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Expectations

Top of his shopping list will be Kaka, the restless genius at AC Milan, former Arsenal idol Thierry Henry who is languishing at Barcelona, Valencia striker David Villa and Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon who is currently keeping Juventus afloat in Serie A.
>>MEN.

I'm not sure whether it is hitting the month of December, or the recent stuttering form that has ratcheted up the attention on our reported transfer targets. It is still a little of a surprise to see the MEN quite so outlandish in its claims - particularly when Mark Hughes has been doing his utmost over the past week or so to keep a lid on the some of the names and stories that have been floating around.

Perhaps a quiet day in the newsroom, or a bit of a lift given the gloomier mood around at the moment?

Everybody knows that January is not traditionally seen as a transfer window where a multitude of big deals do occur, for the obvious reason that those sides with the top players are invariably involved still in European competition. Perhaps though, there hasn't been a club in a financial position such as oursevles, coupled with an obvious need to strengthen several areas of the side with an almost immediate need.

I think it is clear that Hughes would rather like to fast forward to January right now if he could. Currently we are in the midst of a poor run of form (in reality which has been glossed over by the occasional big win) and the lack of quality and depth of the squad has been highlighted by an ever growing injury list.

Hughes spoke of finishing the year in a top ten position which I think is not an unrealistic aim, and would at least provide a platform for a go at the top six and a shot at the UEFA and FA Cup competitions.

As stunned as I was when we landed Robinho, I would even more shocked if in January we landed one of the players mentioned in the MEN piece. Given our current position, the top players would still be wary of joining us - don't forget Robinho wanted out of Real and likewise, they wanted rid of him - so I think more likely will be the addition of three of four players in positions that we really need strengthening (notably left back, central midfield and a striker) rather than the 'box office' signing, before building further in the summer.

From everything we have read about the new ownership group though, it is apparant there intention and desire to reach the top is not in doubt. If Hughes were to present a wish list featuring some of the worlds biggest names, it will prove a perfect example of whether they can back this intention and desire up with actual results.