In Focus: The most pressing transfer need of every Premier League club

Matthew Storey
Erik ten Hag will be desperate for Manchester United to recruit in the final two weeks of the transfer window
Erik ten Hag will be desperate for Manchester United to recruit in the final two weeks of the transfer window

Transfer deadline day is drawing near and there is still plenty of business to be done.

Manchester United’s miserable start means investment is vital there, while Chelsea continue to be linked with a whole host of players.

We look at the most pressings needs of every top-flight club as the clock ticks towards the September 1 cut-off.

Arsenal: Winger

After an impressive summer in the transfer market, Arsenal have begun the season with two victories.

The Gunners have added Gabriel Jesus up top, Fabio Vieira in midfield and Oleksandr Zinchenko as a versatile option at full-back and in the centre of the park. As a result, there are no gaping holes in their squad.

But another high class winger would not go amiss, someone better than Nicolas Pepe to provide competition to first-choice starters Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka.

Aston Villa: Centre-back

An Achilles injury to summer signing Diego Carlos means Aston Villa are in need of more reinforcements at centre-back.

Kortney Hause is expected to head out on loan so Villa’s current options are Tyrone Mings, Ezri Konsa and Calum Chambers.

Given Gerrard’s odd comments about Mings after the opening day defeat to Bournemouth, expect another arrival in the next two weeks.

Diego Carlos' injury means Aston Villa will need to recruit another centre-back
Diego Carlos' injury means Aston Villa will need to recruit another centre-back

Bournemouth: Centre-back

Bournemouth are yet to replace loanee Nat Phillips or the veteran Gary Cahill after their departures at the end of the last campaign.

It means that midfielder Jefferson Lerma has been forced to fill in as part of the back three against Aston Villa and Manchester City.

Lloyd Kelly, Chris Mepham and James Hill are the only three recognised centre-halves in the squad currently.

Brentford: Striker

Brentford have filled in most of the gaps in their squad with their usual smart recruitment — but an injury to Ivan Toney and they are in trouble.

Marcus Forss was his main back-up last term and he has moved to Middlesbrough, leaving just one recognised striker in their squad.

Someone like Bryan Mbuemo could fill in through the middle, yet it would be a surprise if the Bees did not have someone else up their sleeve.

Brighton: Striker

Like last summer, the previous summer and the summer before that, Brighton are still on the hunt for a reliable goalscorer.

Neal Maupay and Leandro Trossard both registered eight league goals as the Seagulls finished ninth last term — their highest ever league position.

Danny Welbeck has looked sharp, but the stalemate with Newcastle is further proof that a regular goalscorer will take their results to the next level.

Chelsea: Centre-back

Despite the arrival of Kalidou Koulibaly, Chelsea still need to add more options at centre-half.

The ex-Napoli star and Thiago Silva are the only world class centre-backs on their books currently.

That Cesar Azpilicueta and Reece James have been preferred on the right of a back three over Trevoh Chalobah shows strengthening in that area is needed.

Crystal Palace: Striker

Since Patrick Vieira took over, Crystal Palace have brought in exciting players all over the pitch.

Odsonne Eduoard and Jean-Philippe Mateta both arrived last summer up front — the latter turning a loan into a permanent move.

But Wilfried Zaha was their top scorer in the Premier League and if they could recruit a goalscoring striker, there would be even more optimism at Selhurst Park.

Everton: Centre midfielder

Frank Lampard is expecting a manic two weeks of business at Goodison Park
Frank Lampard is expecting a manic two weeks of business at Goodison Park

There are arguments for Everton needing to strengthen in nearly every position — but centre forward is the most pressing.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s latest injury has laid bare just how short of options they are in that area of the pitch.

Anthony Gordon has started as their striker in the opening two games with Salomon Rondon coming off the bench in the loss at Villa — they need help.

Fulham: Striker

After their previous two promotions, Fulham’s business has been incredibly hit and miss.

This summer’s deals look smarter and mean their main holes have been filled — but like West London rivals Brentford, they are one injury away from difficulties up top.

