What Still Needs To Be Done? Part Two

Part two looks at Liverpool's defensive concerns - as well as the Suarez headache - plus Manuel Pellegrini eyeing at least one more big-name signing before the window closes...

Last Updated: 02/08/13 at 09:01 Post Comment

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EVERTON
What's been done?

Three players who ended last season with relegation at Wigan and a Barcelona wonderkid represents quite a mixed bag of signings for Roberto Martinez in his new job. While the manager may be accused of showing a lack of imagination, Arouna Kone will provide solid competition for an out-of-sorts Nikica Jelavic and Antolín Alcaraz's arrival should facilitate plans to switch to a back three. If Gerard Deulofeu plays to his potential, Everton could have a real star on their hands.

What still needs doing?
Everton would still benefit from having an extra striker in the squad given Victor Anichebe's long-established fear of scoring goals and Jelavic's poor form last season (plus speculation that the Croation could be off to Hamburg). Free-scoring Austrian striker Philipp Hosiner has been linked with a move to Goodison along with, predictably, Callum McManaman. If Marouane Fellaini leaves, expect James McCarthy to replace the Belgian as Martinez continues to tweak the Toffees' system. The manager also faces the minor task of avoiding Willie McKay's calls as Joey Barton seeks a new club.


FULHAM
What's been done?

Very little of note in recent weeks, owing to Mohamed Al-Fayed's sale of the club to moustachioed billionaire Shahid Khan. Maarten Stekelenburg is a decent replacement for Mark Schwarzer, while Martin Jol's swift action at the start of the window also saw the arrivals of walking yellow card Fernando Amorebieta and Sascha Riether on a permanent deal following his impressive loan spell. Derek Boateng provides much-needed competition in midfield (and less-needed experience) while French youngster Ange-Freddy Plumain will drop straight into the development squad.

What still needs doing?
Fulham are still desperate for younger faces to complement an ageing squad that stumbled to 12th last year. Central midfield is a particular weak spot, with Steve Sidwell and Giorgos Karagounis offering little in the way of creativity and mobility. Bryan Ruiz - the only player under the age of 30 who started more than 20 Premier League games for Fulham last season - has been coasting for far too long and that's perhaps Jol's motivation in pursuing explosive Roma forward Pablo Osvaldo. Whether Khan will back the manager is yet to be seen.


HULL
What's been done?

'A whole new XI?' Looking at the Hull squad, it's difficult to pick out even one player who is good enough to play in the Premier League.' This was Sarah Winterburn's verdict at the start of June and it seems Steve Bruce agreed, with the manager signing eight new players so far. New number one Allan McGregor represents good value at £1.5million, having helped Besiktas to third in the Turkish Superleague last year, while Maynor Figueroa, Ahmed Elmohamady, Curtis Davies and Danny Graham all bring bottom-half top-flight experience.

What still needs doing?
It's unlikely that Graham and Yannick Sagbo can score the goals to keep Hull clear of the bottom three and Bruce still needs a cash boost to sign a proven goalscorer. Darren Bent would be a worthy gamble (unlike Nicklas Bendtner) but if Hull start the season with Carlton Cole in attack, they might as well offer to relinquish their Premier League place ten months early.


LIVERPOOL
What's been done?

In terms of sales, Liverpool have done rather well, recouping £15million on Andy Carroll, negotiating £6million for Jonjo Shelvey and freeing up space on the wage bill by loaning Pepe Reina to Napoli. Simon Mignolet was an expensive and not entirely necessary replacement for Reina but the Reds found value in Iago Aspas and Kolo Toure, who will bring much-needed competition for places. The £6.8million signing of Luis Alberto indicates Brendan Rodgers' intention to continue building with youth but the manager will also need to add one or two more players who can have an immediate impact on first-team fortunes.

What still needs doing?
As I wrote here, Liverpool's early business hasn't really improved their hand in the battle for a Champions League place and Henrikh Mkhitaryan's refusal to hold talks with Rodgers was a huge blow. Of course, much of the manager's plans for the rest of the window depend on the outcome of Arsenal's interest in Luis Suarez. If the forward leaves, one would imagine John Henry will provide Rodgers with the majority of the £45-50million fee but the problem will be attracting the right calibre of player at the right price so late in the window.

The Reds also have defensive concerns, with Lorenzo Melgarejo set to join on loan from Benfica to contest Jose Enrique's left-back spot and doubts remaining over Martin Skrtel's future. The Slovakian was part of the back four criticised for being 'soft' by Rodgers after January's embarrassing FA Cup defeat to Oldham and he barely featured in the second half of the season. Rafa Benitez is reportedly keen to take Skrtel to Napoli and, should that happen, Liverpool will probably move for Schalke's Kyriakos Papadopoulos or Ajax defender Toby Alderweireld.


MAN CITY
What's been done?

A great deal with a minimum amount of fuss. The signings of Fernandinho and Jesus Navas were confirmed at the start of June and while other clubs hesitated over the asking prices for Stevan Jovetic and Alvaro Negredo, City ploughed ahead with their plans to strengthen. Whether Jovetic and Negredo are two better options than Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli is open to debate, but there was a staleness about City last season and they needed a fresh injection of desire. Manuel Pellegrini has a clear idea as to how he wants the team to play and the manager's focus on an attacking style should excite the club's fans ahead of Newcastle's visit on August 19.

What still needs doing?
Despite City spending north of £85million on four new faces, Pellegrini doesn't want to stop there. "It's not absolutely complete, but it's very near to being complete," said Pellegrini in July after hinting that he's still looking for an extra forward. Stephan El Shaarawy and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are two blockbuster names that have been mentioned while rumours of a move for Real Madrid defender Pepe have remained unflushable.

Matt Stanger - he's on the Twitter.

Come this way for Part One...

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