high stakes | 

Where will the next big transfer deals come for Premier League clubs?

Manchester United and Chelsea still chasing big deals

Rumble on: Manchester United continue to pursue Frankie de Jong. Photo by Getty Images© Getty Images

Sam Wallace, Sam Dean, John Percy, Matt Law, Chris Bascombe and Luke EdwardsTelegraph.co.uk

With the Premier League season starting early due to a winter World Cup, there are 15 points to be won in August which further incentivises getting business done early.

Things are rarely that simple in the transfer market though, and it is inevitable that some deals will drag on towards transfer deadline day on August 31.

With clubs returning from pre-season tours across from all corners of the globe, business could start to accelerate before the season kicks off with Crystal Palace vs Arsenal on August 5.

There have already been some blue-chip moves, with Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling, Richarlison, Darwin Nunez and Erling Haaland starting the season at new clubs.

Sam Wallace, Sam Dean, John Percy, Matt Law, Chris Bascombe and Luke Edwards assess each Premier League club’s most urgent priority.

Arsenal: Clear out the deadwood

Not for the first time in recent years, outgoings have proven to be more complicated than incomings for Arsenal. Technical director Edu has struck deals for four players this summer, including £45m striker Gabriel Jesus and £30m midfielder Fabio Vieira, and Oleksandr Zinchenko will soon follow from Manchester City.

It has been less straightforward when it comes to finding buyers for fringe players. The likes of Bernd Leno, Alex Runarsson, Hector Bellerin, Pablo Mari, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Lucas Torreira and Nicolas Pepe all remain at the club despite not featuring prominently in Mikel Arteta’s plans.

Arteta will not want these players hanging around this season, and Arsenal will almost certainly need to raise money through sales if they are to strengthen further. They are keen on signing another wide forward, for example, but will that be possible without meaningful sales?

Aston Villa: Find a number eight

Aston Villa have high hopes for summer signing Boubacar Kamara, who has already impressed in pre-season, and perhaps the addition of a No. 8 is the one piece of business Steven Gerrard still needs to do. A box-to-box midfielder who can also score goals remains the one position Villa need to fill, which would allow the likes of John McGinn and Jacob Ramsey to flourish even more.

Bournemouth: Defensive depth and quality is required

Gary Cahill has left the club, as has Nathaniel Phillips, who spent the second half of last season on loan from Liverpool and played a crucial role in their promotion. Bournemouth have been linked with a permanent move for Phillips, but other clubs are also showing interest. Right-back Ryan Fredericks and midfielder Joe Rothwell have both been signed on free deals but it is clear that Scott Parker needs more options in defensive positions. Not least because Bournemouth will have to do so much defending as they battle to stay in the Premier League.

Brentford: Keep hold of Ivan Toney and Raya

Brentford have committed more than £30m on two signings this summer: Keane Lewis-Potter (bought from Hull City) and Aaron Hickey (Bologna). Neither of these players will replace Christian Eriksen, though, so Brentford could also make a move for another creative midfielder.

More important at this stage is keeping their star players at the club. Striker Ivan Toney is regularly linked with a move away, while goalkeeper David Raya has also prompted interest from elsewhere. Toney has three years remaining on his contract and will be extremely expensive for any interested teams.

Raya, however, has only two years remaining on his deal and has not yet accepted offers of a new contract. If a big offer arrived, would Brentford be tempted to cash in? They have signed 27-year-old goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha on a free transfer this summer, primarily to provide competition for Raya, but that could be seen as a sign that the Spaniard’s long-term future does not lie with the club.

Brighton: Boost the defence and hold onto Cucurella

Brighton were keen to sign Rangers defender Calvin Bassey, which was an indication of their priorities this summer. Dan Burn left for Newcastle United in January and Graham Potter is now short of options on the left side of their defence. More depth is required there.

That problem would be made considerably worse if Marc Cucurella, who is wanted by Manchester City, leaves the club. Cucurella would command a hefty fee, allowing Brighton to reinvest, but his quality is unquestionable and he would not be easy to replace.

Chelsea: Defensive options and another attacker

Chelsea need defenders. Kalidou Koulibaly may have arrived, but the new owners need to get Jules Kounde over the line, with head coach Thomas Tuchel also hoping to land Presnel Kimpembe from Paris Saint-Germain.

Tuchel always ideally wanted three new defenders with Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen leaving, so anything less may be seen as a disappointment.

All the current focus is on strengthening the defence, but there are other areas Tuchel would also like to add greater quality and depth.

He will look at his attacking options again before the transfer window shuts and the fact Chelsea failed with a bid to sign Raphinha was a signal that Tuchel would like to add at least one more forward signing to Raheem Sterling.

Kounde, who can play on the right side of a back three or at right wing-back, could provide Tuchel with the versatility to help give Chelsea greater cover on the right. But the German has hinted that he would like to sign genuine right wing-back cover for Reece James.

Crystal Palace: Further strengthen the midfield

The signing of Cheick Doucoure from Lens, in a deal worth up to £22m, represents a good start to the midfield rebuild at Selhurst Park, but there is still work to be done. With Conor Gallagher set to stay at Chelsea this season, and ongoing uncertainty over the future of Cheikhou Kouyate, Palace need more quality options at the heart of the team.

They had hoped to conclude a deal for Swansea midfielder Flynn Downes, but instead lost out to West Ham United in the race for his signature.

Everton: A replacement for Richarlison

Where has the Richarlison money gone, Farhad? Evertonians hoping the Brazilian would be swiftly replaced have been disappointed even though the club received a handsome sum of £60m. Frank Lampard is working to add the attacking quality his squad desperately craves, but filling the void is proving challenging. Goodison frustration with their board will spill over early if there is no new striker by the first Premier League game. Everton need someone who can provide goals and assists from day one.

