Two weeks to go: where every Premier League club still needs to strengthen
In time, it might be shown that Leicester have actually had a brilliant window. Problems have been solved all over the pitch: Ricardo Pereira has joined to take Danny Simpson’s place and Jonny Evans has been signed to replace the departed Robert Huth.
Further upfield, the Foxes moved quickly (and smartly) to snag James Maddison from Norwich City; a thrilling playmaker who should make the top-flight transition look deceptively easy.
However, what remains is the trickiest task of all: how do they replace Riyad Mahrez? Repurposing Demarai Gray is one option, but most likely the club will have to put Manchester City’s £60m to quick use. Maddison will help from a creative standpoint, but he really doesn’t bear comparison with Mahrez or occupy many of the same positions. More likely, Puel will be trying to rebuild a team that isn’t so reliant on one man’s brilliance.
Sorry Dejan Lovren, but Liverpool still need another centre-half. Virgil van Dijk arrived to tremendous effect last January and Alisson is a substantial improvement in the goalkeeping department, but – with Joel Matip injured in pre-season and Joe Gomez too fragile to rely upon – whatever remains of the budget should be focused on curing that one remaining weakness.
Liverpool have had a tremendous summer, clearly, but it’s too obvious a weakness for it not to be addressed.
Manchester City (Central midfielder)
‘Need’ is a strange concept for Manchester City, because they have it all already – a glut of dynamic, impactful playmakers, a pile of influential wingers, and two of the very best forwards in Europe. With Benjamin Mendy fit again, they also possess the best full-back tandem in the country (with Kyle Walker) and are well-stocked at centre-back too.
Still, Pep Guardiola obviously targeted Napoli’s Jorginho for a reason and, with the Italian having chosen Chelsea instead, perhaps central midfield is ripe for reinforcement before the season begins. Fabian Delph provides a certain level of cover, but as things stand, an injury to Fernandinho would potentially be catastrophic.
Manchester United (Centre-back)
If you take Jose Mourinho too literally, you could be forgiven for thinking that he needs another 11 players.
Beyond his habitual fatalism and ceaseless demands for more money, United actually haven’t done enough so far. Both of the players signed this summer (Fred and Diogo Dalot) will begin the season injured and, as yet, no improvement has been made to a fragile defence.
A deal for Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld seems a possibility, but only if United are willing to pay through the nose for a player who Daniel Levy seems intent on squeezing every last penny from. Alderweireld or otherwise, they need something in that area.
Newcastle (Midfielder, forward)
Another summer of Ashleyism on Tyneside. As was the case last season, Rafael Benitez desperately needs a goalscorer at the top of his formation and, a derisory offer for Salomon Rondon aside, Newcastle have so far made little attempt to give him one.
A new stopper would be welcome too, as would another midfielder (in addition to free agent pick up Ki Sung-yueng), but they can’t – can’t – begin another year without someone who can provide at least 10 goals a season. According to reports on Thursday, a deal has been agreed to sign Mainz's Yoshinori Muto – a striker who never managed more than eight goals in a Bundesliga season.
Worryingly, Benitez has apparently again been told that he’ll need to sell before buying. Where does the money go at Newcastle?