Georgina Turner: Breaking down the Premier League's January transfer window - Sports Illustrated

Breaking down the Premier League's January transfer window

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Crucial position: Fans are still after a goalkeeper, a center back and a midfield enforcer. Arsene Wenger has said Manuel Almunia can leave, which suggests he may have a keeper in mind. A central defender ought to be front and center in his thinking.

Hey, big spender: Wenger dislikes shopping at the best of times if he can cook something up at home, but January? He'll only move for a real bargain.

Linked with: Bolton's Gary Cahill and Blackburn wantaway Christopher Samba, Mamadou Sahko (PSG). Some talk about Per Mertesacker of Werder Bremen.

Signed: Ryo Miyaichi (Midfielder/forward, Chukyodai Chuyko High School, undisclosed)

Crucial position: Central midfield definitely needs attention, but the club's early enquiries suggest it's shopping for the bit of firepower that Emile Heskey and John Carew keep forgetting to bring to the party.

Hey, big spender: Gerard Houllier says he has faith in his players to pull away from trouble, but he's in a shrinking minority. If the board doesn't want another managerial change, it'll have to put up a bit of cash.

Linked with: Joey Barton (Newcastle), Fernando Gago (Real Madrid, potential loan), Guieda Fofana (Le Havre), Robbie Keane (Tottenham), Djibril Cisse (Panathinaikos). Colorado Rapids forward Omar Cummings has been on trial and looks like getting a loan deal.

Crucial position: If Sebastian Larsson doesn't sign a new contract, Birmingham needs at least one wide man in the next six months. Like the rest of the league's strugglers, the club's sights seem to be trained on a form striker.

Hey, big spender: Alex McLeish says he wants to bring in two players, but he'll probably have to be happy with loan deals.

Linked with: Robbie Keane and David Bentley (Spurs), Ryan Babel (Liverpool), Jay Bothroyd (Cardiff). Young midfielder Jordan Mutch likely to be recalled from loan at Watford.

Crucial position: With David Dunn restricted by injury, a creative midfielder would be most welcome at Ewood Park.

Hey, big spender: New owner Venky's has promised £5 million ($7.7 million) for new signings in January, and caretaker boss Steve Kean wants at least three players to back up his injury-hit team.

Linked with: Slovakia playmaker Juraj Kucka has been mentioned, as has Blackpool's Charlie Adam and Eidur Gudjohnsen (Stoke City).

Crucial position: Getting Luke Varney (on loan from Derby) on a permanent basis will preoccupy Blackpool -- Ian Holloway likes a queue of strikers waiting to come on. Otherwise, midfield: David Vaughan has been excellent but could go for nothing in the summer.

Hey, big spender: Holloway has spent very little assembling his impressive troupe, and will probably only be interesting in freebies in this window.

Linked with: Adam Hammill (Barnsley), Laryea Kingston (free agent), Grant Holt (Norwich).

Crucial position: Owen Coyle seems to have his eye out for an attacking midfielder, though a big-money bid for Gary Cahill would force him into the defensive market.

Hey, big spender: Coyle has been open about his limited resources but has already shown what he can do for nothing -- Stuart Holden arrived on a free transfer.

Linked with: Leeds United's highly-rated midfielder Bradley Johnson, Roberto Trashorras (Celta Vigo), David Jones (Wolves), Simon Vukcevic (Sporting Lisbon).

Crucial position: Injuries to John Terry and Alex have recently exposed a real lack of depth in Chelsea's defensive staff, though there is persistent talk of trying to poach midfield creator Luka Modric from Spurs.

Hey, big spender: Money doesn't flow from Chelsea as it once did -- and the club doesn't often buy in January. But Roman Abramovich opens his wallet if the manager asks.

Linked with: Gary Cahill (Bolton Wanderers), David Luiz (Benfica), Davide Santon (Internazionale), Luka Modric (Tottenham), Andy Carroll (Newcastle United).

