Euro 2016 has come to a close with Portugal emerging victorious, the Premiership clubs are off on their pre-season tours in various exotic foreign locations and transfer business is all set to liven up as we head for the opening day countdown.
The British media are rubbing their hands at the prospect of Europe’s highest profile and most sought-after managers being tempted by the Premier League’s thrills, spills and allurement to the country’s most iconic clubs in Manchester City and United as well as the Blue division of London in Chelsea.
Clubs are now at the stage in pre-season where flaws are identified in the first x11 and will attempt to move squad players on for additional funds to strengthen squad selection quality. Here’s a rundown on business conducted club-by-club (Barclays Premier League transfers of note) at this midway point in the summer break.
Incomings– The Gunners only incoming has been the signing of Switzerland midfielder Granit Xhaka from Borussia Monchengladbach for a fee thought to be around £35 million pounds on a long term contract. The 23-year old played in all four of Switzerland’s Euro 2016 games this summer in a tournament where he will unfortunately be remembered by many as the player who missed the crucial spot kick in the last 16 knockout penalty shootout against Poland. Xhaka will be filling the gap left by the departures of experienced midfielders released by the club; namely Mikel Arteta, Tomas Rosicky and Mathieu Flamini.
What do they need– A top-quality centre-back and a centre forward to compete with Olivier Giroud.
Incomings- After losing Matt Ritchie to Newcastle for the sum of £12 million, The Cherries have been quick to act with signings securing full-back Nathan Ake on a season-long loan from Chelsea, young England under-21 midfielder Lewis Cook from Leeds on a four-year deal and have just completed a club-record £15 million pounds signing of Liverpool winger Jordan Ibe.
What do they need- More squad depth in all areas as injuries last season prevented Eddie Howe’s men from making a push towards mid-table.
Incomings- Transfer movements have finally begun for the newly promoted Lancashire Clarets as a £3 million pound bid has been rejected by Derby County for promising midfielder Jeff Hendrick. The club have just announced the signing of Charlton winger Johann Gudmundsson (fee undisclosed) and are rumoured to be chasing Callum McManaman from West Brom.
What do they need-Further top-flight quality in all areas of the first team. Sean Dyche will have his work cut out to prevent a second relegation from the Premier League in two years.
Incomings-Former Juventus and Italy manager Antonio Conte is the man Roman Abramovich has entrusted to return the Blues to their title-chasing customs. He has acted by lavishing £33.5 million on highly-rated Belgian striker Michy Batshuayi from Marseille. The forward will surely bring further pace and goals to Chelsea’s front-line. The Blues have also confirmed the £32.5 million signing for arguably one of the players of the season last campaign in central midfield maestro N’Golo Kante.
What do they need-The back four endured a torrid season last year (Branislav Ivanovic and Gary Cahill in particular) so Conte will surely be targeting a right-back and a central defender to stabilise.
Incomings-Alan Pardew has been one of the busiest managers in the league thus far already securing the signatures of winger Andros Townsend (£13m), French goalkeeper Steve Mandanda (undisclosed) and West Ham defender James Tomkins (£10m). After reaching the F.A Cup Final but suffering a domestic league slide in the second half of last season, Pardew will be determined to have the squad depth and quality to maintain top-half form for the entire campaign.
What do they need-Palace possess a terrific goal threat from midfield with the fantastic trickery of Wilfred Zaha and the pacey unpredictability of Yannick Bolasie but do lack a goal-scoring striker with Conor Wickham the top-scoring forward last season with a mere 5 league goals.
Incomings-A tough campaign last year on the Blue half of Merseyside that saw Roberto Martinez’s time in charge come to an end has meant former Southampton boss Ronald Koeman is the new number one at Goodison Park. Goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg has been the only notable signing as of yet but with additional funds to be made available by new majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri, incomings are more than likely.
What do they need-A new goalkeeper to replace Tim Howard. If John Stones and Romelu Lukaku are sold on, finding quality replacements in those areas will be the club’s priority.
