With only six points separating tenth placed Hull City from the foot of the Premier League and just 17 matches remaining, there is little doubt that the forthcoming couple of weeks will feature some frenzied transfer activity until the window closes at the end of the month. With so many teams now involved in the race for top flight survival, the need to avoid panic buying combined with a steady nerve will be pre-requisites as the tension increases during the enfolding weeks.
A glance at the Premier League does not allow for casual reading for those managers involved in the struggle to avoid the relegation zone. There is a sense that a team needs to be challenging for a Europa League qualification place just to prevent becoming embroiled in the attrition which befits any club involved in the end of season relegation skirmishes.
With Sunderland having embarked on a recent sequence of only one defeat in six matches and Crystal Palace winning three league games since early December, the entire aspect of lower rungs of the Premier League has changed face with none of the teams in the bottom half of the table afforded any degree of comfort for the foreseeable future.
At such times, when deep in the middle of a transfer window, it will be the managers or directors of football who will earn their salaries with careful wheeling and dealing in the transfer market.
At a similar stage last season, Newcastle signed five players from Ligue 1 in France in the hope of preventing a catastrophic relegation. The Magpies benefited from the early initial impact of players who were understandably keen to impress in a new country. But as the weeks progressed, several of those players struggled to adapt to the demands of the Premier League.
Newcastle survived via a win in the penultimate game of the season at already relegated QPR, but there were several scares before their top flight status was guaranteed. For any team now involved in the action at the foot of the table, sensible recruitment will be a key to their immediate prospects. New players will need to be able to hit the ground running and hopefully blend swiftly into the current ethic of the first team squad.
Television money and increased commercial opportunities are just a few of the many massive advantages of retaining a foothold in the Premier League and now is not the time for any reckless gambles to help preserve the coveted status.
There will be the usual unexpected changes in fortune between now and the end of the campaign for those 11 teams involved in avoiding relegation, but the engrossing tussles at both ends of the table will ensure that the Premier League continues to retain its box-office attraction