The following guide - split into four articles - breaks down the potential transfer plans for all 19 guaranteed Premier League teams for the 2020/21 season. Do you agree with what areas we think your club should strengthen in?
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After stumbling to a lacklustre eighth-place finish in the league this season, Arsenal relied on winning the FA Cup to secure European football for the 25th consecutive season. The concession of 48 goals in the league this season is of concern; that is more than the rest of the top 10 bar Chelsea and Burnley, and they have managed just 10 clean sheets - that's ninth best in the league. Mikel Arteta needs to offload several players while also improving the squad, but on a very limited budget.
What do they need?
Centre back: Arsenal need a centre back. Options at the moment are currently error-prone pair David Luiz and Shkodran Mustafi, the injury prone Rob Holding, the inexperienced William Saliba, Callum Chambers, or the underwhelming Sokratis Papastathopoulos. There is also Pablo Mari, whose loan deal was made permanent after only three appearances for the club.
Considering how many centre backs Arsenal already have, they would have to get rid of a couple before bringing someone in. France U21 and RB Leipzig star, Dayot Upamecano has long been linked with the Gunners but a new contract has ended those hopes. His international teammate, Malang Sarr, the left-footed centre-back who has run down his contract with Nice, is a more realistic target.
Central midfielder: With Granit Xhaka falling out with fans last year and losing the captaincy amidst a sea of inconsistent performances, Matteo Guendouzi being considered ill-disciplined and Lucas Torreira struggling to settle at the north London club, Arsenal could do with a defensive-minded midfielder. Atletico Madrid player Thomas Partey has been consistently linked and given rumours of multiple Arsenal bids, it could happen.
Striker: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has one year left on his contract and at the age of 31 might be keen to entertain interest from the likes of Barcelona and Juventus, while Alexandre Lacazette’s form has fluctuated. If either or both leave they will need a replacement. Auba’s goals will be hard to replace, but Celtic’s Odsonne Edouard and Wolfsburg’s Wout Weghorst are amongst the supposed options.
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After avoiding relegation on the last day courtesy of a 1-1 draw with West Ham on July 26, Aston Villa will be hoping to have a much less stressful second year in the Premier League. They spent in the region of £120m on 12 new players last summer - a total only topped by football’s heavyweights, so it remains to be seen whether they will be able to splash the cash once more.
What do they need?
Striker: 23-year-old Brazilian frontman Wesley - a £22m marquee signing from Club Brugge last June - only managed a meagre five Premier League goals this season, yet he was still Villa’s top goalscoring striker. Tanzanian International Mbwana Samatta joined in January from Genk but he has only netted once in 14 Premier League outings. In January, the Birmingham-based outfit were linked with Rio Ave marksman Mehdi Taremi and Liverpool loanee Rhian Brewster. The former has 18 goals in 30 games this season and the latter has 10 in 20, so either could be a good signing that does not necessarily break the bank.
Attacking midfielder: Talisman and lifelong Villa fan Jack Grealish has been attracting plenty of interest from bigger clubs, namely Manchester City and United. With 10 goals and eight assists for Aston Villa this season, he tops both charts for the club and his loss would be sizable. Manager and fellow Villa fan Dean Smith joked that Grealish’s immediate plans were to get drunk with him when asked to discuss his future. However, £20m-rated QPR starlet Eberechi Eze who has been attracting a plethora of interest from other Premier League clubs could be an exciting replacement.
Winger: The form of 25-year-old Egyptian winger Trezeguet has been up and down but he produced some good performances in the final stretch of games that included a brace against Crystal Palace and an emphatic volley to clinch a win against Arsenal. Anwar El-Ghazi has also played regularly on the wing this season for the Villains, but they could perhaps do with more quality in that position. Werder Bremen’s Milot Rashica has been of interest to them but his rumoured £33m release clause could make things difficult. If they fail to get promoted, Brentford’s Saïd Benrahma would be a strong alternative.
Jack Grealish of Aston Villa reacts during the Premier League match between Everton FC and Aston Villa at Goodison Park on July 16, 2020 in Liverpool, England. Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government soci
Image credit: Getty Images
BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION
Another side that will be relieved to still be playing Premier League football next season is Brighton. Boss Graham Potter has tried to implement a possession-oriented style of play that involves lots of pressing, but there are question marks regarding whether Potter currently has the requisite players for such a system. According to fbref.com, Brighton have a short pass completion percentage of 30.8% - the second worst in the Premier League. These passing failures have caused Potter to at times adopt a more pragmatic approach. The signing of England international Adam Lallana on a free from Liverpool will add much-needed experience and quality and the Seagulls will have to sign players in a similar vein to improve on this season’s showing.
What do they need?
Centre midfielder: In order to play more expansively, Potter will need to add more quality in the middle of the park and an upgrade on Dale Stephens would be wise. Despite Arteta’s insistence that he is not for sale, Arsenal’s Ainsley Maitland-Niles is a rumoured transfer target for Albion that would make a lot of sense due to his lack of first-team action at the Emirates, his desire to play in midfield and his passing ability and dynamism.