Incomings-After internal talks over the past week, the club have announced Steve Bruce (who had interviewed for the England job) would be leaving the club. Supposedly, Bruce was deeply frustrated transfer targets he had outlined had not been secured. Whoever is unveiled as his replacement will do well to prevent the club’s third relegation in a decade and banish the club’s recently attributed “yo-yo” label.
What do they need-A forward to compete with Abel Hernandez and a creative midfielder/winger would be high on Bruce’s shopping list.
Incomings-After achieving the unthinkable last season by winning the championship, Leicester City’s owners now face the challenge of keeping as many of their title winning stars as possible. The sale of N’Golo Kante to Chelsea is already a massive blow to Claudio Ranieri who will be wary of bringing in too many fresh faces to upset the team harmony from last campaign. Spanish defender Luis Hernandez, Nice midfielder Nampalys Mendy and CSKA Moscow forward Ahmed Musa (£16m) have all been secured.
What do they need-To keep the unity and chemistry of their record-breaking championship winning x11.
Incomings- Jurgen Klopp is preparing for his first full season in the Premier League in charge of the Reds having made three signings so far this summer; defender Joel Matip from Schalke on a free, Newcastle forward Georginio Wijnaldum (£25m) and the exciting transfer of Southampton forward Sadio Mane (£34m). Martin Skrtel and Jordan Ibe have been sold on with Mario Balotelli to be expected to soon follow suit.
What do they need-Multiple areas of the first team need strengthening to reach a level of quality sufficient to maintain a top-four push next season. A goalkeeper, centre-back, right-back and a first-class central midfielder to sit behind Philipe Coutinho are the emergency areas to address. If Mario Balotelli and Christian Benteke are to be moved on, a goal-scoring centre forward to compete with Daniel Sturridge will also be a must.
Incomings-City’s new reign under Pep Guardiola has begun with two signings that he will hope will help bring the Premiership title back to Eastlands. German midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has been signed on a four year deal; an intelligent and versatile midfielder who may prove a long-term replacement for Yaya Toure. Nolito has also been brought in from Celta Viga on a three-year deal; a versatile winger who has played for Guardiola at Barcelona (though he spent much of this period playing for the Catalan B side between 2008-2011).
What do they need-Defensive instabilities have been a constant source of dropped points in recent seasons and Pep will no doubt be aware of this. Targets to assist Vincent Kompany are sure to be on the list. Joe Hart’s role as number 1 goalkeeper is also rumoured to be under threat.
Incomings- Mourinho’s renaissance at United has begun with three marquee signings that he hopes will be instrumental in returning the club to their former title-chasing days under Sir Alex Ferguson. 22-year old Ivory Coast centre-back Eric Baily has been signed from Villareal on a four-year contract and highly rated Armenian midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan has joined from Borussia Dortmund (fees undisclosed). The final signing is a personality that will fit the mould of previous United legends (namely Eric Cantona and Cristiano Ronaldo); none other than world superstar Zlatan Ibrahimović. At 34 years old, the striker is expected to be used sparingly but will possess world-class quality that the Red Devils have been starved of in recent seasons. Young French Juventus midfielder (and former United youth player) Paul Pogba is also on the verge of a world-record transfer move to OT.
What do they need- Another central defender is likely to be Mourinho’s priority before August the 31st as at times last season the United defence were being forced to play defensive midfielders Daley Blind or Michael Carrick as a centre-back.
Incomings-Aitor Karanka has guided the Teesiders to their first campaign in the top flight of English football since 2009 and will be determined to build them into an established Premier League side with his open brand of attacking football inspired from his three-year stint as assistant manager at Real Madrid. He has been one of the most active in the market with young Dutch talent Viktor Fischer from Ajax, experienced goalkeeper Victor Valdes (free transfer), defensive midfielder Marten De Roon (£12m from Atalanta) and Valencia defender Antonio Barragan all secured already.
What do they need-A top quality striker to compliment their creative midfield prowess; Alvaro Negredo is said to be on the verge of joining Boro on a season-long-loan from Valencia.
