Open sea­son on stars

TRANS­FER WIN­DOW: PREMIER LEAGUE CLUBS SET TO OPEN CHEQUE­BOOKS

The Citizen (KZN) - - Sport - Lon­don

The Premier League’s Jan­uary sales are open for busi­ness as clubs rush to snap up new year bar­gains in the one-month trans­fer win­dow. Liver­pool are run­ning away with the ti­tle race and have al­ready signed Ja­panese star Takumi Mi­namino, so the Reds are likely to sit out the frenzy while the chas­ing pack try to make the ad­di­tions that could help them close the gap.

Chelsea boss Frank Lam­pard is ex­pected to make a big splash af­ter be­ing un­able to sign play­ers in the sum­mer win­dow due to the club’s trans­fer ban.

With that two-win­dow sus­pen­sion halved by the Court of Ar­bi­tra­tion for Sport, Lam­pard needs sev­eral new re­cruits to help ac­cel­er­ate the devel­op­ment of his promis­ing young team.

Armed with a re­ported £150 mil­lion trans­fer war-chest, Lam­pard will look to im­prove at left­back, where Emer­son and Mar­cos Alonso have been too in­con­sis­tent.

The Blues have al­ready been linked with Le­ices­ter’s Ben Chilwell, but Lam­pard might not be sat­is­fied with only one sign­ing.

Hav­ing con­stantly be­moaned Chelsea’s lack of cut­ting edge against de­fen­sive op­po­nents, the Chelsea boss needs pace on the flanks, a clin­i­cal fin­isher to dove­tail with Tammy Abra­ham and, ideally, a cre­ative mid­fielder.

Crys­tal Palace for­ward Wil­fried

Zaha, Leipzig striker Timo Werner and Lyon for­ward Moussa Dem­bele are tar­gets.

Ole Gun­nar Sol­sk­jaer has re­vealed Manch­ester United are “look­ing at one or two” play­ers af­ter learn­ing Paul Pogba will be ab­sent for the next month.

France mid­fielder Pogba has been ad­vised to un­dergo surgery on his an­kle and that is a prob­lem for United man­ager Sol­sk­jaer, who is al­ready with­out Scott McTom­i­nay due to a knee in­jury.

Sol­sk­jaer missed out on promis­ing striker Er­ling Braut

Haaland, who has signed for Borus­sia Dort­mund from Red Bull Salzburg.

As­ton Villa mid­fielder Jack Gre­al­ish, Le­ices­ter duo Ri­cardo Pereira and James Mad­di­son, as well as Dort­mund’s Jadon San­cho have all seen their names con­nected to Old Traf­ford.

Mikel Arteta ad­mits Arse­nal could be more ac­tive than ex­pected af­ter Calum Cham­bers had surgery on a knee in­jury that will rule him out for a lengthy pe­riod.

It leaves new Gun­ners boss Arteta short of op­tions in de­fence and he will meet with tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor Edu and head of foot­ball Raul San­llehi this week to mull over their plans.

Arteta, who must also fo­cus on per­suad­ing Pierre-Em­er­ick Aubameyang to ex­tend a con­tract which ex­pires at the end of next sea­son, has been linked with bids for Le­ices­ter mid­fielder Wil­fred Ndidi, Atletico Madrid winger Thomas Le­mar and Leipzig de­fender Dayot Upame­cano.

Manch­ester City are 11 points be­hind Liver­pool, so a Jan­uary spree might not be worth­while.

Pep Guardi­ola in­sists City will not rush into the Jan­uary mar­ket be­cause the qual­ity of player avail­able is gen­er­ally not as high as in the sum­mer win­dow.

But City did sign Aymeric La­porte in the 2018 win­ter mar­ket, so a swoop isn’t out of the ques­tion, espe­cially if the sign­ing can help in Guardi­ola’s quest to win the Cham­pi­ons League for the first time since 2011.

For Tot­ten­ham boss Jose Mour­inho, the fu­ture of un­set­tled play­maker Chris­tian Erik­sen needs re­solv­ing as the Dane nears the end of his con­tract.

While Erik­sen is seem­ingly on the way out, Mour­inho must fo­cus on de­fen­sive re­in­force­ments and Napoli’s El­seid Hysaj, Mar­seille’s Hiroki Sakai, Bournemout­h’s Nathan Ake and West Ham’s Issa Diop are be­ing eyed.

With sec­ond placed Le­ices­ter fly­ing high, Brendan Rodgers main­tains no­body will be leav­ing de­spite plenty of in­ter­est in his tal­ented squad. – AFP

Pic­ture: Reuters

WIL­FRIED ZAHA

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