Premier League transfer window needs and ideas
Transfer windows are ending at different dates all over Europe, but Premier League clubs have until 16 October to sign players. So there's plenty of time to fill the gaps in squads... and even cherry-pick players from clubs in leagues where the windows have already closed.
Once again, clubs will have the chance to play a few matches before they makes their squads final. But even though the season won't start for a little while, we've got some ideas for new signings. Here they are, with the clubs arranged according to where they finished last season. Just click on any player's name to see his stats and maps:
1. Liverpool. In Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, the Reds have exceptional but aging starters. They could probably benefit from having another option on the bench, and Brentford's Bryan Mbeumo might fit the bill. He has a style similar to Salah's, and he's a 21-year-old smarterscout young prospect with attacking output that's already close to average at a Premier League standard. Liverpool may also want to consider a midfielder, given James Milner's age and the injuries that have hit their other players in the past.
2. Manchester City. A successor to Sergio Aguero is a priority, and, as we've written before, Celtic's Odsonne Edouard checks pretty much all the boxes. His shot map in open play is similar to Aguero's, even in the wide-right area where Aguero has historically been a great finisher:
3. Manchester United. If there's no deal for Jadon Sancho, the Red Devils could still use cover for Mason Greenwood at RW, assuming Daniel James will play more at LW, where he thrives. Kingsley Coman has similar attributes to what Marcus Rashford offers at LW, but his Champions League win with Bayern Munich could make him unattainable. An alternative would be Dodi Lukebakio, a 22-year-old smarterscout young prospect at Hertha Berlin. We've asked several times whether Victor Lindelof was really up to the job at RCB, but can the club really sign another defender? They're carrying eight CBs at the moment. Surely one or two will leave, but can any of the others compete for the job?
4. Chelsea. With the deal for Ben Chilwell done, the main issue is at GK. We suggested that Kepa's problems might be psychological. But regardless of their origin, he's not good enough to start at the moment. If the Blues want a player who can offer a bit of what Thibaut Courtois did in 2016-17, before he left for Real Madrid, then they might want to check out Alex Meret at Napoli or Walter Benitez at Nice:
5. Leicester City. Chilwell's departure will leave a hole at LB, and Jamal Lewis may arrive from Norwich to fill it. But if the Foxes want someone with a bit more experience, they might want to consider Alex Moreno from Real Betis. It's also worth asking whether they should bring in some cover for Harvey Barnes at LW as they plan for their European campaign.
6. Tottenham Hotspur. DM was the problem, and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is the solution. But with the departure of Jan Vertonghen, and interest from other clubs in Juan Foyth, Spurs may need another CB as well. We think Real Sociedad's 27-year-old Diego Llorente would be worth a look – he cost just €7m from Real Madrid three years ago, so a moderate fee would still provide a big profit for the Basque club.
7. Wolverhampton Wanderers. Wolves have a strong squad, but they could stand to get a bit more attacking output from the wide players on their left side. Jonny Otto and Ruben Vinagre are avid defenders, but they're not quite as productive on the ball. One player who excels at LM/LWB and is used to platooning is Bernard, up the road at Everton. Bonus: He already speaks Portuguese. Should the club seek out some cover for workhorse Conor Coady as well?
8. Arsenal. Where to start? We see a lot of holes in the roster, with aging veterans at CB, poor defending among the DMs, and only Willian coming in to take over the playmaking duties with Dani Ceballos having returned to Real Madrid. We said it before, and we'll say it again: Teun Koopmeiners. The Alkmaar captain is a smarterscout young prospect who could provide the missing solidity at the back from which to build forward:
9. Sheffield United. Can Lys Mousset be the Blades' everyday striker? His attacking output has certainly been good enough during the minutes he's played, so it's just a question of whether he gets more chances. If Chris Wilder is happy with his options up front, he might want to search out an improvement on George Baldock's attacking down the right side. Here's a suggestion out of nowhere: Luke O'Nien. He's had excellent numbers for Sunderland and has commitment in spades. It's a huge step up to the Premier League, but isn't that Wilder's specialty?
10. Burnley. Sean Dyche has put together quite a solid squad, but at RB he's got 35-year-old Phil Bardsley and 31-year-old Matthew Lowton. So, whom to sign? The Burnley senior squad is as homogeneous as they come – overwhelmingly white, English, and over age 25. Maybe they should bring in Simon Francis or Chris Baird. Let us know when you're ready to diversify, Sean!
