January Transfer Two-a-Days: Liverpool and Fulham
With the January window looming, it's time to look at which players around the world should be on Premier League manager's shopping lists (keep in mind the aim to be, shall we say, "realistic").
CDM: Yann M'Vila, 23 - FC Rubin Kazan (Russia):
What's the main gripe pundits and fans alike have when it comes to Liverpool's title aspirations? They lack the "Yaya Touré-like rockin their midfield." A player who can stop attacks, and start one all the same. Everything being equal: vision, tackling, finishing, physical prowess, etc. -- Yaya Touré is the best footballer on the planet; so asking Liverpool to acquire a player with his skill-set is technically impossible.
Unless of course Manchester City could be persuaded to sell him - maybe Kolo could come in handy there, who knows? (We all know - never gonna happen.) With the Ivorian off the table, one must look elsewhere. French international Yann M'Vila seems an ideal fit for Brendan Rodgers' system.
He strong, physical, loves a tackle, and can find that extra bit going forward if need be. Playing in the Russian Premier League won't do his World Cup preparation any favours, so a possible move to Merseyside could be the perfect marriage for both player and club. We all know Liverpool's attack has been blazing as of late, but when their goal tally dries up a bit, it will be their defense that'll earn them points.
Dispensing M'Vila into midfield would go a long way to keeping LFC top of the table, or at least top four - which leads to the next point ...
(Current Market Value: +£13 million*)
ST: Luis Suarez, 26 - Liverpool FC (England):
Half of being a great team is holding on to what you've got. Humans always see "greener pastures" if allowed to stare long enough - and football players are no exception. Luis Suarez inked a deal to keep him at Anfield for the next five years, making upwards of £40 million over the duration of the contract. Some may see this as a "secure" deal; one which will keep the hottest player on the planet in a Liverpool kit until at least 2018, but nothing's guaranteed in football - ever.
Contracts in football (and sports in general) are less valuable than the paper they're written on. With Real Madrid seemingly in love with the in-form Uruguayan, the new contract he's signed could be a temporary fix to a growing problem. If Liverpool miss out on Champions League football again, it's hard to see how a competitor the likes of Suarez won't leave while he's still in his prime. Liverpool's biggest "signing" of this (and every) transfer window (from now until +/-2020) will be to retain the services of Luis Suarez - full stop.
(Current Market Value: ++£37 million*)
CDM: Mohamed Sissoko, 28 - Free Agent (N/A):
As Fulham look primed for a relegation battle, there are only two things that can save them - goals and better defending. The acquisition of Clint Dempsey on loan should assist in the goals department, but what to do about the leakage of goals at the back?.
Former Liverpool, Juventus and Paris Saint-German midfielder Mohamed Sissoko is available as a free agent, and his wealth of experience around Europe could be useful in elevating the West London side from the drop zone. The 28 year-old Frenchman knows the Premier League and should be well rested as he hasn't played in the current footballing year.
Certainly another midfielder with a defensive mindset would ease the pressure on the likes of Scotty Parker (32), Steve Sidwell (31) and Georgios Karagounis (36). The only worry with Sissoko are his knees; which have been nagging him for the better part of three years.
With all this time off though, he should be healthy enough for a productive return.
(Current Market Value: -£2 million*)
CB: Johnny Heitinga, 30 - Everton FC (England):
With injured centre-back Brede Hangeland set to make his return to the first-team next month, René Meulensteen might look to bolster other areas of his squad rather than defence - that could be a massive blunder.
Johnny Heitinga has appeared in exactly zero Premier League matches for Everton this season. It's an interesting notion when a Dutch international can't get more than two League Cup matches for his domestic club - it's rather odd.
Heitinga has six months left on his contract, and if Everton aren't going to give him new deal, they should at least see what they can get for him on the market.
Fulham - they just need help; their defence is the worst in the Premier League, having surrendered 34 goals in 17 games. The Toffees on the other hand seem to be doing just fine without Heitinga; Tim Howard and Co. have allowed just 16 goals in 17 - the best defensive ratio in the BPL.
This could be a win-win situation for both sides, which is ever-so rare in sports these days. Fulham get a much-needed, motivated tank leading their back line, and Everton get just enough money in return to keep Ross Barkley from real estate agents in London or Manchester.
(Current Market Value: -£5.3 million*)
*MVs estimated by www.transfermarkt.co.uk
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