Premier League fans' dream signings named
At this time of year, the rumour mill approaches warp speed, spinning so fast it threatens to crash off its axis and go careering across the planet. There are so many speculative rumours around during the transfer window that it’s hard to know which to trust and which should be burned on the fire.
However, to help you cut through the codswallop and sort wheat from chaff, we’ve done a lot of hard work for you to come up with the answers. With the help of the stat-crunchers at Forza Football, we’ve painstakingly surveyed more than 277,000 fans voting on more than 1,000 different transfer rumours published since the last transfer window closed on September 1 2014, through to January 9 2015.
Each time a rumour has been published, we have offered the fans of that club a simple choice – simply vote ‘Like’ or ‘Dislike’. The results of those votes have allowed us to piece together a list of players each club’s fans would be happiest to see their club sign this month.
This doesn’t, of course, mean their clubs will sign them, but they should. For as we all know, we fans know far better than the manager, the chairman or that shadowy billionaire owner what our clubs need.
So, without further ado, let’s consider the evidence…
Having finally relented and agreed to sign the big cheques, it’s no surprise that the list of players supposedly on Arsenal’s radar this January is very, very lengthy indeed. Having reached the midway stage of the season, with the Gunners sat in sixth and showing no real signs of being able to challenge for the title again, the midfield remains the priority for strengthening, just as it did in the summer, and the summer before that, and the etc etc.
It seems that most Arsenal fans have been watching a lot of the Bundesliga lately and have identified Dortmund’s Marco Reus (83%) and Bayern Munich’s World Cup winning goalscorer Mario Götze (82%) as the men Arsene must sign, along with Dortmund’s rugged centre-back Mats Hummels (83%).
Schalke’s wide boy Julian Draxler and Real Madrid’s scheming defensive midfielder Sami Khedira also rank highly (82%). The most romantic name on the list was, however, one Thierry Henry, whose retirement from New York Red Bulls had led to speculation that he may return once again to his spiritual home. Talk of this received an 82% approval from Arsenal fans, but Henry of course chose to join Sky TV FC instead. A wise move for all involved.
With 11 goals in 20 games all season long, you don’t need to be a theoretical physicist to identify Aston Villa’s key failings this season. Gabriel Agbonlahor and Andreas Weimann have three goals apiece, while the fit-again-but-not-firing-again Christian Benteke has just two. Yet it’s not their fault and it’s not a new striker that most Aston Villa fans want.
It’s better service to those frontmen that is needed most, and the fans would like it to come in the shape of Tottenham’s attacking midfielder Lewis Holtby (84%), currently on loan at Hamburg, and/or Leeds United’s Alex Mowatt (81%), and/or Marseille left-winger Andre Ayew or Manchester City’s wasted winger Scott Sinclair (both 79%).
If pushed on a striker they’d be happy to see sign this window, AC Milan’s Giampaolo Pazzini is the man most Villa fans (77%) would want to bring in, and a cynic might suggest that his return of no goals in eight Serie A matches this season would make him a perfect fit. ..
At the beginning of the season, Burnley’s ambitions – in terms of new additions – were understandably modest. They strengthened their squad by bringing in nine young Brits for a relatively modest £4.5 million in all, and hoped they, plus honest endeavour, would be enough. Now, 20 games in, Sean Dyche and the rest of us have seen that it may just about be enough, with a little luck and one or two new additions. Suddenly, expectations and ambitions have become less modest.
Now, of the players mentioned as possible signings, and having signed top target Michael Keane (86%) on a permanent deal, Burnley fans want a couple of statement signings. They want AC Milan’s (far from prolific) striker Giampaolo Pazzini (81%) and the boy Junior Sornoza (73%) of Ecuador’s Independiente del Valle, who we all know to be an attacking midfielder of some promise. The fans would also welcome a move for Huddersfield striker James Vaughan (74%) just, we assume, to keep things real.
Having had his customary first season to assess, tinker and pout around, most Chelsea fans entered the new season happy with their squad. The addition of Diego Costa had added the battering ram they needed to bully opponents into submission and the team appeared ready to push Manchester City far harder than they had the previous season. If Chelsea fans could have been greedy, they’d have quite liked to have signed Real Madrid’s centre-back Raphael Varane, PSG winger Ezequiel Lavezzi and his hairy team-mate Edinson Cavani, but only because they have a lot of money and aren’t afraid to spend it.
But in the last four months, as Chelsea have cantered to the top of the Premier League, then slowed down again to make it more exciting for the neutrals, three new names have come up as possible additions this window. Top of the list sit Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba (78%), who’d likely cost them in the region of £44m, Bayern Munich’s attacking midfielder Mario Gotze (77%) and Real Madrid centre-back Raphael Varane (76%). The locals are less convinced by several names further down the list, however, with Gareth Bale (71%), Raheem Sterling (70%) and Lionel Messi (67%) receiving a lukewarm response.
The difficult second season for Palace clearly wasn’t helped by the unexpected exit of Tony Pulis on the eve of the first game, and even less so by the arrival of his replacement, the largely unwanted and unloved Neil Warnock. That Palace now find themselves floundering back among the dead men is no real surprise then, but the fact they’re within a win of 14th place gives cause for optimism, providing Alan Pardew turns out to be The Messiah. And the jury’s clearly out on that one.
The new manager will have noted that he has a solid squad to work with, as illustrated by an 11th-place finish last season and the fact he has the same defence and midfield that Pulis worked wonders with. But he’ll also have recognised that like every team fearing the drop, they lack a reliable goalscorer, with Frazier Campbell (three in 12) not convincing anyone.
Mr Pardew apparently likes the look of Swansea’s Bafetimbi Gomis, although he is far less prolific than Campbell with one goal in 16 games. The fans prefer either Peter Crouch or AC Milan’s wily (as in he’s 30 so should know a trick or two) Giampaolo Pazzini, both of whom receive an 80% approval. However, the man most Palace fans would really welcome is something of a surprise: Toulouse right-back Jean-Daniel Akpa Akpro (84%). Elsewhere, Rickie Lambert ranks 79%, while that mischievous ‘Ashley Cole To Palace’ rumour received an unconvincing 78% approval.