Fulham: Backline needs to be improved

Fulham hoped to do business swiftly this summer but it has not worked out that way and their plans for an extensive strengthening of the side have not yet come to fruition. There has been progress in midfield, where Joao Palhinha and Andreas Pereira have arrived, but they desperately need to strengthen at the back.

Arsenal’s Bernd Leno remains a target for the goalkeeping position, and they are also looking for a new full-back and at least one central defender. With the opening game against Liverpool looming on August 6, adding defensive quality must be the priority.

Leeds United: Replace dearted quality with quality

Having lost their two best players this summer in Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha, Leeds need to make sure they replace them with similar quality. They are trying and exciting young attacking midfielder Charles De Ketelaere from Club Brugge would be a good signing, but the real focus is on Paris Saint-Germain striker Arnaud Kalimuendo is arguably the more pressing need up front.

Leicester City: Finally resolve the Tielemans situation

It is less than three weeks until the start of the Premier League season, and Leicester City are the only club in the division yet to make a signing this summer.

Leicester have to sell players before they can buy and Brendan Rodgers cannot make any moves until he has funds. The future of Youri Tielemans has dragged on all summer and needs sorting, or Leicester’s transfer activity remains likely to be paralysed.

Liverpool: Justify Klopp’s faith in midfield depth

Do Liverpool need a midfielder? None will be coming this summer so at the very least they have to justify Jurgen Klopp’s faith in those he has. Some believe they are still a midfielder short despite Klopp’s trust in Fabio Carvalho, Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones to step up a level. Another injury to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the warm-up games was a reminder of how quickly resources can be stretched. Liverpool’s (incoming) transfer business ended early so they will stick with what they have.

Manchester City: Sign a left-back

With Oleksandr Zinchenko joining Arsenal in a projected £32m deal and Benjamin Mendy awaiting trial, the need to bring in a specialist left back has become pressing and City are in talks with Brighton over Marc Cucurella.

The former Barcelona defender, 23, is likely to cost around £50m and remains manager Pep Guardiola’s top priority. Stuttgart’s Borna Sosa is on a list of alternative options if Brighton’s valuation of Cucurella proves beyond reach.

Manchester United: Finalise a deal for Frenkie De Jong

United have already agreed a £72m fee with Barcelona for Frenkie de Jong but the deal still hinges on the Catalan club coughing up £17m in deferred wages they owe the Holland midfielder.

With Barcelona unable to register new players until they get De Jong off their wage bill, a solution will need to be find but, given the crucial holding midfield role Erik ten Hag has earmarked for his former Ajax player, the prospect of failing to land him after all this time and effort would be a huge setback. United are likely to persist even if De Jong has not signed by the time they face Brighton in their season opener on August 7 but the clock is definitely ticking.

Newcastle United: Resolve the striker merry-go-round

Newcastle started the window well to make three solid defensive signings, but the main priority at the end of last season was to sign a winger and a centre forward. Top targets Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Ivan Toney, Moussa Diaby and Alexander Isak have all proven to be too expensive and with around £50m left in the summer budget they are still trying to decide who to move for next. Leeds’ Jack Harrison would be of interest if he were for sale.

Nottingham Forest: Revamped squad must adapt quickly

Nottingham Forest are back in the Premier League for the first time since 1999 and have already spent over £70m on nine new players. More signings are expected, and Steve Cooper needs his new recruits to hit the ground running quickly. Adapting swiftly to Cooper’s gameplan will be vital to their chances of success.

Southampton: Sign a goalscorer

Southampton have been through some major changes under the new ownership of Sport Republic. The appointment of Joe Shields, from Manchester City, as the head of recruitment was a big move by key executives Henrik Kraft and Rasmus Ankersen.

The players so far have reflected Shields’ expertise in youth: Joe Aribo, Gavin Bazunu, Armel Bella-Kotchap and Romeo Lavia. Now they need a striker. The squad is thin in that area and it may be that they have to go back to the big six for a loan, as with Armando Broja last season, or look at another emergent talent from Europe.

Tottenham Hotspur: Move on disaffected players

Joe Lewis’ end of season injection of capital into Spurs has meant a transformative summer. The signing of Djed Spence from Middlesbrough, the left-back who was one of the stars of Nottingham Forest’s promotion campaign, was the sixth arrival of the summer. Richarlison is the biggest name, signed to give the Kane-Son axis some relief.

Yet all the arrivals have looked like viable first XI challengers with the possible exception of Fraser Forster. The priority now will be to move on those including Harry Winks, Tanguy Ndombele and Giovani Lo Celso.

West Ham: More options - and more goals - up front

If West Ham can seal a deal for Chelsea’s Armando Broja, it will end their long and painful search for a striker to compete with Michail Antonio. It is no secret that Antonio needs competition and David Moyes will expect Broja to ease some of the burden on West Ham’s striker, if the move can be completed as West Ham hope.

Elsewhere, West Ham remain keen on bringing Jesse Lingard back to the club. Now a free agent, Lingard excelled on loan at the London Stadium last year and his quality in the final third — providing goals and assists — is what Moyes needs more than anything else before the new season.

Wolves: Recruit a proven striker

Bruno Lage desperately needs a predatory goalscorer to take Wolves forward. Perhaps understandably after the serious head injury, Raul Jimenez was under par last season but Lage needs a proven forward to apply the finishing touch. It could ultimately prove the difference for Lage in his hopes of progress.

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