Window of opportunity


Budget: £25-30m, hypothetically, but not expected to be stretched

Areas of weakness: A leaky defence is sorely missing Thomas Vermaelen, and with his return date still unknown the clamour is growing for Arsene Wenger to sign another centre-back

Targets: Everton defender Phil Jagielka, the subject of a failed bid in the summer, and highly-rated Bolton centre-half Gary Cahill

Likelihood of buying: Notorious penny-pincher Wenger has hinted he will avoid any major activity in the January market, despite the obvious shortcomings of his squad. Teenage Japanese forward Ryo Miyaichi is set to join, however


Budget: £10m-15m looks like the limit of Mohamed Al-Fayed’s generosity

Areas of weakness: As their position suggests, the garden isn’t looking particularly rosy for Mark Hughes’ side. Having said that, they’ve only conceded 20 goals, one less than Arsenal. They’ve missed the goals of Bobby Zamora, however

Targets: Man City outcast Roque Santa Cruz would provide goals, while Aston Villa’s Stephen Ireland and Tottenham’s David Bentley are able creators

Likelihood of buying: Fulham’s three main targets all enjoyed the best spells of their respective careers under Hughes, and would more than likely jump at the chance to work with him again


Budget: £50-60m if Roman Abramovich shows appetite

Areas of weakness: All aspects of the once-invincible team have been in a desperate malaise since early November, but of particular concern to Carlo Ancelotti will be an injury-riddled defence – John Terry and Alex have both been lengthy absentees – and a forward line that has gone from fearsome to toothless in a matter of weeks

Targets: Long-term target David Luiz, Benfica’s Brazilian centre-back, is said to be on the radar again, while Real Madrid defender Pepe’s contract dispute has alerted England’s top sides, and the Portuguese would be a useful addition. Up front, Manchester City target Edin Dzeko looks likely to leave Wolfsburg, and Chelsea have been credited with an interest. Ancelotti is said to want Tottenham’s Luka Modric, but has virtually no chance of signing him mid-season

Likelihood of buying: Abramovich is rumoured to be ready to loosen the purse strings and provide an injection of fresh talent, but a return to the largesse of old is not expected. Ancelotti will argue that a faltering title charge demands additions


BUDGET: £20-30m, thanks to their Champions League run

AREAS OF WEAKNESS: One of the best-equipped squads is not short of numbers, but freakishly injury-prone defenders may demand investment in cover. Harry Redknapp also appears to fancy some striking reinforcements, with Robbie Keane seemingly on his way out of White Hart Lane (again)

TARGETS: Newcastle and England target man (left) Andy Carroll’s excellent season has caught Redknapp’s eye. West Ham captain Scott Parker and Everton’s Steven Pienaar are more likely arrivals, the latter because his contract is set to expire in the summer

LIKELIHOOD OF BUYING: Players may need to leave as well but it seems inconceivable that Redknapp, with the title race more open than ever, won’t at least try to strengthen his hand


BUDGET: £10-£15m at a push

Areas of weakness: West Ham fans would likely point at Avram Grant, the man entrusted with spending the club’s cash in January, as the main factor in their miserable season. Other than Scott Parker, there seems a shortage of fighters – that needs addressing

TARGETS: Tottenham’s Robbie Keane and Monaco’s Dieumerci Mbokani are strike targets, while Gary O’Neil of Middlesbrough and Jamie O’Hara of Spurs would add midfield bite. Aston Villa’s Steven Sidwell looks a sure bet to sign for around £1m

Likelihood of buying: Survival will hinge on how, rather than if, Avram Grant spends in January. Keane would represent something of a coup, but already wages look like a stumbling block. O’Hara thrived under Grant at?Portsmouth; he’s likely to be available and would compliment Parker nicely