Here is the second instalment of looking at each Premier League team’s prospects in the January transfer window. We’ll be looking at Crystal Palace, Everton, Hull City and Leicester City. January may prove pivotal with three of the four battling relegation and Everton currently in seventh place pushing for the European spots.
Ashley Young – 31-year-old left winger, Manchester United
Left in the wilderness by Mourinho at Manchester United, Young is looking to resurrect his career after six years at Old Trafford. At 31 years old, the former Aston Villa winger may be coming towards the end of his career, but the he has bucket loads of experience that could prove priceless in the fight against relegation – racking up nearly 200 Premier League appearances during spells at Manchester United, Aston Villa and Watford.
Young has a fantastic left boot, whether it’s crossing the ball in or rifling shots at goal, and would provide great cover while Wilfred Zaha is away on AFCON duties with Ivory Coast. With Young un-fancied at Manchester United, Crystal Palace could look to pick him up for under £10 million.
Robbie Brady – 24-year-old left winger, Norwich City
Another possible replacement for the departed Wilfred Zaha, Republic of Ireland international Robbie Brady is an all-round player, able to play in both midfield and defence. Brady has the ability to tackle and defend before dribbling and crossing into the opposition area, whilst his strength from set-pieces is undeniable.
With Norwich toiling in the Championship, Palace would be able to fill both the defensive void left by long-term injury concern Papa Souare, while also providing cover for Zaha. Norwich would probably allow Brady to leave for around £7 million.
Lamine Kone – 27-year-old centre-back, Sunderland
Kone was an integral part of the Sunderland team that once again miraculously survived the drop, and has since been angling for a move away from the North-East, having recently been prevented from joining Everton. The French man mountain is a powerful presence in the air and dominant on the ball.
Kone has previously worked with disgraced England manager Sam Allardyce, as the pair staved off relegation at Sunderland last season, and ‘Big Sam’ has now identified him as a replacement for the ageing Damien Delaney.
Many media outlets are touting a £15 million move for Kone.
Morgan Schneiderlin – 27-year-old central midfielder, Manchester United
It has been a mixed start to life on Merseyside for Ronald Koeman with an ageing squad and inconsistent flashes of brilliance from his young talents – but the signing of Morgan Schneiderlin would add the sort of consistency and experience needed for Everton to progress beyond mid-table mediocrity.
Idrissa Gana Gueye is currently one of the fiercest tackling midfielders in the Premier League, but the 36-year-old Gareth Barry and Irish midfielder James McCarthy are not really suitable partners for Gueye. Schneiderlin excelled at Southampton, before being fazed out at Manchester United by Jose Mourinho, and his ability to intercept play and lay it off simple is consistently overlooked by Mourinho, as he strives to fulfil Paul Pogba’s bloated potential and to justify his bloated wage packet.
Bids of around £18 million have already been rejected by Manchester United, so a fee closer to the £24 million that United paid for the midfielder would be enough to secure the Frenchman.
Davie Selke – 21-year-old striker, RB Leipzig
A member of the most controversial fairy tale that is unfolding in the Bundesliga, Selke is a product of the money burning juggernaut Red Bull Leipzig and despite firing them to promotion from the Bundesliga 2 last season with 10 goals, the German has felt the wrath of Leipzig’s contentious riches, falling behind summer signing Timo Werner in the pecking order for a starting spot.
Selke has still managed two goals and an assist in the Bundesliga this season, even though he has only started one game. The 21-year-old is a threat in the air and has a unique speciality from indirect from indirect set pieces, although his offside awareness and passing is sometimes amiss. At his age and with the potential he possesses, Koeman should be looking to pay about £10 million. He could be the perfect cover for Romelu Lukaku, considering the age and abilities of current backup forwards Enner Valencia, Arouna Kone and Oumar Niasse.
Joe Hart – 29-year-old goalkeeper, Torino on loan from Manchester City
Everton are in desperate need of a goalkeeper having replaced veteran American keeper Tim Howard with another well-versed shot stopper in Maarten Stekelenburg, so who better to take over from the Dutchman at Goodison Park than exiled Manchester City keeper Joe Hart.
Despite a horrific six months between the sticks for the Englishman, Hart still has undeniable talent and his experience at the top level of Premier League football is priceless, especially in a team that lacks natural leaders. Hart has won two Premier League titles, played 348 games for Manchester City, collected 68 caps – some as captain; and currently holds the record for the most Premier League Golden Gloves (four).