Incomings-The summer of 2016 has been one of turmoil at St. Mary’s. The Saints have lost their impressive Dutch manager Ronald Koeman to Everton as well as selling first team stars Victor Wanyama (£11m to Tottenham), Sadio Mane (£34m to Liverpool) and Graziano Pelle (£12m to Shandong Luneng). Former Nice manager Claude Pulle has been appointed as Koeman’s replacement and will be boosted at least by the signing of pacey winger Nathan Redmond from Norwich City.
What do they need-Replacements for the quality sold on this summer. Southampton have developed a pattern in recent years of importing promising young European talents and selling on for large profits; many would point this out to be an extraordinarily successful business model for a club of their size. However, a striker is a must.
Incomings-A solid finish of 9th last season has seen the Potters arrive at this period in the summer break having not made any signings. The squad experienced many injury problems last campaign though so tweaks to the first team will be expected before the 31st August.
What do they need-Another side desperately in need of a no 9 centre-forward. Attacking quality is widespread in the midfield boasting the power and shooting ability of Marko Arnautovic and the skills and creativity of Bojan, Ibrahim Affelay and Xherdan Shaqiri but a goal-poacher and clinical finisher is lacking.
Incomings-Worries are building on Wearside as a lack of transfer activity (after a relegation dogfight last season) and Sam Allardyce’s appointment as the new England manager as to their direction next season. David Moyes has swiftly been announced as Sam’s replacement; a personality who should possess the managerial qualities that are so crucial to build on or at least maintain the stability that Sam instilled at the club last year; but the Black Cats are 5/2 to be relegated next year.
What do they need-Another striker to relieve the burden on Jermain Defoe as well as two younger centre-backs and a winger.
Incomings-The Swans only notable incoming is the permanent signing of midfielder Leroy Fer who had been only loan at the Liberty Stadium last year. Further transfer activity may well be on the cards as an American consortium has just completed a takeover of the club. A bid is rumoured to have been made for former Swansea midfielder Joe Allen.
What do they need- A new striker to ensure goals and a midfielder with some creative presence is also required to ease the pressure on Sigurdsson.
Incomings-A season that so nearly became glorious for Tottenham ended fruitless as they collected only two points from the final three games, finishing the season in 3rd place after hunting champions Leicester so vigilantly all season. Mauricio Pochettino appears more determined than ever to keep improving his side, having completed the signings of Victor Wanyama (£11m) and Dutch striker Vincent Janssen from AZ Alkmaar (£17m).
What do they need-To keep the current squad together primarily. Pochettino may possibly target another central midfielder with the possible rumoured departures of Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb.
Incomings-Another summer signals another managerial change at Vicarage Road as former Inter Milan boss Walter Mazzarri replaces former head coach Quique Sanchez Flores. Notable signings include highly-rated forward Isaac Success snapped up from Granada along with the season-long-loan capture of attacking Colombian full-back Juan Camilo Zuniga from Napoli.
What do they need-Watford must keep Deeney and Ighalo at the club as their prolific partnership was a major factor in last season’s success. Another goalkeeper would not go amiss as Heurelho Gomes can be frequently erratic.
Incomings-Another season of relatively comfortable survival for the Baggies has seen a quiet summer of transfers thus far with Matty Philips the only incoming to the squad.
What do they need-Despite many fans seeming unhappy at the style of play and lack of ambition shown by manager Tony Pulis, the club seem intent on sticking by their man. With the departure of Stephane Sessegnon (out of contract) and the expected sale of Saido Berhaino, flair and creativity will be needed. A striker, attacking midfielder and another winger will be high on the fans wish-list.
Incomings-Slaven Bilic experienced a terrific first season last year finishing 7th in the league and bringing flair and excitement back to the Boleyn which many fans felt had been lacking under the previous managerial regime. Exciting Algerian winger Sofiane Feghouli has been brought in (free transfer), along with defensive midfielder Havard Nordtveit from Borussia Monchengladbach and Turkish winger Gokhan Tore who has played for Bilic previously at Besiktas (season-long-loan).
What do they need-David Sullivan has publicly stated the club are looking for a big-money striker. Bids have so far failed for Alexandre Lacazette and Carlos Bacca. A right-back would also be on Bilic’s wish list to compete with young Sam Byram.