Clubs unlikely to splash cash in transfer window

When European football’s January transfer window opens for

business on Wednesday, the market is expected to have a slow

start.

In Europe, top teams seem to be largely happy with their squads

after spending nearly $1 billion in the offseason. And although

English league clubs are unlikely to splash cash in January,

Arsenal and Chelsea could be tempted to strengthen their squads

with new strikers.

Chasing their first league title in 10 years, the Gunners are

reportedly looking for a forward to add to France international

Olivier Giroud, who ended a seven-match scoring drought with the

winner at Newcastle on Sunday, ensuring that his club starts 2014

at the top.

Although Giroud said Arsenal has sufficient attacking options

for the remainder of the season with himself, Lukas Podolski and

Theo Walcott, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hinted he could be

tempted to sign a couple of new players.

After failing to lure Luis Suarez, Wenger won’t bid again for

the Uruguay striker, who signed a new deal with Liverpool this

month.

”We are, as many clubs, certainly on alert. If something

special turns up, we will not turn it down,” Wenger said. ”But we

are not as well desperate because we have a big depth in our

squad.”

Lagging two points behind Arsenal in the standings, Chelsea

could also be looking for extra firepower after Samuel Eto’o, Demba

Ba and Fernando Torres scored only six goals between them in the

league so far this season.

With Ba, Juan Mata and Kevin De Bruyne possibly leaving, British

media reported that Chelsea and Liverpool have held discussions

about the possible arrival of Suarez at Stamford Bridge that could

make up for Jose Mourinho’s failure to sign Manchester United

striker Wayne Rooney in the offseason.

While a Suarez move to Chelsea looks highly unlikely, Monaco

forward Radamel Falcao is a more realistic target for Mourinho,

with the Colombian reportedly unhappy in the French league. Xabi

Alonso has also been linked with a move to the Blues.

After a shaky start to the season, defending champion Manchester

United has managed to limit the damages with four consecutive wins

and trails Arsenal by eight points going into the new year.

David Moyes has not been able to replace Paul Scholes and is in

need of a creative midfielder. The Red Devils manager could make a

50 million pound ($82 million) offer for Everton marvel Ross

Barkley.

Avoiding the drop to the second-tier League Championship is

crucial, with topflight teams boosted by increased revenues. And

last-place Sunderland will beef up its defense with Marcos Alonso,

who will join from Fiorentina until the end of the season.

”Marcos is a player that I have known well for a very long

time,” Sunderland manager Gus Poyet said. ”He was desperate to

come and play for Sunderland and he is a player I am excited to

work with.”

Staying among the elite is also vital for West Ham. The London

club is languishing in 19th place after scoring only 18 goals in 19

matches and signed 18-year-old striker Jaanai Gordon from

Peterborough.

Everything looks relatively quiet in Spain, too. Barcelona seems

more concerned with getting Lionel Messi healthy again for the

second half of the season, and will probably be more than content

to have its star forward playing at full speed again.

The only possible big move would be Barcelona signing a

replacement for goalkeeper Victor Valdes, who has said he will

leave the club when his contract expires at the end of the

season.

Atletico Madrid is reportedly reinforcing its title challenge by

bringing in midfielder Jose Sosa from Metalist.

In Germany, Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski is

expected to confirm in the coming days that he will be leaving for

Bayern Munich at the end of the season, while AC Milan has already

announced the arrivals of Adil Rami and Keisuke Honda.

In France, winger Jeremy Menez is lacking playing time at Paris

Saint-Germain and has been linked with a move to Juventus to boost

his chances of making the trip to the World Cup in Brazil, and

Bastia signed former Liverpool striker Djibril Cisse on an 18-month

deal.

AP Sports Writer Steve Douglas in Manchester and Associated

Press writer Joseph Wilson in Barcelona contributed to this

report.