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The fact that the Gunners need a new central midfielder every summer shows they have failed to rectify an issue that has been holding the club back for some time. Arsenal have been linked with a move for RB Leipzig’s star Naby Keïta on numerous occasions this year and the Guinean could be the answer to the North London club problems. An all-rounder in the middle, the 22-year-old bagged eight goals, nailed seven assists and averaged 2.7 dribbles in the Bundesliga last season, while producing 2.6 tackles and 2.6 interceptions per game to boot.[spacer height=”20px”]
Bournemouth left wing has been something of a problem position that Jordon Ibe failed to make his own last season, with Marc Pugh starting more often (15 times) as Eddie Howe chopped and changes. If Howe were to address the issue again this summer, Sweden international Sam Larsson could represent an affordable and exciting alternative. The 24-year-old Heerenveen winger led the way in the Eredivisie last season in assists, with 12, while also scoring nine goals and ranking second for total dribbles (91).
John Ruddy to Brighton may not be a move that offers great excitement to fans of the newly promoted side but, with David Stockdale rejecting a new contract with the club and expected to leave on a free, signing John Rudy would make a lot of sense. The 30-year-old is also a free agent, having failed to really kick on in recent seasons, but he enjoyed his best form for Norwich under Chris Hughton at a time when he played for England national team and even linked with a move to Chelsea.
After a brilliant season on loan at Ipswich in the Championship, Tom Lawrence reveal that his future at Leicester City remains unclear. If the Burnley are willing to sell the 23-year-old, a move to the Premier League should be on the cards. They could do with forward’s energy and invention. Capable of playing from either flank or as a supporting striker, the Manchester United graduate was the Ipswich shining start last season, scoring nine goals and nine assists.
Victor Moses surprised all in his new wing-back role but his season ended in disappointment and controversy. Blues boss Antonio Conte would clearly like more option on the right and the Italian gaffer rumoured to have interest in his near-namesake, Contie, who has enjoyed a successful season for Serie A’s surprise package Atalanta. In the just concluded season, Conti scored eight goals and created five assists from the flank in a similar system to that used by the Blues.
If the Eagles should fail in securing a permanent move for Liverpool’s on loan star Mamadou Sakho, they should look to invest on Harry Maguire. Both centre-backs have a slightly unconventional playing style but contradict their somewhat lumbering frames to impress both in and out of possession. He completed the most dribbles of any Premier League centre-back last season, while reading the game well to average 2.2 interceptions per game and earn the captaincy under Marco Silva. With Hull City relegated, the race to sign the 24-year-old is on.
In desperate need of a goalkeeper after unconvincing claims the No1 jersey from both Joel Robles and Maarten Stekelenburg, the Toffees interest in Pickford is unsurprising. The Sunderland goalkeeper has reportedly gained higher profile admirers but a move to Goodison Park would make sense, given that he would be Everton’s first choice. The youngster made more saves per game (4.9) than any other Premier League goalkeeper last season, earning a place in Guardian’s team of the season with a rating of 7.04. per Whoscored.com
With a shock promotion to the Premier League confirmed on Monday, Huddersfield’s transfer targets may have become a little stronger this week as they bid to strengthen themselves in the top flight next season. Opting in for an attacking midfielder could be on the move and, while Tom Cairney has reportedly gained strong interest from Newcastle, they should consider rivalling any offer for the Fulham captain. Cairney would suit the Hudderfield’s possession-based approach, having nailed the best pass accuracy by a distance in the Championship last campaign (92.6%), when he also scored 12 goals and registered 10 assists.
With Wes Morgan’s injury towards the end of last season exposing the Foxes lack of depth in defence, reinforcements at the back should be their first priority this summer. A player as versatile as Frederik Sorensen – he is capable of playing at centre-back or right-back – should be on their transfer plan, particularly following a brilliant season from Danny Simpson. The 25-year-old Dane starred for Cologne as they secured an unlikely Europa League finish, averaging a highly impressive 3.1 tackles and 2.7 interceptions per game.
Full-backs likely to be on Jürgen Klopp’s wishlist this summer. James Milner and Nathaniel Clyne were dependable last season but neither really contribute a great deal in attack in open play. A more offensive option could be chased in the coming months and the adaptable Ricardo Pereira has reportedly caught the German’s boss attention. Ricardo Pereira can play in either full-back position or in a more advanced role on the wing, having proven asset to Nice in Ligue 1 during a two-year loan spell from Porto. The 22-year-old averaged 1.2 key passes, 1.2 dribbles and 2.9 tackles per game last season.
