Premier League transfers: Key Positions to Strengthen Before Transfer Window Closes
If this EPL season continues to play on without succumbing to COVID-19, we are only less than 2 weeks away before the transfer window closes. Having seen all the teams play at least once already this season, we assess which positions each team will likely need to beef up before the transfer window closes
Probably the best news that happened this transfer window for the Gunners was the signing of a new contract for club captain Pierre Emerick Aubameyang. Having beefed up their problematic central defence area with Gabriel and then also signing Pablo Mari permanently and bringing the talented William Saliba back from loan, the Gunners seem to have quite a bit of choice now in that area.
They have also moved quickly to sign Runar Alex Runarsson to replace the departing Emiliano Martinez as a deputy goalkeeper and was quick to snatch the brilliant but somewhat inconsistent Willian from London rivals Chelsea after his contract expired.
It is therefore probably in centre midfield where they have the biggest issue still, with Lucas Torreira likely to be moved on and former favourites Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi both suspiciously missing out from any team sheet this season without any valid explanation. The Gunners are hotly linked to French midfielder Houssem Aouar so it remains to be seen if Arteta will be dipping into the transfer market before it closes!
Having narrowly escaped relegation last season despite spending a fortune, Villa has dipped into the transfer market again and this time round they have added to their frontline post the winter transfer signing of Mbwana Samatta with club record signing Ollie Watkins from Brentford and Bertrand Traore. We expect a very much changed frontline this year.
They have also beefed up their defence with 2 first team signings in full back Matty Cash and goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez who looks set to replace Tom Heaton as the first choice goalkeeper. Having successfully warded off plenty of interest in club captain Jack Grealish and gotten him to sign a new contract, it is probably in centre midfield as well where they probably still look a bit thin.
They seem to be interested in Chelsea midfield Ross Barkley but have also been linked to relegated Watford star Ismaila Sarr and the former probably makes more sense for them than the latter.
Brighton & Hove Albion
The Seagulls are one of the team that seem to have lost more than they have gained so far this transfer window with first team players Martin Montoya, Aaron Mooy, Shane Duffy, Anthony Knockaert and Glenn Murray all leaving the AMEX stadium this summer.
Having signed Adam Lallana to beef up their midfield, and also defenders Joel Veltman and Jan Paul van Hecke, they still seem pretty short of numbers in their first team. Hence, it’s more about how much youngsters gaffer Graham Potter is keen to bring in this season.
Youngster Tariq Lamptey looks set to be given plenty of game time this season whilst Ben White has also returned from a very successful loan stint and has also started in the first game of the season as well.
With only Neil Maupay and youngster Aaron Connelly the 2 recognised forwards in the squad, they probably need some backup in that area as well as more reinforcements in midfield with midfielder Dale Stephens likely to leave for Burnley. They are linked to Liverpool striker Divock Origi and he might bring a very different dimension to the current team if Potter can pull off this deal!
The Clarets are probably in a similar if not worse position than the Seagulls and everywhere will be the most likely suggestion. Long term serving boss Sean Dyche has already opened voiced his displeasure during the extended 2019/20 season about the club’s ability to sign on to their players on extended contracts and this season they have already seen first teamers Jeff Hendrick, Aaron Lennon and Joe Hart leave.
They are the only club not to have brought in any first team outfield player so far and have only signed goalkeeper Will Norris as probably a third back up behind Nick Pope.
With first team centreback James Tarkowski consistently being linked with a £30million move away and Ben Gibson not deemed good enough and loaned out, they are very short of cover there and recently started Kevin Long and Jimmy Dunne in their first league game which they duly lost. They are linked to Dale Stephens as well as Harry Wilson but unless they can bring up another gem like how they did with Tarkowski when Michael Keane left, Clarets fans will really need to worry about their backline!
Having been starved off buying any players during their transfer ban, the Blues came back with vengeance this summer, splashing well over £200 million on the likes of Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, Ben Chilwell, Thiago Silva, Hakim Ziyech and Edouard Mendy.
