Transfer news: Will Arsenal sign a striker? Can Manchester United strengthen their midfield? Plus eight other questions to be answered before the window closes

The transfer window is just coming to life so Jack Pitt-Brooke outlines where the deals that could alter the season will be done

1. Will Arsenal sign a striker?

The biggest difference between Manchester City and Arsenal is the depth and quality of City's striking options. While Manuel Pellegrini can call on Sergio Aguero, Alvaro Negredo and Edin Dzeko, Arsenal have been desperately reliant on Olivier Giroud this season – Lukas Podolski and Nicklas Bendtner have started just three league games between them.

With Bendtner struggling with an ankle strain and Theo Walcott out for the rest of the season, Arsène Wenger – not one to rush into these things – is considering going into the market. He would love to take 21-year-old Alvaro Morata on loan from Real Madrid but a more realistic option might be the Fulham veteran Dimitar Berbatov on a short-term deal. Or he could rely on Giroud and hope for the best.

2. Can Manchester United strengthen their midfield?

One of the many problems of Manchester United's season stems from their failure to bring in quality midfielders in the summer, despite attempts for Cesc Fabregas and Ander Herrera. They have been punished, repeatedly, for this, languishing in seventh in the Premier League and out of the FA Cup.

David Moyes is trying to redeem this now, travelling to Italy to watch Cagliari against Juventus on Sunday. Juventus's first-choice midfielders – Paul Pogba and Arturo Vidal – are probably beyond United, Claudio Marchisio might not be. Moyes' coach Phil Neville went to Getafe v Rayo Vallecano, to see Saul Niguez, just 19 and on loan to Rayo from Atletico Madrid. There could be another move for Herrera – but United certainly need someone.

3. Will Ravel Morrison recast the relegation battle?

In a miserable season for West Ham United, Ravel Morrison has been one of the few bright sparks, impressing in midfield with his balance and skill. But he feels undervalued at Upton Park and knows that there are better options out there for him.

Fulham and Cardiff City – both managed by former coaches of Morrison from Manchester United – can probably offer him better terms. Fulham could certainly do with his youth and pace – manager Rene Meulensteen said they had a bid for Morrison rejected – Cardiff with his quality. If he were to leave, it could fatally undermine West Ham's attempts to stay in the division.

4. Which summer additions will be discarded?

January is the month of scaling back and cutting down, and some players bought in the enthusiasm of high summer may be cast off this month, if interested clubs can be found. Tottenham could send Lewis Holtby, bought last January, back to Schalke. Erik Lamela is desperate to leave but Spurs are likely to turn down loan requests for now at least, while there is Continental interest in midfielder Etienne Capoue. Andreas Cornelius – £8m in the summer – is yet to start a league game for Cardiff, similar to Nicklas Helenius at Aston Villa. Sunderland are awash with unwanted buys.

5. Which top-flight team will finally go for Tom Ince?

Tom Ince is expected to join a Premier League club (Getty) Tom Ince is expected to join a Premier League club (Getty)
The best player in the Championship, Blackpool's Tom Ince is at last on the verge of his long-awaited Premier League move. The England Under-21 winger nearly rejoined Liverpool last January and was then heavily linked with Cardiff in the summer, but now, with just six months left on his Blackpool contract, he is almost certain to leave. Swansea and Everton are keenest, with Everton offering the benefit of keeping Ince's young family in the North-west, but Newcastle and Tottenham retain an interest in the dangerous winger. There is even an offer from Monaco, but expect Ince to stay in England.

6. Will Liverpool get the edge on Everton?

Separated by just one point, Liverpool in fourth, Everton in fifth, the Merseyside race for a Champions League place will be one of the most interesting parts of the second half of the season. Everton have started their January recruitment already, adding the intelligence and skill of Aiden McGeady on the wing, a crucial addition after the injury to Gerard Deulofeu.

Liverpool, of course, will want their own wing additions and are aiming even higher for Basel's wideman Mohamed Salah. He will require a serious bid to extract from Switzerland this month, but Salah could well be the man to keep Liverpool in the top four.

7. Who will be the Ilan of the window?

Sometimes, a striker will come from relative obscurity at this time of year and score enough goals to save his new team. It has happened twice at West Ham, with Paul Kitson in 1997 and Ilan in 2010, or when Manchester City signed Emile Mpenza in 2007. Many teams at the bottom of the table could do with a striking saviour, unlikely or not – West Ham and Crystal Palace especially – so it remains to be seen which centre-forward will ride in to save their season. It could even be Carlton Cole, whose short-term deal with the Hammers has expired and which mean he is up for grabs.

8. Will Manchester City replace Samir Nasri?

Samir Nasri's injury may tempt Manchester City to enter the market for a midfielder (Getty) Samir Nasri's injury may tempt Manchester City to enter the market for a midfielder (Getty)
Just one point behind leaders Arsenal, but still playing the best football in the country, City cannot afford to let their season be derailed by Samir Nasri's two-month absence with his knee injury. The French midfielder's imagination and technical skill have been vital this season and the two obvious deputies – James Milner and Jesus Navas – do different things.

Then there is the issue of security in midfield, with City lacking an authentic holding player ever since Gareth Barry left last summer. They need to improve their away form to win the league and a new defensive midfielder might be the best way to do it.

9. Will Aston Villa add the experience they need?

Aston Villa's problems are obvious enough – Paul Lambert has built a team based on hunger, youth and enthusiasm, which can produce some stirring football, but they lack the experience and nous to win many games. Lambert seems to have recognised this and has added Grant Holt – who did so well for him at Norwich – on loan. They could do with another veteran defender or midfielder, but the obvious option, City's Joleon Lescott, is surely out of their salary range.

With Hull City on the verge of adding Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic this window, the value of players who know the division may become even clearer.

10. Will Pepe Mel follow Solskjaer's example?

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has not been at Cardiff very long but has already added two players – Magnus Wolff Eikrem and Mats Moller Daehli – he worked with at Manchester United and Molde. It makes perfect sense – Cardiff need to stay up and Solskjaer is signing known quantities – so he may well repeat the trick before the end of the month. Pepe Mel, newly in at West Bromwich Albion, could well bring in some of his better former players from Betis in the hope that they settle in quickly.

Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
News
i100
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
News
news
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Extras
indybest
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable