Premier League transfers: Which squads need major surgery this summer?
The season is over and it means only one — shopping! Premier League clubs got the transfer window open and they are ready to spend some coin. But before making a purchase, it’s always a good idea to see if you really need those fancy shoes or you better stick to an old good pair of boots you’ve had for years.
There is no way we can afford so much space and write about every single club in the league, so here you have a carefully selected set of most interesting transfer windows the clubs are facing.
Liverpool: crack on, boys!
What a season! It is the best season that has had in years! Ninety-seven points in the Premier League, winning the Champions League — there are gonna be more fans singing “You’ll never walk alone” next year.
The result is just breathtaking and it’s all thanks to, of course, the couch (god bless that German) and the first-team players, who now seem to be at the peak of their careers. They are really delivering top-level games! So it would be silly to expect that Jurgen Klopp will make some radical changes and get everything he possibly can from the transfer window like it was last summer.
James Milner (not the boring one, the real one) is the only player in the main roster who is over thirty this season. But it means absolutely nothing — Milner, despite being the oldest, is still among the best. So we can expect that Klopp will still have him in the team next season.
The Red will need to think about who to put in the game instead of Alberto Moreno and Daniel Sturridge and they may need some additions to close the gap. The midfield might turn into something different if they decide to move Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to the main team.
Klopp really believes in the team and it seems he doesn’t really want to bring new blood to what he has already created. His March statement says that the best way to achieve success is to “bring together a group of players, try to develop them all together and then stay together for a while”.
So, we’ll see the guys try and keep the pace next season.
Chelsea: Grandpas move aside
Chelsea is Chelsea — we know they are really into experienced players who know what to do on the field. And that’s a legit tactic which pays off pretty much every time: this season they ended up on the third place in the Premier League and a ticket to the Europa League.
But it seems the players were not that impressed and some have decided to leave. Not a big deal, you may say, that’s what the transfer window is for. But the London club has a transfer ban looming and might have to turn for help to the youngsters.
Maurizio Sarri, if he isn’t replaced by whoever there, is lucky to rely on the players on the team as a lot of them are at their peak. The Blues got a really nice set in the first team that can make next season as good as this one.
However, the club has suffered a big loss with Eden Hazard having transferred to Real Madrid. We all know, it’s almost impossible to replace this gem on the field.
Christian Pulisic, a 20-year-old the United States forward, will try step into Hazard’s shoes and we wish him luck. No pressure. Not even a little bit. Everybody knows no one will be as good as Hazard. Oh, and he is also supposed to provide competition to the aging Willian and Pedro.
Some good news may be waiting for serial loanees. As Chelsea’s strikers this season are really giving up their positions, Tammy Abraham or Michy Batshuayi, for example, can come back to the team.
All the odds seem to be in favor of the younger players. So poor Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi are likely to miss the chance as both have got serious injuries and are out for quite a while.
Manchester United: Let the change begin
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the Manchester United manager, gave up. It was the third time in four seasons when the club finished outside the top four. He had to admit something doesn’t work and admitted the club “will need players in”.
The fans are almost betting on which of the player the club will get rid of — many of them showed rather substandard performance this season. And it is clearly visible if to look at the time in-game: the number of big-money footballers who played less than half of overall minutes in the league is just disappointing.
Manchester management is most likely going to focus on the full-back position and midfield for a couple of reasons. Four, to be precise: Marouane Fellaini, who is already gone, Ander Herrera and Antonio Valencia, who are soon to leave, and Juan Mata out of a contract. And let’s not forget that Ashley Young turns thirty-four this summer. So he will probably need a good back-up on the field.
As an option, Solskjaer may use this moment to give the younger players an opportunity to prove themselves in big games, like Diogo Dalot, Scott McTominay, and Andreas Pereira. If so, other areas could get more attention.
Despite it all being important, the main challenge for the couch will be to find a settled first XI among his squad. The only outfield player to start 30 games in Manchester was Paul Pogba, while at Liverpool there were six players and at Chelsea seven who did so. Despite that, it’s still not certain what’s coming for him next season.
Looking at all that it’s clear one transfer window is not enough to make everything work as smooth as it should in the club of such a level. All because of regular management changes and irregular approach to recruitment.
Leicester: League’s most exciting young squad
Leicester today is not a stable thing. The club now is in a state of transition the most noticeable among others in the league. Many of the players are just not in their best form.
Kasper Schmeichel and Jamie Vardy are still carrying the game, they are among the few. Many of those legends, who won the most unexpected and amazing title for Leicester three years ago, are not as good as they used to be. Many have been replaced by the younger generation, represented and led by Ben Chilwell, Wilfred Ndidi and James Maddison. Now they just need to sign up Youri Tielemans to the team on a regular basis. The impressive performance of a Belgium midfielder during the loan spell gives ground to think he will be exactly the club needs to strengthen positions.
No wonder Brendan Rodgers decided to grab an opportunity to take charge of such a squad Leicester is today: Chilwell and Harry Maguire are in the English set-up, four other players are in the England Under-21 team for the European Championship. There are people to work with and there are titles to win.
Burnley: McNeil the exception for an experienced squad
They have their own style on the pitch, they have their own way to build up a team. Burnley just likes doing things differently.
This season Burnley had the second oldest on average starting lineup after Watford. This means that the club relies almost completely on players who are at the peak of their careers and who can lead Burnley through their fourth successive season in the Premier League. The only exception was 19-year-old midfielder Dwight McNeil, who must be wondering how he got into such a company. The talented midfielder earned a lot of trust from Sean Dyche who let him play ahead of more experienced players in a match where they fought against relegation.
On the contrary, players who were signed in last summer weren’t trusted as much as the young talent. Joe Hart at the end was replaced by Tom Heaton in goal and Ben Gibson and Matej, who in total cost the club £26 million, started just four games between them.
Brighton: new manager… but burned by past spending?
Graham Potter inherited the team not in the best condition and not after the best season: only two points were left between Brighton and the relegation zone. So it is expected that the new manager will try to fix it and will sing up some new players to back up their position. However, it’s interesting what he can do with what he already has.
Glen Murray is undoubtedly a star and hope for Brighton. He was the only player with more than five goals scored at Premier League last season. But as the key player is already thirty-five, it is reasonable to think about who to follow his steps. Potter must be looking for a new striker in the nearest future.
Chris Hughton, the former manager, agreed to pay almost £60 million for Yves Bissouma, Jose Izquierdo, Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Jurgen Locadia. And none of them have proved this purchase being worth so far. As the money paid should be paid for something, Potter will sure be asked to get everything he can from those four.
As the club had to fight against the drop, the decision to rely on the experienced players at the peak of their play was a logical one from Hughton. Taking into account that Potter’s Swansea in the Championship had one of the youngest starting eleven on average, the new manager is very likely to change the approach.