The likes of Timo Werner and Kai Havertz has already shown glimpses of their talent in the recent games including the very recent Carabao cup victory and the Blues have also not lost much first team players beyond Willian and Pedro and Antonio Rudiger very likely to be the next to follow suit. Hence, it is probably fair to say that what Frank Lampard needs the most at the moment is time!
Time to gel the team and make their serious Premier League challengers. They have a big enough squad now having already brought through some young talents like Recce James, Fikayo Tomori, Tammy Abraham, Calum Hudson Odoi and Mason Mount in the last season to field at least 2 full squads!
Another team that has done a good job in retaining their club captain is Palace. Wilfried Zaha, who has been consistently linked to a move away, appears to be staying put.
Whilst they have not been making plenty of moves, they have done some shrewd business bringing back Michy Batshuayi in on a loan spell.
Highly rated attacking midfielder Eberechi Eze also comes in to provide more firepower to the squad and Nathan Ferguson comes in to compete for the right back slot with Joel Ward and Martin Kelly. The other good news is that they have thus far retained most of their first team squad and also have a few up and coming youngsters coming through the ranks such as Tyrick Mitchell.
They are still very reliant on Zaha and probably need a bit more cover in midfield and in the wide attacking areas, so it comes as no surprise that they are linked quite closely to Brentford’s Algerian attacker Said Benrahma.
The one area in which the Toffees do not have to strengthen any further at the moment is in their midfield, having splashed their cash to sign three in recent weeks. The trio of Allan, James Rodriguez and Abdoulaye Doucoure have all started and impressed so far in the first couple of games.
The return of Kenny Jonjoe from loan has also provided some cover for Seamus Coleman.
The question for Carlo Ancelotti is probably more about who to offload with Tom Davies, Muhammed Besic, Fabian Delph, Yannick Bolasie, Theo Walcott, Cenk Tosun and Sandro Ramirez all rumoured to be leaving this transfer window. That said, they probably will need to still provide some cover for the centre back pairing of Michael Keane and Yerry Mina and that is why they have been linked to Barcelona defender Jean Clair Todibo.
Having splashed lavishly in their last outing back in the Premier League but still ended up going straight back down, promoted Fulham seems a lot more measured this time round with their transfer dealings so far.
Similarly to the last time round though, they have gone shopping in their defence and both loan signing Alphone Areola and right back Kenny Tete has started in their last game whilst highly rated left Antonee Robinson and loan signing Ola Aina are waiting for theirs.
Saints pair Harrison Reed and Mario Lemina also came in to add more options to their midfield along with Anthony Knockaert who joined slightly earlier at the end of the last season. It is therefore in attack that they need a bit more variation to the strength and heading ability of their target man Alexander Mitrovic. They might not have fully completed their shopping in their defence though with Sassuolo’s Brazilian centre back Marlon being linked to them currently.
Newly promoted side is an interesting one to watch with coach Marcelo Bielsa in charge. They have quite a few big signings with defenders Robin Koch and Marco Llorente joining alongside former loan signing Helder Costa and club record signing Rodrigo. Youngster Ilian Meslier was probably initially planning to join to be the deputy but has already started both games so far.
Loan signing Jack Harrison has continued on from his loan from last season and has already scored so far. With first team regular Kiko Casilia out of favour this season due to racism claims, they definitely need a more established goalkeeper and have been linked with out of favour Saints goalkeeper Angus Gunn who is behind Alex McCarthy and Fraser Forster in the pecking order.
With also seemingly a recognised right back with Luke Ayling, they will probably also need some cover in that position.
After seeing their promising season falter towards the end and ending the season out of a Champions League spot, one would have expected the Foxes to spend heavily this season on reinforcement. Instead, they have been extremely quiet so far with only 2 major signings in left back
Timothy Castagne joining as a straight swap for the departed Ben Chilwell and loan signing winger Cengiz Under coming in to give them some flair on the flanks. Despite starting the season strongly and winning their first 2 games, one suspects that their transfer activity is far from over.
