Who does YOUR Premier League team need to sign this summer, and why?
With Manchester United securing the services of one of England’s most exciting young prospects, in the form of Palace right back Aaron Wan-Bissaka, it’s about time we look at where each EPL club needs to strengthen ahead of the 2019/20 season.
AFC Bournemouth: Jack Butland (Stoke)GK
With the ever ageing Asmir Begovic and Artur Boruc on the books at Bournemouth, signing a reliable keeper who will make every season of a 4-year deal worthwhile is crucial for the Cherries. Going forward doesn’t seem to be their main area of weakness, with the likes of Callum Wilson, Ryan Fraser and David Brooks all having stellar seasons last time out. Butland, who for some reason has decided to stick it out for a full season with newly relegated Stoke City, surely has to move on to stop his promising career from stagnating. At £25 million, I reckon he’d be a decent bet for Eddie Howe to take a punt on.
Arsenal: Jonathan Tah (Bayer Leverkusen) CB
At just 22 years of age, and approaching 150 senior competitive appearances for club and country, Jonathan Tah might just be the answer to the Gunners’ defensive woes. Koscielny looks to be in his heyday, Mavropanos is still learning his trade, and Mustafi is quite frankly a useless lump, and so Tah might just be the perfect signing to slot in beside Sokratis for the start of next season. Yes, he’s right-footed, and many would argue Arsenal should be in the market for a left-sided centre back, but with Arsenal’s meagre transfer budget this season, Tah’s £40 million release clause might look tempting. Zaha is another obvious target, but with such limited funds, I can’t see the Gunners landing Palace’s talisman.
Aston Villa: William de Asevedo Furtado (Wolfsburg)RB/RWB
Capable of playing as a defensive-minded right back, or as an attacking wing-back in a back 5, Wolfsburg might be more inclined to let William leave for the Premier League having recently acquired the services of Kevin Mbabu from BSC Young Boys. The former Newcastle man should slot straight into the Bundesliga, and an opportunity to play in the top flight of English football may not come around again quickly for the 24-year-old Brazilian William.
Brighton & Hove Albion: Ashley Barnes (Burnley) ST
I know this isn’t a glamour signing, but not much about Brighton’s 18/19 season was glamourous, so there. Ashley Barnes is a strong and wily striker who has a knack of popping up in the right place at the right time. He’s exactly like Glenn Murray, only a full 7 years younger. No, he won’t solve Brighton’s form in front of goal on his own, but if paired with another decent couple of signings (namely a number 10 to rival Pascal Groβ) it could be a successful return for Barnes to the club he really launched his career at between 2010 and 2014.
Chelsea: Tammy Abraham (Chelsea)ST
Look…I know Tammy Abraham is already a Chelsea player, but hear me out. With Chelsea’s transfer embargo underway, and the exit of Gonzalo Higuain back to his parent club Juventus (along with Mauricio Sarri), Chelsea look a bit thin in pretty much all areas on the pitch. But without Hazard and Higuain, who the hell is going to be scoring goals for the Blues this season? Morata looked good in glimpses, but his loan deal with Athletico Madrid isn’t set to expire until the summer of 2020, and Olivier Giroud is hardly going to be banging in 30 goals a season. It’s time for Chelsea’s youngsters to step up to the plate and take their chance, and this coming season could well be Tammy Abraham’s. There were moments of genuine class in England’s fleeting U21 escapade in France this summer, and if given the chance you could see him leading Chelsea’s line next season. The Blues have just gotta hope no one swoops in with a bid they can’t refuse.
Crystal Palace: Jean-Philippe Mateta (Mainz)ST
We’re heading back to the Bundesliga for this one, and as a lifelong Palace fan I would wholeheartedly support this move if it materialises. Mateta has spent his summer at the U21 Euros in his native France, but where he has really impressed this season has been domestically in the German top-flight. 14 goals and three assists for the striker in his debut season is objectively impressive, and with composure in front of goal matched by his physical prowess, Palace fans would soon be forgetting Christian Benteke’s woeful form in the past two years. We just need a f*cking striker who can score goals. Please.
