Chris O (follow on Twitter: @COakleyFtbl)
Wed 2 January 2008

Leave the signings to us...

It's January, folks, and if you're a Premier League fan that can only mean one thing - the opening of the transfer window. Trouble is, you're probably sitting there like us thinking "when's somebody going to buy someone?"

I know we're only two days into the new year, but let's face it, there's a lot of clubs out there with a whole stack of money to spend - they just don't know who to spend it on.

Well fear not, oh chairmen of the Premier League. Help is at hand from your ever-reliable SPOATP. We've done all the thinking for you and have suggested one key player we think your club should buy.

We didn't make selections for all twenty teams in the Premier League - that'd make for a long, boring list. Instead, here are ten to be going on with, and if you can suggest any purchases of your own, feel free to leave a comment and tell us who it involves.

Michael Carrick
When you look at Arsenal, you see a team that's lost only one game all season and scored nearly four times more goals than they've scored. So what are they lacking? Answer: someone who's English. With half the team about to set sail for the African Cup of Nations, Wenger's army are in dire need of someone who represents the Premier League's home country, and United's Carrick seems to fit the bill. His profile has been somewhat lower recently than it has been and we think he's due for a change to liven up his career a bit. Off you go, Michael - you know it makes sense...

Dimitar Berbatov
Things going flat? Needing a little sparkle to convince your fans you really can win the title this year? Then get new-improved Dimitar Berbatov with added Ambition+! We're lead to believe the free-scoring Bulgarian is tired of toiling at White Hart Lane and now wants to win some silverware, so with half the Chelsea team locked away in the treatment room, this could be an opportunity made in heaven for both parties. What's that? Can't afford him, Mr Abramovich? Rubbish!

Derby County
Jens Lehmann
45 goals conceded in 20 games suggests only one thing - problems at the back. Stephen Bywater, bless him, has been doing his best but we think Herr Lehman would bring some steel and efficiency to The Rams' defence. And before you say it - yes, we know he's a bit nutty, but you could put up with that if you were bottom of the table, couldn't you? So there it is: German efficiency personified - just what Paul Jewell could do with. Urgently.

Mikael Forssell
This could finally be the year that Fulham drop into the Championship and new manager Roy Hodgson has it all to do. We'd therefore like to make a suggestion to the coach: get in a player you know that can be trusted and can score a few goals. Now let's see - who played for Hodgson in the Finland team that matches that description... ah yes, of course - Mikael Forssell! He's doing the business for Birmingham City at the moment and went down well at Chelsea too. The ideal choice for a strong end-of-season finnish (sic).

Mikel Arteta
You have to admit, Liverpool have got some pretty good players in their team. Think Gerrard, Torres, Carragher... and yet on occasions they seem to lack someone who can just get on with the job of giving the ball to the front men when they need it. That means they have a vacancy open and we think the ideal candidate to fill it is Mikel Arteta. He's so reliable at doing the ordinary things - crossing the ball, making important passes... oh, and he's pretty deadly from free-kicks as well. If The Reds needed any more persuasion, what could be sweeter than nicking a player from your rivals? Convinced yet? We thought you might be...

Manchester United
Martin Laursen
The one thing you can say about Man United is that their team is full of players that seem to be able to score goals no matter which position they play in. That said, we think their defence could be chipping in with a few more, so we suggest bringing in Martin Laursen from Aston Villa. He's in red-hot form at the moment, is scoring more often than some of his colleagues nearer the front line, so go on Sir Alex - have a word with Martin O'Neill and show him the colour of your money. You know it makes sense...

Newcastle United
Benjani Mwaruwari
Some say that Sam Allardyce's days are numbered at St James' Park. We don't, but if they are, we can recommend someone he should buy that might extend his contract by a few months - Portsmouth's Benjani. Newcastle have often been somewhat misguided in the past when it came to buying strikers (Alan Shearer excluded), but here's a man that could definitely do a job for them. Just think - Sam Allardyce and Harry Redknapp doing a transfer deal. Imagine what that could do for the country's brown paper industry...

Kevin Doyle

Pompey are so tantalisingly close to a UEFA Cup place. All they need is a boost to propel themselves into one of those top spots in the table. The man that can help them do it is Kevin Doyle of Reading. If Harry Redknapp's proven himself capable of one thing, it's getting the best out of a player that's not, shall we say, 'an international superstar'. Doyle, in turn, has shown he can score goals on a regular basis, so put the two together and what have you got? A potential match between Portsmouth and Atletico Madrid next season, if all goes to plan...

Tottenham Hotspur
Wayne Bridge
Surplus to requirements even in an injury-ridden side like Chelsea, Bridge could be just the man to lend some much needed strength to a weak defence. We know he's prone to a few injuries himself, but he's a man on a mission - to break into the England team on a permanent basis. With a new national coach in charge, maybe this is the move that Wayne Bridge has been looking for?

West Ham United
Andriy Shevchenko
Well why not? The Hammers have still got lots of Eggert Magnusson's cash sloshing around in the bank, they need a decent striker (and don't you dare try to convince us that Carlton Cole's just "going through a bit of a bad patch") and the Ukrainian still doesn't look like the goal machine Abramovich was hoping would become legendary at Stamford Bridge. Time, therefore, to bring Shev to the other side of London...

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