While most fans and players will have both eyes on the upcoming rush of Christmas games, plenty of Premier League managers will have one eye on the state of their squads, the availability of players in the January transfer window, and the size of their respective Chairmen’s budgets. It’s the peculiar nature of the Premier League compared to most of Europe, that they forego a winter break and cram in as many games as possible over Christmas.
As if that didn’t make things hectic enough, the transfer window opens no sooner than the holiday season comes to an end, and top flight English teams have just a month to add to their squads in preparation for the second half of the season. What it also means is that there are enough rumours flying about to run a mill, and plenty of betting opportunities to get our teeth stuck into.
Two teams in crisis at the moment are Chelsea, who remain inexplicably in the lower reaches of the table; and Swansea, who have just dispensed with the services of manager Garry Monk. Both teams feature in our transfer window special, along with a couple of young English players who might be looking to work their way into Roy Hodgson’s England Squad for the Euro’s in France next summer.
Chelsea Need Stones
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has elected to stick with manager Jose Mourinho despite their shocking start to the season. He probably can’t conceive of a reason why a man who was such an incredible manager last year, has suddenly become such a terrible manager this season; and he’d probably be right to wonder. There are obviously problems at Stamford Bridge at the moment, but the blame surely can’t be laid squarely at Mourinho’s door.
However, they’re 14th in the league, just two points off the drop zone, and they’ve lost eight of their fifteen matches so far. Abramovich will almost certainly do what he’s always done, which is to throw money at the problem and hope that some of it sticks. While the rumour mill is linking Chelsea with a host of strikers and attacking players, it may be at the back where the bigger problems lay. John Terry becomes less effective with age year on year, and the normally ultra-reliable Ivanovic has been a shadow of his former self this season. Cahill and Zouma are quality centre-backs, but there doesn’t seem to be any cohesion and too often this year the Blues have been at sixes and sevens at the back.
Mourinho identified and pursued Everton’s John Stones in the summer, but the Toffees resisted Chelsea’s overtures and kept hold of their man. The resolve will be tested once again in January, and the +800 on offer with Skybet might be worth taking if Everton decide to cash in on their prize asset.
Other players who are never far from the transfer pages include Tottenham’s Andros Townsend and QPR’s Charlie Austin. Both players looked like shoo-ins for the England squad at different times over last season, but this year neither has really had a look in, for different reasons. Austin has been stuck in mid-table in the Championship with QPR this season, and although he’s done all the right things and is currently the club’s top scorer, he has seen the likes of Jamie Vardy move above him in the England pecking order. The club’s insistence that he won’t be sold may not hold much water.
Townsend meanwhile, appears to have been frozen out by Spurs, and hasn’t appeared for the club since a 4-minute cameo against Liverpool on the 17th of October. He wasn’t even able to get a game in the Europa League tie with Monaco last week, when Spurs played a severely weakened side.
Newcastle could be the likely destination for both, as manager Steve McClaren desperately tries to haul his side out of the relegation zone. The Magpies are still rooted in the bottom three with 13 points, and big summer forward signing Mitrovic has picked up more cards than goals in a very inauspicious start for the club.
Skybet offer +1100 on Charlie Austin making the move up north, and +200 on Townsend joining him. Both are worth a small investment with next summer’s Euro’s on the horizon and both keen to get regular Premier League football to stake their claims for the squad.
If Austin does take that option, QPR will be left with a gap in the squad and a bit of money to spend, and it would be no huge surprise to see them opt for a proven, experienced Premier League striker in the shape of Peter Crouch.
The lanky forward looks to be surplus to requirements at Stoke, and although injuries have contributed, he’s only managed a total of 47 league minutes for Stoke this season, over the course of three games.
Skybet go +450 on the former England target man swapping the potteries for London, and at this stage of his career it may not be the worst move for him.
Although not strictly a ‘transfer special’ another cheeky bet that catches the eye is a return to Swansea for former manager Brendan Rodgers. It would be fair to argue that he had a tough time of it at Liverpool, having to deal with the loss of Jamie Carragher, Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez during his tenure, but he was well-liked at Swansea after overseeing part of the club’s best period in history.
The Swans parted ways with Garry Monk last week, after slowly slipping down the table, and they are precariously poised just one point above the bottom three. While they may go for new blood, the +2500 on offer with Paddy Power about a Rodgers Return has to be worth a small stake.
January 2016 Transfer Window Betting
Chelsea to sign John Stones
Newcastle to sign Charlie Austin
Newcastle to sign Andros Townsend
QPR to sign Peter Crouch
Brendan Rodgers to be next Swansea Manager
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