If Pep Guardiola’s genuine aspirations of becoming a force to be reckoned with in Europe under the Spaniard, they will need to back him to rebuild an ageing squad. It would take a massive offer to convince Juventus to sell Alex Sandro, but it’s the sort of statement move that the Citizens will be looking to make. The Brazilian international has been consistently brilliant for the Serie A champions all season, earning the Italian league highest rating (7.63), as he established himself as one of the very best full-backs on the continent.
Having failed to agree terms on a new deal with Faouzi Ghoulam, Napoli are willing to cash in on left-back, which has alerted the interest of most of the Premier League’s big hitters. The 26-year-old Algerian is one of the finest attacking full-backs in Europe and proved as much last season by registering nine assists across Serie A and the Champions League. His average of two key passes per game was the most of any full-back in Europe’s top five leagues. With José Mourinho clearly not keen on Luke Shaw, a move for Faouzi would come as no surprise.
Youssouf Sabaly was linked to Sunderland last season but newly promoted Newcastle would be wise to offer him a route out of Paris Saint-Germain to the Premier League if he is deemed surplus to requirements in France. The full-back, who can play on either flank of a back four, has spent the last four seasons out on loan and, at 24-year-old, has never made a league appearance for his parent club. Youssouf spent last campaign with Bordeaux, where was the club’s highest rated player (7.28), having averaged 2.6 tackles and 1.6 dribbles per game as well as chipping in with four assists.
Virgil van Djik is almost certainly going leave Southampton this summer. His absence in the second half of the season due to injury forced Claude Puel to employ an encouraging defensive admirably but, while neither deserves to be unceremoniously dropped, competition at the back is necessary. Ben Gibson has attracted huge interest from a number of Premier League club and, despite Middlesbrough’s relegation, Ben seems well placed to avoid a drop back to the Championship. The Saints would be a logical the best option for a defender who showed good composure and positional sense in his first season in the Premier League.
Stoke made two marquee signings to fix their problems up front last season, first with the loan arrival of Wilfried Bony and then the permanent transfer of Said Berahino, but both flattered to deceive. The latter will of course be given more time but with Bony’s not living up to expectations at the Britannia coming to an end another striker may yet be a priority. An alternative to 36-year-old Peter Crouch would make sense, and so too would a move for the Championship’s top scorer Chris Wood. The 25-year-old was clinical in front of goal last season for Leeds United, scoring 27 times. He is a powerful target man who would suit Stoke’s approach.
Having been linked with Angers captain Cheikh N’Doye last summer, Swansea may consider a move 12 months on now that the 31-year-old’s contract has expired. The Senegal international is thought to have offers from across the continent, and even China, so it could take a big contract to persuade the midfielder that Wales is the place for him. Swansea could do with greater quality and presence in midfield, so it’s certainly worth a shot. N’Doye won a massive 8.2 aerial duels per game last season, as well as contributing five goals and five assists.
Such is the quality of Tottenham’s first-choice XI, it’s difficult to think of a position that needs strengthening, with squad depth instead the priority for Mauricio Pochettino as he looks forward to another season in Europe. With that in mind, he may look to sign another forward following Vincent Janssen’ struggles last season. A bid for Sampdoria wonderkid Patrik Schick has been reported. The 21-year-old Czech international scored 11 times last season despite starting just 14 of his 32 appearances. His invention and strong dribbling ability could be put to use in a wider role too.
The Watford squad is a real hotchpotch of nationalities so the fact that Walter Mazzarri was reportedly unable to get his message across in Italian – or any language for that matter – is no great surprise. The group doesn’t really have an identity so it’s difficult to suggest where to strengthen first but injuries at the end of the campaign exposed a lack of quality options at centre-back. Pontus Jansson enjoyed an excellent campaign with Leeds and has been linked with a move to the top flight for some time, ranking among the top five in the Championship for clearances (10.1) and blocks per game (1.2). Also, Watford don’t have a Swede yet.
A long-term target of the Baggies, with Tony Pulis a known admirer of the 23-year-old, the fact that Charlie Taylor’s contract expires this summer actually seems to be making a deal for the left-back more complicated. The West Brom boss is keen to avoid a subjective compensation package to Leeds via a tribunal and would prefer to agree a fee for the promising defender. It’s understandable, with no real natural left-back in the squad – a position that has been covered by right-back Allan Nyom and midfielder Chris Brunt – that Taylor would be of interest. He endured an injury-disrupted campaign last time out but offers a good outlet from wide, averaging 1.1 dribbles per game while registering three assists from 26 starts.
It’s a somewhat sentimental one but there’s no question West Ham would love Jermain Defoe to return to east London rather than moving to Bournemouth on the south coast. The Hammers need striking reinforcements, given Andy Carroll’s injury problems, and Defoe proved last season that he’s far from finished, forcing his way back into the England set-up aged 34. Defoe started all but one of Sunderland’s league games last season, scoring 15 goals for a side that managed just 29 in total.