They do have some promising youngsters coming through with James Justin looking very good in the first few games but they desperately need some cover in the central of their defence with both Jonny Evans and Wes Morgan getting old.
They probably also need some cover in attack for the ever dependent Jamie Vardy with Kelechi Iheanacho still quite inconsistent so far. Gaffer Brendan Rodgers have already admitted that transfer funds are hard to come by so perhaps one can only hope for an injury free season in order for the Foxes to scale further heights this season!
Given how much some of their rivals are spending this season to close down the big points gap that existed last season, Champions Liverpool have been relatively selective in their signings so far.
They have seemingly invested in the right positions though with left back Konstantinos Tsimikas coming in to give some much needed reinforcements to the ever present Andy Robertson, Thiago Alcantara coming in to give a different dimension in a holding role in midfield and attacker Jota providing stiffer competition for the front 3.
With Klopp not afraid to give game time to youngsters and having already seen the likes of Neco Williams, Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott getting some game time, Liverpool might not require that much more reinforcements. That said, this is a team that is competing in all 4 major competitions and the one rumour that has not gone away the whole summer has been the need for a proven backup centre back with Dejan Lovren having left.
The latest name to be linked now is Kalidou Koulibaly but it will probably take a huge offer to attract Napoli to part with their star defender.
The one signing that might have really changed the paradigm of the Premier League this season but did not eventually materialise was the rumoured move of Lionel Messi to rejoin Pep Guardiola at Man City after he openly asked for a move away from the Catalan giants. With the dust settling, the perennial transfer kings of the Premier League seem to have been relatively quiet so far this summer with only the signings of winger Ferran Torres and centreback Nathan Ake to show.
With such a huge and expensively assembled squad, this might not be a thing to be too worried about and City has also shown that they have some budding youngsters such as Phil Foden who are itching to get more playing time, but City still has issues with their problematic left back position and top scorer Sergio Aguero is both injured and getting old.
The latest rumours link City with Sevilla centre back Jules Kounde which would likely mean exit doors for John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi. We suspect we have yet to see the end of their transfer activity.
Having watched the tail end of the last season, one might have easily concluded that the best way to bring the Red Devils back to being champions again is just to buy another 10 more Bruno Fernandes.
Well, while they haven’t done so this season, they have managed to extend diehard Red Devils fan Odion Ighalo‘s loan and signed promising midfielder Donny van de Beek from Ajax. Their long term and increasingly looking to be unsuccessful pursuit of Jadon Sancho is a confirmation of what we already know, that they do lack some depth on the flanks.
Their failed pursuit of Sergio Reguilon always shows Ole Gunnar Solksjaer lack faith in the current left back pairing of Luke Shaw and Brandon Williams. Both left back Alex Telles and winger Ousmane Dembele have been touted as replacements of their first choice targets and it remains to be seen if they will leave it too late again to conclude their transfer activity as they have done so in the past few seasons.
Gaffer Steve Bruce has done quite a fair bit of shrewd business this transfer window so far, picking up the out of contract Jeff Hendrick as well as Ryan Fraser and both have slotted straight in to their starting eleven so far.
Beyond that, as a Magpies fan, you might be forgiven to think that owner Mike Ashley will be unwilling to spend any money on transfers, but to everyone’s surprise, they have managed to sign striker Callum Wilson as well as left back Jamal Lewis, the latter whom champions Liverpool were unwilling to pay the asking price that Norwich had in mind.
Depending on who leaves the club in the upcoming weeks, they might still need to provide some reinforcements on both the right side of defence as well as midfield but maybe the biggest transfer the Magpies want instead is the transfer of the owner itself, having seen so many failed takeover attempts in the past few years.
The Blades team that has taken the Premier League by storm last season with their passing, attacking and intensity seem to have started this season on the wrong foot and have lost both their games so far.
