Who Needs What This Summer? Part Four

The final part of our transfer guide looks at Gareth Bale's future and Spurs' need for a striker. Plus, West Ham are ready to spend big on a new forward...

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What's been said:
"I think it is very unlikely that he will sign a new contract. Simon has obviously come to a point where he wants to step up a level and there is a lot of interest in him. He is very ambitious and wants to play in the World Cup, in Brazil, next year. It was a good thing that Sunderland stayed up and it is a fantastic club where he has had three great years. But it is maybe time to step up a level and play for a club competing for a European spot" - Nico Vaesen, Simon Mignolet's agent.

The budget: Perhaps not as bountiful as in recent years. Ellis Short has watched millions of his money trickle into the Sunderland coffers, and the squad that he is left with is does not exactly reflect these riches. Indeed, he got rid of basically the whole scouting staff in May. By bringing in a manager from the lower leagues, he may be looking for a little more parsimony. All the best with that.

What's needed: The question of transfer activity at Sunderland this summer might focus a little more on who is leaving, rather than who is arriving - both the players Paolo Di Canio wants to keep, and the ones he doesn't. Mignolet's stated intention to leave is hardly surprising, but it is probably a blow that it was made so public so early in the transfer window, weakening Sunderland's negotiating position rather. In addition, Di Canio's frequent comments about the lack of discipline in his squad suggests that he might wish to clear out some of the slackers.

When that is done...well, where to start? A good place might be to try and persuade Spurs to let them have Danny Rose, last season's best player, either permanently or on another loan, although that could be something of a long shot. Another striker would probably be a good idea, given Danny Graham's struggles when standing in for Steven Fletcher, while some defensive cover and a proper right-back would be handy, along with someone in central midfield and a wi...oh hell - this might as well just read 'strengthen everywhere'.

What's been said:
"Unless we find a couple of hundred million pounds I think last season we achieved nearly the maximum we can in terms of the table. There are always things you can improve, but there are not many higher positions we can look at. Even consolidating is going to be very difficult. Some of the teams below us this season will invest heavily; West Ham, Newcastle, Aston Villa. They are huge clubs who want to take the place where we are right now" - Michael Laudrup.

The budget: Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins has spoken of 'substantial funds' but the Swans will probably have a similar budget to the £15m they spent last summer.

What's needed: The noises coming from Michael Laudrup are that Swansea need to invest significantly otherwise he could look for a new challenge. Talk of the manager's unrest is rife and Laudrup has form for being flighty, leaving Getafe and Mallorca after just a single season. Jenkins has tried to dismiss speculation - "Myself, the manager and our recruitment staff are all agreed on the quality of players we would like to sign to help us remain competitive in the Barclays Premier League" - but it seems Laudrup's future will depend on what happens between now and the end of the transfer window.

The manager kicked off his summer business by signing Real Betis midfielder Jose Canas on a free transfer and the 26-year-old will offer a combative option in midfield. Along with Canas, Laudrup will be hoping to tie up a permanent move for Jonathan de Guzman after the Dutch international impressed on loan, but any deal could hinge on Villarreal's plans if they win promotion back to La Liga.

Swansea are also desperate for more firepower after Michu contributed an enormous 38% of the team's Premier League goals last season - second only to Christian Benteke's haul at Aston Villa. Apparently Laudrup is keen on a move for Alvaro Negredo, Iago Aspas or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but the Swans will have to shop in a cheaper section of the market. Israeli striker Tomer Hemed grabbed 11 goals for relegated Mallorca in La Liga and could be available for a reasonable fee, while the prospect of European football may also clinch a loan move for Romelu Lukaku. A new centre-back will also be required if Ashley Williams completes a reported £12m move to either Arsenal or Liverpool.

What's been said:
"He has helped me in all aspects of my game. In training we have been working on things that I can do in games and in games he has given me the confidence to do what I want and do what I do best, which is a massive thing for a player" - Gareth Bale on Andre Villas-Boas.

The budget: Depends on the future of Mr Bale. If he stays, something like £30-35million in all likelihood, but if he goes then they should have about £70million in the bank.

What's needed: The good news for Spurs is that most of the indications are that he will stick around for another year. The above quotes are just one indication of him being pretty settled where he is, while it's unlikely that he will get as much freedom as he does now at another club. Of course there were words from his agent saying 'Real Madrid are very nice, aren't they?' but that's what agents do.

So, working on the assumption that Bale stays, it's reasonably clear what Spurs need. Some cover in midfield that isn't Scott Parker, a winger or two and of course at least one striker, preferably a couple. The perennial interest in Leandro Damiao seems to be cooling off rather, while we'll believe talk of a move for David Villa when we see it. Christian Benteke would make sense, but not at the fancy prices that some believe Aston Villa will demand - one report on Thursday suggested they will demand a whopping £40million for the big Belgian. One name that doesn't appear to have been mentioned much in the gossip rags is Mario Gomez - he's leaving Bayern Munich, and while his wages won't be cheap, at 27 he would represent the sort of ambitious move that Spurs need if they are to get into the top four.

