Transfer window activity has notably slowed in the past week, so allow Goal.com to give it a jump start by suggesting the six deals we hope will be completed
The Premier League is as tight as it has been for years, something many hoped would prompt a flurry of transactions and action throughout the month as the top four, top six and survival hopefuls bolster their squads. Yet many of the division's notoriously active sides are yet to dip their toes in the water.
But it is coming right? We at Goal.com are nothing if not ambitious, so here is a selection of the six transfers we want to see happen by the time February rolls around.
|Leandro Damiao to Tottenham
It has been one of the most protracted transfer sagas in Tottenham's history, which says a lot, but we may finally be nearing some sort of closure as Leandro Damiao edges as close as he has ever been to a switch to north London.
The 23-year-old target man is an usual prospect in Brazilian terms; a tall rangy striker, adept at holding the ball up but capable of scoring from almost anywhere. He has been capped 14 times by Brazil, scoring twice after a dramatic rise to prominence over the last two years.
At Internacional, the Porto Alegre club in partnership with Tottenham, he has netted an impressive 74 goals in 129 games, propelling him to the top of the wishlist of a number of Europe's biggest clubs.
But it was perhaps his performances at the 2012 Olympic Games that convinced the wider public of his class, top-scoring with six tournament goals as Brazil went on to lose in the gold medal match.
Far from the archetypal Brazilian striker, Damiao impressed with his hard work, penalty box predatory instincts and an ability to bring others into play. He may not have been schooled in Europe but he certainly seems ready for the switch.
- Jay Jaffa
|Wilfried Zaha to Manchester United
Wilfried Zaha is the player Crystal Palace fans sing is “just too good for you” to opposition teams.
A move to the Premier League for the 20-year-old is one of the worst-kept secrets in football - it is just a case of when and where to.
Arsenal and Manchester United look to be the two most likely destinations, with both clubs set to meet Palace chairman Steve Parish this week, as exclusively revealed by Goal.com.
While the England international was a Gunners fan as a youngster, a move to Old Trafford might take his fancy with the two clubs’ relative on-pitch fortunes in recent years.
With Antonio Valencia out of form this season, Ashley Young yet to really fulfill his potential at United and Ryan Giggs set to retire in the next year or so, a spot on the wing may just open up for Zaha.
And with Sir Alex Ferguson looking to build a squad for the future as he takes steps towards the exit door, the winger’s potential would no doubt excite the Old Trafford crowd.
- Joe Doyle
|Tom Huddlestone to QPR
Having made just 12 Premier League appearances this season – and a mere six starts – it looks likely Tom Huddlestone will be allowed to leave Tottenham during the January transfer window.
The midfielder has had the last two years of his playing career interrupted by an ankle injury, which has seen signings during that time such as Scott Parker and Sandro move firmly ahead of the 26-year-old in the pecking order.
It is easy to forget, then, that Huddlestone was an almost ever present when Spurs secured Champions League football in 2010, making 41 starts in 50 games in all competitions – more than any other outfield player.
Capped at international level by Fabio Capello and Roy Hodgson, the midfielder is unfairly derided for the physique of his younger years at times, and is far more stylish a footballer than a cumbersome one, with an excellent range of passing and a thunderous shot.
At 26, Huddlestone must now play regularly, and a move to QPR would present both the challenge of a relegation fight and the opportunity to display his full range of talents, under a manager in Harry Redknapp who has got the best from him before.
- Jamie Dunn
||Jack Butland to Fulham
Over the past 18 months, Jack Butland has enjoyed a meteoric rise from relative obscurity to establish himself as one of the brightest young goalkeeping talents in Europe.
He made his name over two loan spells with League Two club Cheltenham Town, providing a remarkably solid base as the Robins charged to the play-off final before losing to Crewe.
Keenly aware that countless scouts had watched their precocious 19-year-old, Birmingham were quick to commit Butland to a new contract until 2015, but the speculation has only intensified since.
In 2012, he cemented himself as the Blues’ No.1 and announced himself on the international stage, travelling to Poland and Ukraine with England’s Euro 2012 squad and taking his place between the sticks for Stuart Pearce’s Great Britain side in the Olympic football tournament.
With a solid, well-rounded skill set and maturity beyond his years, Butland has been linked with most of England’s top clubs. Liverpool and Arsenal have been frequently touted, but it is Fulham who consider the 19-year-old their top January target, as exclusively revealed by Goal.com.
The move would suit both parties. Butland is ready to experience Premier League football, but perhaps not the unrelenting pressures which go with playing for a top, top club.
Fulham, meanwhile, need a goalkeeper to replace the aging and increasingly error-prone Mark Schwarzer. If they could jump to the head of the queue to sign Butland, it would be quite a coup.
- Liam Twomey
|Loic Remy to Newcastle
It had appeared Newcastle United were closing in on the £8 million signing of striker Loic Remy from Marseille - but now QPR are set to be successful in their eleventh hour attempt to hijack the deal.
If the deal happens, it will be a hugely exciting one for Premier League observers and of course the fans at Loftus Road, but it is a disappointment the move to Newcastle will not go through.
Remy may have fallen from prominence slightly for Marseille this season, but that has allowed QPR to swoop for what looks like another competitive fee from the Ligue 1 market and a striker who has the physical attributes and ability to lead the line impressively in England.
It is a huge blow for Newcastle that they are missing out on this deal. These have been tough times for Alan Pardew’s side, who are struggling for momentum and flirting with the relegation zone – a fall from grace after the last campaign saw them consistently challenging in the top six.
Rumours of Fabricio Coloccini and Hatem Ben Arfa leaving the North East have not helped the mood either, although the signing of France international right-back Mathieu Debuchy certainly gave the club a boost.
We all know the Geordie fanbase love a new striker and Remy could have been the ideal antidote to their recent problems and the sale of Demba Ba to Chelsea.
If Remy slips through the net, Newcastle will hope they can find another striker to bring in who can have the same impact as Papiss Cisse had in scoring 13 goals from 14 Premier League games after arriving at this time last season.
- Chris Myson
|Tom Ince to Liverpool
Although Liverpool's desperation for the forward players denied them in the summer has been partially sated by Daniel Sturridge's arrival and Fabio Borini's return, the addition of Tom Ince would certainly be a welcome boost before the end of January.
Promising 18-year-old Raheem Sterling is still finding himself overworked on the left-hand side and Ince could provide the goal threat which his fellow winger is yet to consistently offer as he finds his feet in the Premier League.
Of course, aged just 20 himself, there are no guarantees that Ince will hit the ground running when he makes the step up from the Championship, but the customary settling in period experienced by new signings will surely be shorter given that the wideman spent two years on Merseyside as a youth player.
The biggest obstacle to a move materialising is proving to be Blackpool chairman Karl Oyston, who is taking a typically hardball approach to negotiations - as he did during Charlie Adam's move to Anfield from Bloomfield Road.
However, the player's desire for a switch means Liverpool expect to land themselves a forward who has a better record in the English second tier this season than the more regularly vaunted Wilfried Zaha.
The Stockport-born attacker also fits the young, talented and hungry profile which Reds owners Fenway Sports Group insist should dictate the club's transfer policy.
- David Lynch