Clubs poised for transfer chance
The January transfer window has opened, which gives clubs their first opportunity to buy or sell players since the end of August.
Several deals have already been agreed, including Portsmouth midfielder Lassana Diarra’s £20m move to Real Madrid, and can be rubber-stamped from 1 January.
This year’s window has been extended until 1700 GMT on Monday 2 February because 31 January falls on a Saturday.
A record £150m was spent by Premier League clubs in January 2008.
But that figure could be eclipsed this season if, as expected, Manchester City boss Mark Hughes is given major funds to strengthen his squad by his club’s billionaire Arab owners.
Any buys by City could kick-start activity from other Premier League sides but the Eastlands club are yet to delve into the market.
Blackburn striker Roque Santa Cruz is believed to be top of Hughes’ wish-list but Rovers boss Sam Allardyce says he has not received any offers for the Paraguay star.
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has underlined his desire to sign new players, and has already had a bid of around £6m rejected for West Ham striker Craig Bellamy as well as confirming his interest in Pompey frontman Jermain Defoe and Middlesbrough winger Stewart Downing.
But teams such as Manchester United and Chelsea insist they will not be buying and others, like Portsmouth and the Hammers, may be forced to sell some of their stars to balance the books.
Wigan are keen to keep hold of England striker Emile Heskey, who is out of contract in the summer, while Michael Owen and goalkeeper Shay Given, his Magpies team-mate, are also in demand.
Most Premier League managers have already had their say over how they see the next month going:
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger:
“Although we are not close to signing anyone at the moment, if we do buy I think what we need is maybe someone with a bit of experience. I need a creative midfielder and eventually another midfielder, because we are short.
“We already have many young players so, if we buy, it will be somebody who is ready to play straight away. A loan deal could also be a possibility.
“What we might need is someone who can create a little spark.”
Aston Villa boss Martin O’Neill:
“We are definitely looking at trying to do something if it is at all possible.
“I do no know whether the credit crunch has affected the market but this is a chance for all clubs to add to their squads.”
Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce:
“There have been no bids whatsoever for Roque Santa Cruz.
“At the moment I am more focused on getting him fit because I haven’t seen him play since I’ve been here. I’m looking to getting him fit and producing the form he produced last year to get us out of trouble.
I’m also more focused on getting players in rather than players out. Certainly my focus over the last two days has been speaking to the chairman about that.
“We’re both going to go out and try and improve our squad as quickly as possible.”
Scolari wants cover for Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka
Chelsea manager Luiz Filipe Scolari on his side’s transfer policy:
“I knew that it’s a different time for Chelsea but, if we suffer more injuries, the board understand that I’ll need one or two players to replace some [injured] players.
“They understand this. If, on the other hand, the players are in good condition and there are no more injuries, I think it’s maximum one player they’ll replace because we need one more. Only one. A striker.
Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon says transfer activity will be kept to a minimum:
“I don’t think we will be doing any business in the January transfer window because the type of players we are looking for are not available.
“Another reason is that we have still got some long-term injuries coming back and in January or February, Chelsea will have more player availability.”
Everton manager David Moyes:
“We are actively looking at what will make a difference, but I don’t think I will be able to do much in January. I am more likely to be looking at loans.
“Anything the club have got they will give me. But that doesn’t mean to say I am not out there looking for loans or Bosman signings or anything else that can help us.
“I don’t think we will be selling because we don’t have the numbers. We are short at this present time and that limits what I can do off the bench.”
Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez admits signings are unlikely:
“It will be difficult to bring anyone in January because we have a good squad.
“To bring in anyone better than what we’ve got isn’t easy and could be expensive.”
Hughes is set to make a number of signings in January
Manchester City manager Mark Hughes:
“We’re aware of this assumption about the level of finance that we’ll throw at the project in January, but we still have realistic market values.
“There is also an assumption that we will stimulate the market, that the money sloshing around will be from the deals that we have started, but we have to make sure we protect the club as well.
“We’re hoping to go into the market and acquire players that we think will help us, but it is still dependent on whether clubs are willing to deal with us or not.
“The deals that we do will have to be good ones, but we are quite happy at the moment. We know that there will be a premium that we will probably have to pay because it’s January, and teams don’t want to lose their better players.
“But it will not be to the extent where we are paying hugely over the market value.”
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson:
“I do not think there will be any January transfers, I am happy with what I have got.
“We are probably going to bring back a couple of young players who have been on loan. That may just give us extra protection.
“We took 23 players to Japan (for the Club World Cup) and they are substantial players. I would be happy to play any one of them.”
Newcastle boss Joe Kinnear insists goalkeeper Shay Given is not for sale:
“Shay won’t be leaving – he has no interest in that whatsoever. He loves the football club – he’s part of the city and that suits us because he’s a world-class goalkeeper.
Portsmouth manager Tony Adams:
“The board are going to do exactly what they did for [former boss] Harry Redknapp to me, and I had money anyway [before Real’s move for Diarra]. I have had new signings in mind since I have been in the job.”
Stoke chairman Peter Coates:
“We’ve got a few things on the go. I think Tony Pulis would like about three players, but I don’t want to give too much away.
“I do know we’ll have a stronger squad at the end of January than what we have now.”
Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp on his January targets:
“If could find a wide-left player I would like to get one. That and a frontman would be the priority.”
“I think Portsmouth have had a massive offer from somebody for Jermain Defoe, so good luck to them – I paid about £9m when I signed him. He is a good player but we’re not going to pay over the top for anyone.
“It’s not finished but if they don’t want to sell him [Defoe] it’s up to them. I am not going to upset the applecart.
“If they say ‘we’ll have that’, then we can do something. If they say ‘we don’t want to sell him’ then it is end of story.
“I like Stewart Downing but I don’t know whether Middlesbrough want to sell him.”
West Ham chief executive Scott Duxbury:
“We must not be afraid of interest in or bids for our leading players.
“Each approach will be considered in terms of fee, fitness, form and where the manager thinks the player is in his career.
“We have to consider the will of the player and whether he is committed to what we are trying to achieve.
“A bid may be evaluated by the manager as allowing him to significantly improve his team.”