As Premier League clubs scramble to build their squads ahead of the new season, we’ve taken a look at the one position each of them most needs to strengthen.
Arsenal: Defensive midfielder
Current options: Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi, Mohamed Elneny
Players linked: Thomas Partey (Atletico Madrid), Matty Longstaff (Newcastle), Eduardo Camavinga (Rennes), Amadou Diawara (Roma)
The Emirates is where defensive midfielders go to die. Matteo Guendouzi has been fine but has the mental age of a ten-year-old; Lucas Torreira may be “the man with three lungs” but the extra breathing capacity appears at times to be at the expense of a fully functioning brain. Gilberto left Arsenal in 2008 – that’s 12 years without an adequate holding midfielder.
Aston Villa: Striker
Current options: Wesley, Mbwana Samatta, Keinan Davis, Indiana Vassilev
Players linked: Ollie Watkins (Brentford), Odsonne Edouard (Celtic), Callum Wilson (Bournemouth), Tammy Abraham (Chelsea)
Aston Villa’s strikers have scored one goal since New Year’s Day – it really is remarkable they stayed up. When I asked a Villa-supporting mate whether he thought Wesley could do the business next season, I received a one-word answer: “Nope.”
Current options: Neal Maupay, Glenn Murray, Aaron Connolly
Players linked: Boulaye Dia (Reims), Alfredo Morelos (Rangers)
This would have been an attacking midfielder until Brighton secured the savvy signing of Adam Lallana. Neal Maupay will be happy with ten Premier League goals in his first season, but the Seagulls could do with a genuine goal poacher. Like Glenn Murray, but not Glenn Murray.
Burnley: Right midfield
Current options: Johan Gudmondsson
Players linked: Niclas Eliasson (Bristol City), Matty Cash (Nottingham Forest)
41% of Burnley’s attacks come down their left side, with just 32% on the right. This is partly due to Dwight McNeil being their most creative asset – giving him the ball as much as possible makes sense. But it’s also because they often play without a right midfielder. Josh Brownhill – a central midfielder – was excellent in that position in the latter stages of the season, but he’s never going to get to the byline and whip in crosses.
Current options: Kepa Arrizabalaga, Willy Caballero, Jamie Cumming
Players linked: Dean Henderson (Man Utd) , Nick Pope (Burnley), Andre Onana (Ajax), Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid), Alex Maret (Napoli), Mike Maignan (Lille)
Kepa is statistically the worst goalkeeper in Premier League history and 38-year-old Willy Caballero is a very good back-up, but he’s no more than that. Chelsea need a new left-back and at least one centre-back, but a keeper who at least attempts to stop shots has got to be top of their wish list.
Saves made by Karl-Johan Johnsson tonight: 13 (as of 112th minute)
Saves made by Kepa Arrizabalaga since the restart: 13
Yes, that is a real stat.
— ExpectedChelsea (@ExpectedChelsea) August 10,…