Euro 2020 might be over, but a new Premier League campaign is never too far away. Arsenal’s trip to Brentford on Friday, 13 August is the curtain raiser for the 2021-22 season, and clubs are quickly prepping their squads for another rat race.
This season, the summer transfer window will close at 11pm BST on 31 August, giving teams roughly six weeks to get their business done. We’ve examined every Premier League team to give fans a better idea of what sort of players they’ll be looking to recruit, and suggested some realistic targets in their price range.
What do they need? The cliche is that Arsenal are exciting in attack and leaky at the back – but actually, that’s not really what the stats show. The 0-0 draw with Villarreal – which sent Arsenal out of Europe – was a case in point of the Gunners’ impotence to create. While Ben White at the back would be a superb addition in terms of vertical progression and reliability over the next few years, goals and assists from midfield are crucial.
Options: James Maddison (Leicester City), Houssem Aouar (Olympique Lyonnais), Dani Olmo (RB Leipzig), Julian Brandt (Borussia Dortmund).
What do they need? Last year they fixed both ends of the pitch with Emi Martinez and Ollie Watkins signing. Their lack of diversity in attack has been addressed, too, in Emi Buendia joining and the first-choice XI. You could say that Matt Targett is maybe the weakest – but then Ashley Young has joined, too. Villa’s most important business for the rest of the window isn’t to sign anyone else, it’s to keep Grealish and Douglas Luiz … but maybe another centre back would be nice.
Options: Chris Mepham (Bourenmouth), Leon King (Rangers).
What do they need? Brentford’s method of signing players is copied by others, so are we to suggest what they should do? Well, there might be bargains to be found, when it comes to staying in the Premier League. The Bees might be looking for a bit more depth in midfield to compete in the big time – but they’ll be looking for someone competent on the ball as well as positionally sound.
Options: Krystian Bielik (Derby County), Lewis Cook (Bournemouth), Harry Winks (Tottenham Hotpur).
What do they need? The unluckiest team in the league, Brighton & Hove Albion still have a problem with goals. Neal Maupay struck eight league goals, Danny Welbeck six and both Lewis Dunk and Leandro Trossard got five. Someone with creativity and a knack for getting into the box could be the golden ticket for the Seagulls.
Options: Joe Willock (Arsenal), Matheus Pereira (West Bromwich Albion), Jonathan Ikone (Lille).
What do they need? Burnley didn’t seem like they were ever in danger of going down and yet it was another season of circling the drop zone, clawing themselves up to 39 points. The defence is the core of the team: Sean Dyche just needs a little more help in attack. Now that the Clarets are until new ownership, perhaps a creative wideman is on the horizon?
Options: David Brooks (Bournemouth), Valentino Lazaro (Inter Milan), Reiss Nelson (Arsenal).
What do they need? Chelsea might well be one dominant centre back away from being untouchable, should they sign a Van Dijk or Dias. The only thing is, this isn’t the time to sign that player; Chelsea’s defence was their strength last season, while their attack misfired somewhat. Assuming they can’t sign Erling Haaland, they should be going for a forward who can improve the likes of Werner and Havertz, while adapting to Thomas Tuchel perhaps altering the style of play.
Options: Yussuf Poulsen (RB Leipzig), Alexander Isak (Real Sociedad), Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur).
What do they need? With so much of the squad out of contract, there’s so much scope for rebuilding Crystal Palace in new boss Patrick Vieira’s image. One staple of the Frenchman’s time at both Nice and New York City FC, however, were ball-playing centre backs capable of recycling possession around the backline and being patient. With Cheikhou Kouyate used in defence for a lot of last season and Gary Cahill’s future still uncertain, Palace could do with a new general at the back.
Options: Joe Worrall (Nottingham Forest), Amir Rrahmani (Napoli), Aritz Elustondo (Real Sociedad).
What do they need? Everton started last season so well. By the end of the campaign, however, Toffees fans were tired of the predictability, despite Carlo Ancelotti switching up formations to no avail. Rafa Benitez isn’t a popular appointment – and bringing in an exciting young attacker to link up with Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison, James Rodriguez and others could be a good step forward.
Options: Noni Madueke (PSV Eindhoven), Yunus Musah (Valencia), Mousa Diaby (Bayer Leverkusen).
What do they need? Leeds United are extremely ambitious. Having added quality defensive cover last season and brought in the likes of Raphinha in attack, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly who could do a job where, given that Marcelo Bielsa likes a utility man. Having added cover at left back in Junior Firpo, maybe another right back capable of playing in midfield and on the front foot could bolster this team.
Options: Ainsley Maitland-Niles (Arsenal), Gabriel Merino (Palmeiras), Noussair Mazraoui (Ajax).
What do they need? Having already signed Patson Daka and Boubakary Soumare, Brendan Rodgers has set to work adding good depth to this side. They needed more numbers in midfield and attack but even when Harvey Barnes comes back, this team is a bit centre heavy. Leicester City could do with another option at right wing: Ricardo Pereira, presumably, is going back to right back at some point.
