The one player your Premier League club SHOULD have signed this summer

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Goncalo Guedes
Goncalo Guedes

Arsenal: Gonçalo Guedes 

Arsenal had a positive summer, but their need for an attacking wideman was evident during the weekend’s 2-0 defeat to Manchester City. Unai Emery’s side offered little threat in the first half with an attacking triumvirate of Mesut Ozil, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Aaron Ramsey behind Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Only when Alexandre Lacazette entered the fray and Aubameyang moved out wide did the Gunners threaten.

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Emery won’t be wanting to play his star striker out wide all season, but may have forced his own hand by failing to land an out-and-out winger during the transfer window.

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Moves for Ousmane Dembele and Leon Bailey were mooted, but given the Gunners’ limited transfer budget, a more moderate target would have been PSG’s Guedes. The Parisians needed to offload players to keep in line with UEFA’s FFP rules, meaning Arsenal could have nabbed themselves the Portuguese forward at a cut price. Instead it looks like Valencia will tie him down.

Bournemouth: Danny Welbeck 

Danny Welbeck
Danny Welbeck

Welbeck would have been a decent signing for Bournemouth this summer, and in turn got more of the first-team football he needs to reignite his career.  

While his finishing has often let him down at an elite level, the 27-year-old is an intelligent, unselfish and threatening player – all characteristics that would have helped him fit right in at Dean Court.  

Brighton: Jordan Ayew

Jordan Ayew
Jordan Ayew

Brighton’s goalscoring burden fell mostly on Glenn Murray’s creaking shoulders last season, and the 34-year-old responded with 14 goals in all competitions. 

But if the Seagulls are to beat the drop again this year, Murray will need some help. Jurgen Locadia (who joined in January) and summer signing Florin Andone are both likely to need more time adapting to the Premier League, so a multifunctional forward who could have hit the ground running would have been welcome.  

Ayew – who scored 11 times for Swansea last season – was available on loan, but has wound up at Crystal Palace instead.   

Burnley: Adama Traore 

Adama Traore
Adama Traore

Built on the foundations of a solid back four – Sean Dyche’s side shut out opponents 12 times in the Premier League last season – Burnley were 2017/18’s surprise package, finishing seventh and qualifying for Europe for the first time in their history.

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But while the Clarets were imperious at the back, they weren’t so hot at the other end and scored just 36 goals. They’re actually reasonably well stocked for strikers in a one-man system – what with Chris Wood, Ashley Barnes and Sam Vokes – but could do with a bit more firepower out wide. Boro’s exciting Adama Traore didn’t come cheap at £18m, but Burnley could’ve beaten Wolves to the punch earlier this summer.

Cardiff: Oguzhan Ozkayup  

OGUZHAN OZKAYUP
OGUZHAN OZKAYUP

Missing out on re-signing Marko Grujic from Liverpool this summer was a bummer for Cardiff considering the prominent role that the 22-year-old played in their promotion last term. 

Before they landed Grujic back in January, however, the Welsh side made an ambitious move for Besiktas star Oguzhan Ozyakup. No deal happened while the Turkey international was unwilling to drop to the Championship, but the 25-year-old may have reconsidered this time around. 

Described by former West Ham and Croatia manager Slaven Bilic as the “most talented player in Turkey” and a “young Mesut Ozil”, Cardiff may have missed a trick in not trying again to sign him this summer.  

Chelsea: Kasper Schmeichel  

Kasper Scheimchel
Kasper Scheimchel

Chelsea managed to rectify a near disaster following the departure of Thibaut Courtois to Real Madrid by signing £71 million Athletic Bilbao shot-stopper Kepa Arrizabalaga on deadline day.  

Had the Blues been a little more proactive in their search for a new keeper, however – Courtois seemed Madrid-bound from very early in the transfer window – they may have found themselves a cheaper, less risky alternative. 

Having enjoyed a fine World Cup with Denmark, and a proven Premier League record of quality behind him, Leicester’s Schmeichel could have been the perfect solution to Chelsea’s problem. 

Crystal Palace: Thorgan Hazard

Thorgan Hazard
Thorgan Hazard

Palace would have loved to land Ruben Loftus-Cheek on another loan or permanently, but Chelsea’s unwillingness to let him go put paid to that (“we did all we could do,” sobbed Roy Hodgson).  

Still, Palace got Chiekhou Kouyate and Max Meyer in the end, and they’re lighter on options out wide in their 4-4-2. Really, Andros Townsend and Jeff Schlupp are the only natural wingers they have (loanee Jordan Ayew is more of a forward; Patrick van Aanholt could play there if required) – so perhaps Borussia Monchengladbach’s Hazard may have been handy.  

