Arsenal: Steven Nzonzi (Sevilla)
Forgive Arsenal fans for sounding like a broken record: Nzonzi has long (seriously, since about 2011) been linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium, but no transfer has ever materialised. Since then Gunners fans have watched Arsene Wenger try – and largely fail – to bolster the team's midfield with defensive steel... but now that could be about to change.
If any manager is likely to make Nzonzi an Arsenal player, it's Unai Emery – the man who signed the Frenchman for Sevilla from Stoke in 2015 and helped make him a Europa League winner in his first season. He is 29 now, but Emery needs players for the here and now – and this deal makes as much sense as it ever has done. He'll be at the World Cup this summer.
Bournemouth: Patrick Roberts (Man City)
Buying players at a young age with the goal of developing their abilities is the modus operandi at Bournemouth, and Roberts presents another opportunity for the Cherries to follow this pattern. The winger has just finished a two-year loan spell at Celtic, where he impressed. Although his 2017/18 was disrupted by injuries, the 21-year-old's first season at Parkhead showed his quality in the form of nine goals and 14 assists in 32 league games.
Roberts has potential ready to be tapped into, and the Manchester City player’s future surely lies away from the Etihad given the Citizens’ firepower in forward positions.
Brighton: Nick Powell (Wigan)
It may seem odd for a Premier League side to target a player who has only recently gained Championship status, but Powell’s contribution to Wigan’s promotion from League One warrants attention. Tipped for the top after a move to Manchester United from Crewe in 2012, his progress was hamstrung by a litany of injuries and perceived poor attitude. Yet the 24-year-old had a superbly productive season for the Latics – scoring 15 times from central midfield – and has shrugged off lingering injury doubts.
Burnley: Tom Lawrence (Derby)
After a remarkable 2017/18 season, Turf Moor will be hosting European football next term. If there was one criticism to level at the Clarets, however, it was their shortage of threat in the final third. Burnley scored the fewest goals of the Premier League’s top 10 last season, and Sean Dyche will be looking to address this bluntness to make a repeat campaign more likely.
Derby's Tom Lawrence would provide invention and enterprise on the flanks, and the Manchester United academy graduate’s incisive dribbling could offer an extra facet to Burnley's often-one-dimensional attack.
Cardiff: Luke Freeman (QPR)
Neil Warnock’s Cardiff combined defensive steel with a direct approach to defy the odds and secure promotion. But a team usually needs more than this if they’re to survive in the Premier League – and former Arsenal academy star Freeman could add creativity and industry to help the Bluebirds survive.
The 26-year-old midfielder managed 12 assists in a poor QPR team last season, and could be a target for a number of Premier League clubs looking for a relatively inexpensive option in attacking areas.
Chelsea: Jean Michael Seri (Nice)
Although his future at Stamford Bridge is uncertain, Blues boss Antonio Conte has called on those above him to sanction heavy investment over the summer. Chelsea’s midfield needs bolstering; Danny Drinkwater and Tiemoue Bakayoko have failed to make a good impression since their arrival, and Cesc Fabregas is not the creative force he once was.
Dynamic playmaker Jean Michael Seri could be a perfect foil for N’Golo Kante – the Ivory Coast midfielder has been a standout player for Nice over the last two seasons, and looks destined for the exit this summer. He's rumoured to be available for around £35m – relatively cheap by current standards – but Premier League interest is already high.
Crystal Palace: Jay Rodriguez (West Brom)
Rodriguez’s versatility marks him out as an ideal signing for Palace manager Roy Hodgson, who has called for greater squad depth ahead of next season.
The Eagles need reinforcements up front, given that none of their recognised strikers were among the club’s top three scorers last season. Boosting his side’s forward options with Rodriguez's sharp finishing and movement would go some way to easing the burden on star man – and often saviour – Wilfried Zaha.
Everton: Jamaal Lascelles (Newcastle)
Everton's 2017/18 was plagued with defensive misery: Ashley Williams and Michael Keane were disastrous in tandem, Ramiro Funes Mori isn't trusted, and Phil Jagielka – still an admirable performer at 35 – is... well, 35. There's still hope that Keane may come good next season, but Williams's time is surely up.
Lascelles would be a sensible replacement; 24 years old, coming off the back of his best season yet – and even for the £30m Newcastle are supposedly demanding, well within Everton's spending power. Next season the Derby-born stopper will surely get an England call-up if his good form continues. Everton should hope it's as their player.
Fulham: Aleksandar Mitrovic (Newcastle)
Fulham’s ambitious Premier League dream was given fresh impetus when the Cottagers secured the Serb’s services on loan in late-January. The 23-year-old found the net 12 times in 20 appearances for Slavisa Jokanovic’s side and was instrumental in their mighty end-of-season charge to promotion via the play-offs.
Mitrovic settled quickly and immediately offered an improved focal point up front than Rui Fonte, who didn't start a game from mid-February onwards. Fulham will target the Serb as a priority to help cement their place back in England’s top flight.
Huddersfield: Ollie Watkins (Brentford)
David Wagner must recruit to ensure the Terriers’ odds-defying survival isn’t a one-off. To achieve this, Town need a pacey and direct winger to provide purpose in the final third.
Ollie Watkins, 22, could represent a shrewd acquisition. Not only is he proficient in the final third – scoring 10 league goals and assisting four more for Brentford last season – but is a young, ambitious and industrious winger who would adhere to Wagner’s pressing demands.