Crucial position: Everton started with no genuine strikers this week -- considering the opponent was the lamentably beatable West Ham, this says a lot about David Moyes' options up front.

Hey, big spender: Moyes says that he won't be spending any cash this month, on account of Everton not having any. Loan deals most likely.

Linked with: Wolves' Matt Jarvis, Adem Ljajic (Fiorentina), Edson Buddle (Galaxy), Dzmitry Verkhovtsov (Naftan Novopolotsk), and Aston Villa's Stephen Ireland. Talk of a £3 million ($4.6 million) move for QPR's Jamie Mackie is more Moyes' style, but if it really is loan deals or nothing, reported interest in Manchester City's Emmanuel Adebayor looks closer to the mark. Young Lazio forward Libor Kozak is also on the radar.

Crucial position: Fulham has managed only 19 goals this season -- an average of one per game -- thanks to injuries to Bobby Zamora (out until February, at least) and Moussa Dembele (on his way back from latest knock). An extra striker would be handy.

Hey, big spender: Mark Hughes has asked for more time and the chance to add to his squad before being relieved of his duties, so some cash is likely to be available, even if the chairman prefers freebies or loan moves.

Linked with: A loan move for Robbie Keane, but Spurs say he's for sale only. A cheaper (£2 million/$3 million) move for Cardiff City striker Jay Bothroyd has been mooted, though Crystal Palace youngster Wilfried Zaha is available for the same kind of money.

Crucial position: Most fans want to see a change of manager above all else, but there are several on-field positions that need attention. It looks like Rennes left winger Sylvain Marveaux will be first through the door, followed by midfielder Yann M'Vila, which leaves central defense and the front line as priorities.

Hey, big spender: NESV has said it will spend if it can find value, and wait until summer if it can't.

Linked with: With that in mind, defense might have to wait -- PSG's Mamadou Sakho would cost at least £15m and Bolton reckons Gary Cahill is worth even more. Perhaps a cut-price deal for Johan Elmander, who's out of contract in the summer -- it's easier to imagine than NESV financing a move for West Ham's Carlton Cole, surely?

Signed: Yusuf Mersin (goalkeeper, Millwall, undisclosed)

Crucial position: It's arguable whether City needs to strengthen anywhere too urgently, but the depth of Roberto Mancini's striking options has been questioned.

Hey, big spender: Default setting is Richard Gere in Pretty Woman. "We're going to spend an obscene amount of money."

Linked with: A £30 million ($47million) deal for Wolfsburg frontman Edin Dzeko is apparently on the table, with Anderlecht's Romelu Lukaku lined up for £18 million ($28 million). Rogelio Funes Mori (River Plate) has also been mentioned.

Crucial position: There's been a lot of talk about bringing in a central attacking midfielder, but the current system ups the need for a deeper, all-purpose midfielder -- like Owen Hargreaves, only fit.

Hey, big spender: Alex Ferguson seems to spend less and less and has already said that he won't give out a cent during January.

Linked with: Not that that's stopped newspaper gossip about moves for Lassana Diarra (Real Madrid) and Wesley Sneijder (Internazionale). It would be more like Fergie to launch a stealth move for Athletic Bilbao's Javi Martinez, however.

Crucial position: Alan Pardew has acknowledged he needs back up at left back: behind first choice Jose Enrique, there's ... er... James Perch, a right-footer who's useless at right back.

Hey, big spender: United has tended to make a smattering of signings in the January, but low-cost deals are most likely.

Linked with: Chelsea's Patrick van Aanholt, who covered for Enrique on loan last season, would be a popular choice; Aston Villa's Stephen Warnock is apparently on Gerard Houllier's "out" list.

Crucial position: Tony Pulis' priority was getting Jermaine Pennant's signature on a permanent contract. Now fullbacks (Stoke has been playing with central defenders Robert Huth and Danny Collins out there) top the list.

