EPL

The Premier League Race for Top Four – Transfers Assessed

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 02: Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal is closed down by Paul Pogba of Man Utd during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Manchester United at Emirates Stadium on December 2, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
The Premier League Race for Top Four – Transfers Assessed

Who Does Your Club Need to Sign?

The January transfer window has so far been fairly quiet, although as always, there has been plenty of speculation fueling the papers. With the race for the top four heating up in the Premier League, I consider firstly which teams are contesting for the Champions League spots, whilst addressing a key position in which they should strengthen in order to cement their place in Europe’s top spot.

Little do we need reminding about Manchester City’s sparkling form this season. Therefore, I am not going to list them as a top four candidate, and although their first defeat to Liverpool on Sunday could start a slight wobble, it seems very unlikely. The league leaders are currently 15 points clear of second place and local rivals, Manchester United.

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Manchester United – 2nd
The blistering form which we saw at the beginning of the season has really hit a wall for Mourinho’s men. In recent weeks, they have been subject to a number of low scoring results and have uncharacteristically been conceding in the final minutes of games.

Romelu Lukaku’s lack of clinical finishing can be partially pointed at for the Red Devils drought in front of goal. The Belgian has played nearly every minute of football in the Premier League this season and that seems to be taking its toll on him.

United are of course heavily linked with Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal. This would surely provide the Old Trafford side with that missing injection of pace and offensive threat which they are so dearly in need of. It would be interesting to see how Sanchez would perform under Mourinho though, with a manager who focuses more on his tactics than the freedom of his players. Regardless of this, the Chilean would surely be a massive piece of recruitment.



Liverpool – 3rd
As is nearly always the case with any Jurgen Klopp outfit – they won’t be short on goals, that’s for sure. Sunday’s 4-3 thriller over Manchester City was a huge statement made by the red part of Merseyside. The speed at which Liverpool could press City and counter attack was devastating.

Taking into consideration that their top performer Philppe Coutinho has departed the club, there have been little signs of them missing him so far. The signing of Virgil Van Dijk is a very strong one I feel. The Dutchman is a defender who can bring leadership qualities to that back four, which they desperately need in order to outscore their opponents.

I also believe the transfer of Van Dijk is one which could lure a world class goalkeeper to Klopp’s side. The current toss up between Mignolet and Karius simply isn’t working, and neither are at the desired standards. Pool should pursue their chase for Roma and Brazil number one, Alisson.

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Chelsea – 4th
The West Londoners have been blowing hot and cold for their usual standards this season. The dominant Chelsea of the 2016/17 campaign look very distant from the one we’re seeing now.

It doesn’t seem to be so much a defensive issue, with the Blues rarely conceding more than one goal per game thus far in the league. Instead, their problems of late have come up front. Their marque capture in the summer of Alvaro Morata looked to be a positive one, until the last month or so where the Spaniard has wasted a whole collection of chances.

I don’t think Conte’s men need to go in for a striker, as they must find Morata’s form again and in Batshuayi they have a good backup. I would turn my attention to a right winger who can provide Morata more chances and can also contribute with goals. Chelsea should go in for PSG’s unsettled Argentine, Angel Di Maria.



Tottenham – 5th
This season feels like hit or miss for Spurs. They really need a top-four finish so they have Champions League football to look forward to when moving into their new stadium next season.

I think it’s fair to say, their campaign has been a mixed bag up to now. We’ve witnessed the demolitions at Wembley of defending European champions Real Madrid and top-four rivals Liverpool, but then we have also seen frustration with a lack of creativity in games such as Swansea, West Brom and West Ham most recently.

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Pochetinno’s big loss of the summer was Kyle Walker as the Englishman effectively played as a right midfielder, capable of defending but most importantly penetrating the oppositions back line. Spurs need to rekindle that speed with a right winger who can also give goalscorers Harry Kane and Son a helping hand. The North Londoners should go for either Bordeaux’s exciting young Brazilian, Malcom or PSG’s more experienced (but) out-of-favour, Lucas Moura.

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EPL

I have been writing for The Stoppage Time since June 2017. Most regularly I focus on The Premier League and speculative discussions. My favourite piece of content consists of previewing The Premier League weekend fixtures and drawing a prediction of results from them.

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