I offer my opinion on which Premier League sides should look at strengthening this summer. Of course many clubs will be itching to make numerous additions to their squads, however, I will be pinpointing the position which each club should target improving most essentially.
Central Defensive Midfielder – Nathan Chalobah, 22
The U21s European Championships proved to be a big success for the Englishman. He showcased his ability to win back possession for his team, alongside moving the ball efficiently to create in offensive positions. Chalobah is just 22 and has the winning experience of playing around some great Chelsea teams throughout his development. Brighton demonstrated in the Championship last season they can both defend and attack without much problem. However, The Premier League is a different kettle of fish. They’ll need someone to break up play and add extra physical presence. Chelsea are heard to admire Chalobah and have no intention of letting him leave on a permanent deal, so this would just be a matter of wages for Brighton.
Expected price: Loan deal
Striker – Andy Carroll, 28
Their form at Turf Moor overshadowed what was quite a worrying streak of results away from home. Nevertheless, Sean Dyche’s side dug deep and defended well overall. The critical area for me was there lack of threat in front of goal. They’re crying out for a real poacher, someone who’s been there and done it. In Carroll you have a player who follows Burnley’s direct style, and someone who poses danger in aerial positions. The English striker has received plenty of abuse in the past, however, particularly for Newcastle and West Ham, he has produced plenty of game-changing moments. Rewind to his bicycle kick against Crystal Palace.
Estimate price: £10-15 million
Left Back – Luke Shaw, 21
It’s been no secret over recent seasons that Liverpool are in need of a natural left back. They relied on their midfielder, James Milner for the most most of their 2016/17 campaign. Although Milner showed he has two sides to his game on his debut season in his new position, the Reds lacked pace and added defensive assuredness down the left flank. Luke Shaw is still at Manchester United, quietly trying to regain the good form he built before acquiring his big injury which reduced him to the sidelines. In Shaw, Liverpool would have a quick left back who can offer that missing energy on the wing. He’s a defender who enjoys to overlap the left sided attacker, and one who is confident in his defensive responsibilities. It seems like a great switch for both clubs involved and Shaw himself.
Estimate price: £18-23 million
Right Winger – Wilfred Zaha, 24
The current Palace wide-man was a real handful for Premier League defenders last term. His blistering speed relentlessly found him exposing back-fours, and 2016/17 proved to be the 24-year-old’s best season statistically. Zaha racked up an impressive seven goals and nine assists (ninth best in the league). Rumours are growing that tricky winger Riyad Mahrez will be leaving the King Power, with Barcelona, PSG and Arsenal all monitoring the Algerian. Zaha may not possess quite as much technical ability as Mahrez, but he would provide Leicester bundles of energy and give them a new platform in counter attacking football. Zaha recently penned a new contract, so Leicester will have to cough up and face an inflated price tag.
Estimate price: £25-30 million
Most fouls suffered in the Premier League this season:
W. Zaha (111)
E. Hazard (98)
D. Costa (88)
A. Barnes (74)
D. Alli (71) pic.twitter.com/qRVNAL9v19
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 17, 2017
Striker – Robert Lewandowski
With the omission of hitman Zlatan Ibrahamovic, United are looking to replace a big hole up top. There has been widespread talks of Real Madrid’s Alvaro Morata joining Old Trafford. However, rumours have lessened and talks are supposedly ongoing between Madrid and Morata’s agent to resolve the future of the player. However, I see Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski a much better fit. This is a forward who has shown himself on Europe’s biggest stages year after year. Not only would he guarantee 25-30 goals a season, Lewandowski can play with his back to goal, bullishly backing into defenders before finding a cutting pass into his wingers path. For me, his all-round game makes him a more desirable target than Morata who has had hot and cold game time as of late.
Estimate price: £50 million
Centre Forward/Striker – Mario Mandzukic, 31
Wembley home games in the Champions League and another title bid will demand Spurs to sign a second striker who guarantees goals when asked upon. Mauricio Pochettino’s men struggled when their prolific front man Harry Kane was absent in their 2016/17 campaign. The Englishman totalled a goal-a-game ratio, netting 29 times in 29 appearances for the Lillywhites. Vincent Janssen failed to contribute when Kane was sidelined, and only managed to score on two occasions out of 27 fixtures. Mario Mandzukic could well be the missing part of the puzzle for Spurs’ title surge. The Croat was in stunning form last season for Juventus, scoring a famous overhead kick in the final of the Champions League.
Estimate price: £12-15 million
Juventus players who have scored in a #UCLFinal:
96-97: Del Piero
— OutsideoftheBoot.com (@OOTB_football) June 3, 2017
Centre Back – Alfie Mawson, 23
There are strong rumours linking Javier Hernandez with a move to Upton Park. A striker may seem like the most obvious position in need for the Hammers, and with the strong reports in mind, I see a technical centre half who can play from the back as the next best acquisition. Winston Reid has been a fan favourite over the last couple of seasons, however, his partners James Collins and Jose Fonte haven’t convinced many. Mawson was terrific for Swansea in their relegation battle. The 23-year-old also impressed on international stage when England reached the semi finals at the European Championship in Poland.
Estimate price: £20-25 million