Hey, big spender: Pulis is a fan of midseason change so he'll almost certainly be in the market, though spending will be relatively modest unless Stoke makes significant sales.

Linked with: Wayne Bridge, though his hefty wages would be the first of several stumbling blocks.

Signed: Pennant (winger, Real Zaragoza, £2.8m)

Crucial position: New signings aren't a matter of urgency, but a bit of spark down the left hand side wouldn't go amiss.

Hey, big spender: Bruce has been handsomely backed in the transfer market and though he has admitted doubts as to the value-for-money available in January, he'll be confident of more of the same.

Linked with: There's talk of borrowing Manchester City supersub Adam Johnson until the end of the season (which would depend on signing Nedum Onuoha permanently). Charles N'Zogbia has been mentioned, but he'd cost at least £10 million/$15 million -- less, though, than alternative Stewart Downing is being touted for.

Crucial position: Harry Redknapp likes to tinker everywhere but his biggest task remains from the summer: find a top quality striker. His professed faith in Robbie Keane is as dubious as Peter Crouch's recent form.

Hey, big spender: Few clubs have spent as much and as consistently as Spurs in recent years and January is no exception, even if Redknapp insists he's not looking.

Linked with: Most likely that the David Beckham circus will roll into town. As for strikers, a host of names has been mentioned, from Feyenoord whippersnapper Luc Castaignos to Juventus' elder statesman Vincenzo Iaquinta via Fernando Llorente (Athletic Bilbao). Andy Carroll looked probable for a few hours, now fans are talking about bagging Liverpool target Luis Suarez.

Crucial position: "The whole Barclays Premier League is after a goal scoring striker," Roberto di Matteo said recently, adding himself to the list. Peter Odemwingie has only scored two in his last six appearances but is still the Baggies' top goal scorer.

Hey, big spender: Di Matteo is confident enough to be shopping around but knows he'll have to move on a couple of his current squad to fund any purchases.

Linked with: Some hardly outlandish reports have suggested that John Carew, who's been off-color at Aston Villa, fancies joining Albion. Georgios Samaras, out of contract at Celtic come the summer, has also figured.

Crucial position: Anywhere Scott Parker doesn't play could be strengthened, but the Hammers could really do with improved options in midfield.

Hey, big spender: Avram Grant will get a bit of pocket money but that could be boosted by sales, with half the squad deemed surplus to requirements either by fans or the manager.

Linked with: A deal for Steve Sidwell is reportedly in place, which makes a move for Jamie O'Hara (Tottenham) unlikely. Some talk that Nico Kranjcar might move from White Hart Lane, but impressive young Barnsley winger Adam Hammill would be a cheaper, longer-term investment.

Crucial position: The most important thing for Wigan is to hold on to Charles N'Zogbia. Beyond that, and with defender Adrian Lopez finally signed, forward options would help -- especially as Mauro Boselli looks to be on his way out.

Hey, big spender: Roberto Martinez is well practiced at bidding on a budget. He currently has the maximum two players in on loan, though, so making Ali Al-Habsi's move from Bolton a permanent one would be worth the cost.

Linked with: Soon-to-be out-of-contract Leeds midfielder Bradley Johnson would help fill an N'Zogbia shaped hole. Arsenal striker Jay Emmanuel Thomas would make an excellent loanee, though there's also been mention of David Nugent (Portsmouth).

Crucial position: It's no secret that Wolves need a bit of toughening up at the back -- only two teams have conceded more goals at home.

Hey, big spender: Mick McCarthy didn't do much last January, but his stance is that: "if the players are available that we want and we can attract, then funds will be made available."

Linked with: Joleon Lescott (Manchester City), Curtis Davis (Aston Villa), Steven Taylor (Newcastle United). Middlesbrough's David Wheater might be more readily available, but a loan deal for Richard Dunne, who hasn't had much joy since Gerard Houllier arrived at Villa Park, looks like a good bit of business.