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January transfer window preview

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The January transfer window always throws up many surprises for players, managers and fans.

Despite it being an unpopular window, clubs will no doubt try to use it to their advantage and will look to bolster their squads ahead of a busy start to 2014.

Arsenal

In need of: A back-up striker

Arsenal's fantastic first half to the season has surprised many, as they go into the new year as the league leaders. Their array of talent in midfield has been crucial, as has their solidarity in defence which has been their biggest improvement.

Despite going through a recent scoring drought, Olivier Giroud has been essential to the Gunners with his hold up play, work rate and his aerial presence. However, the constant worry throughout the season so far has been the thought of Giroud getting injured and their lack of back-ups in that position.

Nicklas Bendtner has hardly filled the fans with confidence. So now Arsenal will most likely look to the window to solve this problem.

Possible targets: Alvaro Morata (Real Madrid), Loic Remy (QPR, on loan at Newcastle), Dimitar Berbatov (Fulham)

Aston Villa

In need of: A creative midfielder

Aston Villa's lack of good form is no doubt a problem for their fans, but perhaps the biggest worry for them and manger Paul Lambert is their lack of creativity and goals.

Villa only have 18 Premier League goals to their name, and with the poor form of star player Christian Benteke, Lambert may realise that he needs to add quality in the number 10 role to help the powerful Belgian rediscover his devastating goalscoring touch that helped Villa to survive last season.

Possible targets: Michael Bradley (AS Roma), Mousa Dembele (Tottenham), Younes Belhanda (Dynamo Kiev)

Cardiff City

In need of: A striker

The Bluebirds are clearly lacking in goals with only 15 scored so far this campaign. Top scorer Frazier Campbell is not proving to be consistent and with the failed impact of £7.5 million signing Andreas Cornileus and Nigerian Peter Odemwingie, Cardiff will look to add a proven goalscorer to propel them up the table.

Possible Targets: Jordan Rhodes (Blackburn), Bafetimbi Gomis (Lyon), Dimitar Berbatov (Fulham)

Chelsea

In need of: A world class striker

Chelsea have certainly not hit top form this season, with their football lacking pace and flair often in games. This is certainly a surprise considering the talents such as Juan Mata, Oscar, Eden Hazard, Willian and Kevin De Bruyne.

Despite this, Hazard is their top scorer in the league this season with eight goals and the dependance on these players has perhaps held Chelsea back a little. This reliance has most certainly come down to the poor returns from strikers Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto'o and Demba Ba.

The trio have only contributed six out of the 35 league goals that the Blues have scored this season. Manager Jose Mourinho will no doubt look to sign a top quality forward in the coming window, as money is not a problem.

Possible targets: Radamel Falcao (Monaco), Jackson Martinez (Porto), Mario Balotelli (AC Milan)

Crystal Palace

In need of: A striker

Palace seemed dead and buried when Ian Holloway left at the end of October. However, since former Stoke City boss Tony Pulis has taken over, a revival has taken place and they have moved out of the relegation zone at the start of the new year.

With his already small squad, Pulis needs to sign some added quality in the striking department, with a poor return of just 12 league goals in 19 appearances.

Marouane Chamakh, Dwight Gayle and Cameron Jerome have only eight goals between them, and last season's top scorer Glenn Murray is still out with injury. A prolific striker is a must.

Possible targets: Jordan Rhodes (Blackburn), Ross McCormack (Leeds), Bafetimbi Gomis (Lyon)

Everton

In need of: A back-up striker

Everton have been excellent this season, with Roberto Martinez really taking them to another level. The loan signings of Romelu Lukaku and Gareth Barry have been masterstrokes by the former Wigan boss and has provided extra depth after the departure of Marouane Fellaini to Manchester United.

When you look at the Toffees squad, there is not much to improve, though Romelu Lukaku will need back up due to the demise of Nikita Jelavic over the past year. They have a star in young Ross Barkley and if they can keep him, then a Champions League spot could be a realistic finish for Everton.

Possible targets: John Guidetti (Man City), Steven Fletcher (Sunderland), Nick Powell (Man Utd, on loan at Wigan)

Fulham

In need of: A centre-back

Fulham's season so far has undoubtedly been a disappointing one, with the club third from bottom, having a goal difference of -22 which is the worst in the league and conceding 41 goals already.

The recent 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Hull City undermines the fact that better defensive quality and possibly another midfielder are in needed and that will have to be addressed in January. 

Possible targets: Kurt Zouma (St. Etienne), Álvaro Pereira (Inter), Michael Bradley (AS Roma)

Hull City

In need of: A proven striker

Out of the three promoted clubs, Hull have had the biggest success so far and will look to bolster their squad even further to achieve a realistic mid-table finish.

Their top scorer is Robbie Brady with just three goals and it is clear that they need another striker after the failures of Danny Graham. Despite this, their defensive solidarity has been most impressive.

Possible targets: Nick Powell (Wigan), Steven Fletcher (Sunderland), Jordan Rhodes (Blackburn)

Liverpool

In need of: A quality midfielder

Liverpool have had a fantastic season so far, and they boast one of the best players in the world in Luis Suarez. With the injury to Steven Gerrard, the Reds' midfield looks slightly weak and they lack in a real creative midfielder, with Philippe Coutinho being pushed out on the left.