Striker: Brighton have been heavily dependent on Neal Maupay for goals, who scored 10 in 37 this season. Their next top scorer in the league is Leandro Trossard on five. Therefore, an additional striker to provide support to Maupay should be a priority but they must also be careful not to block the progress of the promising young Irishman Aaron Connolly. Former Newcastle man Ivan Toney has excelled in League One over the past few seasons but Potter will face competition from Celtic, Rangers, Brentford and Anderlecht for his signature. Senegalese international M’Baye Niang and Amiens attacker Serhou Guirassy are other potential options.
Left-back: This has been a problem position for Brighton this season, with 6’7” centre back Dan Burn often having to slot in at left-back. After Norwich’s relegation, 22-year-old Northern Ireland left-back Jamal Lewis will likely leave and would be a solid acquisition, as long as Brighton can fend off Tottenham.
Since securing a return to the Premier League by winning the Championship back in 2015/16, Sean Dyche’s Burnley have made the Premier League mid-table a permanent home. Dyche has received plaudits for getting the most out of a predominantly British squad put together on a shoestring budget, but there has been increasing speculation over his future with both Crystal Palace and Aston Villa supposedly interested in making him their new manager. The question is whether he feels he can take Burnley any further and if there is the budget for him to do that.
What do they need?
Right-back: Despite veteran Scotland international Phil Bardsley extending his stay at Turf Moor for another year, the rotation between Bardsley and Matt Lowton at right-back highlighted a need for improvement in that area. Ahead of the January transfer window, the Clarets were linked with Derby County’s teenage right-back Jayden Bogle. He would provide extra competition for the role and could potentially make the starting berth his own for years to come.
Winger: Burnley are the third worst shot creators in the Premier League, having only 14.63 shot-creating actions (passes, dribbles, drawing fouls that lead to shots) per 90 minutes according to data from Statsbomb. A skilful and creative winger would address this concern and the Clarets appear to have set their sights on former France U21 international Samuel Grandsir, who is on loan at Brest from Monaco, or QPR’s Bright Osayi-Samuel, for whom they face stiff competition from multiple clubs across Europe.
Centre midfielder: Jeff Hendrick has been released and could rather surprisingly end up at Italian heavyweights AC Milan. The Lancashire club would need to replace him as Jack Cork, Ashley Westwood and Josh Brownhill are now the club’s only options in that area. Tottenham’s Oliver Skipp would perhaps be a good loan signing to plug the hole in midfield, as would the addition of Harrison Reed either as a loan or permanent from Southampton after he excelled on loan this season with Fulham in the Championship.
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A two-window transfer ban imposed by FIFA meant that Frank Lampard largely had to make do with academy graduates in his first season at the club. Early signs suggest there could be a flurry of activity from them to make up for lost time with signings of Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner already being confirmed. If Chelsea can build on that impressive start to the window, then there is every chance they will improve on their fourth-place finish this season.
What do they need?
Goalkeeper: The most expensive goalkeeper ever, Kepa Arrizabalaga, has had a torrid second season after a difficult first year. His 54.5% save percentage was the worst in the Premier League this season and he has been dropped several times for Willy Caballero. However, he may prove incredibly difficult to offload considering Chelsea would want to recoup a large enough portion of the £71.6million they paid for him and Kepa earns a reported £150k-per-week wages. Therefore a loan might be the easiest solution.
Jan Oblak, Andre Onana and Nick Pope have all been touted as replacements but Oblak seems slightly unrealistic given Chelsea would have to match his release clause of £110m to secure his services. Onana and Pope would be much cheaper but still represent proven quality, with Onana having reached the Champions League semi-final with Ajax last year and Pope having 15 clean sheets in the Premier League this season - the second most in the league.
Kepa Arrizabalaga, Chelsea
Image credit: Getty Images
Left-back: Marcos Alonso has often looked good going forward but has been lacking defensively. His understudy, the Italian international Emerson Palmieri, has also failed to impress, which has led to the captain Cesar Azpilicueta sometimes playing out of position. There are strong signs Chelsea and Leicester City’s Ben Chilwell are both interested in a move. Cheaper alternatives to Chilwell could be Porto’s Alex Telles or Nicolas Tagliafico of Ajax.
Attacker: With Pedro confirmed to be leaving Stamford Bridge and Willian potentially departing the club too, Chelsea could do with another attacking option. It is no secret that Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz has been in talks with Chelsea and could join for a fee in the region of £70m - his ability to score and create goals and also his versatility would prove a welcome addition. Although most comfortable as an attacking midfielder or right-winger, Havertz has also been deployed as a striker or centre midfielder in the 148 games that he has played for Leverkusen, which suggests maturity and experience that is not usually associated with a 21-year-old. The fact that he was entrusted with the captain’s armband for nine games this season is testament to that.