Missing Links – The Premier League Transfer Race
With the Premier League starting in just four days, top flight clubs are racing against the clock to get their squads in order.
While the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City seem to have the requisite strength in depth in every position, other sides competing for the top four have glaring holes in certain positions.
Luis Suarez is as close to irreplaceable as a player can get but it’s not stopped Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers in his trawl for a striker. A move for QPR’s Loic Remy hit the rocks after the Frenchman failed a medical.
The club have also been heavily linked with the likes of Wilfried Bony, Falcao and Edinson Cavani and will surely not enter the season with realistic ambitions of another title challenge with just Daniel Sturridge and Rickie Lambert as their forward options.
A rumoured move for Samuel Et’o would be a short-term fix but he’d do well to get near Suarez’s 31 league goals last term.
United’s signings have been restricted to midfielder Ander Herrera and left-back Luke Shaw, both identified by previous boss David Moyes and ratified by incoming manager Louis Van Gaal.
The Dutchman has yet to make a move in the transfer market and needs to bolster several positions if he’s to mount a serious challenge or the top four, never mind the title. At least one centre-back is essential, with only Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones as experienced options for the three central defensive berths in his new system. Mats Hummels has been repeatedly linked but it seems he’s staying in Germany, while Daley Blind would offer a versatile alternative.
United also require a combative central midfielder with the transfer saga involving Arturo Vidal seemingly not dead yet.
Arsenal do look stronger than in previous seasons but their lack of a world-class finisher could be their undoing in any potential title challenge.
Despite targeting the likes of Luis Suarez and Gonzalo Higuain last summer, Arsene Wenger could stubbornly enter the season relying on Olivier Giroud, rookie Yaya Sanogo and recalled striker Joel Campbell to supply the goals.
The capture of Alexis Sanchez has excited Gunners fans but, despite his record in Italy and Spain, he’s not an out-and-out striker.
It’s been a relatively quiet transfer window for Spurs after their rather scattergun approach last summer, with new boss Mauricio Pochettino strengthening their problem left-back area with the signing of Swansea City’s Ben Davies. Spurs’ £26 million gamble on Roberto Soldado hasn’t paid off, with most of the striker’s rare goals coming from the penalty spot.
Apart from the Spaniard, Tottenham only have the inconsistent Emmanuel Adebayor and the inexperienced Harry Kane to call on in their forward ranks. The lack of a prolific strike-force didn’t hinder Pochettino at Southampton but Spurs will need to strengthen in this area if they’re to win a highly competitive battle for a Champions League spot.
Both Swansea and Southampton scored only one league goal less than Spurs last term and the likes of Monaco’s Anthony Martial or United’s Javier Hernandez could yet be drafted in to add some much-needed firepower.