However, midfielders such as Jordan Henderson and Lucas have done a sterling job in the defensive side of the position.

Possible targets: Ivan Rakitic (Seville), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Ross Barkley (Everton)

Manchester City

In need of: A centre-back

Manchester City certainly have the strongest squad in the league in terms of quality and depth. Despite this, the Citizens lack a commanding partner for captain Vincent Kompany. 

Martin Di Michelis has not been convincing and Matija Nastasic has continuing injury problems. This could be crucial in determining City's chances of winning the league this year.

Possible targets: Eliaquim Mangala (FC Porto), Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund), Miranda (Athletico Madrid)

Manchester United

In need of: A central midfielder

Manchester United have had one of their worst starts to a season in recent memory and that has largely been down to a lack of commanding midfielders in their squad.

£27 million summer signing Marouane Fellaini has been a major disappointment so far and new manager David Moyes will surely look into the market to try and solve this problem.

Possible targets: Ross Barkley (Everton), Javier Pastore (PSG), Adam Lallana (Southampton)

Newcastle

In need of: A centre-back

Newcastle have finally performed to the expectations that so many of their fans want them to this season. The success of single summer signing Loic Remy has boosted them and has made up for the drop in form of Papiss Cisse.

The Toon perhaps need another centre half to cover Fabricio Coloccini and Mike Williamson, with Mapou-Yanga Mbiwa suffering a poor start to life in the Premier League.

Possible targets: Adrian Mariappa (Crystal Palace), Chris Samba (Dynamo Moscow), Cheikhou Kouyate (Anderlecht)

Norwich

In need of: A centre-back

The Canaries have been inconsistent to say the least this season and have leaked 32 goals so far. Sebastian Bassong has proven himself in the Premier League but is in need of a quality partner.

If the Canaries sort this issue out, then they can rely on players such as Gary Hooper to provide the goals.

Possible targets: Jonny Heitinga (Everton), Sean Morison (Reading), James Tomkins (West Ham)

Southampton

In need of: A creative midfielder 

Southampton have had arguably their best season yet and their squad are firing in many departments. They perhaps need another prolific striker though, with Rickie Lambert and  Daniel Osvaldo scoring just nine of their 26 goals this season.

Their defensive solidarity and the form of Dejan Lovren has admired many people this year.

Possible targets: Carlos Vela (Real Sociedad), John Guidetti (Man City), Darren Bent (Fulham)

Stoke

In need of: A striker

Stoke have always been a tough team to beat at home and their defence is usually solid. However they need a quality striker to help them gain more victories, with their forwards contributing only five of their 18 goals this season. 

Possible targets: Luuk De Jong (Borussia Monchengladbach), Diego Milito (Inter), Adruiz (Athletic Bilbao)

Sunderland

In need of: A centre-back

Sunderland have been very insecure in defence this season and have conceded 32 goals already. They have signed Marcus Alonso to try and address this but need to add extra quality in that department. Perhaps proven Premier League quality is the answer.

Possible targets: Sean Morison (Reading), Davide Astori (Cagliari), Jonas Olsson (West Brom)

Swansea City

In need of: A creative midfielder

Swansea have performed below their fans' expectations so far this season and their passing fluidity has deserted them in many games. The Welsh club have two excellent strikers in Wilfried Bony and Michu but they are lacking the service they need to have prolific seasons respectively.

Manager Michael Laudrup is likely to try and add a player that can play in the number 10 role to his ranks, which will help his two forwards.

Possible targets: Will Hughes (Derby), Arda Turan (Athletico Madrid), Munain (Athletic Bilbao)

Tottenham Hotspur

In need of: A striker

Spurs have been disappointing during 2013 and they seem to be short of spark in their play. However, recent victories have kept them in the running for a Champions League spot.

The poor return of £26million hitman Roberto Soldado, who has one goal from open play so far, has put pressure on Emmanuel Adebayor to provide the goals which could prove risky.

Possible targets: Stevan Keissling (Bayer Leverkusen), Loic Remy (QPR, on loan at Newcastle), Mame Diouf (Hannover 96)

West Brom

In need of: A left-back

With the sacking of Steve Clark, Albion are still looking for a manager but a prepared to take their time to find the right man for the job. They have not reached anywhere near the heights that they hit last year which is a worry for their fans, who expect more.

Liam Ridgewell does not have the pace and attacking mindset to provide a threat down the flank. That is certainly an area in which they will look to improve in January.

Possible targets: Aaron Cresswell (Ipswich), Danny Fox (Southampton), Wayne Bridge (Reading)

West Ham

In need of: A striker

West Ham have endured their worst start to a season for a while and the pressure is mounting on manager Sam Allardyce.

With the never-ending injuries to main man Andy Carroll and the poor form of Modibo Maiga, the Hammers have a poor return of just 18 league goals this campaign.

A striker is a must in January and it will be key in West Ham's chances of survival.

Possible targets: Asamoah Gyan (Al Ain), Demba Ba (Chelsea), Nikica Jelavic (Everton)

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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