Sport | Deadline day – expect the unexpected

As Arsenal and Liverpool have started the season well, and Chelsea and City have continued to grow since the new year, LS Sport predicts an onslaught of players coming into the bottom half of the Premier League on the 31st, as the gap between 11th and 20th tightens.

Indeed, just six points separate Swansea and Cardiff, the Welsh sides who sit at opposite ends of the bottom-half.

The likes of Swansea, West Brom, Norwich and Crystal Palace have been quiet throughout the window so far, and will be expecting to bolster on the final day.

Swansea’s solitary signing of David Ngog is unlikely to fill the void in goals left by Michu, judging by his record at Liverpool and Bolton, while West Brom will also be out to find another striker, following the sale of Shane Long to Hull City.

Norwich and Palace are yet to make their mark on the window. Defensive back-up appears to be the target for these two clubs, as both target Scott Dann, while free-agent Mohammed Sissoko is being sought after by Crystal Palace.

Several clubs in the bottom and top-half of the table have been linked with Thomas Ince, with Hull, Swansea, Palace and Sunderland all thought to be holding talks, although boyhood club Liverpool are also citing an interest.

At the foot of the table, contrasting activity so far means that for West Ham, Fulham and Cardiff, deadline day could be crucial. While Cardiff manager Solskjaer has already brought in five including Wilfried Zaha, Kenwyne Jones and Fabio Da Silva, three straight Premier League defeats since joining may force his hand back into the market. West Ham have signed Italy internationals Boriello and Nocerino, and with Andy Carroll returning from injury, look to have acquired the talent to rise out of the bottom free over the coming months.

Fulham, however, could be in real trouble should they fail to strengthen before the deadline. Against the backdrop of an already aging team, allowing dynamic players such as Bryan Ruiz and Adel Taarabt to leave could see the side stagnate. Given his form at Spurs last season, an aging Clint Dempsey looks past his best. Offers for unproven Manchester United duo Ryan Tunnicliffe and Larnell Cole are unlikely to inspire Cottager’s fans, but rumoured late moves for Lewis Holtby and Kostas Mitroglu might just give them hope.

Away from the doom-and-gloom of the relegation scrap, Manchester United are unlikely to stop at Juan Mata in their search for fourth place this season. While Chelsea have signed Salah and Matic and City pursue Porto’s Fernando, United have still failed to secure that deep-lying, tenacious midfielder the fans long for.

Links to Arturo Vidal were promising at the start of the window, but as the deadline draws nearer, Moyes is looking increasingly less likely to secure his target.

Another United target was Yohann Cabaye but, since his move to Paris Saint Germain, Newcastle will also be looking to bolster their midfield. Unsurprisingly, French duo Remy Cabella and Clement Grenier have been linked, as the Tynesiders look to add to their French contingent.

Among the potential surprises, it is the sides who have enjoyed excellent starts to the season which appear most likely to spend the big money. Arsenal’s link to Julian Draxler has looked more likely over the past few days, while Liverpool could move for pacey winger Yevhen Konoplyanka. Mauricio Pochettino, whose Southampton side lie comfortably in 9th, may not rest on his laurels, as Juventus’ Mirko Vucinic and Wolfsburgs Diego have been suggested as potential replacements for fiery-forward Osvaldo.

Spurs are also entering the window late, despite spending big last summer. With Hotlby, Chadli and Capoue all linked with moves away, Spurs have been linked with former striker Dimitar Berbatov – no stranger to the deadline day move.

With rumours rife and panic potent, Jim White has ensured over the years that football fans should expect the unexpected on deadline day.

Jamie Kirby

Image courtesy of The Guardian

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