What every Premier League team needs ahead of the new season
Harry Howes | 1 September 2020
The new season gets underway next weekend
It feels like last season only finished yesterday but we’re already within touching distance of the 2020/21 Premier League campaign.
The first round of fixtures kicks off next Saturday and clubs up and down the country have been preparing by bringing in fresh faces to bolster their squads.
There’s still plenty of business to be done, with the transfer window open until 5th October.
And ahead of the new season, we’ve taken a look at where each Premier League team may look to improve before the deadline.
For the first time in years, it seems like Arsenal are well balanced throughout their squad. They’ve finally fixed their leaky defence, with William Saliba set to be joined by Gabriel, while in attack they’ve got players capable of punishing most sides.
The Gunners are in the market for a midfield enforcer to provide stability in their spine and Atletico Madrid star Thomas Partey appears to be top of their shortlist.
Villa survived by the skin of their teeth last season and Dean Smith has made no secret of his desire to add a striker or two to his ranks. Wesley and Mbwana Samatta struggled for form last season and Villa are rumoured to be chasing Brentford’s Ollie Watkins, as well as Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson.
Jack Grealish was instrumental in Villa’s relegation fight last season and they’ll be hoping to hang on to their talisman, who earned his first call-up to the England squad this week.
The Seagulls are another side looking to put last season’s struggles behind them and they’ll be in the market for a creative midfielder following Aaron Mooy’s switch to Shanghai SIPG. The Australian impressed during his lone season on the south coast.
Brighton have been boosted by captain Lewis Dunk committing his future to the club and he could be joined in defence by Ben White, who shone on loan at Leeds last season.
Sean Dyche will have one eye on Chelsea’s activity and will be desperate to keep hold of goalkeeper Nick Pope. The stopper enjoyed another remarkable campaign and he’s being looked at by some of the league’s biggest clubs.
Elsewhere, Burnley should look to sign a young, dynamic attacker, to share the creative burden with Dwight McNeil.
After being unable to sign players last summer, Chelsea have made up for lost time this year. They’ve added Thiago Silva, Ben Chilwell, Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner to their ranks, with Kai Havertz also close to joining.
Frank Lampard is believed to be looking at goalkeepers after losing faith in Kepa Arrizabalaga. Burnley stopper Pope has been linked with a switch to Stamford Bridge, as has Lille’s Mike Maignan.
Roy Hodgson and his recruitment team’s priority this summer has been to lower the average age of the squad and they’ve wasted no time in doing so. Nathan Ferguson and Eberechi Eze have been brought in after shining in the Championship last term, while Conor Gallagher is on the verge of sealing a loan move from Chelsea.
Palace’s main issue last season was scoring goals and they’ll now pursue a striker to provide competition for Jordan Ayew and Christian Benteke. Celtic frontman Odsonne Edouard appears to be their number one target, although the south Londoners may be put off by his £40m price tag, and they’ve also been linked with Liverpool’s Rhian Brewster.
The Toffees steadily improved following Carlo Ancelotti’s appointment last season but they still lack creativity in midfield, with Gylfi Sigurdsson and Alex Iwobi failing to justify their price tags.
James Rodriguez is reportedly close to joining and the Colombian will offer a different dynamic from deep, as well as a goal threat.
The Cottagers struggled to adapt to the Premier League last time, despite bringing in a host of new names, and one thing they probably need is players with top-flight experience. Two years ago they outspent Manchester City but many of their new arrivals struggled to adapt to the league, resulting in their relegation.
Scott Parker is also in the market for attacking talent to support frontman Aleksandar Mitrovic. Fulham have missed out on Eze to Palace, while they’ve also been linked with Villa target Watkins.
The Yorkshire giants are back in the big time and they’ve already splashed out big money to bring in Rodrigo and Helder Costa. They’ve also snapped up defender Robin Koch after Brighton made it clear that White would not be returning to Elland Road.
Like Fulham, one thing Leeds may want to consider is recruiting one or two players with experience in the league. Marcelo Bielsa has worked wonders since taking over, but his sides have form for burning out and they may need leadership to give them a lift later in the season..
Brendan Rodgers looked to have transformed Leicester into Champions League contenders last season but they faltered midway through the campaign, eventually finishing fifth.
