It has been a long season that has seen triumph and despair for those sitting on top of the Premier League, and as soon as the whistle goes at the final match it is the first thing the fans have on their lips: the transfer window.
Who is coming in? Who should be offloaded? Will the star players stay or go? These are all pressing matters, especially now there is no football to talk about. So, if each club in the top six could purchase three players to strengthen their squads for next year: who should they be?
Whilst the Premier League champions can boast they have the strongest squad in the league, a few injuries could change all of that. Jose Mourinho has already made it clear that he does not plan to venture too far into the player market but Chelsea’s finances are looking good and who knows what could happen if the right player was made available.
A player that has been linked with a move to Stamford Bridge in the past and would go straight into the first team of many across the world. Rated very highly at the Bernabeu, Mourinho worked well with him during his stint as Real Madrid boss and was one of the few players not to mutiny against him and Jose has previously called him “the best young central defender in the world.” At 22 years old and with Kurt Zouma, 20, already lurking on the outskirts of the first team, the Blues defence could have a French defensive partnership that could last for many years.
The man linked to nearly every top club in Europe, the London-bred boy could find his home at the Bridge. His thirst for trophies would be quenched and he could play a major role in the Champions League, a competition the Liverpool starlet is desperate to participate in. John W. Henry would be extremely reluctant to sell to another English club, and his price could hit staggering numbers, but with Liverpool fans already almost ousting him out of the door a move looks certain to happen. It would also boost Chelsea’s English player quota.
The only beacon of happiness a QPR fan has had this season, he has performed brilliantly to score 18 Premier League goals, behind only Sergio Aguero, Diego Costa and Harry Kane in the top goalscorers list. The former Burnley and Swindon hitman looks certain to leave QPR following their relegation and would provide strong competition for Loic Remy and Costa for a starting place. His goals-per-game stands at 0.51, the fifth best in the league so with a midfield of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Cesc Fabregas behind him, who knows how many this natural finisher could put away.
Manuel Pellegrini has suffered what has been considered a dismal effort to retain their Premier League crown, but the Financial Fair Play shackles have been lifted and Manchester City’s Abu Dhabi owners will heavily invest to inject some new blood into an ageing squad that desperately craves silverware.
There have been numbers fluttered from £45 million to £77 million, but whatever the price may be this is one player City cannot afford to miss out on. The French midfielder is immensely rated across the world with a large list of top clubs after his signature. At the age of just 22, his vision, physique and method of play outshines many of his more experienced counterparts. A perfect replacement for Yaya Toure, who doesn’t know whether he is staying or going, and, despite a youth career at rivals Manchester United, would become a quick fan favourite.
Kevin De Bruyne.
A mediocre start to his career in the English league saw him being shipped out to Wolfsburg after being deemed surplus to requirements by Chelsea, however he has flourished into one of Europe’s best attacking midfielders. Having just helped his team win the German equivalent to the FA Cup, he has been offered a new contract also after breaking the Bundesliga record for most assists in one season. The 23-year old would love to prove a point against former boss Mourinho, and Pellegrini would relish nurturing a great talent his rival let go.
A move to Real Madrid beckons, but Pellegrini should put all he can into signing the Italian central midfielder. Known to operate as a defensive midfielder or attacking, he has developed rapidly during his time at PSG, with many noting his speed and tenacity as valuable attributes to his successful three years in Ligue 1. At just 22, he has many years to further himself as a player even more so and with the likes of Fernando and Fernandinho in the Man City ranks there is near enough a starting position guaranteed for the ex-Pescara star.
Arsene Wenger has been renowned for his reluctance to put his hand in his pocket and splash the big pot of cash available to him but recent acquisition Alexis Sanchez may have changed his mind, after a stupendous first season in football was capped with a FA Cup win and a strong finish in the league. If Wenger is hopeful of battling the big boys for the title next year he will have to recruit some more players to boost his thin squad.
Almost criminal to sideline a player of such quality, but Thibaut Courtois looks to have cemented his position as Chelsea stopper for the foreseeable future. Therefore a move to their London rivals is now open after Wenger’s chopping and changing of goalkeepers between Wojciech Szczesny and David Ospina indicates he is unconvinced with either of them. Cech is a hugely reliable goalkeeper who has still got a number of years left in him at the very top of the game.
Despite the turn in form of Frances Coquelin which has seen him being talked up as one of the best defensive midfielders since the beginning of 2015, if Arsenal want to bolster their squad a defensive midfielder is the first position many Gunner fans will say. Wanyama, 23, has comfortably settled in Southampton’s first XI and plays with an incredibly high work rate that sees him play as a top ball winning midfielder, also helped his bulky frame and physique. Already accustomed to the toils of the Premier League, guarding the back four would also allow the likes of Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey to roam free further forward.
Olivier Giroud has come under a lot of criticism during his time at the Emirates but despite this he has still scored 58 goals since his transfer from Montpellier. Lacazette, however, has been talked up as one of Europe’s hottest strikers after a brilliant season with Lyon saw him score 31 goals this season, 27 in the league to see him crowned as top goalscorer in Ligue 1. Lyon coach Hubert Fournier has already admitted that the future of the striker is unclear following interest from the Gunners but a huge transfer fee may put off the men behind the money at Arsenal.
Louis Van Gaal has achieved the minimal expectation put to him in his first year as United boss – get Champions League football at all costs. After an anomaly of a season under David Moyes which saw them finish 7th, they are ready to use their wealthy might once again and this summer promises to be a huge one at Old Trafford with many targets already being said to be close to signing.