Interestingly, Spurs may already have made their shrewdest signing of the summer, with the imminent appointment of Franco Baldini as their new sporting director. Given Daniel Levy appears to have been driving their transfer moves in recent years, this would represent some clear direction - Levy's strength is getting the most money he can when selling players, but too often leaves recruitment until it's too late, exemplified by the botched move for Joao Moutinho last summer. Baldini oversaw the recruitment of Erik Lamela while at Roma, as well as Brazilian defender Marquinhos (not to be confused with Marquinho, the midfielder) - both exciting young talents, and who will both probably be sold at a profit, when the time comes. Good news for both Villas-Boas and Levy, if he can repeat that at Spurs.

What's been said:
"Youssouf (Mulumbu) has been excellent for us since I have been here and is one of the players we want to keep. I think come the summer the ones that we have to keep - that I want to keep - will still be at the club" - Steve Clarke.

The budget: The Baggies signed only one player for a fee last summer (Ben Foster, £4m) and probably won't have much more to spend this year.

What's needed: Clarke may know who he wants to keep at the Hawthorns but he faces a tough battle to hold onto the Baggies' best performer in 2012/13 as Romelu Lukaku waits to learn Chelsea's bidding. With Borussia Dortmund linked with a loan move for the striker, it's likely that West Brom will miss out and so Clarke must begin his search for firepower elsewhere.

Markus Rosenberg's struggles last season revealed the risk of shopping for freebies and Clarke will need to spend the majority of his funds on a striker with a proven goalscoring record if West Brom are to repeat their top-half finish. Evian striker Saber Khelifa is supposedly on Clarke's wishlist, while a move for Blackburn's 27-goal striker Jordan Rhodes has been mooted. Considering Rovers paid £8m for the 23-year-old in 2012, he should be out of the Baggies' price range, but we are talking about Venkys and so it wouldn't be a surprise if Rhodes is sold for a packet of Frazzles and a bag of marbles. Clarke will also need to find a replacement for £4m-rated Youssouf Mulumbu if Fiorentina follow up their interest in the midfielder and a dip into the Championship or loan market should be expected.

What's been said:
"It will be massive if we do get Andy, but it is not the be all and end all. I have been with Sam a long time. When he did not manage to get his first man, he has always managed to get his second man and we always manage to do well. If he gets the chance to bring the quality of the players he wants, then I am sure we will be aiming for the higher echelons of the Premier League" - Kevin Nolan.

The budget: The Hammers have big money to spend on a new striker and will no doubt add two or three more in other positions. A total budget of around £25m wouldn't be a surprise.

What's needed: It's clear that West Ham are going all out to bring in a proven goalscorer (or Andy Carroll) this summer with Sir Trevor Brooking admitting that "the attacking area is an issue". Sam Allardyce is perhaps rather fortunate to be backed in bids for Carroll and Alvaro Negredo after finding poor value in £15m duo Modibo Maïga and Matt Jarvis last summer, but the manager's new two-year contract shows that Davids Gold and Sullivan are happy to continue building in Allardyce's pragmatic style.

Carroll's stalling tactics have prompted a £14.5m bid for Negredo, which was rejected by Sevilla, and it seems the Hammers may have to look elsewhere if they want their new man in for the start of pre-season. Other options include a loan move for Romelu Lukaku and a £10m bid for Jordan Rhodes, but Allardyce would have to change his system to accommodate the Blackburn striker.

The Hammers solved their issue at left-back with the acquisition of Shakhtar defender Rãzvan Raț, while goalkeeper Adrian has also arrived on a free from Real Betis. Depending on the outcome of Gary O'Neil's contract talks, Allardyce may also pursue another midfielder to increase competition for places as West Ham seek to improve on their tenth-place finish.

Part One, dealing with Arsenal, Aston Villa, Cardiff, Chelsea and Crystal Palace is here, while Part Two, taking in Everton, Fulham, Hull, Liverpool and Manchester City is here. Part Three, which looks at Man United, Norwich, Newcastle, Southampton and Stoke is here.

Matt Stanger and Nick Miller.

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really enjoyed this. Thanks F365 for another year of work avoidance - happy Christmas.

megabrow (cufc)
Our Person Of The Year: Alan Pardew


m no Sam Fan and this article sums him up beautifully. I always like to imagine that when he watches anything on TV and hears clapping, he stands up and aknowledges the applause, thinking its for him!

Football Managers On TV: Sam Allardyce


ah, Fergie is just having another pop at Rooney. He just wants to put him down whenever he gets a chance. Rooney is by far the best English player. Carrick is not far behind, mind. However, by elevating Carrick like that, Sir is having a dig at Wayne. Fergie is well-known for mind games like that. Good to see he's still feisty.

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