Transfer Window: United's Sanchez coup, Coutinho woe for Liverpool, Chelsea chaos
With deadline day looming, what could happen in the final days of the window? It's been a huge month for clubs in the Premier League with some big-name arrivals and departures.
How has the month gone? ESPN FC's club correspondents rate their club's business and look ahead to deadline day.
Rate the window so far: 7/10. Manchester City missed out on prime target Alexis Sanchez but their principled stance on refusing to pay the Chile international's huge financial package (signing-on fee and salary) will have a beneficial knock-on effect in future transfer windows with the club no longer prepared to pay exorbitant fees.
Have all the objectives been met? After the incredible first half to the season, it was arguable that Pep Guardiola didn't need to add anyone to his squad. Sanchez would have been a bonus, not a necessity, which is why City were able to pull out, however injuries to Benjamin Mendy and Fabian Delph has left them short at left-back.
Will deadline day be busy? A move for Athletic Bilbao's Aymeric Laporte is expected to be completed but the complexities of Spanish buy-out clauses means a deal could go right to the deadline. City are also pushing to finalise a deal for Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred before the January transfer window shuts.
What's left to do? Guardiola has already masterminded a huge overhaul of the squad but there are number of players that look surplus to requirements. Eliaquim Mangala's time at the Etihad Stadium looks over while Claudio Bravo is a long way from challenging Ederson for the No. 1 spot.
Deadline day prediction: Laporte to City should happen with Athletic unable to stop the France U-21 international leaving if they match his £57 million buyout clause. -- Jonny Smith
Rate the window so far: 9/10. United got one of the best players in the world in exchange of one who was struggling to get into the team. It doesn't get much better than that.
Have all the objectives been met? Jose Mourinho needed more goals in the team and he should have found them with Alexis Sanchez. You could argue United are still short of a midfielder but that can probably wait until the summer.
Will deadline day be busy? Not according to Mourinho. After signing Sanchez and letting Axel Tuanzebe move to Aston Villa on loan, he says that will be the end of United's business this month.
What's left to do? United will need at least one central midfielder in the summer and possibly another centre forward with Zlatan Ibrahimovic set to leave. Whether or not Mourinho tries to sign another left-back will depend on how well Luke Shaw does between now and the end of the season.
Deadline day prediction: Same as Jonny... Laporte to join Manchester City. -- Rob Dawson.
Rate the window so far: 5/10. Ross Barkley is a good low-cost gamble on potential at £15m, but a rusty debut against Arsenal in the Carabao Cup defeat highlighted that it will be some time before he is fit enough to be a dependable contributor. Much to Antonio Conte's frustration, Chelsea are yet to acquire anyone who can help the team out right now.
Have all the objectives been met? Chelsea went into this window needing cover for Marcos Alonso at left wing-back and a trusted alternative to Alvaro Morata up front. So far neither have been signed, though defender Emerson Palmieri's expected arrival from Roma will tick one of those boxes. The striker search has looked scattergun and often bizarre; Edin Dzeko would be a good signing, but even being linked with Andy Carroll, Peter Crouch and Ashley Barnes is a bad look for the reigning Premier League champions.
Will deadline day be busy? Marina Granovskaia will hope she can get Chelsea's business done with time to spare, but her exacting approach to negotiations ensured a frantic summer deadline day and, if deemed necessary, she will be prepared to go to the wire again. Chelsea also host Bournemouth in the Premier League in the final hours of the window, and Conte will want as little off-field distraction as possible.
What's left to do? The immediate needs have not changed. Chelsea require another striker Conte trusts enough to play (Michy Batshuayi is plainly not it) and a left wing-back who can give Alonso a rest. More extensive surgery will be required in the summer; the Blues have been far too dependent on Eden Hazard in attack this season and desperately need an infusion of star talent, even if it is on the younger end of the spectrum.
Deadline day prediction. Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy loves a prolonged negotiation, so it's a reasonable guess that he will wait as long as possible before making an acceptable offer for Paris Saint-Germain winger Lucas Moura. Working in his favour, however, is the fact that the French champions need to sell to have any chance of meeting Financial Fair Play obligations. -- Liam Twomey.
Rate the window so far: 4/10. Liverpool's joy from signing Virgil van Dijk only lasted a few days with the departure of their best player, Philippe Coutinho, soon following and none of £142 million transfer fee they received having since been reinvested. Daniel Sturridge's loan to West Brom will give him some game-time at least, but leaves the striking department looking short.
Have all the objectives been met? Jurgen Klopp finally got the centre-half he had desired for so long, and while Van Dijk could certain fix a glaring weakness, selling Coutinho means the Liverpool manager has another problem to solve. Even Liverpool's attempts to bring forward Naby Keita's transfer have been fruitless.
