What do Premier League teams need this summer? – Part 3
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?
Queens Park Rangers
Ha. Ha ha. Ha. Like they need any more dross. Shipping out some of the deadwood should be a priority should they stay up or not, the wage hungry Jose Bosingwa typifying the kind of signing that QPR just shouldn’t have made.
Even perma-crock Andy Johnson is still knocking around, as are the likes of Robert Green and Jay Bothroyd. Of course, getting rid of these high earners will not be easy, rather ironically it will be harder if they stay up.
The makings of a half decent side are there, Mark Hughes having made a couple of decent moves for the likes of Julio Cesar last year.
Junior Hoilett, Loic Remy and Adel Taarabt all have potential as match winners, while experienced heads such as Bobby Zamora and Chris Samba are used to the perils of bottom half Premier League battles.
Really, before they can even think about making any signings, QPR need to strip their squad of the mediocrity and free up some precious wages.
If they go down, however… Well, they’re screwed.
Assuming they stay up, loans. Without the financial clout to compete for more conventional signings, Brian McDermott will be keeping an eye on the likes of Manchester United duo Angelo Henriquez and Nick Powell.
More likely, they will plunge back into the English Championship ala Norwich City, helped by the manager’s extensive knowledge of the lower leagues.
Unfortunately for Reading, they do not have the same kind of appeal as Swansea. They lack the playing style plaudits, well known manager or the connections abroad that come with having such a man at the helm.
As a result signings such as Michu and Pablo Hernandez that have proved successful for Michael Laudrup are somewhat out of bounds, meaning that McDermott will likely stick to the English market for his transfers.
A new keeper would be of use, perhaps a loan move for Stoke’s Jack Butland could be on the cards. If they are willing to take the risk, Darren Bent is almost certain to leave Aston Villa come the summer, with a couple of QPR players looking a bit too good for the Championship if they themselves are to be relegated.
Providing they drop their wage demands, Stephane Mbia or Samba Diakite could add some cut and thrust to Reading’s midfield. A wise move for both parties would be a loan move for Tottenham’s Jake Livermore.
In short, regardless of their fate this season, the team simply needs a couple of signings to freshen things up – whether that be in preparation for a promotion push or a relegation scrap.
Provided they can keep hold of young talents such as Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana, Southampton could potentially push on towards mid table obscurity next season.
Another marquee man along the same lines as Gaston Ramirez would be a welcome addition to the midfield to partner the impressive Morgan Schneiderlin, as would a winger and or striker capable of chipping in with a few goals.
More likely, however, is that Pochettino will look to sure up his side defensively as he has been trying to achieve since his arrival.
If Rickie Lambert hangs around, the manager is unlikely to be given the financial backing to replace him, although lessons could be learnt from Grant Holt and his stuttering second season form at Norwich.
Unlike at Reading however, the manager knows the foreign markets well, having ensured survival with Espanyol despite financial woes aplenty in seasons gone by.
Do not be surprised if one or two unfamiliar faces pop up from one of the many debt ridden clubs of La Liga.
If they want to keep playing hoofball, then another striker would be helpful.
Peter Crouch is on the wrong side of 30, Jonathan Walters works hard but can’t play every game, and Kenwyne Jones might as well not be at the club for all his impact so far. Cameron Jerome hasn’t exactly give Crouch much competition with one start to his name either.
A new left back would be ideal to replace the never quite good enough Andy Wilkinson, as would a left winger with Matthew Etherington contributing exactly nothing in terms of goals and assists this year.
Stewart Downing, beware. A creative midfielder (ha) should be on the Potters’ shopping list too, seeing as Charlie Adam has done little else but waddle around looking overweight and out of form since his arrival at the club.
On the other hand, if they want to play it risky and change their philosophy to something more Emma Stone and less Mrs. Brown, then Tony Pulis simply has to go. The man has taken Stoke City as far as he can, with failed attempts to add some flair to the pragmatism such as Tuncay Sanli showing that he just isn’t up to having his team play anything other than ‘functional’ football.
Personally, I’d much rather see them stick to what they know, but evolution is something that always has to come around eventually.
Even Big Sam has West Ham playing it through midfield every now and then, even if their end product is just a floating cross towards Andy Carroll’s noggin. It would take more than a year, it would take some pretty heavy investment and it would almost certainly pose a threat to their Premier League status.
The big question: is it worth it?
They could throw a whole lot of money around without getting anywhere really. Keeping hold of star assets Simon Mignolet and Steven Fletcher will obviously be top priority, as will be finding someone – anyone really – who can take some of the pressure off of the latter.
Danny Graham can only do so much, and a cut price move for Peter Odemwingie could be on the cards.
January transfer Alfred N’Diaye has added little to any already overstocked midfield, and so shipping out one of the underused David Vaughan or the walking risk Lee Cattermole could be an option.
A new left back will also be a priority when Danny Rose returns to Tottenham from his loan spell. A new centre back will also be necessary now Carlos Cuellar and John O’Shea are another year older. Getting rid of Titus Bramble can only be a plus point.
Really I could go on and on forever about Sunderland, but I won’t. Because if it were up to me about seven or eight of the starting eleven would go. Sorry Mackem fans, but it looks like you’re doomed for another season of mid table mediocrity at best next year.