1 Will Manchester United get what they want?
All summer Manchester United have pursued three things: a left-back, an authoritative midfielder and a creator. On the final day of the window they are yet to sign anyone for their first team but there is hope at Old Trafford for some progress this evening.
David Moyes has been trying to bring the two leading players from his time at Everton – Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini – and has bid as much as £36million for the two. Both players are keen to come to Old Trafford but Everton will need to negotiate themselves a good fee – and then quickly line up replacements – if they are to let the two go.
Further afield, United want Athletic Bilbao’s brilliant little midfielder Ander Herrera. They have bid €30m (£25.6m) for him but will need to trigger his €36m release clause if they are to sign him. He was on the bench for Athletic’s game at Real Madrid yesterday.
2 Will Arsène Wenger land Madrid’s Mesut Ozil?
Arsène Wenger said after the game last night that Arsenal needed “one or two super players” and their top target today is Mesut Ozil, Real Madrid’s German international.
After the expensive arrivals of Asier Illarramendi, Isco and of course Gareth Bale, Real Madrid need to sell some of their surplus players. Arsenal were interested in Angel Di Maria but Ozil is now a likelier purchase.
Ozil, who joined Madrid from Werder Bremen three years ago, had said he would stay at Madrid but Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain have both made approaches for the 24-year-old.
Arsenal have made just two free signings so far – Yaya Sanogo and Mathieu Flamini – and are close to taking Palermo goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano on loan. One look at their Champions League group, however – Marseilles, Borussia Dortmund and Napoli – shows that they need to upgrade in quality quickly.
3 Will Newcastle hang on to Yohan Cabaye?
The French midfielder did not feature at the start of the season, so distracted was he by Arsenal’s £10million bid for him. Although he returned to the side for Newcastle’s win on Saturday another approach from Arsenal today is quite likely.
Mike Ashley asked after the first bid which part of Cabaye Arsenal wanted to buy and so if they return today they will need £15m or more. That money could be used to take James McCarthy, strangely still at Wigan Athletic, back to the Premier League. If Newcastle do not sign him then Everton may instead, with the money they would get from selling Fellaini.
Why Arsenal are prioritising another tidy clever central midfielder, when that is the one area where they are well-stocked, is slightly surprising, but Cabaye himself is clearly keen on joining them – a late agreement could well be reached.
4 Can Wigan hold on to their players?
There have only been a few departures from Wigan Athletic’s well-stocked squad since their relegation from the Premier League: Arouna Koné, Antolin Alcaraz and Joel Robles all went with Roberto Martinez to Everton while Franco Di Santo and Maynor Figueroa left on frees.
But Owen Coyle will come under real pressure today as Premier League clubs circle for two of his best players. James McCarthy has been admired more than approached so far but Everton made an offer yesterday and may well go higher if they sell one of their higher-profile assets. He is fancied elsewhere too – including at Newcastle – so may well end up in the top flight.
Callum McManaman is also popular, with Crystal Palace yesterday bidding £2.5million and, predictably, Everton looking at him.
5 Will West Ham upgrade on Modibo Maïga?
West Ham United are a side built around their big centre-forward and club record signing Andy Carroll. He has struggled with injury so far this season and on Saturday – as West Ham lost 1-0 at home to Stoke City – they clearly missed him. Modibo Maïga, his understudy, is not up to it. So Sam Allardyce has been looking for another striker, with a move this weekend for Genoa veteran Antonio Gilardino. It was not successful but given Carroll’s fitness problems they know that one more forward would far improve their chances this season. They could even go back for old boy Demba Ba, not near Jose Mourinho’s plans at Chelsea.