It’s the one all the fans are talking about. Signing such a player would demonstrate the sheer power available to them. Florentino Perez has said there is no chance Gareth Bale would leave the Bernabeu, but this is the same man that sacked Carlo Ancelotti for finishing second to a team that have three players who scored 120 goals; anything is possible in Madrid. Despite scoring 17 goals, it has been seen as an unsuccessful year for the Welshman and with many fans baying for his blood, he may have fallen out of love with his overseas dream and return back to Britain. It is no secret that United are huge admirers after a failed £100 million bid for him two years ago and potentially see him as the man to finally fill Cristiano Ronaldo’s boots.
Another player the fans are desperate to see signed, having been linked with the German central defender for so long. The departure of Jurgen Klopp has paved the way for many players to follow his footsteps out the door, with Ilkay Gundogan another player nearly certain to leave. The Dortmund captain would demand a massive fee, possibly trumping David Luiz’s record transfer number, but already a World Cup winner at the age of 26 he would solve the current defensive crisis at United. Especially noted for his ability to bring the ball into midfield, he would fit Van Gaal’s philosophy of ball retention and possession football.
With David De Gea’s reluctance to sign a new contract and Real Madrid waiting in the wings to pounce, it would be a good idea to sign a ready replacement for safety’s sake. Lloris has already expressed an interest in playing Champions League football and, although Daniel Levy would hate to sell to another English club, United would be more than happy to allow him to play to his potential on the greatest club stage. The Spurs captain would command a huge fee, having only signed a five-year contract last July, but with Victor Valdes on the wane he would be worth every penny as he highly regarded as one of the best keepers in the world, with Juventus also sniffing around him as the successor to all-time great Gianluigi Buffon.
Mauricio Pochettino’s first season as boss of Tottenham has had a collection highs and lows, despite a number of poor performances against the bigger teams and largely remaining unaltered in the league positions, a cup final appearance and the emergence of Harry Kane has kept Spurs fans happy with the progress of the club. After the Bale money was all spent, Christian Eriksen was the only successful purchase. This summer the Tottenham gaffer will have the opportunity to sculpt his own team.
Despite a poor season at PSG, Lavezzi would be an ideal buy for Spurs. The French champions are reportedly happy to do business after Italian website TMW claimed the winger has agreed personal terms with the North London club. His ability to drive the ball at the centre of defences from the wing indicates that he would be a success in the Premier League, where this attribute has helped several players before (Eden Hazard and Alexis Sanchez springs to mind). A big-name signing would signal to other clubs (and players) that they are no longer a “feeder” club, and that they mean business against the big clubs next year.
Heavily linked with a move to Arsenal, Spurs should use all their power to dismantle this move and take him to White Hart Lane. The likes of Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason, though Pochettino must be praised for his trust in the youngsters, are simply not good enough to push the club into the top four. Schneiderlin’s range of passing and excellent work rate would make him a valuable asset to any team in the Premier League and looks certain to leave Southampton after attempting to manoeuvre himself a move last summer The Tottenham boss should use all his contacts available to convince the French central midfielder his future lays in the white of North London, not red.
Burnley’s shining light this year, leading their goalscoring chart with 11 goals in the Premier League. Despite being out of contract, would still demand a fee due to his age but nonetheless a player Pochettino should take a keener interest in. With the correct nurturing, Ings could become a top English striker who can form a deadly partnership with Harry Kane up front. His pace and finishing ability have been spotted in flashes whilst at Burnley and, at the age of 22, still has much more to offer the Premier League.
After an immensely promising season the year before, the lasting effects of the departure of Luis Suarez has rocked the club to the core, with a number of crises stemming from this event. But Suarez did not leave cheaply and the money put into the transfer budget has been, quite frankly, wasted on the likes of Mario Balotelli and Dejan Lovren. With talisman Steven Gerrard leaving for USA, Brendan Rodgers must find a way to propel the club back into the top four.
The Liverpool owners have to make a big signing and make it early to signal their intentions this summer. Not only would Benteke fulfil this, he’d be the man they need to fire in the goals their strikers have so dismally failed to do this season. Despite only scoring three whilst playing under Paul Lambert, Tim Sherwood’s appointment has rejuvenated the striker and he quickly became the striker in best form towards the end of the season. Played correctly, he would be a powerful weapon in the air and with the likes of Daniel Sturridge playing off of him Liverpool fans could see the goals they were so used to a couple of years ago return.
After having a £10 million bid rejected, a better bid is expected soon. Despite being heavily linked with Manchester United, it appears they have called off their interest giving Liverpool the green light to go ahead with the transfer. Clyne would be an excellent addition to the Reds defence, where Glen Johnson would depart and Clyne would slide right in. His arrival would also boost flop Dejan Lovren’s performances, due to their apparent understanding whilst playing at Southampton. The right-back has been in fine form this year, which have seen him earn his first England cap and was narrowly behind Branislav Ivanovic in the Premier League team of the year.
After rejecting a contract of up to £150,000 a week at Manchester City, it would appear that the last thing Liverpool need is a contract rebel. However, landing the English utility man would be a brilliant piece of business as he would cost the club nothing in transfer fees. His performances this year have elucidated why every manager in the country would love to have him. His work ethic and teamwork makes the lives of the players around him that bit easier as well as being technically marvelous on the ball, and his ability to play almost anywhere on the pitch makes him an exceptional option that epitomises Liverpool’s style of play, definitely someone Rodgers should look to as a transfer target.