Two weeks to go: where every Premier League club still needs to strengthen
It depends on who leaves. Jorginho has arrived – an excellent capture – but if either Eden Hazard or Thibaut Courtois are sold, as they might well be with just a year left on their respective contracts, Chelsea will find themselves desperately short of star power.
Perhaps their greatest need remains the obvious position: is Alvaro Morata really a reliable goalscorer, and can Michy Batshuayi actually provide consistent reinforcement? No, on the evidence of last season, so it would be a surprise if at least some investment wasn’t made in that area.
Crystal Palace (Attacking midfielder, full-back)
Less what they have to buy, more what they must not sell: goodness knows what this team would look like without Wilfried Zaha. He’s an exceptional footballer, but he’s also woven into so many different phases of Palace’s play that losing him would require almost a complete rebuild.
Roy Hodgson could really do with an improvement at full-back, specifically on the right side, and more creativity from central midfield (with Ruben Loftus-Cheek now back at Chelsea and Yohan Cabaye departed) would help, but this summer begins and ends with Zaha.
The 2017/18 season was a catastrophe. That’s the only way to describe a year which sent a top-six aspirant crying into the arms of Sam Allardyce.
Fortunately, many of the issues have been corrected. Marco Silva has arrived, raiding his former club Watford for Richarlison, and Ademola Lookman has returned from his loan at RB Leipzig. Finally, Everton will have some thrust from wide positions.
Further back, though, things look less encouraging. Michael Keane remains unconvincing as a starting stopper, while Ashley Williams and Phil Jagielka have both seen better days. Mason Holgate is still really a work in progress and there’s no certainty that he’ll ever be able to reach the levels that Everton ultimately want him to.
That part of the side needs an immediate and comprehensive re-fit, otherwise Jordan Pickford is going to spend another season looking horribly exposed. Alfie Mawson, anybody?
Quietly, Slavisa Jokanovic has had an excellent off-season. The out-of-contract Ryan Fredericks has moved to West Ham and he will need replacing at full-back (Young Boys’ Kevin Mbabu is apparently a target), but Jean Michael Seri might just prove the coup of the window and should upgrade the midfield into another category entirely.
Goals might be a problem, though, so it seems essential that Aleksandar Mitrovic’s protracted move from Newcastle is finally completed. Mitrovic was really the catalyst behind last season’s promotion, and failure to strike a deal with Mike Ashley over his sale would leave Fulham looking underpowered at the top of the pitch. Loan signing Andre Schurrle will help in that regard, but Mitrovic is still a must.
They’re set. A series of loan moves have been made permanent: Jonas Lossl, Terence Kongolo and Florent Hadergjonaj have all joined on a full-time basis.
Ramadan Sobhi has also been plundered from relegated Stoke, while David Wagner – as he did last season – has supplemented his squad with lesser-known players. Adama Diakhaby, a £10m buy from Monaco, is a potentially fascinating addition, while Juninho Bacuna should provide an injection of technique to the midfield.
This has been smart from Huddersfield. They didn’t survive last season because of individual quality, but through what they were as a whole – and Wagner is absolutely right to resist the major signings that could potentially have disturbed that chemistry. For this kind of team, volume and options are probably more important than stars.