Can Aberdeen hold on to Icelandic midfilder Kari Arnason?
Need: With the addition of Mark Reynolds from Sheffield Wednesday Aberdeen have already shored up their backline. A good recent run of form suggests they should have what it takes to make the top six, however a creative midfielder could make all the difference.
Coming: Former captain Russell Anderson looks set to sign a contract and Dons fans will be hoping he can not only boost morale but also add experience to the side. With tricky winger Peter Pawlett short on form and fitness manager Craig Brown needs another attacking midfielder. Unhappy at Hearts Ryan Stevenson can set up and score goals and would be a good option. If Brown can convince the board to release some of the money from the Foster sale he could do much worse than bid for Caley Thistle’s Jonny Hayes, though former Motherwell midfielder Stephen Hughes would be a more likely signing.
Going: Long serving striker Darren Mackie seems to be frozen out of the first team and while Brown is unlikely to force him out the player may leave to find regular football. Influential midfielder Kari Arnason is out of contract in the summer and if the Dons can’t convince him to re-sign they may be forced to accept a nominal fee for the Icelandic international. Northern Ireland cap Josh Magennis has been told he can leave if he wants while promising youngster Jack Grimmer has been attracting envious eyes from Fulham.
Would James McFadden help Celtic’s title push?
Need: Now that Celtic are out of Europe the need for a first rate centre back has gone for now. Neil Lennon seems content with his squad and after their stirring return to form in the league few would argue that they need strengthening.
Coming: Not many bargains can be had in the January window and although Lennon needs a solid centre back he’ll probably make any moves in the summer. Back up goalkeeper Lukasz Załuska’s form has been indifferent this season and Lennon may be monitoring Hearts Slovakian ace Marian Kello. While goals haven’t really been an issue for Celtic any injury to Stokes or Hooper would seriously affect the side’s title challenge. A cheeky bid for free agent Kris Boyd seems unlikely, though James McFadden, currently a bench warmer at Everton and out of contract in a couple of months, might be tempted by regular football.
Going: Celtic’s policy of buying young players with potentially high re-sale value is extremely shrewd. The squad currently has a number of players who may attract deadline day bids. Gary Hooper is the most likely to leave with Southampton keen on the striker. Whether the English side have the £8 million it’ll probably take to prise him away from Celtic is another matter. Meanwhile, James Forrest has a number of Premiership admirers (Liverpool being one), Scott Brown has been linked with a £4 million move to Newcastle and flop Mohamed Bangura may end up out on loan.
Gary Kenneth is off, but where will he end up?
Need: With everyone full fit creativity isn’t an issue for Dundee Utd, but the team does lack a holding midfielder to protect the backline. Funds are tight, but Peter Houston does have some money to strengthen after the sale of Scott Allan.
Coming: Hamilton utility player Dougie Imrie should make the move to Tannadice for about £30,000 and he’ll give the side flexibility and depth. Striker Michael Gardyne has also been signed from Ross County on a pre-contract deal, though he isn’t likely to join before the summer. Former player Mark Kerr has left his side in Greece and would be the sort of sitting midfield player Utd could use, any move would however not be welcomed by fans.
Going: Though there is no need to sell after David Goodwillie’s move to Blackburn, Utd will still let players move on for the right fee. Scotland cap Gary Kenneth has already indicated he’ll be leaving at the end of the season and would be allowed to leave for a nominal fee should one come in. Big striker Jon Daly seems to have put his injury woes behind him and has been attracting interest from Championship sides.
Could Darren Mackie be a bargain buy for Dunfermline?
Need: In serious danger of dropping down to the first division again, Dunfermline really need to make a few signings if they’re to stand a chance of staying up. A new centre back, creative midfielder and striker would all help; though manager Jim McIntyre is unlikely to get all three.
Coming: Preston keeper Ian Turner has joined on loan to replace the injured Paul Gallacher and will be a solid signing. Striker Andy Kirk has done well enough, but he’s not going to be able to keep the team up with his goals alone. Darren Mackie, seemingly frozen out at Aberdeen might be tempted to join for regular first team football and his experience would add something to the side. Likewise David Weir, out of favour at Rangers has stated that he may leave in January and as a short term fix he’d certainly be a good buy. Livingston’s Mark Fotheringham is too good a player for the first division and would certainly add bite and craft to Dunfermline’s flat midfield, whether the Pars could afford a fee however is another matter.
Going: Jim McIntyre may need to get some players off the wage bill before he can strengthen and there are a few who could be encouraged to step down a division. Striker Andew Barrowman has been ineffective in the SPL but wouldn’t be short of suitors in the lower leagues. Veteran Craig Easton’s opportunities have also been limited and should the right midfielder come along he could easily be shifted out.