Everton: Salomón Rondón (West Bromwich Albion) ST
This seems to be the square peg that Everton need to plug the big square hole they have in front of goal. Between them last season, Everton’s 3 frontmen (Niasse, Tosun, & Calvert-Lewin) notched just nine Premier League goals; Rondon scored 11 in 32 for a below average Newcastle side. Now back at parent club West Brom, the Venezuelan international will no doubt be looking for a route back to the Prem, and with the departure of Rafa Benitez, Everton are a club with far more sex appeal than the Geordies right now.
Leicester City: Youri Tielemans (AS Monaco) CM
Youri Tielemans is a player who seems to have been around forever, consistently performing at a level above how old he actually is. The 22-year-old began his career in his native Belgium at Anderlecht before making the switch to Ligue 1 Monaco in 2017. While on loan at Leicester following his move in the January transfer window, Monaco plummeted to 17th in the table by the close of the season, a giant fall from grace for a side who won the title just 3 seasons ago. It doesn’t make attractive viewing for the 22-year-old Belgian who will be desperate to make his move to the Premier League a permanent one this summer. Leicester’s only challenge will be fighting on bigger clubs in the Top 6 for his signature.
Liverpool: Matthijs De Ligt (Ajax) CB
Despite Alisson picking up this season’s Golden Glove award for the most clean-sheets this past season, it’s the highly rated Ajax captain that I’m going with for Liverpool. With Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain coming back from injury, the resurgence of Gini Wijnaldum, and the potential for Nabi Keita to push on into his second season, the midfield should be fine at Anfield until at least January. Finding a world-class partner for the world-class Virgil Van Dijk is therefore a must for Jurgen Klopp this summer. De Ligt has already established a relationship with the Dutch man-mountain on international duty, and if Liverpool were to pull the rug from under the feet of favourites Juventus, it could well be the signing of the summer.
Manchester City: Rodri (Athletico Madrid)CDM
The rule tends to be ‘when Man City don’t have Fernandinho in the side, you might have a chance of nicking a point’. This rule was most apparent last season in two innocuous fixtures in December, in which Manchester City (yeah, the team who have amassed 198pts in the past two years) managed to lose 2-3 at home to Crystal Palace before following it up with a 2-1 defeat away at Leicester. Having another Fernandinho in the squad is a must, and although the Brazilian possess a talent that isn’t matched by many players, Athletico’s Rodri could well be the answer. With a relatively meagre £60 million release clause to boot, he may prove the most accessible option compared to his teammate Saul Niguez’ £130 million release clause. What a bargain, ey?
Manchester United: Declan Rice (West Ham) CM
It’s fair to say that Declan Rice has had somewhat of a meteoric rise in the past 12-months, becoming a firm fan favourite at the London Stadium in the process. United on the other-hand have been piss poor for the majority of the season, brought in a club cult hero, had a short period of success, and then prematurely ejaculated a permanent contract to him before nosediving back out of the Champions League race. For United to return to their former glory days they will have to accept that they’re not as big a club as they think they are anymore, but with shrewd signings of younger players they can truly begin to rebuild the sinking ship. The signings of Reece James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka are, I think, brilliant bits of business, but with the departures of Ander Herrera and (more likely than not) Paul Pogba, there’ll be a big hole in the centre of midfield that’ll need filling. Why not take a chance on a player who’s both in form and desperate to prove himself?
Newcastle United: GeorgePușcaș (Palermo)ST
With a name like Pușcaș there’s a lot resting on the shoulders of the Romanian U21 striker, but after his 4 goals in the tournament took his side right the way to the semi-finals, I see no reason why a move from Italy to England couldn’t be on the cards. In all honesty, I can’t see Newcastle getting Rondon back, but with the prospect of new ownership and a new manager coming in, Pușcaș could be a decent throw of the dice to solve their Rondon shaped problem.
