It’s turning out to be quite the Premier League season. A few weeks ago, it seemed like Manchester City were running away with the title, but the race is now wide open again, as Pep Guardiola is being taught a thing or two about top flight football in England.
After 10 weekends of action, just a few points separate the top five teams, so it will be quite interesting to see how everything pans out.
All clubs did a bit of strengthening during the summer, but for some of them, there’s still a need to dip in the market again as soon as it opens up. There are a few teams that don’t necessarily need to, but there’s always that one player who – no matter how good things are – could provide swift improvement if brought in.
There are 20 teams in the league, and there are also 20 players out there – be it in the very league or not – who would definitely make a huge impact.
Whether or not the powers that be at the respective clubs will go out and get them are for these powers to decide, but they’re out there anyway, and they’re certainly worth noting.
So with that said, here’s a list of all 20 clubs, and a player who would improve their prospects.
25 Sunderland - Emmanuel Adebayor
David Moyes brought in a host of new players during the summer, including Victor Anichebe, Papy Djilobodji, Andan Januzaj, Donald Love and Paddy McNair. But apparently, they aren't enough.
All he’s gotten so far is a big fat zero. That’s correct; the former Everton and Manchester United boss hadn’t won a single game at the time of writing and lost eight of his first 10 games in charge. With only six goals scored in the league, it’s definitely a case of 'not enough' for the Black Cats.
Jermain Defoe is still an able striker at 35, but the Englishman needs a bit of help up top. With Emmanuel Adebayor being a free agent these days, Moyes could consider the Togolese forward as a short-term solution. Adebayor played 15 games for Crystal Palace last season and was released by the London club. Yet how bad can he be especially when compared to Sunderland’s woes?
24 Swansea City - Jordan Rhodes
The Swans have already dug themselves a deep hole to climb out of and they need some real firepower to come from somewhere. Unfortunately, by the time January rolls around it could be too late, so they have to make do at the moment.
But say they were to hit the market in the next window, just who would they turn to? Well, Middlesbrough striker Jordan Rhodes looks a great option. The 25-year-old has only made four appearances for Boro this season, with only one of those being starts, and he hasn’t scored any goals. But Rhodes scored 16, 21 and 25 goals in the Championship for Blackburn in the last three seasons. And while Boro may not want to sell him, having bought him in February this year, there’s always the possibility of a loan deal.
So far, Borja Baston and Fernando Llorente aren’t doing the business for the Welsh side. They would be better off looking elsewhere.
23 Hull City - Branislav Ivanovic
Branislav Ivanovic still has a bit left in the tank, despite his total distaste for football in recent times. The Serbian full-back was one of the best players on the Chelsea roster during the Blues’ last title-winning season, but has been one of the let-downs in recent times.
Antonio Conte did give him an opportunity to prove himself, but he did just the opposite and doesn’t look to be part of the Italian’s plans going forward.
He would probably be a decent signing for a club like Hull. Mike Phelan, having just snagged the manager’s job permanently, needs all the help he can get. And when Ivanovic is on form, he's also good for a few goals, as well as great defending.
22 Stoke City - Bacary Sagna
Stoke City would be doing themselves a great favour if they were to sign Manchester City right-back Bacary Sagna. The French defender has vast experience, having played seven seasons for Arsenal before joining the Manchester side in 2014.
Sagna hasn’t made that many appearances under Guardiola this season and could probably be ready to make one last Premier League move, as he still has a whole lot to offer.
Stoke aren’t very far from the drop zone, sitting at 17th at the time of writing, and have had real difficulty living up to their defensive standards this season. Mark Hughes definitely needs new people at the back and would do well to stop the issues even before January. But Sagna should be a player to consider, as he wouldn’t be too pricey.
21 West Ham - Riechedly Bazoer
The Hammers certainly did not imagine themselves being this poor this season, given the way they took the league by storm last year. Dimitri Payet was absolutely sensational, but he has cooled down and is not as consistent as he was last term.
West Ham may have just turned their season around by knocking London rivals Chelsea out of the EFL Cup recently, but a bit of revision as it pertains to transfers could certainly help their cause.
One player which looks like he would give the team great options is Riechedly Bazoer. Having joined Ajax from PSV Eindhoven four years ago, the 20-year-old central midfielder was said to have had the option of signing for the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal.
A deep lying playmaker with astute vision and passing ability, Bazoer would really enhance West Ham’s attack and make things easier for Payet.
20 West Brom - Bastian Schweinsteiger
West Bromwich Albion aren’t doing that great this season and look to be one of the teams set to participate in the relegation battle near the end of the season.
Tony Pulis, the team’s manager, is known for his defensive set-up, which worked wonders at Stoke City. So a solid holding midfielder who could also contribute to the attack seems the perfect choice, as the team has drawn more games than they would have liked to this season, despite scoring at a decent rate.
So why not offer Bastian Schweinsteiger a lifeline? The World Cup winner has been frozen out at Manchester United by Jose Mourinho, but could still have a lot to offer. Schweinsteiger retired from international football this year, so his focus will only be on club football.
It’s definitely something to think about.
