural goal-scoring ability and a great engine out of possession.

Calling him Toney’s backup may be very reductive and a talent like Wind should surely be starting elsewhere already but from Brentford’s perspective, this could be what helps push for European football.

Brighton & Hove Albion: Arsen Zakharyan, CAM (Dynamo Moscow)

Honorable mention: Max Aarons, RB (Norwich)

Probably the most exciting prospect of all the suggestions, Arsen Zakharyan is bound to play at a top European club eventually, but Brighton can be the perfect next step in his development as a hard-working and dynamic attacking talent.

The 19-year-old already has seven goal contributions in 16 matches, showing some output at a very young age but Brighton has never been a club to shy away from very raw and young players, as shown by the profiles of some of their most sought-after players. Zakharyan’s upside is that a loan back to Moscow could allow him to build form but he can also plug in immediately as a more explosive option to the role Adam Lallana occupies.

The reality in this is that Brighton doesn’t necessarily need players at the moment. European football is within reach and despite the rampant rumors of bigger sides trying to poach their talent, their financial position now is too strong to warrant any entertainment of these offers. Regardless, this is a fun suggestion and that’s what Brighton is all about.

Chelsea: None

Honorable mention: Still none

Take a breather, Todd. You’re going to have a heart attack.

Crystal Palace: Lovro Majer, CAM (Stade Rennes)

Honorable mention: Rafael Borre, ST (Eintracht Frankfurt)

Perhaps outside of the type of player Patrick Vieira would want in his relentless and defensively active side but Lovro Majer’s profile as an exceptionally productive and creative attacking midfielder fills in a void going forward for Palace.

Ranking in at least the 92nd percentile in all per 90 attacking statistics according to fbref (a LOT of green), the idea of Majer surrounded by a quick and dynamic attack is perfection. It also fills in the hole that Vieira has been looking to fill at the 10, often starting strikers in that role and creating a lot of awkwardness in the attack.

As mentioned before, Majer is quite lazy when put into the context of Crystal Palace’s philosophy but just like with Brighton, this makes for very entertaining football while taking steps forward.

Everton: Anyone, ANY POSITION (Anywhere FC)

Honorable mention: Prioritize the first suggestion

With Frank Lampard now confirmed to be out, the added complication is buying someone that may not fit the next manager – *cough* Sean Dyche *cough* – but it doesn’t mean they can’t look for literally anything available to them on low wages.

Not to make a definitive prediction or curse the Toffees but they should seriously be gearing up to cut fat and go very cheap in anticipation of a drop to the Championship. Arnaut Danjuma sounds nice, however.

(Adding onto the final note of the Bournemouth suggestion, Tottenham has hijacked Everton’s deal for Danjuma. Very, VERY awkward times)

Fulham: Odilon Kossonou, CB/RB (Bayer Leverkusen)

Honorable mention: Ellyes Skhiri, CDM (1. FC Köln)

Fulham has been another fun surprise this season but they can still definitely get better in certain points of their squad. The attack is starting to come together as Alexsandar Mitrovic and Andreas Pereira settle into the speed of the Premier League meaning that the defense can always use depth once the charge tightens up.

This suggestion may be out there for Fulham, but Odilon Kossonou can be a great piece to add depth, competition, and general solidity to a side looking for European football. Beyond being a solid center-back option, he’s an excellent dribbler, showing signs of becoming a great progressive player with Club Brugge.

The real difficulty is that the Ivorian finds himself helping Leverkusen push back up the table, and despite only starting in six games this season, they could use anything they can get to continue an effort forward, A loan may be more manageable for both sides.

Leeds United: Tuta, CB/RB (Eintracht Frankfurt)

Honorable mention: Fabiano Parisi, LB (Empoli)

Another Bundesliga target and the first Frankfurt one to not be an honorable mention (they have a lot of good players), Leeds certainly needs to look to strengthen the defense after their investments in the attack’s future.

Complaints about Leeds have been mostly about entertainment and while fans missing Bielsa-ball is somewhat valid, the Whites lack defensive consistency and are currently the line between genuine relegation candidates and mid-table clubs.

Tuta may not leave Frankfurt as the German side is thriving in the Bundesliga currently, but a player of his profile who enjoys direct defensive production and actions rather than a more passive approach to attacks may secure another season in the Premier League for Leeds, though the situation isn’t exactly that dire.

Leicester City: Strahinja Pavlovic, CB (RB Salzburg)

Honorable mention: Kamaldeen Sulemana, LW/CF/RW (Stade Rennes)

Another side in need of defensive insurance, Leicester City seemed to keep the same energy they did in the summer with their inactivity in the window so far. This only means that a target here is a bit more urgent than for other clubs, though it is hard to give a more specific player with the uncertainty the Foxes face past this season.

Pavlovic is more of a World Cup star prospect, putting up some solid performances with Serbia despite the country’s group-stage exit in Qatar. He’s a massive player standing at 6 foot 4 inches and quick for a center-back.

Staying honest, however, Leicester could use anyone right now but a Pavlovic-Faes partnership could be strong going forward.

Liverpool: Edson Alvarez, CDM/CB (Ajax)

Honorable mention: Youssouf Fofana, CM (AS Monaco)

Liverpool has already had a decent window after signing Cody Gakpo already but despite the excitement surrounding the Dutch prospect, it was not what they needed in reality.

The defensive personnel is fine – in my opinion – even though the narrative at the moment is that they’re all “washed” and in an attacking sense, they’ve only been unlucky. The true holes lie in the midfield, specifically in positions where the opposing press looks to exploit. 