Aleksandar Mitrovic and Rodrigo Muniz are the strikers in the squad, and Marco Silva would surely like a third option just in case their star Serb goes down.

Leeds: Striker

It has been a strong start to the campaign for Leeds after making numerous signings in June and July.

A striker was on their list before the first game and despite Rodrigo’s two goals in the draw at Southampton, that has not changed.

Patrick Bamford’s fitness remains an issue, Joe Gelhardt is unproven and Rodrigo is yet to consistently perform at Elland Road.

Leicester: Centre-back

The arrival of goalkeeper Alex Smithies means Leicester are no longer the only side yet to sign a player — but they could still do with strengthening. 

Wesley Fofana wants to move to Chelsea, while it appears that Brendan Rodgers does not trust Jannik Vestergaard or Caglar Soyuncu.

The Foxes will only sign players if they sell — and another centre-half may be Rodgers’ preference.

Liverpool: Central midfielder

It is well known that Liverpool are still perhaps a touch short of options in the middle of the park.

They have looked light ever since Gini Wijnaldum left last summer, despite Jurgen Klopp’s trust in Harvey Elliott.

But do not expect the Reds to do any more business in the coming days. 

Manchester City: Centre-back

Now Sergio Gomez has joined to help sort Manchester City’s left-back issue, it is in the middle of defence where they seem short.

Nathan Ake was heavily linked with a move away from the Etihad yet has started both of their opening games.

Aymeric Laporte’s injury means John Stones and youngster Luke Mbete were on the bench, so if City are to dip their toes in the transfer market again, centre-back is an area for Pep Guardiola to strengthen.

Manchester United: Defensive midfielder

Manchester United are looking for more options in midfield
Manchester United are looking for more options in midfield

It is well-documented that Manchester United are desperate for a quality holding midfielder.

Most onlookers knew Fred and Scott McTominay were not up to scratch prior to the season — and the opening day defeat to Brighton only proved that further.

Rumours that the Red Devils are targeting Real Madrid ace Casemiro are circling, but the search for a suitable contender continues.

Newcastle: Striker

Upgrades all over the pitch in January and the summer mean Newcastle look well-placed for their first full season under Saudi ownership.

But a new striker would be the icing on top of the cake with Callum Wilson injury-prone and Chris Wood their other main option.

Watford’s Joao Pedro is reportedly their main target and he would only strengthen Eddie Howe’s hand.

Nottingham Forest: Centre-back

Such is the breadth of Nottingham Forest’s business, it is not easy to pinpoint an area they need another signing in.

But given Steve Cooper’s preferred 3-5-2 formation, another new centre-back to join Moussa Niakhate may be the best option.

Joe Worrall and Scott McKenna have partnered the new boy in the opening two games, with Steve Cook on the bench.

Southampton: Striker

Sekou Mara has certainly looked the part in his first two Southampton games, but another body up front would not go amiss.

Che Adams has been tipped to move elsewhere, meaning Adam Armstrong and Mara are their main options.

Having also lost Armando Broja from last term’s squad, Ralph Hasenhuttl may feel another striker is key.

Tottenham: Attacking midfielder

No club in the top flight has had a more impressive transfer window than Tottenham so far.

They have plugged plenty of gaps in their squad — but if they can bring in an attacking midfielder, it will look even more complete.

A return for Christian Eriksen never materialised but there are plenty of options still out there for Antonio Conte.

West Ham: Left-back

The departure of Arthur Masuaku to Besiktas on loan means Aaron Cresswell is the only recognised left-back in the squad.

Now 32 and with a year left on his contract, Creswell's area of the pitch is one the Hammers need to recruit in.

But a strong window at least means Michail Antonio is no longer the only striker at David Moyes' disposal, with Gianluca Scamacca now on board.

Wolves: Striker

Like so many of their Premier League counterparts, adding a striker is vital for Wolves if they are to continue residing in mid-table.

Raul Jimenez was once again their top scorer last term, but he only had six goals in the league.

Only Hwang-Hee Chan, Ruben Neves and Conor Coady — now loaned to Everton — scored more than twice as Bruno Lage’s side struggled going forward.


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