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Just what do we need from the transfer window?

It has been a very strange and subdued transfer window thus far, with not too many moves and even fewer 'name' players moving in and around the Premier League.

Perhaps a lot has to do with the hectic fixture list over the festive period which leads upto the FA Cup 3rd round games, but with under ten days remaining until the window shuts for the last time this season, are clubs ready to make a last minute splash in the transfer market, or are (unbelievably given the managers criticism of the 'restrictive' transfer window) clubs happy to stand pat with what they have until the summer?

There was much activity anitcipated from ourselves in all quarters as the clock ticked down to the window opening, with even the MEN imploring Thaksin Shinawatra to loosen the pure strings to fund some reinforcements to build on the position we have got ourselves into at this stage of the season.

Of course, every man and his dog has a view on what we need and who we should sign, and I have read us linked with players in virtually every position on the field. Sven has stated that he is looking at two or three players, but, looking at the squad at his disposal, what areas should he realistically target over the next week or so?

I do not see that there are more than two immediate positions - right midfield and up front that are realistically up for grabs at the moment and to replace any of those positions would need to be done with the calibre of player that commands a substantial transfer fee, and in my view we are best served concentrating on those two positions.

Whilst Stephen Ireland has been as consistent as he has been during his time at the club, I can imagine the possibilties and increased attacking threat we would have if we had a true winger at the club - someone with the ability to run at defenders with pace, which would bring a far more potent attacking threat and complement the threat on the other flank that Petrov has brought this season, a move which would potentially realease Ireland into a more central role where he has turned in good performances this campaign.

Up front is clearly a problem and there have been a number of players who have featured in that position this season, yet - as I wrote for The Observer recently, disappointingly none have grasped the opportunity to make the position their own. The injury to Bojinov early in the season may well have scuppered Sven's plans to an extent but none of Bianchi, Mpenza, Samaras or Vassell have stamped their authority up front and too often we have looked light and without threat in that department.

Of course, plenty of players have been linked with a move in (and indeed out) of the club, and most of it has been nonesense, too often based without any thought on potential availability of a player or how they would fit into a particular system.

Another factor has been that the potential budget available to Sven is a bit of an unknown quantity, with one newspaper suggesting he is working to two budgets depending on what Thaksin may be able to get his hands upon, and whilst it may be a fanciful suggestion, the loan deal for Castillo and rumoured move for Podolski could be evidence of this.

But one thing is clear is that is highly unlikely that a hugely significant amout of money will be spent, and that Sven is no fool in the transfer market and would be more likely to reinforce the squad in the summer where (as he himself mentioned) it is an easier marketplace to operate in.

Because there are no gaping holes in the squad which are in need of urgent repair, Sven is unlikely to be throwing around the cash in a desperate manner as seen by some clubs, and a far more likely policy will be to only add players in on either the basis that they are 'one for the future', or they can make a serious impact on the team both now in the short term and over a longer period, both of which would fit Sven's buying policy to date so far, and more importantly continue the excellent progress so far.