With loanee goalkeeper Dean Henderson moving back to the Red Devils to challenge for a starting spot, they have moved quickly to secure the services of both Aaron Ramsdale and Wes Foderingham.
Beyond that, boss Chris Wilder seems to have opted for youth in his transfer dealings, bringing in centre back Ethan Ampadu on loan from Chelsea, signing Derby full back pair Max Lowe and Jayden Bogle as well as signing winger Oliver Burke from the Baggies.
With their strike force not providing much goals as well as with David McGoldrick and Billy Sharp both in their thirties, signing a striker remains their top most priority and they have been linked with Gunners youngster Folarin Balogun.
Having lost quite a handful of players including Cedric Soares, Maya Yoshida, Pierre Emile Hojbjerg, Mario Lemina and Harrison Reed and Mohamed Elyounoussi, the Saints have so far only made 2 major signings, both in defence in signing right back Kyle Walker Peters and centre back Mohammed Salisu.
They have done well to ward off any interest in their star striker Danny Ings but they do look quite thin in midfield and have been linked to a handful of players including midfielders Ruben Loftus Cheek (loan), Tom Davies and Oliver Ntcham.
All eyes will probably be on the return of golf loving Gareth Bale to Spurs and how he can play alongside Harry Kane and Son Heung Min in a front 3 that might rival the Liverpool trio.
Beyond that Mourinho has also done good business in bringing in full backs Matt Doherty and Sergio Reguilon as well as centre midfield Pierre Emile Hojbjerg. With Giovanin Lo Celso and Steven Bergwjin both also having joined not so long ago, they do seem to have quite a big squad, but they are still being linked with a centre back and a striker with Milan Skriniar and Arkadiusz Milik both being touted as possibilities.
A centre back certainly makes sense but one would struggle to find a reason for any striker to want to come to play second fiddle to Kane, so it remains to be seen how that will pan out.
West Bromwich Albion
The Baggies have found it tough going again back in the Premier League despite being relatively active so far in the transfer window. They have bought in highly rated youngsters Cedric Kipre and Grady Diangana and have also signed last seasons’ loan signings Mattheus Pereira and Callum Robinson to permanent deals.
Pereira looks comfortable in the Premier League and has already netted for the Baggies. They have also added some experience to their backline with the return of Branislav Ivanovic to the Premier League but the reality is that they have lost both their games so far.
Whilst they have numbers in each department, they probably lack a bit of quality and will probably need a big name signing or 2 to lift the spirits of the team. They, as with every other team so far, has been linked with Watford’s Ismaila Sarr who seems destined to move back to the Premier League after a successful stint last year.
West Ham United
Another team that has been awfully quiet this summer.
The only news that you hear so far are negative ones, including club captain Mark Noble coming out to voice his disappointment at the loss of starlet Grady Diangana to the Baggies.
They have managed only to sign midfielder Tomas Soucek who enjoyed a successful loan signing and owner David Sullivan has even come out on press to voice his disappointment over the lack of transfer signings due to limited funds.
With the Hammers having started the season with 2 losses already, Hammers fan can only hope that the next time they return to the London stadium will not be when the Hammers are playing in the Championship instead. Perhaps they will have to make do with a few loan signings and Chelsea centre back Antonio Rudiger will probably fit well in this plan given the abundance of centre backs Frank Lampard has at his disposal.
Having enjoyed a very successful season with European cup action, Wolves fans might be hoping for more of the same this season despite narrowly missing out on a spot at the end of last season.
They would have been slightly worried with the loss of first team players with Matt Doherty and Diego Jota both leaving, but chairman Jeff Shi has once shown his love and willingness to spend for his beloved club with big money signings for Fabio Silva, Jose Semedo and Fernando Marcal as well as youngsters Vitinha and Ki Jana Hoever.
There seems to be news of further actions coming and Wolves will probably need to look at reinforcing their central defence as well as central midfield areas and the names of Leon Bailey from Leverkusen and Unai Nunez from Athletico Bilbao have both been touted as potential targets.
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