The 25-year-old Belgium international managed 10 goals and six assists in the Bundesliga last season, and could have slotted seamlessly into the Eagles’ exciting counter-attacking unit.   

Everton: Nobody

Yerry Mina
Yerry Mina

It would have been a distinctly disappointing summer for Everton had they not completed four key transfers on deadline day. The Toffees secured permanent deals for Barcelona defender Yerry Mina and Brazilian midfielder Bernard, while Mina’s team-mate Andre Gomes and Chelsea’s Kurt Zouma also arrived on loan.  

Add to those the deals for Lucas Digne and Richarlison, who scored a brace on his debut at the weekend, and it turned out to be a productive summer for the Merseysiders.  

Bearing in mind the calibre of player they’ve replaced – Ramiro Funes Mori, Ashley Williams, Davy Klaassen, Kevin Mirallas and Wayne Rooney – it’s been a job (eventually) well done.  

Fulham: Nobody

Jean Michael Seri
Jean Michael Seri

Yep, again. Fulham arguably had the most progressive summer transfer window of any Premier League club, signing 12 players and spending over £100 million on new talent including Nice’s Jean Michael Seri, Swansea’s Alfie Mawson and last season’s successful loanee Aleksandar Mitrovic. 

A number of high-profile stars also joined Slavisa Jokanovic’s side on loan: Andre Schurrle (Borussia Dortmund), Calum Chambers (Arsenal), Luciano Vietto (Atletico Madrid), Sergio Rico (Sevilla) and Timothy Fosu-Mensah (Manchester United). More would’ve been overkill. 

Huddersfield: Bakary Sako

Bakary Sako
Bakary Sako

Sako turned down the offer of a new contract at Crystal Palace this summer, presumably thinking he’d be snapped up quickly as an attractive free transfer. But with the new season now under way, the 30-year-old is still available.  

Huddersfield have added wingers Ramadan Sobhi and Adama Diakhaby to their squad, but it wouldn’t hurt to have another counter-attacking option off the bench to help improve on their dismal 28-goal haul in the top flight last term.  

Leicester: Bertrand Traore

Bertrand Traore
Bertrand Traore

Losing Riyad Mahrez to Manchester City was a big, if expected, blow for Leicester. The Algerian had been the club’s outstanding player in each of the last three seasons, so finding a replacement of sufficient quality was always going to difficult.

The Foxes picked Monaco’s Rachid Ghezzal to beef up their squad, but given the 26-year-old’s unconvincing returns over the last two seasons, he’s not a sure bet.  

Perhaps, then, ex-Chelsea forward Traore would have been the smarter option for Leicester – albeit a significantly more expensive one. The 22-year-old has scored 48 goals over the last three seasons with Vitesse, Ajax and Lyon, and enjoyed a fine debut season with the latter in 2018/19. 

Liverpool: Jamaal Lascelles

Jamaal Lascelles
Jamaal Lascelles

While Liverpool enjoyed a brilliant summer in the transfer window, the Reds failed to address one big problem with their £160+ million spending spree: the need for a new centre-back. 

Besides Virgil van Dijk, Jurgen Klopp’s options remain awkward. Ragnar Klavan and Joel Matip don’t look up to scratch, Joe Gomez is only 21 and has suffered injuries, while Dejan Lovren still has some convincing to do.

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Lascelles, who was outstanding for Newcastle last season, could have been a smart target with a reasonable price tag. A confident ball player and natural leader, the 24-year-old has all the attributes to become one of the Premier League’s top defenders. 

Manchester City: Marco Verratti

 

The one player your Premier League club SHOULD have signed this summer
The one player your Premier League club SHOULD have signed this summer

It’s difficult to suggest where Manchester City needed to strengthen this summer given their astonishing feats of last season. If you were to be uber critical, however, a new deep-lying midfielder wouldn’t have gone amiss. 

First-choice Fernandinho is now 33, and his understudy Fabian Delph has become the club’s second-choice left-back. Ilkay Gundogan can also play in that role to reasonable effect, but the German is much better utilised further upfield.  

Of the few defensive midfielders in world football good enough to fit in at City, PSG’s Verratti is the one who would’ve best suited Pep Guardiola’s high-tempo and intelligent style of football. 

Manchester United: Toby Alderweireld

The one player your Premier League club SHOULD have signed this summer
The one player your Premier League club SHOULD have signed this summer

United fans watched on as their club was linked with the likes of Alderweireld, Jerome Boateng, Diego Godin and Harry Maguire late in the window – but in the end, Jose Mourinho’s pleas for new blood fell on deaf ears.  

Alderweireld was reportedly available for £50 million this summer, what with next summer’s contract clause effectively allowing him to leave for half as much. Now, however, potential suitors will have to re-negotiate for one of the Premier League’s finest stoppers in January.  

