What do Premier League teams need this summer? – Part 2
The battle for fourth still rages on, whilst at the foot of the table relegation candidates scrap to maintain their status as top tier clubs. So what exactly will managers (or in some cases, chairmen) look to achieve this summer?
Surprisingly, not that much. January transfer Daniel Sturridge has taken some of the goal scoring burden off of Luis Suarez, while Coutinho has shown early promise in his time on the Merseyside thus far.
While Brendan Rodgers must be given at least two seasons to mould Liverpool in his image, there are still a few gaps that need filling.
A new centre back will be a priority with Jamie Carragher choosing to hang up his boots at the end of the season, short of that a new left back would also be handy if one of Martin Kelly or Andre Wisdom are moved across into a more familiar central role.
Strangely, despite being in my opinion the worst singing made during the second coming of the King, Stewart Downing should be kept – namely as an experienced head to help guide the likes of Sterling as they develop.
Andy Carroll will undoubtedly be on the get-rid list, as will one or two others like Jonjo Shelvey if funds are an issue.
Deciding not to sell Daniel Agger to Manchester City last year has proven to be rather a risky decision, with neither he nor his defensive partner Martin Skrtel playing to their usual high standards this season. If one of the two is sold with the hopes of reinvestment, an experienced head at the back is a must.
The most important thing in my eyes however is the signing of another midfielder worthy of staking their claim alongside Lucas and Steve Gerrard, or deputising for either. Joe Allen is still young, but right now he is not that man – nor is Jonjo Shelvey.
A new manager. Roberto Mancini is currently in the process of digging his own grave after selling his shovel to AC Milan in January, and the Italian is doing himself no favours with the media either, never mind the owners.
Claiming to have been the best manager over the past 18 months, openly placing blame on his players during press conferences and signing Scott Sinclair have done little to get away from the giant, phenomenally expensive axe positioned directly above his neck.
Then again, maybe Mancini had the right idea. The problem is, he didn’t execute it correctly. You can read more about that here.
A new midfielder would also be nice, as would a winger. Someone with a tad more panache than Gareth Barry, but not in the same combat active mould as Toure. A genuine wide man is a must, with Angel Di Maria rumoured to be after an exit from the Bernebeu this summer.
Unfortunately, Manchester City will probably get Jose Mourinho and a host of quality that will perform for three seasons before beginning to flounder helplessly.
They don’t need a lot. In goal Manchester United has a keeper with bags of potential starting to mature and being pushed all the way by his deputy. Defensively, despite frailties this season, perhaps only a new left back could come in.
Even then, if Patrice Evra maintains his current form, this is not necessary. In attack they have 4 strikers amassing to one of the best front lines in Europe.
Then we look at the midfield. Really, it depends who leaves. Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley look a promising partnership, Nick Powell needs games and both Ryan Giggs and Darren Fletcher will certainly be around.
If Anderson stays, they need not indulge in a new signing. If he goes, I doubt anyone would really notice that much. Out wide, once again, if players leave then new signings will be required.
Wilfried Zaha will be arriving from Crystal Palace in the summer, hopefully providing Young, Valencia and Nani with some much needed young competition.
If it was me however, I’d be rid of Anderson and throw heaps of cash at Arturo Vidal. But that’s just me.
Don’t sack the manager. Alan Pardew has proven himself capable of getting results, signing quality on the cheap and rectifying his mistakes by making the signings in January they needed in July. It’s unlikely Mike Ashley will find anyone better anyway.
A new centre back is a must, especially if Fabricio Collocini does leave for his homeland. Some competition at full back would also be useful, as would another striker good enough to give Papiss Cisse a run for his money.
Newcastle United no longer lack in midfield, although another winger might be helpful – Gabriel Obertan is not worthy of lacing Hatem Ben Arfa’s boots.
It might not fit in with the current ‘buy French sell overrated English strikers for major profit’ policy, but a move for Aston Villa’s forgotten Marc Albrighton could be a shrewd acquisition.
A difficult one this. They don’t have the funds to really improve the whole squad, or do they have any saleable assets worth enough to make it worth selling them on. Even feeder club Leeds United are lacking the quality worth Chris Hughton’s plunder.
On the plus side, the team is good enough to survive. Even without John Ruddy for much of the season, Norwich City have done what has been asked of them, with Sebastien Bassong performing admirably all year long.
A new striker however is a must, with Grant Holt horribly out of form and Luciano Becchio looking a tad unconvincing thus far.
A goalscorer is always a must for sides staving off relegation, and the manager will have to wave his magic wand to find another bargain capable of assisting the East Anglian outfit in their quest for survival.