Welcome back to your unwelcome and maddening January stint of TLO's Transfer Round-Up. This month we'll take you through some of the transfers that you wish Liverpool were making in the Premier League and beyond. New Year's Day brought some unexpected results full of goals in the Premier League, and some clubs will be extremely busy in trying to make improvements in key areas. Maybe a new attacking talisman or leader in midfield to fill the void of departing club legend Steven Gerrard or senior players will follow Lloyd Jones, Kevin Stewart and Jack Dunn out on loan.
Sky Sports have provided some succinct information about starting and closing dates of the transfer window. For the Premier League, it starts on 3 January 2015 and closes at 11 PM GMT/ 6PM EST on 2 February 2015, because FIFA actually have regulations that must be followed. Opens on a Saturday and closes on a Monday. Plenty of time to get Saido Berahino for just £14 million instead of £23.5 million and sell Fabio Borini.
Frank Lampard shocks football world by remaining with Manchester City.
Frank Lampard has done what we all thought he would and extended his loan with Manchester City until the end of the season. This move poses questions on the status of the MLS, ownership, and loans abroad for ageing players determined to play at a higher level whenever possible. It's a good move for Manchester City who will count on more of his goals this month with Yaya Touré on imminent international duty this month. He's been one of the surprises of the season so far, as many didn't expect the former England international to have done as well as he did. He scored the winning goal against Sunderland to bring the champions level with a Chelsea side that succumbed to a Harry Kane bulldozing master-class for Tottenham Hotspur.
Premier League's top three ready for action.
Manchester United are believed to be serious about buying Seamus Coleman according to the UK Guardian. Something about being more robust, productive, and mature than Rafel da Silva. The column wouldn't mind the Man United right back replacing Glen Johnson but expects little agreement below the line. The same paper brings news of Aston Villa's Ron Vlaar as a target for the Red Devils along with confirmation that Paul Lambert has let Darren Bent join Derby County on loan until the end of the season. Lukas Podolski is likely to join Inter Milan on loan after Arsène Wenger spoke described the Italian club's initial offer as a "joke" when questioned on the issue. The UK Telegraph has provided word of Chelsea conducting one of those buy-a-highly-rated-youngster-and-immediately-loan-him-out manoeuvres that Liverpool seem desperate to emulate. Is there a way that this ends without the player moving on to another club for a profit never to have made his name at his parent club? Only the Football Gods know of such things. And Jonathan Wilson. And Gary Neville. And Raphael Honigstein.
Wilfried Bony could be on the move. The reigning Premier League champions are interested in the Ivorian striker who is set for international duty this month, but FFP restrictions mean he won't be eligible for Champions League action. Wouldn't it be simply wonderful to see a player Liverpool could have bought in the summer excel with a side that Liverpool tussled with last season? No? Oh well. Sergio Agüero, Stevan Jovetić, and Edin Džeko have interesting characters and possess the quality to probably restrict Bony's minutes if they resume fitness. Agüero and Jovetić are somewhat injury prone, and Manuel Pellegrini probably doesn't want to solely rely on Džeko in the other two strikers are unavailable. Džeko is lovely though.
Better than the English Premier League: La Liga.
Gareth Bale is not going to Manchester United soon. Or anywhere. Ever. Sorry Louis Van Gaal. Also, did you know that Cristiano Ronaldo has already scored 25 league goals for a Real Madrid side that has scored 55 already in just 15 games in La Liga? Elsewhere in Spain, Barcelona's transfer ban has been upheld so no new players for one of the underrated players of the 1990s, Luis Enrique. Barcelona have always looked to youth and will have to do so this year.
Valencia are currently in fourth spot ahead of three teams by just a single point and have bolstered the midfield with the signing of Argentina World Cup midfielder Enzo Pérez from Benfica for big money. Peter Lim's new ownership is flexing its muscle and continuing a recent trend of picking up talents from Benfica such as Rodrigo. The deal is €25 million and there's the usual official Benfica paperwork that confirms the fee in Portuguese. Look for the teams, the name of the player, and the surprising price for a dependable midfielder that turns 29 in February. Fernando Torres is back at his boyhood club Atlético Madrid. It's a loan until 2016 until Diego Simeone's side decides to buy him from AC Milan and loan him to Elche or Granada. Japes aside, I think a spark may be rediscovered by El Niño in Spain.
Better than the English Premier League: Bundesliga.
Wolfsburg are flying high in the Bundesliga and will resume league action against none other than that wonderful side Bayern Munich at the end of the month. If you have the time, take an hour or so to savour what Pep Guardiola is doing in Germany. The question is whether a key player, formerly of Chelsea, will remain at Deiter Hecker's side beyond the mid-season transfer window. Kevin de Bruyne was supposedly involved in a love revenge square last year but is reportedly a target of the likes of Manchester City and Bayern Munich. It doesn't beat Mauro Icardi's lovelife though. He's having an excellent season with 6 goals and 12 assists in the Bundesliga and Europa League. Will the seemingly strategic weakening of rivals continue or will Manchester pick up another former Chelsea player? The Belgian international's agent , Patrik De Koster, had reassuring words for Wolfsburg fans, and it looks like the youthful looking playmaker will remain with Wolfsburg. For now. There's always Wolfsburg's Nicklas Bendtner, a striker who will have that season of goals galore somewhere somehow.
Marco Reus is the subject of quite a few rumours so it's best to race through them. Reus is wanted by Manchester United, Manchester City, and Chelsea but will move to Real Madrid in the summer. The same paper reported a day earlier that he was actually joining Atlético Madrid to the disappointment of Arsenal, Liverpool, and Manchester United. In both headlines, the word "agree" was in capital letters to make sure that you knew it was true. Do you see why the UK Daily Star might not be the most reliable source for transfer news? Oh, and Mourinho has apparently told Roman Abramovich that he must have Reus. The source? The Daily Star on the same day that the paper reported he was off to join Real Madrid. Marca ran a sensible story on New Year's Eve about why the German international was the "hottest property in Europe" and rumours are flying around concerning the 25-year-old's future. Maybe that's behind the endless reporting on Marco Reus as it will generate clicks, even if groans inevitably follow. So, let's add him to the end of the url. Done!
Eden Hazard's younger brother was always a decent pick on Football Manager if you just wanted to experiment (it's not just for university folks), and the kid's been a creative squad player on loan at Gladbach. Unsurprisingly, Thorgan Hazard has been linked with a permanent move away from Stamford Bridge with a £6.8 million offer to keep him under the tutelage of his current manager, Lucien Favre. Struggling Borussia Dortmund have sold Ji back to Augsburg after the South Korean international joined Jürgen Klopp's side in the summer. Here's twitter confirmation for you doubting media luvvies.
Next time we'll visit a league that's not better than the English Premier League: Serie A. Be braced for news on Mario Balotelli, Paul Pogba, Stephan El Shaarawy, and Xherdan Shaqiri along with what else develops in the coming days. There'll also be more on the return of Alessio Cerci to Italy after a short stint in Spain, a move that the player says he's looking forward to. Maybe a few players will have arrived at Crystal Palace, West Bromwich Albion, and Newcastle. Tony Pulis and Alan Pardew will be busy managers this month, but who will be the third less busier figure in the North-East? It certainly won't be Ronald de Boer, a manager who is too good for the perpetual nonsense under Mike Ashley.