Loan market looking the most likely as clubs ready themselves for deadline day

By Jim van Wijk, PA
PA Media: Sport

With the end of the January transfer window fast approaching, clubs face a race against time to complete their business.

Whether it is bringing in a defender to help shore up the leaky defence or trying to find that star striker to fire the team up the table, there are plenty of deals still to be done.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at some of the talking points ahead of the transfer deadline.

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Spend, spend, spend?

Will 20 buck the trend? (PA Graphics)
Will 20 buck the trend? (PA Graphics)

While Premier League clubs splash the cash during the summer, the January window is often seen as a more difficult market in which to find real value for money. Aside from 2018 – which saw the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang join Arsenal, defender Virgil van Dijk complete his world-record £75million switch from Southampton to Liverpool and Alexis Sanchez head to Manchester United – the general trend has been for a lower winter spend. This year has seen a lot of loan moves so far – but there is still time for clubs to break the bank on a last-minute acquisition.

Quality not quantity

Loan deals would appear to be a win-win for both club and player – offering some much-needed cover as well as the opportunity for more game-time. However, managers also need to be aware of not just bringing in fresh faces for the sake of it. Premier League champions-in-waiting Liverpool completed a deal for Takumi Minamino, the Japan international arriving from Red Bull Salzburg to bolster Jurgen Klopp’s already formidable frontline. There may be those calling out for major additions to Manchester United’s squad, but the acquisition of Bruno Fernandes will at least add another high-calibre option to help push Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad in the right direction.

Survival bid worth the gamble?

Will the London Stadium be hosting Premier League football again next season? (Bradley Collyer/PA)
Will the London Stadium be hosting Premier League football again next season? (Bradley Collyer/PA)

The financial consequences of relegation from the Premier League gravy train are well documented, and continue to increase the pressure for getting things right on the pitch at all costs. West Ham made a pre-tax loss of £28.2million for the last financial year, most of which was driven by investment in the squad and wages. Nevertheless, the Irons are one of several clubs now left scrapping for top-flight survival. Czech midfielder Tomas Soucek may not have been the stellar January signing fans had hoped for, but if he can help pull the Irons clear of danger, then it could yet prove money well spent. If not, at least the loan deal does not have to be made permanent for Championship football.

Rumour mill set for overdrive

As the countdown timers tick on, the speculation concerning just which player may end up where when the dust settles on February 1 is likely to reach fever pitch. There will no doubt be countless sightings of Lionel Messi at Luton Airport, Dries Mertens on the M25 and perhaps even Edinson Cavani strolling through Stansted to help fuel the social media frenzy. Fans up and down the country will be constantly hitting refresh for some official confirmation – with plenty bound to be left wondering just what might have been had the fax machine not run out of paper.

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