Options: Leon Bailey (Bayer Leverkusen), David Neres (Ajax), Calvin Stengs (PSV Eindhoven), Hakon Evjen (AZ Alkmaar).
What they need: May’s acquisition of promising RB Leipzig central defender Ibrahim Konate was shrewd given last season’s struggles and the priority now is a midfielder to replace the work rate and composure of Gini Wijnaldum. The Dutchman left at the end of last season to join PSG on a free transfer and will be sorely missed. Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri are also linked with moves away, so a forward capable of playing wide may also be required.
Options: Youri Tielemans (Leicester City), Saul Niguez (Atletico), Mikkel Damsgaard (Sampdoria).
What they need: A striker to replace Sergio Aguero, who left after 10 glittering years to join Barcelona at the end of last season. With rumours of a Gabriel Jesus exit also rife, a backup option may also be necessary. Pep Guardiola also wants (yet another!) midfield schemer to add competition behind the frontline, and he wouldn’t turn down the chance to sign Lionel Messi if the change arises again. Who would?
Options: Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Danny Ings (Southampton), Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona), Jack Grealish (Aston Villa).
What they need: The arrival of Jadon Sancho solves a long-standing issue on the right-hand side of the attack, but reinforcements are still needed. A world-class striker would be welcome – Edinson Cavani has agreed to stay for another 12 months but turns 35 in February – alongside a new central defender, a box-to-box-midfielder and cover at full back.
Options: Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus), Eduardo Camavinga (Rennes), Kalvin Phillips (Leeds United), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid), Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid).
What they need: A striker capable of covering for Callum Wilson would be a start. Steve Bruce’s Magpies looked horribly short of ammunition whenever the England man was sidelined last season. A midfielder who can create and score goals would be a massive boost to their survival chances, as would a central defender with pace. Hanging on to maverick forward Allan Saint-Maximin and midfield enforcer Isaac Hayden would also be excellent business.
Options: Josh Maja (Bordeaux), Joe Willock (Arsenal, loan), Will Hughes (Watford), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur).
What they need: The £15-million signing of Werder Bremen winger Milot Raschica looks smart and will add firepower to a side overly reliant on Teemu Pukki’s goals last time they were in the Premier League. The Kosovan should also help to offset the loss of playmaker Emi Buendia to Aston Villa. A new right back will be needed if the highly coveted Max Aarons finally leaves this summer, plus a midfielder who can dictate tempo at the highest level – even if on loan.
Options: Brandon Williams (Manchester United, loan), Neco Williams (Liverpool, loan), Billy Gilmour (Chelsea, loan).
What they need: The loss of stalwart Ryan Bertrand means a new left back will be required. Danny Ings appears to be a backup target for every top-six club, so a new striker might also be needed. Replacing either won’t be simple, and Southampton are hardly awash with cash following the pandemic. It’s likely loan signings will be made, with academy products an option to fill any remaining gaps.
Options: Brandon Williams (Manchester United, loan), Takumi Minamino (Liverpool, loan), Adam Armstrong (Blackburn Rovers).
What they need: A new 20-plus-goals-a-season striker may well be needed, should Harry Kane get his wish and leave the club this summer. Toby Alderweireld has also said he wants to leave, so a new central defender is second on the rather daunting priority list. Some added quality in central midfield would be welcome – with fans not impressed with Moussa Sissoko and Harry Winks’ performances last season – plus a winger and a right back to add competition to a stuttering squad.
Options: Danny Ings (Southampton), Mikkel Damsgaard (Sampdoria), Renato Sanches (Lille), Marcel Sabitzer (RB Leipzig), Marcus Thuram (Borussia Monchengladbach), Takehiro Tomiyasu (Bologna), Ozan Kabak (Schalke), Jules Kounde (Seville), Joachim Anderson (Lyon).
What they need: After landing Danny Rose on free transfer earlier in the summer, a right back is now wanted. The arrival of Ashley Fletcher from Middlesbrough should add competition to the frontline, but a midfield creator will be needed if Will Hughes departs this window.
Options: Stryger Larsen (Udinese), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea, loan).
West Ham United
What they need: David Moyes wants a new central defender, a goalkeeper and a defensive midfielder to provide cover for Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek. The former is a target for some of the biggest clubs in the Premier League, so a quality replacement for the England enforcer will be needed if he does leave. David Moyes is said to be largely happy with the balance of his squad, but wants to add depth before the Hammers’ forthcoming Europa League campaign.
Options: Alphonse Areola (PSG), Ellyes Skhiri (Cologne), Mert Muldur (Sassuolo).
What they need: The arrival of Portugese (no surprise, there) winger Francisco Trincao, initially on loan, from Barcelona has already added quality going forward. Turning defender Rayan Ait-Nouri’s deal into a permanent one following last season’s successful loan spell is also smart business. A new goalkeeper will be needed if Rui Patricio moves to Roma, as has been reported.
Options: Alphonse Areola (PSG).
You may also like