With a month to go before the January window opens, each Premier League club is already on red alert for business they hope will transform, sustain or rescue their season.
So who will be the main players once the New Year swings into action?
Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has itchy fingers, ready to go again after his untypical summer spree. A commanding defender is an absolute priority. source: express.co.uk
Champions Manchester City have fallen foul of UEFA's Financial Fair Play restrictions and still have to tread carefully. But manager Manuel Pellegrini started the season a striker short and will look to address that if the right player becomes available.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger could break his habit of leaving his bigger signings to the summer, with notable gaps to fill in his under-achieving squad, mainly at the back. His only move last January, bringing in Kim Kallstrom from Spartak Moscow, didn't inspire Gooners.
Chelsea's Jose Mourinho is just about the only manager who can sit back and observe the madness of the frenzied carousel this time around after he imported four players last January, including the return of Nemanja Matic.
Much of the January activity will be centred around the clubs battling to stay on board the gravy train known as the Premier League. QPR boss Harry Redknapp can never resist a transfer flutter. His former Spurs striker Jermain Defoe, whose move to Toronto FC appears to be shortlived, is a likely addition to his relegation-fighting squad. Crystal Palace, Burnley, Leicester, Hull, Aston Villa et al will all be looking to strengthen. The decisions made in this short period will largely determine the months or even years ahead, and so will later be hailed as inspired or foolhardy. Any doubters only have to look at recent window activity. While Mourinho turned his Chelsea squad of title wannabes into odds-on championship favourites with the signings of Cesc Fabregas, Diego Costa, Filipe Luis and Didier Drogba - proven performers - the same couldn't be said of many of their rivals. Liverpool went down the Spurs route, largely squandering their unwanted windfall from the sale of the iconic Luis Suarez to Barcelona, just as the London club had been similarly frivolous 12 months earlier in the aftermath of Gareth Bale's departure to Real Madrid.
Both clubs' current struggles can be traced to rash judgments in the transfer market, simple as that.
Manchester United's £150million summer spend hasn't exactly been a roaring success, while Manchester City's £32m outlay on central defender Eliaquim Mangala has been roundly questioned.
But all that will all be forgotten as the clock ticks down to January 1.
Start the engines - transfer fever is just around the corner.
Wishlist: Marco Reus, Joao Moutinho, Sami Khedira, Xherdan Shaqiri, Grzegorz Krychowiak, James McCarthy, Marcelo Brozovic, Fabian Schar, Winston Reid, Ron Vlaar, William Carvalho.
WHAT THEY NEED: A defender and a defensive midfielder. Even Arsene Wenger has admitted he left his side short-staffed at the back in the summer. Now injuries, including Jack Wilshere, have hit them hard. But Wenger being Wenger, there's always the chance he will sign yet another attacking midfielder instead.
Verdict: Wenger needs to splash the cash on stoppers.
Wishlist: Tom Cleverley, Josip Ilicic, Jonas Olsson, Danny Ings.
WHAT THEY NEED: Investment. Or inspiration. Or invention, given how tough they have found it score. Without any of these, boss Paul Lambert may try to sign on-loan Cleverley (above) on a long-term deal.
Verdict: Few thrills at the Villa.
Wishlist: Troy Deeney, Jozy Altidore, Henri Lansbury, Ryan Christie.
WHAT THEY NEED: To find Premier League players on a Championship budget and persuade them to join a club most think is doomed to relegation.
Verdict: Burnley won't break the bank.
Wishlist: Marco Reus, Sami Khedira, Wes Sneijder, Mauro Icardi.
WHAT THEY NEED: Boss Jose Mourinho already has his ideal squad, describing the team who thrashed Schalke in Germany last week as "perfect". He just has to hope irreplaceable players like Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic are not injured. The gifted German Marco Reus is one Mourinho would like to bring in but he looks like a close-season signing.
Verdict: Mourinho will buy - but in the summer.
Wishlist: Stephane Badji, Gregor Balazic, Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Nnamdi Oduamadi.
WHAT THEY NEED: Defensive reinforcements. Palace have been porous at the back. Boss Neil Warnock loaned out three defenders he inherited as he looks to upgrade.
Verdict: Warnock looks for solidity.
Wishlist: Memphis Depay, Shaun Maloney, Martin Montoya, Joel Campbell.
WHAT THEY NEED: Potentially another centre-back, given their defensive injuries. But boss Roberto Martinez is an expert bargain hunter with a fondness for flair players.
Verdict: Could spring a surprise.
Wishlist: Aaron Lennon, Darren Fletcher.
WHAT THEY NEED: To play to their potential. Boss Steve Bruce has assembled a fine squad that is short of wins. But he often raids Tottenham for players and could aim for Aaron Lennon.
Verdict: Bruce might get his Spurs - again.