Will deadline day be busy? Deadline day at Melwood has been a typically quiet day for incomings in recent years. Klopp's recent comments have suggested that he is only fixated on long-term targets and is prepared to wait until the summer to secure them. But it could be busy for players leaving, with Lazar Markovic one who could depart.
What's left to do? It's nigh-on impossible to replace a player with Coutinho's quality, but Liverpool's depth in the squad is looks thin following the Brazilian's transfer to Barcelona. A long-term injury to any star player could have serious consequences for a season that still appears to be promising. With no Sturridge, Liverpool need to add another a player in the final third, as Klopp's options on the bench are Danny Ings and 20-year-old Dominic Solanke. At the other end of the pitch, a new goalkeeper could be sought in the summer, with the unconvincing Loris Karius now taking command of the No.1 jersey.
Deadline day prediction: Chelsea to land Olivier Giroud from Arsenal -- Glenn Price.
Rate the window so far: 7/10. In a month when Liverpool and Arsenal -- Spurs' two biggest challengers for a top four place -- have sold their best players, there has not been the merest suggestion of any Spurs stars leaving. But their lack of business so far has left them short of bodies.
Have all the objectives been met? No. While the club has faced no pressure to sell the likes of Harry Kane or Toby Alderweireld, they remain short of options in the final third, exposed by Christian Eriksen's recent illness. Mauricio Pochettino would still like to add more pace to his attack with a wide-forward.
Will deadline day be busy? Spurs have earned a reputation for late business and if they have not secured a winger before deadline day, Levy will likely use brinkmanship to try to sign a target for a cut-price fee. The club, though, are only in the market for one new player this month, so it is unlikely to be chaotic.
What's left to do? Pochettino would like to add a speedy winger to the squad, explaining the interest in Paris Saint-Germain's Lucas Moura and Malcom of Bordeaux, this month after allowing Georges-Kevin N'Koudou and Marcus Edwards to leave on loan. Spurs also need a long-term replacement for Mousa Dembele in central midfield, particularly if Harry Winks continues to struggle with ankle problems, but that can wait until the summer. A second wide-forward, one who can play up-front like Son Heung-Min, could replace Fernando Llorente in the squad at the end of the season.
Deadline day prediction. PSG blink first and Spurs sign Moura in a bargain deal. -- Dan Kilpatrick.
Rate the window so far: 8/10. This is assuming Arsenal get the Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang deal over the line, in which case they'll come out of January a stronger team than before Sanchez left.
Have all the objectives been met? Arsenal have sorted out the Sanchez situation in a positive way, and offloaded surplus players Francis Coquelin and Theo Walcott. It remains to be seen if Henrikh Mkhitaryan can return to his best form at the Emirates, but if Aubameyang comes in and perhaps Jonny Evans as well, everything is in place for a strong end to the season.
Will deadline day be busy? This again depends on the Aubameyang and possible Evans deal. Arsenal would probably like to have both resolved before deadline day, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see them drag on. Otherwise there should only be a few outgoing loan deals to take care of.
What's left to do? Arsenal are still screaming out for a proper defensive midfielder, a glaring weakness that Arsene Wenger has continually refused to address. Mesut Ozil's contract is another major issue that needs to be sorted out quickly.
Deadline day prediction: If Arsenal sign Evans, Rob Holding or Calum Chambers to go out on loan. -- Mattias Karen.
Rate the window so far: 5/10. Incomings and outgoings in the attacking third mark the only significant movement thus far, but the continued failure to sign a left-back undermines all other business.
Have all the objectives been met? Carrying over from the chaotic summer splurge, the gaping hole in the centre-forward position stood as the priority this window. Cenk Tosun has been recruited to fill that void, while the hope is Walcott can add pace, goals and creativity to a team in need of all three aspects. On first impressions and his career to this point, the £20m signing from Arsenal improves on the final-third options. But question marks over other areas of the squad persist, especially across the defence and in central midfield.
Will deadline day be busy? With manager Sam Allardyce grumbling about a shortage of available targets to fill the left-back vacancy, any incomings would be a welcome surprise at this late stage. Given the size of the squad and frequent comments from Allardyce on the subject, further outgoings seem likelier.
What's left to do? Unless the left-back issue resolves itself this window, that has to be among the first assignments once the season ends. Centre-back is another area to attend as Phil Jagielka and Ashley Williams turn 36 and 34 near the start of next season. A central midfielder in the Gareth Barry mould is also imperative as his playmaking ability from deep has been sorely missed this term.
Deadline day prediction: Edin Dzeko returning to the Premier League with Chelsea seems to be gathering pace. -- Luke O'Farrell.
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