F365’s Premier League transfer guide: Part one

Date published: Tuesday 30th May 2017 4:02

Arsenal

What do they need?
Even if Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Hector Bellerin don’t leave, Arsenal have plenty to do. A new goalkeeper, left-back, central defender and striker would be ideal, but Arsenal’s biggest task is persuading players that they are a club worth joining amidst uncertainty over their majority owner, manager and star players, as well as a lack of Champions League football. Should even two of those aforementioned three depart, Arsenal will be looking for half a new team at a time when there at least five more attractive clubs in the division to join, and unfortunately the FA Cup hasn’t changed that. Good luck.

What will they get?
Who knows. If Wenger stays (and that seems the obvious eventuality) it is very easy to see a repeat of last summer, where Arsenal make a couple of big-money moves for players slightly below the top grade, but ultimately start next season with a weaker squad as Bellerin and Sanchez leave. Should Wenger go and be replaced by a forward-thinking coach tasked with taking Arsenal into a new era, a more thorough overhaul is probable. We’ve already heard media leaks about interest in Kylian Mbappe and Alexandre Lacazette, but it just doesn’t wash. Our best guess? Theo Walcott starting at right wing-back on the first day of next season, with Francis Coquelin coming off the bench. Sorry.

What’s been said?
“I think this group of players is good enough to come back. They have learned a lot and they have gone through difficult periods this season and they have bounced back in a very strong way. I think that will help them, absolutely, next season. But first I think we have to keep 90 per cent of these players together and find one or two more who strengthen the group but we don’t need a lot. We don’t need many. But we need maybe top quality” – Arsene Wenger, May 22.

 

Bournemouth

What do they need?
Eddie Howe clearly believes that Bournemouth need Premier League experience. The club are already close to signing Jermain Defoe on the type of money and contract length that makes you assume a misprint, and at least one of John Terry or Asmir Begovic could follow. A central defender is needed, with Nathan Ake mentioned, while a new goalkeeper is a dead cert. Jack Wilshere’s departure will leave a central midfield hole that Lewis Cook could fill, but Howe may also want back-up in this position. Given the manager’s recent history in the transfer market, don’t rule out another striker arriving even if Josh King doesn’t move.

What will they get?
Defoe looks like a done deal, while Terry may follow him through the OAP door. Ake would be a tremendous signing and the same goes for Begovic. After that, expect Howe to shop in France, Netherlands and the Championship for inexpensive options that can provide strength in depth and youth to balance the age of other signings. For all his deserved praise, Howe’s record in the transfer market is not good.

What’s been said?
“We have to remember the club and where it has come from. It would break my heart to see this club fall financially and become victim of our own success and end up spending too much money. We have been there before and we would desperately not want that to happen again. The coaching staff identify the players we want and it is up to the board to see if we have the finances to afford them” – Eddie Howe, May 20.

 

Brighton

What do they need?
A new striker, to start with. Even the most optimistic Brighton supporter would not expect Glenn Murray, Tomer Hemed and Sam Baldock to come close to matching their 46 combined goals in all competitions next season, and Brighton should make this their first order of business. Chris Hughton has already mentioned the need for a No. 10 when Brighton want to play 4-4-1-1, and they could do with cover for both full-back positions. One of the main priorities is keeping hold of their key players even before their debut season has begun. Anthony Knockaert will stay and Dale Stephens has signed a new contract, but there are rumours building about the futures of David Stockdale and Lewis Dunk.

What will they get?
Tammy Abraham has been linked with a loan deal, which makes several different kinds of sense. That aside, Brighton appear to have taken the decision to use their scouting network to unearth a few gems from across Europe and lure them to England with the promise of pleasant weather and Premier League football. Moussa Konate and Genki Haraguchi have both been linked in the last few days, and Pascal Gross will arrive from Ingolstadt. If the alternative strategy is to sign 30-something Premier League veterans, Brighton surely have the right idea of how to embrace top-flight life.

What’s been said?
“Fear is healthy. It makes you prepare – and if anything prepare better than you might have done. Even for us in this division that little bit of fear was something we managed well this season. We certainly will want to strengthen the squad but what I don’t think you can do is go from this division and disrupt things too much. We know the areas we need to add to and will work very hard to do that” – Chris Hughton, April 23.

 

Burnley

What do they need?
To keep hold of their best players, first and foremost. One of the inevitable results of a team unexpectedly surviving relegation is that bottom-half clubs put on their vulture fancy dress costumes and hover around your star performers like some weird ritual dance. Andre Gray and Michael Keane are already subjects of serious interest, while Tom Heaton would also be a literal safe pair of hands for any number of clubs. Sean Dyche will be only too aware of the dangers of Second Season Syndrome, and the necessity to make improvements in midfield and defence. Surely Burnley cannot rely on the same home form in 2017/18.

What will they get?
It seems inevitable that Keane will leave, with George Boyd another likely to depart Turf Moor. As replacements, Burnley will surely stick to the same format as last summer, where reliable Championship performers were supplemented by the odd coup from abroad. It is interesting – and possibly instructive – that no player has been strongly linked with a move to Turf Moor over the last fortnight, while three have been linked with moves away. Does a difficult summer await?

What’s been said?
“If we’re successful, he’s [Sean Dyche] always going to be on lists. We just have to make sure we’re hungry enough to keep driving things forwards and keep improving, and hopefully that keeps him motivated. It increases speculation but on the other hand, players we’re looking to recruit look at Sean and think, ‘Yep, I want to work for this guy’, so it can only improve the recruitment. We’ve got to constantly improve and look to strengthen year-on-year, otherwise the challenge for any manager would decrease, the stimulation of the project would decrease” – Mike Garlick, May 26.

 

Chelsea

What do they need?
Strength in depth. Antonio Conte did a magnificent job during 2016/17, but even he would concede that Chelsea’s title challenge was assisted by a gentle fixture schedule. Competing in the Champions League next season will give the squad a far sterner test, and thus makes this summer crucial. It is eight years since any team retained the Premier League title. Conte will probably aim for better cover/competitions in wing-back positions, a central midfielder, a centre-back, a new back-up goalkeeper and a striker. If Diego Costa and Michy Batshuayi both leave, make that two.

What will they get?
One of Romelu Lukaku or Alvaro Morata looks likely, with Conte and Michael Emenalo seemingly disagreeing on which would be the best fit. Tiemoue Bakayoko might well be the central midfielder, with negotiations with Monaco ongoing. Elsewhere, Kyle Walker, Virgil van Dijk and Jack Butland are the three names regularly mentioned for Chelsea’s other problem positions. Get three or four of those five and Conte will consider it a summer well spent. The other question is whether Bertrand Traore, Andreas Christensen or Baba Rahman can ‘do a Moses’. I mean breaking into the first team after loan spells, rather than leading the Exodus of the Israelites.

What’s been said?
“We are building good foundations for this team, for the club and I like to repeat there is a moment for the club, a transitional moment because when you lose players who wrote the history of this club…Ivanovic, Mikel, John Terry, also Oscar, and didn’t replace them, it means we must build good foundations. We prepared for last season without Europe and for this season the squad wasn’t big but next season we must improve our squad” – Antonio Conte, May 12.

Daniel Storey


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