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New Year, New Signings

Silly season is upon us. The Premier League transfer window is open, and clubs can wheel and deal as much as they like for the entirety of January. Even though the COVID-19 pandemic has left the financial side of the game shrouded in uncertainty, there is sure to be some movement before the window slams shut on February 1, as teams at both ends of the table will look to bolster their squads.

Finding the Next Gem

The winter transfer period always offers some unique challenges. Since it is the middle of the season in most parts of the world, teams are often reluctant to let go of their superstars. And if a club gets its business wrong, its season could well be doomed.

Naturally, everybody wants to avoid signing the next Fernando Torres, but there has still been a surprising lack of high-profile flops in recent seasons; hits have been a far more frequent occurrence. Bruno Fernandes, for example, has spared Manchester United’s blushes on more than one occasion since joining last year. And, of course, it would be remiss of us not to mention how Virgil van Dijk completely transformed Liverpool’s defense after making the switch from Southampton in the winter of 2017/18.

What Does Your Team Need?

Injury-ravaged Liverpool is reportedly in the market for a central defender, with links to Schalke’s Ozan Kabak resurfacing in recent weeks. (Manchester United is also interested in the young Turk, according to the latest rumors.) Kabak has a high ceiling, but he did not cover himself in glory throughout 2020. The Reds’ Northwest rival, Manchester United, will also be looking to shore up its defense, but the Red Devils’ problems run much deeper than just the playing cast. Perhaps Paul Pogba will finally be off-loaded, after his lackluster performances have left fans disgruntled.

On the blue side of Manchester, City still hasn’t found an adequate replacement for the aging Fernandinho, and it will likely seek out a defensive midfielder and, with Eric García reportedly heading back to his boyhood club Barcelona, a defender, too. After months of speculation, Chelsea could finally make a move for West Ham’s Declan Rice, while Leicester and Tottenham will be keen to add some depth to their squads in order to sustain their title challenges.

At the bottom of the table, the likes of Sheffield United, West Brom, and Burnley are all severely lacking in the goal-scoring department and will need to add some firepower if they want to stay in the Premier League.

While it is unlikely that teams will splash hundreds of millions this month, there is an old truism that anything can happen in the transfer window (follow it all here!). Paulo Dybala and Jadon Sancho are just two superstars linked with big-money moves to England. Stranger things have happened.

Illustration by pinisantoro.