Fans’ favourite Rudi Skacel is out of contract, can the board convince him to stay longer?
Need: With a big, talented squad Hearts don’t look like the y need any new players. This is just as well as Chairman Vladimir Romanov has indicated he’s unwilling to invest anymore money on the football team.
Coming: With finances tight it’s extremely unlikely that any players will be joining Hearts over the January transfer window though hopes are high that Czech winger Rudi Skacel will commit to another six month contract.
Going: Every senior player at Hearts is up for sale as the side desperately look to cut costs. Striker John Sutton has attracted interest from Hibernian and St Mirren, though Hearts would require a fee for the Englishman. Andrew Driver and Ryan Stevenson both look likely to leave with Ayr and Bristol City keen on the latter player. Both Portsmouth and Cardiff City are interested in winger David Templeton and the promising youngster could make the move for around £1 million. Fringe players like Darren Barr may also exit for nominal fees.
China didn’t suit Derek Riordan but would he really consider a 3rd spell at Easter Road?
Needs: More than anything Hibernian need to stop conceding goals. A tough defender with a good track record is a must if the team are to comfortably steer themselves away from relegation trouble. A support striker to back up Gary O’Connor would also be a wise move.
Coming: Hibs have already enquired about Hearts target man John Sutton, though it’s unlikely that the player will be allowed to leave unless a fee is agreed. One other player belonging to their rivals who may interest Pat Fenlon is Darren Barr. The defender has a proven SPL pedigree and would add both experience and backbone to a shaky defence. Falkirk striker Farid El Alagui would give Hibs balance and may be an excellent long-term replacement for Leigh Griffiths should the striker fail to remain in Edinburgh beyond the summer. They would however need to find around £400,000 for the entertaining Moroccan. One potential target who wouldn’t command a fee is former prodigal son Derek Riordan. Just released from Chinese club Shaanxi Chan-Ba the mercurial striker is interesting Kilmarnock and clubs in Europe but could be tempted to head home in an effort to help his former side.
Going: Fenlon may wait till the end of the season before he ships out any of the dead wood. Veteran Michael Hart and recently dropped keeper Graeme Stack would be two obvious bets for early free transfers. Gary O’Connor, with only a few months to go on his contract may also end up on his way should a decent bid come in for the prolific striker. Celtic long linked with the Scotland player may fancy a cut price purchase to help them in their title push.
Inverness Caley Thistle
Irish winger Jonny Hayes is attracting plenty of interest thanks to goals like this
Need: Terry Butcher’s side are solid enough and do extremely well considering their budget and small squad size. They do however need an Adam Rooney replacement as the striker’s move to Birmingham has been keenly felt. A competitive defender wouldn’t go amsiss either.
Coming: If any purchases are made by Caley in the January transfer window they’ll be bargain buys on low wages. Terry Butcher may know John Sutton well from his Motherwell days, but even he would be hard pushed to convince the sticker to take a dip in his reported £3000 a week wage. There are bargains to be had in the SPL though and Caley may look to see what they can get from Aberdeen, a club they have had many dealings with in the past. Northern Irish international Rory McCardle has been in and out of the Dons side and with his contract ending soon he could be persuaded to head north as the long-term replacement for Ross Tokely. Likewise his teammate and compatriot Josh Magennis might just have what it takes to grab a few goals in the Highlands. Meanwhile if Jonny Hayes does leave, Butcher may have the funds to try and sign Hamilton’s Jim McAlister as a direct replacement. The winger might lack a little pace but he knows how to set up goals and would be a low risk buy.
Going: Winger Jonny Hayes has been excellent this season and last and it wouldn’t be at all surprising if a Championship side (or Celtic) made a move for the tricky winger. Fellow countryman Richie Foran could also end up elsewhere. The Dubliner has a good goalscoring record and Caley may be tempted to let him go for a six-figure fee knowing that enigmatic Frenchman Gregory Tade could easily make the supporting striker role his own.
Jamie Ness on loan from Rangers might not be the worst deal in the world
Need: Kilmarnock seem s fairly well balanced side with plenty of attacking flair and defensive nous. A regular partner for prolific striker Paul Heffernan and a box to box midfielder would be ideal.
Coming: The big question right now is whether or not Scotland striker Derek Riordan will join till the end of the season. The ex-Hibs striker would certainly entertain the fans and his style of play would be perfect for the Kilmarnock side. Another potential loan buy might be Jamie Ness from Rangers. A tenacious tackler and talented passer with good technique he could add a little bit of solidity to a midfield which can at times seem a little lightweight. Midfielder Mark Kerr could also be on the Killie radar.