Norwich City: Luca Waldschmidt (SC Freiburg)CAM
Off the back of winning Player of the Tournament at the U21 Euros this summer, it’s fair to say that Waldschmidt’s may have gone up a touch, but Norwich are an ambitious club with an ambitious and well-respected manager. Could Daniel Farke convince his fellow countryman to join the Canaries? If he does, it’ll take some of the load off Timo Pukki’s shoulders in front of goal. The 23-year-old German notched a fantastic 7 goals in France this summer, and Norwich will need players of that quality if they’re to be more than just a one-season-wonder come May.
Sheffield United: Danny Drinkwater (Chelsea)CM
This one’s gonna piss off a few people but hear me out. Sheffield United haven’t played top flight football for a decade and that’s exactly why I think Drinkwater could be a decent piece of business. Danny Drinkwater almost evaporated off the face of the Earth at Sarri’s Chelsea, and despite the departure of the Italian I can’t exactly see Drinkwater being an integral part of Frank Lampard’s plans. He definitely has the ability, but needs to prove himself in the top flight if his career is to go anywhere but off a cliff, and you know what? If Danny Drinkwater can lead Sheffield United to survival, it’ll be a great bit of business for both parties. The only downside is he could be completely shit, but only time will tell.
N.B. I Know Sheffield United should sign Dean Henderson from Man United on a permanent deal after his stellar season between the sticks for the Blades in the Championship, but that one’s a given. If they don’t make that signing permanent, whoever’s in charge needs a slap.
Southampton: Willi Orban (RB Leipzig) CB
Having worked under Ralph Hassenhuttl at his current club a few years back, it wouldn’t be out of the question to see Orban playing in a new kit come August. There’s no doubting the defender’s qualities, and he could very well be part of Julian Nagelsmann’s plans for the upcoming season in Leipzig, but with the sheer volume of exciting young defenders coming through, it wouldn’t be out of the question for some established players to make way. Southampton gave up a whopping 27 points from winning positions last season, so a solid and reliable centre-back has to be their priority. Orban is positionally aware and intelligent, and with the captain’s armband at Leipzig, he could be the defensive leader the Saints so desperately need.
Tottenham Hotspur: Ben Chilwell (Leicester City)LB
Not much to say about this one other than Danny Rose is no longer England’s first choice left back, now playing second fiddle to the ever promising Leicester man. It’s simple maths. Spurs’ fullbacks have both looked problematic this season, and Chilwell, despite his price, would be a great bit of business if the North Londoners fancy narrowing the gap to the Top 2.
Watford: Pedrinho (Corinthians)LW/RW/CAM
When the phrase ‘the next Neymar’ gets thrown around, heads begin to turn. Pedrinho has starred throughout Corinthians League and Cup campaigns, notably in the Copa Libertadores, and at the ripe old age of 20, could he be Watford’s next Richarlison? The youngster is positionally versatile, playing on either flank or through the middle in a number 10 role, and with his ability with the ball at his feet he could be a real creative spark in an already impressive Watford side. He’s still young, and he’s still learning, but you never know, he could be worth the punt.
West Ham United: Neal Maupay (Brentford FC) ST
The Frenchman was a revelation in the Championship, scoring 28 goals in a mid-table season, and was deservedly voted Fans’ and Players’ Player of the Year. With the Hammers seeing Lucas Perez head to Alaves, and Javier Chicharito Hernandez seemingly on his way out of the door (along with the part-human, part-donkey, part-glass Andy Carroll), West Ham need a versatile striker ASAP. With Maupay having developed his game in the Championship over the past 3 seasons, and the form that he’s in, I’d see a move for the Frenchman as a great bit of business for any side outside the Top 6.
With European football on the horizon, Wolves are going to need to grow their squad depth without making a big dent in their transfer budget. Mooy isn’t going to be hanging around in West Yorkshire for long, and despite Huddersfield’s woeful season last term, it was the Australian (and not many others) who showed that they did possess glimpses of genuine quality. Hopefully with a better set of teammates around him, Mooy could thrive at Wolves, and with the potential density of fixtures for last season’s Premier League newboys, it could be a cheap way of securing quality to bolster their already impressive midfield.