F365’s Premier League summer transfer guide: Part three

Date published: Thursday 1st June 2017 9:35

Have you read parts one and two yet? Well why the f**k not…?

 

Manchester City

What do they need?
2016/17 was a season that simultaneously highlighted the strengths within Manchester City’s squad and exposed the flaws. Pep Guardiola will have a long list of targets that cover central midfield, central defence, both full-back positions and goalkeeper, and he can expect each of them to be filled by the end of July. After a season of stumbling steps, City mean business. It would be no surprise if Sheikh Mansour’s bank account was £300m lighter by the close of this transfer window, but he can probably just about cope.

What will they get?
Forget that, what about what they’ve already done? City announced their intentions with the signing of Bernardo Silva from Monaco three days before the English domestic season had even ended. Benjamin Mendy is likely to follow him from the same club, while Benfica goalkeeper Ederson will almost certainly arrive in the coming days. At right-back, Kyle Walker is the obvious target and Danny Rose has also been mentioned. A central midfielder looks to be the only problem position.

What’s been said?
“People said we are going to change 12 or 13 players. I am going to assure you it’s impossible today to do that. You have to be a little bit more responsible. You have to imagine the club – 13 players have a contract and maybe have to pay them to go there. To pay their salaries, and pay £40m or £50m for every player. We are going to spend £500m or £600m, it’s impossible. We are going to try to improve the team, but do it in a way that’s possible in the market” – Pep Guardiola, March 17.

 

Manchester United

What do they need?
Whatever Jose Mourinho wants. With Champions League football ensured, the Portuguese will leave for his summer holiday entrusting Ed Woodward with a list of names. That will surely include a new central defender and centre forward and probably includes another forward player, central midfielder and maybe even a left-back. If David de Gea gets his move to Real Madrid, you can add a goalkeeper too.

What will they get?
Antoine Griezmann would seem to be the first-choice target and the Manclactico signing to stroke the club’s ego. He is a fantastic player but doesn’t fill any of the obvious gaps in United’s squad. Nor too does Ivan Perisic, unless Mourinho is considering changing philosophy and picking a team comprised purely of attacking midfielders and forwards. Michael Keane has clearly been discussed within the club, with Willian and Eric Dier also interesting names mentioned. I can’t remember a time in my life when Victor Lindelof wasn’t being linked with a move to Old Trafford. Assuming United aren’t going to pay £80m+ for a striker that Mourinho once sold in Romelu Lukaku, a question mark exists over their first-choice central striker at the start of next season.

What’s been said?
“Ed Woodward has my analysis, has what I want, what I would like for more than two months. Now it’s for him, now for the owners and the people who work with him to sort, so I just wait. But I don’t care about football for now” – Jose Mourinho, May 24.

 

Newcastle United

What do they need?
The impossible question is just how Newcastle’s current squad would fare in the Premier League without the debilitating off-field mess that haunted their latest relegation season. Players such as Dwight Gayle, Ciaran Clark and Jonjo Shelvey all impressed in the Championship, but have largely unsuccessful Premier League experience. Rafael Benitez will certainly require numerous additions to facilitate consolidation, and that includes a left-back, central midfielder and one striker as a bare minimum.

What will they get?
Christian Atsu has already signed on a permanent £6.2m deal from Chelsea after a successful loan spell last season, and Tammy Abraham is another member of the Stamford Bridge loanees WhatsApp group who Newcastle want. Fulham’s Tom Cairney and Everton’s James McCarthy are the other two names mentioned most often over the last few weeks, but Benitez is also likely to recruit the odd player from Spain. William Carvalho has been touted as a possible central midfield option and Michy Batshuayi as a striker; both would be significant coups.

What’s been said?
“The ideal situation is to bring in some experience. But at the same time you have to analyse the prices. They are sometimes impossible. Sometimes players from abroad are a little bit cheaper, but they can be better players. The main thing will be to make sure, if you bring in players from abroad, that they are mentally strong enough and with the personality to go with the intensity of the Premier League. Some players they are not stupid and they know: ‘Maybe it’s my last chance’. Sometimes you can find a player that you don’t expect that you can sign because the circumstances are right” – Rafael Benitez, May 6.

 

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Southampton

What do they need?
Is this summer the straw that breaks Southampton’s back? There are rumours that Claude Puel may well be replaced as manager, but even that may not stop the latest raft of first-team stars leaving. If Virgil van Dijk, Ryan Bertrand and Jay Rodriguez leave and the club labour over replacing or backing Puel, it is easy to see next season being a struggle. The alternative view is that Van Dijk and Bertrand will raise more than £70m in sales, and Southampton will use those proceeds to do what they have always done. At a club with effective succession plans, a change of manager does not necessarily cause seams to split.

What will they get?
The only player that has been linked with a move to Southampton so far this summer is Leeds United striker Chris Wood, so supporters would be forgiven for feeling a little apprehensive. The most likely scenario is that Puel leaves the club but that Bertrand and Van Dijk follow suit. That causes a July and August rush that sees players from Ligue Un and the Eredivisie arrive, to mixed success. Then they’ll finish in the top half again next season and we’ll wonder why we ever worried in the first place.

What’s been said?
“We do not need to sell a player this summer. Any transfer in and out now will be to increase the quality of the squad and do what is best for the club. I have to tell you, straight up, we do not have to sell anybody. We will do our best to retain the core, solidify the core and move with some synergy into next season” – Chairman Ralph Krueger, May 16.

 

Stoke City

What do they need?
Not Wayne Rooney. Not Wayne Rooney. Not Wayne Rooney. Not Wayne Rooney. Not Wayne Rooney. Not Wayne Rooney. Not Wayne Rooney. Not Wayne Rooney. Especially not for forty-five-effing-million pounds. Mark Hughes is a manager who should be under significant pressure at the start of next season, and that will only increase if he misjudges the wishes of Stoke supporters over the signing of Rooney. Hughes’ task is to rid the lethargy within Stoke’s squad by clearing out ageing deadwood and replacing it with exciting, younger players who Hughes is actually prepared to play. Stoke’s manager only gave Ramadan Sobhi 848 league minutes last season, and yet he is already one of the most popular players amongst supporters. More of the same, please.

What will they get?
From Ibrahim Afellay to Glen Johnson and Giannelli Imbula to Shay Given, Stoke’s transfer business over the last two years could be best described as ‘varied’. That has unsurprisingly created a squad that contains no little talent but is, like Watford’s, liable to fall into ruts of form where supporters wonder if they really care that much at all. Let’s give Hughes the benefit of the doubt and say he will move on Phil Bardsley, Charlie Adam, Glen Johnson, Glenn Whelan and Peter Crouch and replace them with young, vibrant talent from the Championship and abroad. I don’t even believe what I’m typing.

What’s been said?
“We need to look at the squad and make sure we are stronger going into next year. Clearly, we’ve obviously got areas we can be better in. Clearly, we will have opportunities to go into the market and improve ourselves, which we will need to do because everyone else will be doing the same thing. We will spend an amount, I’m sure, that will make us competitive. It’s about recognising where we are and making sure we are always competitive in this league, which we have been for the last four years” – Mark Hughes, May 14.

Daniel Storey

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