What Still Needs To Be Done? Part One

With a month to go in the transfer window, some teams have recruited plenty and some have been a little sluggish. We look at who still has work to do...

Last Updated: 01/08/13 at 09:52 Post Comment

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ARSENAL

What's been done?
In what could very well be the world's first ever sarcastic transfer window, Arsene Wenger has basically delivered a parody of an Arsenal summer, with noises about spending lots of money followed by further noises about 'no really we've actually got loads of money this time', they have thus far only recruited a 20-year-old from France. The only difference from other summers is that nobody appears to be sniffing around their best player. There could be a reason for that.

What still needs to be done?
Basically everything that needed doing at the start of the summer. They could still do with another goalkeeper, they still need some central defensive back-up, they still need someone with a little oomph in central midfield and they still need a striker. The failed pursuits of Gonzalo Higuain and Stevan Jovetic and the increasingly irritating toe-dipping for Luis Suarez and possibly Wayne Rooney have inspired many Gooners to press the panic button, then hammer on the panic button, then smack their head against the panic button.

The problem for nervous Gooners is that it doesn't look like their fears will be settled soon. "We are prepared to wait," said Wenger when asked about Suarez last week. "It looks unlikely before the Emirates Cup. We still have a strong squad but we are there on the market to try to strengthen our team. With or without additions we can be title challengers next season." If he'd like a hand, we helpfully compiled a list of potential alternative strikers here.


ASTON VILLA

What's been done?
A tidy, if fairly low-key, summer thus far. Obviously the big business of the window was keeping hold of Christian Benteke, and his new contract means there is no real likelihood of lots of big moves at Villa Park. Most positions have been quietly strengthened, from Jore Okore and Antonio Luna at the back, Leandro Bacuna and Alexsandar Tonev in midfield and Nicklas Helenius up top.

What still needs to be done?
It wouldn't be an enormous surprise if nobody else wandered through the Villa Park door this summer. Paul Lambert hinted as much before their recent friendly against Luton: "We've got everybody in which is good. It's just a matter of getting them altogether and getting them playing the way you want."

The aim now seems to be to clear out the deadwood in Lambert's squad. While reading too much into squad numbers is usually the last refuge of the scoundrel and the moron, Villa weren't exactly subtle when they released theirs last week, making it very clear who's welcome and who isn't. It seems fairly certain that 35 - Shay Given will be encouraged to go, with Doncaster mentioned, oddly, while 40 - Stephen Ireland, 41 - Alan Hutton and 36 - Charles N'Zogbia are all on the 'Don't Let The Door Hit Your Arse' list. 42 - Barry Bannan's move to Blackburn may or may not be happening, while of course the big departure will be 39 - Darren Bent, for whom the market appears to be livening up. Newcastle and Fulham are finally removing their thumbs from their bottoms and making moves, apparently.


CARDIFF CITY

What's been done?
Until Wednesday evening, not a great deal. £7.5million for Andreas Cornelius, a man with one decent season in the Danish league under his belt, looks like something of a gamble, while John Brayford has arrived from Derby. However, the acquisition of Steven Caulker, with most Spurs fans scratching their heads and wondering what the hell Daniel Levy and Andre Villas-Boas are playing at, was quite the coup. The Tom Ince farrago looked embarrassing, but if the winger's motives for staying in the north-west because of the birth of his child are genuine, it was obviously unavoidable from Cardiff's perspective.

What still needs to be done?
A fair bit. As Sarah Winterburn wrote back in June, it's the defence that probably requires the most attention, noting that there's 'no real Premier League quality' in their backline ranks at present. Caulker obviously addresses that issue, but while Brayford is a promising full-back, they could do with some more help back there.

And it's not as if Cardiff aren't trying, or are not ambitious (if you believe the gossip pages), with a fee apparently agreed for Etienne Capoue, the Toulouse midfielder who very nearly joined Arsenal in January. "It's pretty delicate at the moment," said Malky Mackay of the move. "We're in discussions and negotiations but it's something that's ongoing." In addition, there is talk of gazumping Swansea for Espanyol's Hector Moreno, while they are also seemingly keen on bringing Joe Ledley back from Celtic.


CHELSEA

What's been done?
The gallopingly unnecessary signing of Andre 'Don't Call Me' Schurrle was followed by Dutch midfielder Marco van Ginkel and a new pair of buttocks to fill the groove on the Stamford Bridge bench that Ross Turnbull spent four years working on, in the shape of Mark Schwarzer. The usual fleet of youngsters have been sent on loan too - by our count, Chelsea have loaned out 14 players, none of them likely to feature in Jose Mourinho's first team anytime soon.

What still needs to be done?
There are only a couple of areas that Mourinho really needs to beef up - specifically a holding/tackling midfielder if he (quite rightly) assumes John Obi Mikel isn't good enough, and a striker if he thinks Demba Ba isn't quite up to standard, Romelu Lukaku isn't quite ready yet and that the kindest thing to do with Fernando Torres is to send him to the same farm your mum sent little Snowy. Or sell him. Whatever.

There are a few candidates for the former position, the most likely and practical would seem to be Sami Khedira, who Mourinho insisted on signing when he arrived at Real Madrid, but the sexiest (in a few respects) is Daniele De Rossi. The one-sleeved Italian is theoretically available after Roma basically put their entire squad apart from Francesco Totti up for sale, but it remains to be seen if Mourinho thinks he's worth the bother (he has a...temper) and/or money.

As far as the striker goes, despite talk of everyone from Robert Lewandowski to Burak Yilmaz to even Didier Drogba, it seems Jose's heart is set on one man, or nobody. "At this moment we have made what you know; that bid which was public and official and after that nothing else," Mourinho said when asked about his interest in Wayne Rooney. "But we are calm as we told you that we are calm because we are happy with what we have."


CRYSTAL PALACE

What's been done?
Thus far, the construction of a forward line that you'd probably um and ah about fielding in the Championship, never mind the Premier League, signing Jerome Thomas which, on a free, could be a handy move if not an adequate like-for-like replacement for Wilfried Zaha, and recruiting midfielder Jose Campana from Sevilla, while Eliott Grandin's signing should probably be confirmed by the time you read this. Plus there's been an awful lot of hot air from Ian Holloway (including the irony of him getting a fan banned from Crawley because they were being a gobsh*te), which will hopefully be a reminder to those who wanted him back in the Premier League to pause and think about what they've done.

What still needs to be done?
It seems clear the Holloway wants another striker, and a bloody good job too. A move for Carlton Cole apparently fell through, while there is troubling talk that not only does he want Marouane Chamakh on loan, but that he's also willing to pony-up a good chunk of the Moroccan's mammoth monies. But hey - this is the guy that decided Dwight Gayle is worth upwards of £4million, so all bets are off there. Still, talk of a move for Peter Odemwingie seems to make a certain amount of sense, and word that they're also in for Johan Elmander is quite intriguing.

Elsewhere, that defence looks like it could do with some attention. Julian Speroni is perhaps one of the most underrated keepers in the country, but ahead of him there isn't a great deal to inspire confidence of Premier League clean sheets. Should they lin -up against Spurs on August 18 with a defence of Joel Ward, Danny Gabbidon, Damien Delaney and Dean Moxey...well, if Gareth Bale is still around then he'll fancy a fun afternoon.


Nick Miller - follow him on Twitter

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