19 Middlesbrough - John Obi Mikel
This has nothing to do with ridding Chelsea of fringe players, by the way.
Middlesbrough got off to a buzzing start to the season as well, but have since cooled. After securing promotion at the end of last season, they were quite intent on making a statement in the return to the top flight, yet it’s not working out so well.
They could use a steady head in midfield and Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel could definitely be that man. The Nigeria international is finding minutes hard to come by under Antonio Conte and it would probably best if he were to move.
Mikel is Chelsea’s longest-serving player after their captain John Terry and it would probably break his heart. But he could be so much more at another club. He is great at breaking up play and is very skilful in attack too – that’s just the part you don’t see at Chelsea.
16 Burnley - Ozan Tufan
Burnley are back in the Premier League and looked like they were ready to cause numerous upsets after beating Liverpool earlier in the season, but they have since been brought back down to earth – and quite quickly too.
The Clarets will be happy to have their talismanic striker Andre Gray back in action, following a four-match suspension for homophobic tweets from a few years back. However, Gray will not solve all of their problems.
Sean Dyche could surely use an injection of pace and talent in the midfield and on the flanks, and Turkish attacker Ozan Tufan could provide him with just that. The 21-year-old, now at Fenerbahce, is a wonderful dribbler of the ball, who could be put to great use in counterattacking situations.
He would give the team an extra dimension and could boost their chances of staying up this season.
15 Crystal Palace - Daniel Sturridge
Crystal Palace signed two very good strikers during the summer, but only one of them plays right now because the other is injured.
Christian Benteke came in from Liverpool and is already making an impact. But Loic Remy, who signed on loan from Chelsea, suffered an injury before he could even play, and had to return to the Blues to be treated.
While Remy may make a return, his history with injuries does not inspire confidence and Alan Pardew should weigh his options in the market come January.
When one speaks of injuries, the name Daniel Sturridge usually comes to mind, but the England international is looking like he could go the rest of the season in good shape. Sturridge is one of the best strikers around when he really decides to have a go. And given his strained relationship with Jurgen Klopp, he could become available in January.
13 Leicester City - Geoffrey Kondogbia
Claudio Ranieri vowed not to follow Chelsea’s path this season, but it’s certainly looking like he’ll be left with a bit of egg on his face at the end. Much like the London side did last term, Leicester are struggling to defend their Premier League title and have gotten off to an awful start.
Ranieri managed to keep most of his stars together, save one. N’Golo Kante left for Chelsea and the Blues are a much better side than they were last season because of that. Leicester, on the other hand, just can’t seem to move on.
The Frenchman was one of the main reasons they won the league in the last campaign. He was all over the pitch breaking up play and starting counterattacks, and they really miss that.
Well there’s no getting Kante back, not anytime soon anyway. But Inter Milan’s Geoffrey Kondogbia could be available, having fallen out with his manager Frank de Boer. The 27-year-old is surely capable of imposing himself in the middle and while he’s no Kante, he could do a job for Ranieri.
11 Bournemouth - Daniele Rugani
The Cherries turned a lot of heads last season, surviving the drop in spectacular fashion under Eddie Howe, having gained top flight promotion at the end of the 2014/15 season.
They’re having a pretty decent campaign, but with 14 goals conceded from their first nine matches of the season, getting a new centre-back in the January transfer window could certainly boost their chances of retaining their Premier League status.
They could look to Juventus defender Daniele Rugani. The 22-year-old looks very promising and would probably be playing consistently if he were employed by another club. But with Juventus boasting one of the best defences in world football, it’s hard to get much playing time.
Rugani seems like he would be a hit in the Premier League. He has the physical attributes to impress in England, but what stands out is his ability to time challenges perfectly.
9 Southampton - Bruma
Southampton seem to be losing their best people every season. If it’s not Rickie Lambert or Adam Lallana, it’s Nathaniel Clyne or Graziano Pelle – or Ronald Koeman.
The Saints are trying to find an identity under new manager Claude Puel, and they aren’t doing half bad. They could certainly use new players in certain areas, but the wings look to be the places they could use the most help.
In light of this, Bruma would be the perfect player. The Galatasaray man could operate on both the left and right wing, and is one of the most promising up-and coming players in Europe.
The only problem here is the fact that bigger clubs could want to sign him, leaving Southampton with an uphill battle to fight.
8 Manchester United - Arturo Vidal
Manchester United aren’t doing near as well as everyone thought they would this season. Even after bringing in Jose Mourinho, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba, they still look to be missing Sir Alex Ferguson.
The Red Devils were tipped to win the Premier League by, well, everyone. But it hasn’t taken us all too long to realize that there’s still a lot of work to be done.
Looking at this squad, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be way ahead of the pack in the top flight. On paper, they have an amazing set-up and it’s hard to pick a position they don’t have covered, but like all the other teams on here, they could use some help.
Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal seems just the player to aid the situation. The Chilean is as versatile as it gets and can be useful both in attack and defence. Perhaps reuniting him with Pogba would do the trick for United.
7 Watford - Ricardo Kishna
Watford surprised everyone last season with their brave play and didn’t just survive relegation; they seemed unworried by the possibility. It was even more surprising when the club parted ways with coach Quique Sanchez Flores at the end of the season, but with a new manager in Walter Mazzarri at the helm, the Hornets look set to stay in the Premier League at least another season.
