Well, well, well. Liverpool have made a move in the transfer window. Armed with a bulging transfer WAR CHEST from the sales of Suso and Oussama Assaidi, Brendan Rodgers and company moved for Burnley hotshot Danny Ings. The 22-year-old has only scored a couple of league goals fewer than Swansea City's record moneymaker Wilfried Bony and very nearly matched the number of goals scored by Manchester United's Robin van Persie from a similar number of league minutes as well as starts. Of the players who have scored six league goals or more — there are twenty-two of them — Ings would be the most affordable within the prescribed age limit favoured by the current transfer modus operandi.
Liverpool still have Daniel Sturridge, Mario Balotelli, Fabio Borini, and Rickie Lambert to call upon. Divock Origi will be a part of the squad in the summer and Iago Aspas is on loan at Sevilla. While Daniel Sturridge's injury record is patchy, the England international has never been injured for such a length of time in Liverpool colours. Would Sturridge, Origi, Ings, and perhaps one other constitute a striking set capable enough for Liverpool's ambitions (definitions may vary) next season?
A rival doing serious work once again.
Chelsea really know what they're doing in the transfer market and have shown that over the past few transfer windows. Roman Abramovich, Marina Granovskaia, José Mourinho, and Michael Emenalo must be doing something right. Chelsea just keep selling squad players for serious cash to replace them with superior ones. The speedy Mohamed Salah and the counter attacking threat André Schürrle are leaving so that Juan Cuadrado can come in. Fiorentina will get money and Salah on loan as compensation. The deal is reportedly worth £26.8 million, the amount stipulated in the Colombian player's release clause, but there will be add-ons included that must be fulfilled for the full amount to reach La Viola's bank account.
Schürrle is a favourite of this column and would do well under Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool. However, Wolfsburg will celebrate spanking Bayern Munich with the signing of the German international as words have been agreed before signatures inevitably follow. Mourinho hasn't rotated his squad too much this season, so shedding two players he doesn't trust but adding one he does will be good for him. Cuadraro will be eligible for the Champions League as he only featured in the Europa League this season, something that would make losing two wide players in exchange for one somewhat justifiable with four months of the season remaining. He's an excellent player, but there's an element of mid-season gamble with the turnover of players in a key position where there's not much depth.
The magnificent Alan Pardew getting busy.
He knew he was full of splendour. His personality reflected his magnificence. Alan Pardew is in the house and has signed a few players to help him continue his fine start to life at Crystal Palace. Jordan Mutch and Shola Ameobi have joined the project in South Norwood. That's central midfield and striking depth bolstered. Mutch wasn't having much fun at Queens Park Rangers only six months after joining from Cardiff City in the summer, and will hope to bring the form he showed last season with the Welsh club to a different part of London. Ameobi has been without a club for a month or so, but is a player Alan Pardew knows well from their time together in the North-East.
Pape Souaré is part of the party too and arrives from Lille. He's a fullback and is ummm ... that's all you're going to get, there's no need to overload your brain with insider Ligue 1 knowledge. Yaya Sanogo's loan from Arsenal has already produced a goal for Crystal Palace, and Wilfried Zaha may rejoin permanently from Manchester United. That will also free up a spot for another Premier League player to join Pardew's Palace on loan. More business may follow.
Playing football might actually be useful for a player. Maybe.
Scott Sinclair has moved to Aston Villa on loan. The struggling Midlands club needs some creativity and goals in a Premier League campaign that looks more desperate by the week. Only eleven league goals combined with no wins in the past seven league can only mean trouble for manager Paul Lambert. A trip to Arsenal and a home match against Chelsea are next up in the league for an Aston Villa side a fruitless run to nine games heading into an away clash with Hull City. Will Sinclair provide any spark for an outfit in a relegation battle?
Well, this column doesn't think much of the mentality of players such as Scott Sinclair. He turns 26 in March and has hardly developed his game since moving to Manchester City. He claims that the best in his career is yet to come after his latest loan move, but look at his career. After being shunted around on loan as a Chelsea player, he finally flourishes at Swansea City. Two years into a three-year deal, he leaves after one season in the Championship and one in the Premier League. For Manchester City. A player at 23 shouldn't be doing that in those circumstances. Sure, he can try his luck but not breaking into the West Bromwich Albion team last season doesn't say much, does it? When will English youngsters learn? Time your moves and choose your destination clubs wisely.
In other news ...
CSKA Moscow striker and reliable Football Manager signing, Seydou Doumbia, is close to signing for AS Roma. He's still at the African Cup of Nations with Côte d'Ivoire but will most likely be the replacement for Mattia Destro who moved on loan to AC Milan. The talented and fantastically named James Ward-Prowse has signed a new contract with Southampton for five-and-a-half years. Well done Southampton. Unfortunately, Jack Cork has departed for Swansea City form Southampton. £3 million was enough to secure the services of a good Premier League midfielder on a three-and-a-half year contract. His contract was expiring so this wasn't a bad deal for a midfielder in his mid-twenties for both sides, and Swansea continue to use that Wilfried Bony money to strengthen Garry Monk's squad.
Hatem Ben Arfa, another column favourite, cannot play for the rest of the season for his new club Nice in Ligue 1. Why? You wouldn't believe it if you read it. A Newcastle under-21 match counted as a competitive one, so Ben Arfa has been judged to have already played for two teams this season. An appeal is in the works. Rules eh?
Only days remain in the January transfer window. Will this be the second year in succession where Liverpool conduct no incoming business? Will the team continue to improve even without additions? Will there be any big surprises in the Premier League before the window closes? Find out in a bumper transfer special in the next edition. There may be an unlikely surprise signing leaning, smiling emptily, and scribbling on a blank piece of paper in worrying confusion. Stay tuned.