Fabinho seems to be facing burnout and a fresh player with the energy and work rate of Edson Alvarez can rejuvenate the midfield while also giving a more secure option at the current moment with the ball. Fabinho may even see some needed rest to get on with the remainder of the season but Liverpool could use just about any $30 million to $50 million midfield target right now.

Manchester City: Jeremie Frimpong, RB/RM (Bayer Leverkusen)

Honorable mention: Pedro Porro, RWB/RB (Sporting CP)

Manchester City is quite a weird squad at the moment but no doubt they have the quality to push back against Arsenal’s title charge and perhaps finally win the elusive Champions League they’ve been chasing. With this said, playing Joao Cancelo at right-back has hindered them somewhat at points in the season, making Jeremie Frimpong an easy selection.

Nathan Ake has been great at left-back thus far but as mentioned before, you really would rather Cancelo there in place of an out-of-position center-half. City’s defense has been quite solid as well so adding Frimpong, a very attack-minded player, to the right only adds to the dynamism going forward.

Again, Leverkusen’s situation may make it tough for them to sell valuable players at the moment but they could at the very least use depth in the full-back positions.

Manchester United: Teun Koopmeiners, CDM/CM (Atalanta)

Honorable mention: Pepe, LM/RM (Porto)

Manchester United doesn’t necessarily need anyone at the moment but adding a player that can allow Christian Eriksen to move higher up rather than sitting deep into a pivot alongside Casemiro. Teun Koopmeiners may not be the most defensive option, but with how United’s backline + Casemiro has been operating, it would be mostly to focus on transition.

Overall, there aren’t many realistic and interesting choices for United this January as they seem to already be on a solid track as it stands. Koopmeiners is also in a tight race for top spots in Italy, with Atalanta bouncing back from a mediocre season last year, but his quality cannot be denied.

Newcastle United: Maxence Caqueret, CDM/CM (Olympique Lyonnais)

Honorable mention: Tommaso Pobega, CM (AC Milan)

Another club that doesn’t need to shake things up too much this January, Newcastle has been in good form and seems to be building on the idea of developing talent that has been at the club for at least a year. The idea with Maxence Caqueret is simply more versatility and the Frenchman is also exceptional in the buildup, an area where the Magpies are slightly struggling at the moment.

Nottingham Forest: Reset

Honorable mention: None

We are all very aware of Nottingham’s massive summer, bringing an entirely new squad for Steve Cooper to lead, but it’s time to go back on some of those transfers.

Many moves seemed great on paper such as Omar Richards and Emmanuel Dennis but neither has made the impact Forest has hoped for – Richards hasn’t even made an appearance. Other transfers have been solid but despite their excellent placement on the table, relegation is still a possibility, and the loss of money, if they do go down, can be ugly.

The proactive move seems to have always been that the transfers can get them back up but realistically, who would actually stay for a push back to the Premier League if it happens?

Southampton: Emmanuel Dennis, ST/LM (Nottingham Forest)

Honorable mention: Junior Adamu, ST (RB Salzburg)

The first Premier League-based target and timely, Southampton could really use an all-out goalscorer and Emmanuel Dennis can provide that if given the time. James Ward-Prowse has seemed to have picked up the goal-scoring duty but after his move to a 10 role, Dennis can make the Southampton attack more dangerous.

The downside – and the main reason why there aren’t really any Premier League moves to another Premier League club in the suggestions – is that both squads are in a relegation scrap, and even if Dennis doesn’t feature much for Forest, you don’t want to run the risk of his transfer being the difference between relegation and survival.

Tottenham Hotspur: Pedro Porro, RWB/RB (Sporting CP)

Honorable mention: Dominik Szoboszlai, CAM/LW/CM (RB Leipzig)

This one’s easy especially as Tottenham finds themselves currently linked with the Spanish wing-back at the time of writing. Spurs truly need more than just an above-average right wing-back but this is definitely the most glaring hole in the squad and with the desperation to keep Antonio Conte onboard, this may be necessary to move forward.

This isn’t necessarily a panic buy if it does go through, however, as starting Emerson Royal week in and week out seems to be a truly exhausting thing for anyone but if this is a Conte target, would it really make sense to go for it in case he leaves in the summer?

West Ham United: Rui Silva, GK (Real Betis)

Honorable mention: Youcef Atal, RB/RM/RW (OGC Nice)

With Danny Ings now in the squad to “answer” West Ham’s goal-scoring woes, another striking option would be redundant, so here’s a defensive one.

Rui Silva may be a reach but the Hammers should start moving toward a Lukasz Fabianski replacement soon to lock up the other end of the pitch. The Portuguese shot-stopper has saved three more goals than expected for Betis and maintains a 46% clean sheet percentage which towers over Fabianski’s (20% in 20 league matches) and Alphonse Areola’s (0% in two league matches).

Overall, Silva is a sound keeper but again, not really a necessity for West Ham at the moment. Danny Ings is certainly… interesting.

Wolverhampton Wanderers: Youssef En-Nesyri, ST (Sevilla)

Honorable mention: Marco Carnesecchi, GK (Cremonese)

Possibly another lazy link due to the previous Julen Lopetegui connection but despite Wolves’ busy window in forward areas, they could still use a direct goalscorer. En-Nesyri is certainly struggling at the moment in La Liga but Sevilla’s overall poor season and historic underperformance seem contagious and a change of scenery can help change the fortunes of the World Cup star.

The record over the past two seasons may seem questionable but the profile for En-Nesyri to shine with the creative minds Wolves has going forward could make this the most exciting iteration of the squad since Nuno Espirito Santo left in 2021. A lot of dreaming here but in reality, Wolves have seen enough activity in this window.

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