A left-back will be top of their wish list following the sale of Chilwell to Chelsea, while they may also target a striker to provide competition for Jamie Vardy. The Golden Boot winner bagged 24 goals last term but he’ll be 34 in January. Rodgers may look for a reunion with Celtic’s Edouard.
After running away with the title last season, it’s fair to say that there aren’t many weaknesses in Jurgen Klopp’s squad. The Reds needed a backup left-back and have filled that gap with the signing of Kostas Tsimikas from Olympiakos.
Liverpool have expressed no desire to splash out this summer but they would benefit from finalising a deal for Bayern Munich’s Thiago Alcantara. The Premier League champions struggled when Jordan Henderson was sidelined last term and Thiago would provide a different option in midfield.
Even fans of City’s rivals would have to admit to being a little bit excited if Pep Guardiola is able to pull off a reunion with Barcelona’s Lionel Messi. Not only is he arguably the greatest player of all time, he’s exactly what City need this summer.
They need a goal threat up top, with Sergio Aguero increasingly injury-prone and Gabriel Jesus far from consistent. Meanwhile, Messi is more than capable of filling in deeper and out wide, replacing the creativity lost in David Silva’s departure.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side were purring towards the end of last season, with Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford on fire up front, while Bruno Fernandes transformed the squad following his January arrival.
United have been linked with Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho but it’s at the back where they need additions. Harry Maguire helped to steady the ship and the signing of a world-class, left-footed centre-back to go alongside him could propel them into potential title contenders.
Steve Bruce is keen to sign forward players this summer and reports suggest a deal to sign free agent Ryan Fraser is close to being agreed. The Scot will provide the perfect balance on the opposite wing to Allan Saint-Maximin.
Meanwhile, a striker could be targeted, as a selection of Andy Carroll, Dwight Gayle and Joelinton hardly inspires hope. They’d be wise to rival Villa for the signing of Wilson, who may rediscover his goalscoring touch in the same side as former Bournemouth team-mate Fraser.
Chris Wilder has already solved his biggest issue this summer by bringing in Aaron Ramsdale from Bournemouth as a replacement for Dean Henderson, who looks set to challenge David De Gea for a starting spot at Old Trafford.
The Blades massively overachieved last season and they could struggle this time around if they don’t sign an upgrade on striker Oli McBurnie. Like Palace, they’ve been linked with a loan move for Liverpool’s Brewster, who impressed at Swansea last term.
The Saints have made Kyle Walker-Peters’ move permanent after the right-back’s successful loan spell from Tottenham last year. But they lost midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, who moved the other way.
Ralph Hasenhuttl will be looking to sign a replacement for the midfielder and they’ll have to look elsewhere after Weston McKennie joined Juventus. Celtic’s Olivier Ntcham remains an option.
It seems as though every year the answer to ‘What do Tottenham need to buy this summer’ is ‘Back-up for Harry Kane’. But once again it’s a pressing issue and even more so considering the England international’s injury record.
Kane missed two months of action last season and Spurs look unbalanced when forced to play Lucas Moura or Heung-min Son down the middle. Jose Mourinho will look to add another striker to his ranks and may reconsider Juventus star Paulo Dybala, who was linked last summer.
The Baggies are another side that missed out on Eze and they need depth in attack, particularly after losing Grady Diangana, who has returned to parent club West Ham.
Slaven Bilic may look to the Championship for reinforcements, with the likes of Said Benrahma and Emi Buendia regularly linked with Premier League moves.
Hammers chiefs have made it clear they need to sell before they can spend any money, with the likes of Felipe Anderson, Manuel Lanzini and Andriy Yarmolenko potentially on their way.
A replacement for Declan Rice will be needed if he departs, while West Ham are also in the market for a centre-back, with Celtic reportedly set to beat them in the race to sign Brighton’s Shane Duffy.
After losing Matt Doherty to Spurs and Jonny to injury, Wolves are without both of their first-choice full-backs. Although they have cover, they’re in the market for a utility man that can cover both positions.
Arsenal’s Ainsley Maitland-Niles was their number one target but he looks set to stay at the Emirates after impressing in the Community Shield.
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