F365’s summer transfer guide: Chelsea to Leicester

Date published: Tuesday 28th May 2019 8:08

The first of our summer transfer guides, from A to B, can be found here...

 

Chelsea

What do they need?
A new forward line, or two-thirds of one, at least. With Eden Hazard seemingly set to join Real Madrid, Chelsea are losing their greatest source of goals, and Maurizio Sarri – or whoever is managing Chelsea next season – will be struggling to see who else in his squad can pick up the slack. The Blues have lacked a fit-for-purpose centre-forward since Antonio Conte got shot of Diego Costa and though Sarri moved to borrow Gonzalo Higuain, the Argentina striker just hasn’t looked fit for the Premier League. With Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek set to miss at least  some of the new season, Chelsea may go into the campaign with a less potent front line than the piss-weak one Hazard dragged through last term. Injuries could cause a problem at the back too, with Antonio Rudiger currently recovering from a knee problem. Sarri was already light on centre-backs before the Germany defender was crocked at the end of last month.

What will they get?
Nothing, if FIFA have anything to do with it. Chelsea have yet to take their appeal over their transfer ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport while the club’s lawyers ponder the best course of action. In the meantime, it seems the only deals they can do would be to turn Mateo Kovacic and Higuain’s loan deal into permanent arrangements. At least the Blues moved fast to secure Christian Pulisic for the new season before FIFA handed down their punishment in February.

What’s been said:
“It’s very difficult to cover the gap at the moment; we need to work, probably we need to do something from the market… I think that we have to buy only one, two players, otherwise it’s very difficult to improve immediately. I think we are a very good team, so we need only one, two players, no more.” – Maurizio Sarri, May 8.

 

Crystal Palace

What do they need?
Palace’s major battles this summer will focus around retention rather than recruitment. The Eagles have slapped massive price tags on Wilfried Zaha and Aaron Wan-Bissaka in an effort to fend off the big boys, but plenty can and probably will happen between now and August, especially as Zaha seems keen to try a new challenge. Even if he keeps his star duo, Roy Hodgson needs a centre-forward and defensive reinforcements. The Palace boss made the third fewest changes to his starting XI last season, which could be viewed as an absence of strength in depth. Hodgson is said to be looking everywhere from Luton (James Justin) to Lyon (Farland Mendy) for a left-back to keep Patrick van Aanholt on his toes, though a centre-back appears a more pressing need.

What will they get?
Hodgson may already have found his centre-forward. Michy Batshuayi spent the second half of last season on loan at Palace and the Eagles are keen to retain the Belgium striker who scored six goals in 13 appearances, though Chelsea’s circumstances could deprive Hodgson of the opportunity to make the 25-year-old a permanent signing. Should Zaha go, then Palace will reinvest some of their windfall on a new winger, with Nice’s Allan Saint-Maximin already linked, but Tottenham’s interest in Jack Clarke may have scuppered their hopes of signing the Leeds teenager.

What’s been said:
“If Michy Batshuayi was going to be available, either on loan or buy him, I would be very happy with that. My coaching staff would be happy, the other players would be happy and I know Michy himself would be very happy.” – Roy Hodgson, May 12

 

Everton

What do they need?
Like every other club discussed here, Everton need a centre-forward. However he decides to play, Marco Silva cannot consider any assault on the top six with Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Cenk Tosun or Oumar Niasse as their leading striker. It has been three and a half years since an Everton No.9 scored a Premier League goal and that must be addressed. Silva also needs reinforcements across the back, with centre-back Kurt Zouma perhaps returning to Chelsea, while the futures of out-of-contract duo Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka are still unclear. Silva could also be short at right-back with Jonjoe Kenny reportedly set to head out on loan. Securing a permanent deal for loanee Andre Gomes is a priority for Silva, but there are plenty of clubs also keen on signing the Barcelona midfielder.

What will they get?
Dat Guy, probably. Danny Welbeck is a free agent and the England striker seems a perfect match for Everton. He would also be considerably cheaper than another Three Lions forward, Callum Wilson. The Toffees, like Leicester, have been linked with RB Leipzig striker Jean-Kevin Augustin, but Welbeck is by far the more likely arrival. Everton are one of two Premier League clubs being mentioned in connection with Thomas Meunier – though not by the player himself – while talk of Idrissa Geuye going the other way to PSG has seen the Toffees linked with former footballer Danny Drinkwater. They have already signed goalkeeper Jonas Lossl on a free to warm their bench.

What’s been said:
“We need a strong market. It will be tough for us. We want to keep two key players who are on loan, we want to attack the market well. It is part of the job, part of the steps. The next market will be key for us and to keep our level.” Marco Silva, May 12.

 

Leicester

What do they need?
‘Finishing touches, not drastic, unrealistic measures,’ according to Matt Stead. Leicester are in a bloody exciting position and potentially just one shrewd summer from a crack at the Champions League spots, unless they continue their policy of selling their best players. To continue the running theme, Brendan Rodgers needs a striker but, unlike the other three clubs mentioned here, the Foxes need only an alternative to Jamie Vardy, who finished the season on fire after Brendan arrived. Having tried before buying, Leicester would very much like to complete the transaction to keep Youri Tielemans, and though Steady and Winty reckon Kasper Schmeichel should be upgraded, the Denmark keeper is capable of raising his game again. Cover at right-back could also be required.

What will they get?
With Tielemans none of signed, sealed or delivered, despite their best efforts, Leicester have left the door open for the vultures – Man City being one – to pick off the Monaco midfielder. But the Foxes remain firmly in the hunt and a permanent deal even at the expense of their transfer record remains the priority. Recruiting a striker is a tricky business, especially when many of their rivals can offer greater status than a stand-in role to potential recruits. Fernando Llorente has been linked and though the Spurs centre-forward would offer a different option, Rodgers needs a striker who can more closely replicate Vardy’s game. Danny Loader is another to have been mentioned and the Reading teenager appears to fit Rodgers’ philosophy, while probably being more receptive to an initial bit-part role. He also offers the versatility of being able to play wide.

What’s been said:
“You pay for quality and the numbers go up each year. Is it likely we will break our transfer record? The money is going up, absolutely, we shall see. The notion of the squad has been to bring in a talent and develop them, but you also need support around that talent as well.” – Brendan Rodgers, April 26.

 

Ian Watson

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