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 Monday, 30 December, 2002, 07:19 GMT
Window of opportunity?
BBC Sport Online's Phil McNulty

The January sales are under way - and not just on the High Street.

Football's transfer window opens on 1 January, allowing managers to strengthen their squad or fill the gaps that have appeared in recent months.

So will the clubs be queueing around the block or will the goods stay in the showroom?

And who are the likely bargains that will be moved on during the stock-taking?


LES FERDINAND - SPURS

FOR: Proven quality merchandise - not as swift as in days gone by and the horsepower may be reduced, but still a smooth runner on occasions.

AGAINST: Prone to breakdowns due to old age, leading to long spells in storage.

POTENTIAL BUYERS: West Ham's Glenn Roeder is looking for anything that can get him going again and on the way to Premiership safety.

Look out for Wolves and even old club QPR gazing longingly into the window wondering if they can afford the going rate.

DEAL OR DUD? Worth doing a deal, but not a long-term winner and not without risk.


GABRIEL BATISTUTA - ROMA

FOR: The slickest machine around in its day. Still capable of hitting top gear, but may have gathered cobwebs during spells of inactivity.

AGAINST: May prove difficult to fire up on those cold winter mornings after spending too much time in the sun.

POTENTIAL BUYERS: Usual suspects...or in this case suspect, Glenn Roeder. Those who might have been interested at one time have moved on to newer models.

DEAL OR DUD? Risky business - might be over-priced purely on the age and reliability of the goods involved.


LEE BOWYER - LEEDS UNITED

FOR: Sporty model - pace, power and a great engine.

AGAINST: Prone to serious accidents which has led to uncertainty among potential buyers. May prove too expensive for some and will need a lot of fine tuning.

POTENTIAL BUYERS: Liverpool were in the queue, but were put off by lack of long-term prospects. Spurs and Arsenal supposedly tempted, while Newcastle are also hovering outside the shop window.

Glenn Roeder? Not this time.

DEAL OR DUD? Possibly the biggest bargain on offer, but may not handle a lot of baggage and questionable in stormy conditions.


KEVIN PHILLIPS - SUNDERLAND

FOR: Good runner, showing signs that there may still be a few miles left on the clock.

AGAINST: May have suffered from being parked in the same place too long. Also endured periods out of action which have led to doubts about reliability.

POTENTIAL BUYERS: Would not be ranked as a bargain, so forget West Ham.

Look out for Spurs boss Glenn Hoddle to revive his long-time interest in this racy little number.

DEAL OR DUD? Well worth a deal at the right price, but a new owner has arrived on the scene recently and would drive a hard bargain.


FRANCIS JEFFERS - ARSENAL

FOR: Not many miles on the clock, relatively new model and could prove a good long-term investment.

Two very careful owners have failed to get the best out of this particular item, but has shown signs of being a high quality piece of kit.

Has been strategically placed in the shop window with careful timing recently in an attempt to attract buyers.

AGAINST: In need of constant attention and has acquired a reputation of being undercover more times than being in action.

No great record of reliability at any time, but occasional glimpses of class may tempt the bargain hunters.

POTENTIAL BUYERS: Middlesbrough and Sunderland have been mentioned, but may these locations may not be suited to this item now used to streets paved with gold.

DEAL OR DUD? Only worth a punt at cut price.

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