The Belgian would have doubtlessly improved United’s backline, but Woodward stood firm with the £60m outlay for Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof in mind. No way, Jose. 

Newcastle: Diego Laxalt

The one player your Premier League club SHOULD have signed this summer
The one player your Premier League club SHOULD have signed this summer

Ambitious, admittedly – Laxalt now looks likely to join Zenit for just under £18m. But far from impossible for Premier League Newcastle, who really required another left-back to compete with Paul Dummett for a place this season.  

Yet again, though, Rafa Benitez was left with little to cobble this season’s team together, and has instead been forced to forage in the bargain bins of Europe.  

Laxalt – a regular in Serie A for Genoa since 2016 – was a standout player at the World Cup with Uruguay, and the speedy 25-year-old would have surely been a sound investment for the Magpies.   

Southampton: Nobody 

The one player your Premier League club SHOULD have signed this summer
The one player your Premier League club SHOULD have signed this summer

Truthfully, it’s difficult to see what Mark Hughes should have done differently at this point. Clearly, Southampton weren’t out to spend colossal sums this summer and have instead focused on pruning a squad that now looks pretty well balanced all over the pitch. 

First, the outs: Dusan Tadic for around £10m, plus the loans of Sofiane Boufal, Jordy Clasie and Guido Carrillo. In the other direction, Mohamed Elyounoussi, Stuart Armstrong, Jannik Vestergaard and Danny Ings (loan) all look like sensible signings, while Matt Targett has returned from a highly successful loan at Fulham.  

Although it might not look exciting on paper, Southampton’s squad now has relative depth and there’s competition for places. Whether there’s enough quality is another question.    

Tottenham: Moussa Dembele 

The one player your Premier League club SHOULD have signed this summer
The one player your Premier League club SHOULD have signed this summer

Tottenham enjoyed another solid season last year as they finished in the top three for the third time running, but they still haven’t been able to find an able deputy for Harry Kane. 

The World Cup Golden Boot winner managed 41 goals in all competitions, but only missed two games across the Premier League and Champions League. Fernando Llorente was rarely trusted by Mauricio Pochettino, and as a result managed only five goals (three in the FA Cup).  

Having a second striker who could be relied upon to ease the burden on Kane would be welcome for Spurs, who decided to sign nobody this summer. Celtic’s Moussa Dembele, who has scored 50 times in just 90 appearance for the Hoops since moving from Fulham in 2016, could have been a wise – and realistic – addition. 

Watford: Paco Alcacer

The one player your Premier League club SHOULD have signed this summer
The one player your Premier League club SHOULD have signed this summer

Watford’s top scorer last term was midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure, who got seven goals. Forwards Troy Deeney and Andre Gray managed five Premier League goals apiece.  

The need for a striker this summer was clear, and top of the wishlist was Barcelona’s Paco Alcacer. The Catalans were keen to offload the Spaniard this summer, but Watford were understood be put off by their €30 million asking price – a little surprising considering their healthy summer in the black. 

The 24-year-old Spain international would have been worth the outlay, having proved himself as a reliable source of goals at Valencia – 43 over the three seasons from 2013-16 – which earned him his big move to Barça in the first place.  

West Ham: William Carvalho

The one player your Premier League club SHOULD have signed this summer
The one player your Premier League club SHOULD have signed this summer

Whisper it quietly – this rumour has plagued Hammers fans for multiple transfer windows. Carvalho’s proposed move to the London Stadium last year was one of the the more comical transfer sagas of the summer.  

Both clubs threw their toys out the pram after being unable to agree a fee for the central midfielder, engaging in a war of words which ended with Sporting president Bruno de Carvalho labelling West Ham owners David Gold and David Sullivan the “dildo brothers”.  

But after a troublesome season in Portugal during which some Sporting fans attacked players at a training session, Carvalho voluntarily rescinded his contract, meaning the Primeira Liga side were forced to sell up this summer to avoid going through the courts. Carvalho joined Real Betis for just £18 million last month, less than half the price West Ham were quoted for him last year.  

Wolves: Ruben Dias

Ruben Dias
Ruben Dias

Another promoted club who had a fine summer, Wolves spent £65 million on new additions, including striker Raul Jimenez, midfielder Joao Moutinho and winger Adama Traore. 

They only signed one central defender in the form of last season’s loanee Willy Boly, though, and given that manager Nuno Espirito Santo usually lines up with a back three, quality reinforcements would have been welcome. 

Benfica’s Ruben Dias is a Gestifute client and looks to be on the move this summer, currently preparing a move to Lyon. He wouldn’t have come cheap, but at 21 boasts exciting potential and made Portugal’s 23-man squad for the World Cup. Uncle Jorge could have sorted it.

 

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