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The big name moves we can expect this month

January 1 sees the mid-season transfer window open for a month - but, historically, the big money movers don’t happen until the end of the month.

January 2011 saw quite a number of transfers, especially on the final day, when Fernando Torres moved to Chelsea for £50 million, sparking a series of huge transfers.

Liverpool finalised deals with Andy Carroll (£35 million) and Luis Suarez (£23 million), and Chelsea added David Luiz (£21 million) to their squad in an exciting 24 hours.

January 2012 could be just as enthralling because a couple of the top teams clearly require some squad additions. Manchester United’s continuing problems in finding a superstar central midfielder will undoubtedly attract 4000 column inches every day.

Names like Newcastle’s Chieck Tiote and Lille's Eden Hazard (pictured) have been mooted, but Ferguson will be more interested in trying to bring Sneijder or Modric to Old Trafford.

Price tag

Sneijder’s price tag and age (he is 27) put Fergie off in the summer, and United crashing out of the Champions League won’t look good to a European star like Sneijder.

Vidic’s season-ending injury and Johnny Evans’ clear lack of quality in the big games does mean United are a little short of defensive cover.

Lots rests on the young but broad shoulders of Jones and Smalling, but if United lose one of these youngsters the club will be hard pressed to field a competent back four.

Expect another under-the-counter quest for Sneijder, combined with a more left-field bid for someone like Benfica’s Nicolas Gaitan or Hazard.

Chelsea look set to finally capture Bolton’s Gary Cahill, and at a price much lower than expected too. £7 million has been rumoured, a bargain for a young defender who looks set to have a successful career at the top end of the Premier League rather than struggling at Bolton.

Novelty style

With David Luiz’s novelty style of defending wearing very thin, and Alex suffering from frequent injuries (not to mention a nervous start to 2012 for John Terry and his trial) Chelsea need to strengthen their back line if they want to win trophies this season.

If Abramovich agrees with the rest of the country and decides Torres is a waste of space - and now that Nicolas Anelka has moved to Shanghai Shenhua - he might look to bring in another star striker.

Tevez looks like he is heading for Italy, but he’d be a great steal for the Blues. As would Jermaine Defoe, a proven goal scorer but possibly too close in style to Sturridge (and a bit of an injury liability).

Lukas Podolski and Neymar have both been linked with other clubs (Arsenal and Barcelona) but Chelsea has the money and the pedigree to be able to lure the best players in the world.

Arsenal’s Christmas wishes have come true. Thierry Henry will join his former club on loan for two months in the most exciting move of the transfer window so far.

Blistering form

Henry will assist the club in helping Van Persie maintain his blistering form, and will fill the boots of the two players leaving the club for the African Cup of Nations – Marouane Chamakh and Gervinho.

Arsenal’s record goalscorer (174 goals in 254 games) will give the club a much needed boost after a painful defeat at Fulham in the first game of the year. The title race might be over for Arsenal, but a top four place should be within the club’s grasp.

It goes without saying that Arsenal’s defence could always do with reinforcements. A possible fight with Chelsea for Cahill or more likely, Chris Samba from struggling Blackburn could be an intelligent buy.

Arsenal (as well as almost every other club in Europe) has been linked with the Ajax central defender Jan Vertonghen, a 24 year old who already has 35 international caps for Belgium and who helped Ajax win the Dutch title earlier this year. He is a very impressive prospect.

It looks like Thomas Vermaelen will be sidelined for at least three weeks with a calf strain – all the more reason for Wenger to shore up his defence.

Huge effort

Spurs will spend the month desperately trying to hang onto Bale and Modric. If last summer was anything to go by, Daniel Levy will hold onto them, but it will take a huge effort and probably an increased wage packet too.

Roman Pavlyuchenko is probably headed to Russian side Anzhi, so Harry might seek out a striker to replace him.

Diego Forlan and Ezequiel Lavezzi are both strikers that could be destructive in Spurs’ fast-paced team, although Lavezzi has Champions League football at Napoli to look forward to in the new year, so don’t expect too much action from Spurs this window.

Now that Kenny Dalglish has his midfield maestro Steven Gerrard back, he might not feel Liverpool needs to add to their squad this January.

Swansea’s Joe Allen is rumoured to be a target, although Kenny surely doesn’t need any more midfielders, does he?

Target

Basel’s 20-year-old talent Xherdan Shaqiri is a target for Liverpool and Manchester United according to various sources, so a transfer battle could ensue to attract one of the principal players who booted United out of the Champions League.

Manchester City to buy another superstar? Sounds unlikely, but when money doesn’t appear to matter one iota, you can never discount a huge buy from England’s new elite club.

The only thing that will stop incessant buying in 2012 is UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules. Napoli duo Edison Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi are both potential targets.

Mancini doesn’t really need to add to his already impressive squad, but he will lose the Toure brothers to the African Cup of Nations in January, so there will undoubtedly be at least one signing heading over to the Etihad Stadium.

By Anthony Cody 

Please note: Player information was correct at the time of writing


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