Going: Goalkeeper Cammy Bell seems like he’s back to his best this season, making some important saves, particularly in the Cup. A fee of about £400,000 would be too much to resist however and with English clubs again aware of him there’s every chance someone will come knocking.
Jamie Murphy is a real talent, but one who could be Premiership bound this month
Need: Stuart McCall has plenty of good young players in his side and there’s loads of evidence to suggest he doesn’t need to strengthen the side too much to maintain their excellent form. An experienced defender and a nippy striker to partner Michael Higdon wouldn’t go amiss.
Coming: While Motherwell don’t concede often, they have sadly taken a few gubbings from either side of the Old Firm. A reliable combative defender to cover for the injured Steven Saunders would be ideal and Cardiff’s out of favourPaul Quinn could perhaps be persuaded to make the move back north. 20 year old Estonian striker Henrik Ojamaa is one confirmed purchase and although McCall won’t be afraid to play him from the off, there’s still a need for an experienced addition to the forward line. With little or no budget to play with, an experienced forward like Craig Dargo, available for free, might not be the worst deal in the world.
Going: Motherwell will be looking to keep all of their players together but there is a big danger that bids will come in for at least one of their promising youngsters. Exciting winger Jamie Murphy has been watched by Premiership sides for a few months now, though a fee of about £2 million may put off Wigan, the most likely suitors.
If Rangers can sell enough players they could sign prolific striker Javi Guerra
Need: While Rangers undoubtedly have a squad which can win them the league they could really do with some sort of addition to perk them up on the pitch. McCoist hasn’t got much in the way of funds though, so any major purchase will need to be made after someone leaves.
Coming: Ally McCoist has mentioned quite a few players in recent weeks and though none of them have signed there’s every chance some business will be done over the course of this transfer window. High up on his shortlist is St Johnstone striker Francisco Sandaza. The Spaniard has rejected one contract offer from the club, but if a fee can be agreed he’ll probably join the SPL champions. Estonian Enar Jaager and Honduran Jorge Carlos have arrived on trial as McCoist seeks cover for the injured Steven Whittaker while Spanish striker Javi Guerra could be a £2 million provided funds can be raised from player sales.
Going: Where to start? Veteran defender David Weir may be the first out the door if he doesn’t get first team football soon. Australian midfielder Matt McKay, injured Scotland cap Kirk Broadfoot and Spaniard Jaun Manual Ortiz are also likely to depart due to a lack of game time. Suitors in Spain are eying keeper Allan McGregor, who may leave for £3 million, while Steven Davis has been on Alex McLeish’s wanted list for a while. Meanwhile young striker John Fleck looks set for a loan move to Blackpool and the likes of Liverpool and Leicester are eying star player Nikica Jelavic – though any move will cost as much as £10 million.
Francisco Sandaza will be leaving St Johnstone, but where will he go?
Needs: There isn’t too much that St Johnstone need in terms of playing staff. Or at least most of the players that could improve their squad would be out of their league price wise. Still though Lomas will probably look to freshen things up a little if he can.
Coming: Steve Lomas is a bit of an unknown quantity so what dealings are done will be hard to predict. He’ll almost certainly look at inexpensive buys from England with a point to prove, but by now he might know enough about the Scottish market to make a few purchases from the lower leagues.
Going: St Johnstone have been playing well this season under both old boss Derek McInnis and Steve Lomas. The former manager, now at Bristol City may well be in for the likes of Liam Craig who has been the creative catalyist for the Perth side this season. There’s also a good chance that Murray Davidson will be on the radar of a few clubs, though any move will cost the buyer much more than the £250,000 reportedly bid by Rangers in the summer. Striker Francisco Sandaza looks certain to leave but it’s much more likely he’ll not do so till the season has finished. Rangers are certainly in the hunt for the prolific striker, but the more he scores the more other clubs start to look at him.
Thompson has been good for St Mirren since he arrived from Burnley
Needs: St Mirren are creating chances and playing good football, but their backline hasn’t been performing nearly so well. A solid fullback is needed and a partner for Lee Mair would shore things up.
Coming: It’s obvious that St Mirren need a little grit in the centre of defence. Someone like ex-Hibernian defender Rob Jones would be perfect (though the player has since become a regular at Sheffield Wednesday). A more realistic buy might be Scott Boyd from table topping first division side Ross County. Dundee’s energetic Gary Irvine would also be a good purchase, adding steel and stamina to the right back position.
Going: Tough tackling midfielder Jim Goodwin is on the radar of Hibs but it’s likely that he’ll remain in Paisley. Steven Thompson has done well since his return to Scotland and may well attract a little interest if he starts scoring a more consistently. His strike partner Paul McGowan is however, already attracting attention. The skilful young striker has been linked with a few English clubs and St Mirren could rake in a tidy half a million for the player were he to leave.