Leicester: Alfie Mawson (Swansea)
The Foxes poached Harry Maguire from relegated Hull last year, and the same approach could be beneficial again. Mawson was Swansea’s standout performer last season and would be an ideal replacement for Wes Morgan, who turns 35 next season.
A Mawson-Maguire combination would do more than provoke sentimental approval from the Three Lions brigade. Both are physical and combative, but marry this with an astute reading of the game and are adept at bringing the ball out from the back.
Liverpool: Alisson (Roma)
An ambitious one – Roma are demanding almost £80m for their prized net-minder, according to reports – but Jurgen Klopp will surely be seeking a new No.1 as a priority next season. Even before Loris Karius's Champions League final horror show, the Reds had suffered from their weak situation between the sticks – Simon Mignolet was eventually dropped for good, and Karius was an unconvincing replacement.
Alisson proved himself as a dependable performer for Roma en route to the Champions League semi-finals, and keeps out Ederson as Brazil's No.1. Yes, he'd hurt Liverpool in the pocket – but for how much longer are they willing to be undermined in the same position?
Manchester City: Jorginho (Napoli)
Pep Guardiola has made no secret of his desire to replace Yaya Toure and find a long-term replacement for 33-year-old Fernandinho. The graceful Jorginho excelled under Maurizio Sarri at Napoli, assuming a deep-lying midfield role in the Italian's 4-3-3 system.
Guardiola is an evident admirer, and described the midfielder as “marvellous” when Manchester City beat Napoli 4-2 in the Champions League last season. Although the Partenopei are said to have demanded £60m+, money is hardly an obstacle for City – and this one makes sense for all parties. Just one more reason to fear the Premier League record-breakers in 2018/19.
Manchester United: Fred (Shakhtar Donetsk)
With Michael Carrick’s retirement and Marouane Fellaini’s mooted departure in mind, Jose Mourinho will need to reinforce his midfield.
Box-to-box midfielder Fred would inject dynamism that United’s stagnant play desperately needs. His game is characterised by driving runs, incisive passing and tenacity when out of possession, so the Brazilian – who will be at the World Cup this summer – would slot in well alongside Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba. A crowd-pleasing signing, certainly.
Newcastle: Salomon Rondon (West Brom)
With Ayoze Perez top-scoring on just eight league goals last season, and Aleksandar Mitrovic’s future elsewhere, a striker is a must for the Toon this summer.
Rondon would be a perfect focal point for Rafael Benitez’s frontline – and best of all for the cash-strapped Spaniard, a relegation release clause means he's available for £16.5m. The Venezuelan may not have bothered goalkeepers as regularly as hoped following his big switch from Zenit in 2015, but the burly 28-year-old brings more to the party in the form of good hold-up play, an aerial threat and impressive physique.
Southampton: Danny Ings (Liverpool)
That Southampton were dragged into the relegation quagmire was as much a product of complacency as it was the absence of a genuine goalscorer. Only Watford and Crystal Palace had a better expected goals ratio in the Premier League’s bottom 10 last season and, although statistics can be misleading, it clearly hints at an inability to turn chances into goals.
Which is why a move for Ings would make sense. His time at Liverpool has been struck by a frustrating succession of injuries, but he ended the season fully fit. Having netted 11 times for relegated Burnley in 2014/15, the Englishman has the pedigree of a consistent goalscorer and now needs regular playing time to develop further in the top flight.
Tottenham: Matthijs de Ligt (Ajax)
Toby Alderweireld’s impending departure means Mauricio Pochettino will be on the hunt for a new central defender, and a name constantly linked with Spurs is Ajax’s De Ligt. The 18-year-old’s maturity belies his tender age – he was the youngest ever captain in the Eredivisie after donning the armband in January 2018 – and also his national team's youngest debutant since 1931. Should he move to London, he would reignite his partnership with Davinson Sanchez.
A product of Ajax’s youth academy, De Ligt is a gifted technician and boasted an impressive 90% pass accuracy last season – both traits that suggest he could assimilate well into Pochettino’s Spurs squad.
Watford: Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea)
Statistically, Fabianski was among the very best goalkeepers in the Premier League last season. The Pole made the second-most saves and high claims, and also topped the charts for penalty stops with three.
Goalkeepers can often have a game-defining impact, and although Fabianski’s Swansea sunk to relegation, the ex-Arsenal shot-stopper repelled opposition forces with defiance. The 33-year-old would certainly be an upgrade on Heurelho Gomes.
West Ham: Ben Gibson (Middlesbrough)
The Hammers' defence needs serious bolstering, and top of new manager Manuel Pellegrini’s wishlist will be a central defender. Boro's Gibson wouldn't be a bad first port of call; a polished player who was vital to his side's play-off push last season, and who is surely now ready for a bigger step up in class.
The 25-year-old will command a fee of around £20m, but it’s a price worth paying – and within West Ham’s budget.
Wolves: Joe Allen (Stoke)
Price isn’t a huge worry for newly promoted Wolves, so the £20m-£30m tag that has been slapped on Stoke playmaker Allen wouldn’t be too much of a concern.
The Welshman, now boasting seven seasons of Premier League football to his name, is smart in possession and intelligent in his passing. He would surely thrive as part of Nuno’s cultured style of play, offering the top-flight experience that very few of Wolves's current squad has.
Although Allen perhaps isn’t the kind of name Wolves fans will be dreaming of, the 28-year-old would make for a savvy addition.
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.