They are doing quite well, and after the first ten matches of the season, the side are in seventh spot with 15 points.
However, they could use a bit of sprucing up. And 21-year-old Ricardo Kishna would be a hell of a signing for them. The young Dutchman, now at Lazio, could play as both a left-winger and a striker, and has been courted by some of the biggest clubs in the league.
Kishna possesses raw talent that could be further developed, but given a few games in the top flight, he could surprise a lot of people.
6 Everton - Mario Mandzukic
Everton boast a prolific scorer in former Chelsea forward Romelu Lukaku and they have not been left wanting a target up front.
The Belgian is in good form and new boss Ronald Koeman has the side flying high this season after finishing 12th under Roberto Martinez in the previous campaign. But besides Lukaku, the Toffees don’t really have anyone else who can convincingly claim a place up front.
Arouna Kone isn’t cutting it and Enner Valencia hasn’t really proven himself. Koeman would do the team a whole lot of good if he found another reliable forward in January and Juventus’ Mario Mandzukic really seems a great fit.
The Croatian hitman is now 30, but still has another two or three good years left, and would surely score a decent number of goals for a club like Everton.
5 Tottenham - Mauro Icardi
Spurs won’t have Harry Kane back healthy for quite some time and their new striker Vincent Janssen isn’t at the level they need him to be as yet. Heung-Min Son has been doing well in front of goal in the meantime, but Spurs could use another striker up front, even when they do get Harry Kane back.
Inter Milan forward Mauro Icardi does fit the bill and what makes a transfer even likelier – not just for Spurs, mind you – is the fact that the Argentine is now walking a tightrope with the club’s fans, who labelled him a vile piece of s**t around mid-October.
The supporters have said that they don’t accept him as the team’s captain and even applauded when he missed a recent penalty. It’s really pointless sticking around much longer.
4 Chelsea - Alessio Romagnoli
Chelsea are doing much better defensively now that Antonio Conte has gone from a 4-2-3-1 to a 3-4-3. The Blues boasted three successive clean sheets in the Premier League after the Italian made the change and the defensive partnership of Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz and Gary Cahill is working out quite well.
However, the London side aren’t out of the woods just yet, even with Kurt Zouma nearing a return to the first team. Conte knows that defensive reinforcement is needed and he will probably attempt to sign a defender in January.
AC Milan’s Alessio Romagnoli was already the subject of more than one Chelsea bid in the summer, and it would do the club well if they would keep the pursuit up come wintertime. He hasn't done anything this year to reduce his transfer price, as he's been an absolute rock on the back-end for AC Milan and even featured for the Italian National Team.
3 Liverpool - Jonas Hector
Liverpool’s left-back woes are well documented and although Jurgen Klopp has got James Milner doing a near perfect job there, he certainly needs to sign a true full-back for the position soon.
Alberto Moreno came in quite highly-rated from Sevilla two years ago. But quite frankly, he hasn’t been very good. It didn’t take Klopp too long to see that and the manager quickly got Milner in there. And for a guy who’s supposed to be a midfielder, he’s been so much better than Moreno.
So getting someone who can allow Milner to slot back into midfield should certainly rank high on the manager’s priority list. And who better to bring in than Jonas Hector.
The 26-year-old plays for FC Koln in the Bundesliga, as well as his country, and would certainly make a better team out of Liverpool if he were brought in. Klopp, seems to have it all covered for now, but a player like Hector would make his team complete.
2 Arsenal - Chicharito
Arsenal do have a horde of forwards at their disposal. Olivier Giroud could be a dependable scorer, while Alexis Sanchez has been slotting in there this season. They also have a new boy in Lucas Perez, along with Danny Welbeck, Chuba Akpom and Yaya Sanogo. Yet apart from Sanchez, no one really screams ‘world-class’ at you.
Sanchez has been doing a great job playing as a striker, but he isn’t an out-and-out forward. And although Perez could probably do well there, a real goal getter would really make things better for Arsene Wenger.
Say the French boss were to sign Chicharito, there’s no way he would be disappointed. The Mexican has scored seven goals in 11 appearances for Bayer Leverkusen this season and has always been more than dependable as a striker. But the most important thing for Arsene is price and he certainly wouldn’t command that huge of a transfer fee.
1 Manchester City - Leonardo Bonucci
Manchester City just can’t depend on Vincent Kompany anymore. The oft-injured Belgian has hardly been around this season, having made just three appearances for the club this season. He could not even last the full 90 in the last Manchester derby and asked Guardiola to take him off at halftime because he was tired.
So there’s now a need for another centre-back. They do have Nicolas Otamendi, but he’s already almost 30 and hasn’t proven to be as reliable as they would like.
Juventus and Italy centre-back Leonardo Bonucci would be the perfect fit. Sure he’s one year older than Otamendi, but Italian defenders are known for longevity and his experience would be priceless.
The Juve man is one of the best at his trade at the moment, and is one of the most sought-after defenders in Europe. He would definitely be of great use to City.