If you’re asking for a relatively cheap yet vastly experienced goalkeeper, then there aren’t many better than Hart on the market right now. Everton would probably have to shell out around £20 million for Hart, and face reported interest from West Ham, and Merseyside rivals Liverpool.
Samuel Eto’o – 35-year-old striker, Antalyaspor
Jermain Defoe and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have proven to the often sceptical and pessimistic media that age is no issue when it comes to banging in goals at the highest level – both players have reached double figures in goals already this season, despite being 34 and 35 years old respectively.
Furthermore, the Hull management are right in thinking that Samuel Eto’o, a man with a respectable strike rate during brief stints at Chelsea and Everton, is the right sort of player to come in and fire the Tigers to safety. With neither Abel Hernandez nor Dieumerci Mbokani able to adapt to life in the Premier League, a reliable shoe string striker is needed at the club, and Eto’o seems to fit the bill – as long as he can suffer on a measly salary of around £80,000 a week!
The former Barcelona forward may not have the pace he used to thrive off, but his predatory instincts are still in good nick, and if the Cameroonian can even contribute five goals then Hull may well have to thank him for keeping such a depleted squad in the league.
Alexandru Maxim – 26-year-old attacking midfielder, Stuttgart
Goals have been a problem for Hull all season, having only scored 17 – a joint league low with Middlesbrough, and Maxim would provide the attacking presence that only really want away midfielder Robert Snodgrass can match – the Scotsman has contributed 52.9% of Hull’s goals this season.
The Romanian has scored twice and provided five assists for his teammates, although the second division of German football is no match for the dogged tenacity of a Premier League relegation battle. I’ve complimented many players crossing ability in these articles, but this man’s cross is sensational, and his set pieces are on a par with Snodgrass – who as scored twice from set pieces this season.
His physicality is the only problem, but that physical edge can be executed by the likes of Jake Livermore and Tom Huddlestone. Maxim is also being tracked by Championship high-flyers Leeds United, and as a result, he’ll probably command a fee of around £5 million.
Jefferson Montero – 27-year-old left winger, Swansea
Ecuadorian Montero is a bag of tricks and not much else in my opinion, but if Hull can use his pace and skill to deliver Premier League football to the KCOM Stadium then why not take a punt?
A naturally talented winger is lacking from Hull’s industrious team, and Montero does meet the requirements in that sense, so if the 27-year-old’s final delivery could be worked upon, then it may well prove to be an astute piece of business.
Montero would be a bit of a risky signing as you don’t know quite how good he’s going to be but at a price of £4 million could be worth it in pursuit of Premier League football.
Francesco Acerbi – 28-year-old centre-back, Sassuolo
Robert Huth and Wes Morgan may be title winners but if there’s one thing they’re not it’s young, which is where Francesco Acerbi steps in – 28 years old and with an excellent ability to intercept and read the game, the Italian has long been a target of Claudio Ranieri.
The struggling reigning champions have already submitted a £8 million offer to Sassuolo, and are waiting to see if they can secure their second signing of the window, following the arrival of Genk midfielder Wilfred Ndidi for a fee in the region of £15 million. Acerbi is quite simply a younger model of the two centre-halves, strong in the air but less adept with his feet, and always a presence from set pieces.
Oghenekaro Etebo – 21-year-old striker, Feirense
Also a reported target for Arsenal, Oghenekaro Etebo came to the attention of clubs across Europe this summer, when he became the first player in 44 years to score four goals in an Olympic fixture when he netted for Nigeria against Japan.
Etebo was also crowned African Football’s Most Promising Talent award in 2015, although it’s yet to be seen whether the youngster can deliver on the big stage, as the 21-year-old is currently playing for lowly Feirense in the Portuguese league.
A bid of around £2 million should be enough to sign Etebo.
Andrew Robertson – 22-year-old left-back, Hull City
Leicester are also tracking Robbie Brady, but since he’s already appeared on this list I went with Scottish left-back Andrew Robertson, who has been one of the only shining lights in Hull’s so far dismal return to the top flight. Much like the seemingly departed Jeffery Schlupp, Robertson is brilliant going forward; whipping balls in, taking on players and overlapping the winger to play that killer pass.
Defensively he’s not as sound, lacking vital skills such as an ability to win aerial duels and to effectively tackle opponents – but at just 22, Ranieri is able to mould Robertson into the type of tough tackling defender he wants.
Robertson would probably cost the current champions about £1o million.