In this most competitive of Premier League seasons, the teams sitting from sixth to ninth must look at the table and sense either an opportunity or a requirement to climb the table and get in amongst the Champions League places.
With the January window mere days away from opening let's take a look at what the chasing pack can do to improve:
The question for this transfer window is whether Newcastle want the European competition they challenge for to be the Champions League or the ugly stepchild of continental competitions the Europa League. If they are challenging for the latter, Newcastle's owner Mike Ashley will likely see that little or no talent is brought in.
Should Ashley take the chance to push for the Champions League promised land then there are some obvious areas for improvement. In particular, Newcastle currently place far too much emphasis on Loic Remy's goals. Couple this with Papiss Cisse only scoring one goal from the penalty spot all season and it is is clear reinforcements up front are needed.
A deal to bring Demba Ba back to St James Park will undoubtedly do the rounds in the papers. More likely however is a dip back into the French transfer market with Vincent Aboubakar, Bafétimbi Gomis and André-Pierre Gignac all being potential targets.
An incredibly tough transfer window looms ahead for Manchester United. The calls from outside the club hierarchy will be to spend and spend big. The problem of course is twofold. Firstly, a rash of signings could destroy team unity. Secondly, getting players of sufficient quality i.e. those with proven Champions League ability at a decent price will be tough.
This is why I predict that the Reds will struggle to get in players in this window. They need to improve in central midfield but a player like Koke will be reluctant leave midway through Atletico Madrid's La Liga title challenge and Champions League campaign.
Man United instead will probably find themselves looking to sign domestically with Newcastle's Yohan Cabaye seeming to be someone who could move for the right price.
After signing seven players in the last transfer window it seems likely that January will be a reasonably quiet month at White Hart Lane. Rather than signing players, activity may focus on letting some players go on loan, such as the misfiring Erik Lamela.
Still Tottenham could be tempted to enter the market for the right players. Another forward would seem necessary if Tottenham are going to play with two strikers. A move for out of favour Juventus striker Mirko Vucinic seems plausible. Also a centre back with some pace would be helpful.
In recent years Southampton have shown themselves willing to spend big on quality in the transfer window with the likes of Dani Osvaldo, Gaston Ramirez, Dejan Lovren and Victor Wanyama all having the cash splashed on them.
With this record of spending big whilst giving youth a chance, it seems likely that Southampton will restrict their activity in January. A rumoured move for Aaron Hunt when his contract runs out in the summer would fit this.
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