Paul Merson's January transfer window winners & losers: West Ham have signed a 'diamond' in Jesse Lingard

Paul Merson has been surprised by the lack of transfer activity among the Premier League relegation candidates but he believes Jesse Lingard can have an impact at West Ham; plus, the Magic Man’s take on Liverpool-bound Ozan Kabak…

Football Expert & Columnist
@PaulMerse

Monday 1 February 2021 18:58, UK

With the winter transfer window coming to a close, Sky Sports’ pundit Paul Merson has assessed the business done by Premier League clubs, outlining who he thinks has done the best business…

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Preston defender Ben Davies has undergone a medical ahead of his Deadline Day transfer to Liverpool while the Premier League champions have agreed a deal in principle with Schalke to sign central defender Ozan Kabak on a six-month loan with an option to buy, according to Sky in Germany.

Paul Merson is baffled by the move, given that Schalke have won just one of their 19 Bundesliga games this season.

‘Kabak’s agent deserves a knighthood!’

I feel Liverpool are just bringing a couple of bodies in. When Fabinho got injured, I feel that was the moment where they had to drop Jordan Henderson into defence. It’s just a case of getting bodies in. The top-drawer out there are going to be £70m-£80m players.

When you buy them, they’ll be on between £100,000 and £200,000-a-week. They won’t be playing in six months when Virgil van Dijk is fit and Joe Gomez is a very good player who’ll be one for the now. We can all spend the club’s money but at the end of the day it’s a business. They’re not expensive.

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The lad at Schalke won’t believe his luck. If you’re his agent, you’d be looking to get knighted! He’s just gone to the champions…. they’ve just one won game all season! That really did shock me. The lad at Preston is a decent player but it’s a massive jump. It’s just a case of getting bodies in.

‘Dele Alli has to play at Spurs’

I don’t know what’s going on with Dele Alli. I watched Tottenham last night and how he doesn’t get in that team at the moment is beyond me. I don’t know what goes on at the training ground, but he has to play in that team – especially with Harry Kane injured.

No one was running off the ball, and Alli when he’s at his best, he makes those runs and is a good finisher. I watched them against Brighton and they were just static. If he plays against Chelsea, you hold your hands up and understand why he isn’t being allowed to go to PSG.

Otherwise, I feel for the lad as he has got the chance to play for PSG – a massive club – and he wants to play. Spurs are saying they need to replace him… but they might as well take me if he’s going to just sit on the bench for the next three or four months!

The lad’s got to play. On his day, he’s a special player and he’s one of the best talents in this country when he’s on his game.

Should Maitland-Niles have joined Leicester?

To work under Brendan Rodgers would certainly be a good move for Ainsley Maitland-Niles but the most important thing for the player is to go somewhere he can play in his preferred position, which is in midfield.

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With Southampton, it is probably a case whereby he wouldn’t play there because of James Ward-Prowse and Oriol Romeu so I think it’s important he goes where he can play in his right position which is why this is taking time.

He has to go to the right club as come the Euros, he has got every chance. He’s on the fringe, but he can play in three or four positions and Gareth Southgate likes him. Everyone likes someone who’s versatile. To go to Leicester and to work under Rodgers would have been a massive plus.

Should Newcastle have been more active?

If you’d asked me this last week, I’d have certainly said they do. I thought they were in a bit of a relegation fight but what’s happened over the weekend with the results… if you’re the manager you may go to the owner and be asked if it’s necessary to bring in someone on £50,000 – £60,000 a week when you’re eight or nine points clear? Will they play?

A lot of managers are now sitting quite comfortably. There would have been a mad rush had those results gone the other way, but it may now be hard for managers to get the money off owners when it looks like they’re not getting relegated.

‘Man Utd inactivity shows magnitude of pandemic’

The lack of activity at Manchester United just shows what times we’re in. They’re the biggest club in the world, but they’re not getting the matchday revenue. You think about how they get 75,000 at the ground every other week and that’s not coming in.

I just feel it shows you the magnitude of what’s going on. They’ve gone so long without winning the league title and yet they’re not bringing anyone in and are instead trimming their squad.

I feel it was a good move for Jesse Lingard to go to West Ham if he can find his form. A few years ago, he’d have been in the first four or five names in the England team.

Coming away from United and going to West Ham, I feel he will take on more responsibilities. He was a little over-awed at United and hopefully he can get his career back on track.

‘West Ham the big winners’

I do like the Lingard signing at West Ham. I watched them yesterday and they looked a bit lost. I feel they just needed that burst. He has played for the biggest club in the world so if he can rediscover his form, I feel he could be the one where other teams are scratching their head thinking, ‘why didn’t we sign Lingard?’

David Moyes has brought younger players in who are full of energy and he has got them playing his style of football. I was disappointed in them against Liverpool and I expected more from them but he’s still getting his team together. Lingard’s still a good player and has been training well at United. West Ham could have a diamond there.

Who has had a bad window?

I’d say all the teams down the bottom of the table. This might be me, but last weekend’s results have changed a lot of people’s attitudes. With Fulham drawing with West Brom, Newcastle and Brighton both getting phenomenal results, Burnley recently having two great results, the gap has got quite big to the bottom three.

I still think Fulham have the potential to win a couple of games, so I feel those other clubs just above the drop zone still need to do some business. But it’s the owners who have started to wonder if it’s worth doing any more business, and that worries me.

Follow Transfer Deadline Day on Sky Sports

The winter transfer window closes at 11pm on Monday, February 1, and Sky Sports will bring you all the drama as clubs scramble to get the final pieces of business over the line.

Head to Sky Sports News – channel 409 – for breaking news, reaction and analysis throughout the day from studio guests such as Harry Redknapp, Fabrizio Romano, Lianne Sanderson, David James, Darren Bent, Paul Merson and Alan Smith.

Our Transfer Centre blog will bring you all the latest developments across the leagues from 6am.

Join us from 7-10am, 1-2pm, and 8-11pm via the Sky Sports website and app, as well as on Facebook and Twitter @SkySportsNews and through the Sky Sports News YouTube channel.

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