11. Southampton. It's a pretty settled group for Ralph Hasenhuttl, and the return of Mario Lemina will help Oriol Romeu to hold things down in midfield in Hojbjerg's absence. With Shane Long aging and Che Adams yet to convince, is another striker in the cards? If Hasenhuttl wants an aggressive defender who also gets his shots off, Rangers' wantaway striker Alfredo Morelos might fit the bill.
12. Everton. They're still trying to sort out the midfield up at Goodison Park, and the most pressing need is a tough DM given the continued question marks over Jean-Philippe Gbamin. A loan for Allan might be in the offing, and it looks like he'd provide the sort of steel they need. Also, they should probably sign Zlatan Ibrahimovic on a free, just for the synergy with Gylfi Sigurdsson's free kick deliveries. If you have Gylfi, you need an aerial target man. If you don't have an aerial target man, you shouldn't have Gylfi. If you have both, you already have half a goal in situations where you can't break through in open play.
13. Newcastle United. The Magpies' fullbacks are so-so defenders, but arguably their biggest need is another potent option up front besides Allan Saint-Maximin. None of their four strikers is particularly dangerous, and their other wingers haven't struck much fear into the opposition, either. With Saint-Maximin playing mostly on the left and Miguel Almiron on the right, how about a player similar to Roberto Firmino who can drop back and then follow the wide forwards' runs into the box? Siebe Schrijvers could be an option:
14. Crystal Palace. Attacking is the big issue at Palace, with only relegated Norwich City having scored fewer goals in the last campaign. Palace also have one of the oldest squads in the league, including a couple of 30-year-old RBs. We think that a more effective CM might help to get more out of the club's forwards, who are talented if again. Could Peter Michorl, the engine of LASK's free-scoring midfield, be the affordable answer?
15. Brighton and Hove Albion. The Seagulls used at least 12 different formations under Graham Potter last season, so it sure seems like versatility is a prerequisite for joining their squad. Their attacking seems stronger on the left than the right, and their strikers have been misfiring. Time for a player who can come in from RW to finish? Harry Wilson, whose namesake played more than 100 times for Brighton in the 1970s, is apparently available for a permanent move away from Anfield after his time down the south coast in Bournemouth.
16. West Ham United. The Hammers are looking surprisingly okay, with a mix of veterans joined by promising youngsters including Grady Diangana and Jarrod Bowen. They could probably use an upgrade at LCB, though, with Angelo Ogbonna slowing down at age 32 and Goncalo Cardoso unlikely to be ready at age 19. We'd suggest a look at Swedish international Filip Helander from Rangers – he's already got a leg up when it comes to understanding David Moyes's accent!
17. Aston Villa. RCB is an issue; Ezri Konsa may not be ready for the Premier League, and Bjorn Engels hasn't performed at the right level. We think Axel Disasi, a smartercout young prospect at Reims, is further along than Konsa and could adapt well to the Premier League. The Villans still need an alternative to Wesley at striker, too, after Mbwana Samatta's predictable disappointment.
18. Leeds United. We already spoke at length to the Yorkshire Evening Post about options for the Whites' return to the Premier League. We'd be most excited if they could bring in Carlos Vinicius to compete with Patrick Bamford, as well as the aforementioned Foyth.
19. West Bromwich Albion. The Baggies have some good young players, but up front they're reliant on two 31-year-olds in Charlie Austin and Hal Robson-Kanu, of whom only Austin may be Premier League quality. Could it finally be time for Scott Hogan to make his Premier League bow, since Villa seem to have little interest in him? It's also possible that Ahmed Hegazi will again have trouble coping with top-tier attackers.
20. Fulham. Last time the Cottagers came to the Premier League, they spent a whole lot of money on players who never gelled. This time they're already handing Harrison Reed a permanent deal, and they'll probably want to beef up the defending behind him. Tim Ream played more than 4,000' at LCB, and it would make sense to bring in a potential successor who's got better defending but the same high ball retention. We'd recommend a glance at Carlos Salcedo, the experienced Mexican international at Tigres.
[Photo: Sven Mandel]