Wishlist: Emile Heskey, Joel Campbell, Selcuk Inan, Tyrone Mings.
WHAT THEY NEED: A goalscorer, which makes it all the odder Emile Heskey's name has been mentioned. Since bagging five against Manchester United, Leicester have struggled to score.
Verdict: Need a Fox in the box.
Wishlist: Xherdan Shaqiri, Petr Cech, Divock Origi, Jackson Martinez, Saido Berahino, Marco Reus, Nathan Redmond.
WHAT THEY NEED: Everything, despite spending £117million this summer. A new keeper, a long-term replacement for Steven Gerrard in midfield and a defensive leader, even though they have paid out £37m for centre-backs since 2013. Plus a goalscorer, especially if Daniel Sturridge's injury problems worsen. Divock Origi will join from Lille next year but they could pay a premium to bring him in early.
Verdict: Fixing Liverpool is not a cheap job.
Wishlist: Lionel Messi (!), Edinson Cavani, Frank Lampard, Ross Barkley, Marco Reus, Layvin Kurzawa.
WHAT THEY NEED: Another striker as Alvaro Negredo's departure left them heavily reliant on Sergio Aguero, though the linked Lionel Messi is a pipedream. Everton's Ross Barkley is the long-term target in midfield. The short-term aim is to extend Frank Lampard's loan.
Verdict: City want scorers - in attack and midfield.
Wishlist: Edinson Cavani, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kevin Strootman, Mats Hummels, Raphael Varane, Ron Vlaar, Jan Vertonghen, Winston Reid, Miranda, Martin Odegaard, Sami Khedira, Marco Reus, Victor Valdes.
WHAT THEY NEED: The dream signing of Cristiano Ronaldo just won't happen but the pressing need is for fit defenders. Boss Louis van Gaal is a fan of defensive midfielder Kevin Strootman. Money is available, despite £152million being spent in the summer, and Van Gaal is said to want Cavani after losing patience with Radamel Falcao's fitness woes.
Verdict: Could pay out the big bucks again.
Wishlist: Memphis Depay, Max Kruse, Demba Ba.
WHAT THEY NEED: A scorer. Ayoze Perez has done well but is still young. Papiss Cisse has suffered with injuries and Emmanuel Riviere is yet to find form.
Verdict: Pardew wants and needs a goal machine.
Wishlist: Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch, Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Tomas Kalas.
WHAT THEY NEED: Someone other than Charlie Austin who can score and defensive reinforcements. Harry Redknapp likes to sign his former players, so the entire Tottenham team of 2010 may be targets.
Verdict: Redknapp rounds up the old gang for a reunion.
Wishlist: Kevin Kampl, Jesus Corona, Kennedy Igboananike, Andros Townsend, Harry Kane.
WHAT THEY NEED: To keep their high-flying team together. Boss Ronald Koeman has money to spend and has proved he can find high-class players for reasonable fees abroad.
Verdict: Another Euro bargain hunt for Saints.
Wishlist: Aaron Lennon, Danny Ings, Victor Moses.
WHAT THEY NEED: A fit and firing winger. Victor Moses has done well on loan. Stoke manager Mark Hughes could look to make his move from Chelsea permanent.
Verdict: Praying for Moses.
Wishlist: Fabio Borini, Stephane Badji, Jean Makoun, Bruma.
WHAT THEY NEED: Another
scorer to help a goal-shy side. Fabio Borini chipped in with goals from the left last season. Boss Gus Poyet almost signed the Liverpool man in the summer and he would be ideal.
Verdict: Go back for Borini.
WHAT THEY NEED: Nothing, really. Just for key players like Wilfried Bony and Ashley Williams to stay fit. Swansea have one of the best teams in their history.
Verdict: Can sit this transfer window out.
Wishlist: Morgan Schneiderlin, Jay Rodriguez, Saido Berahino, Ricardo van Rhijn, Mauro Icardi, Marcelo Brozovic.
WHAT THEY NEED: Players who suit Mauricio Pochettino's style of football. Quick, potent players like his Southampton stars Schneiderlin and Rodriguez would do better than Spurs' lacklustre, mismatched group.
Verdict: Spurs set to raid Saints again.
West Bromwich Albion
Wishlist: Stephane Badji, Matt Ritchie.
WHAT THEY NEED: Either for Saido Berahino to stay or for record buy Brown Ideye to start scoring. Boss Alan Irvine made 12 summer signings. He shouldn't need another overhaul.
Verdict: All about the goalscorers.
West Ham United
Wishlist: Andre Ayew, Aleksandar Dragovic, Jean Makoun.
WHAT THEY NEED: A centre-back if they lose Winston Reid. Sam Allardyce bought - and loaned - brilliantly in the summer. He has a fine squad but has long looked for bargains in the January sales.
Verdict: Could need a Reidy-made replacement.
Tag : Football News