New Arsenal manager Unai Emery will no doubt have identified central defence as an area in need of improvement, particularly as Laurent Koscielny – who showed signs of decline in 2017/18 – is out for the rest of the year. Konstantinos Mavropanos (above) looked promising in his handful of appearances late last season, but a strong, commanding presence at the heart of defence is still desperately needed at the Emirates.
Linked with: Sokratis (Borussia Dortmund)
Last season was another successful one for Bournemouth, who secured a fourth consecutive campaign of top-flight football. Eddie Howe deserves credit for remaining loyal to several of the players who helped the Cherries reach the Premier League, but the time has come to find an upgrade on 33-year-old defender Simon Francis. Nathan Aké (above) was superb last term, and a commanding, mobile centre-back partner would help him shine even more.
Linked with: Diogo Queiros (Porto)
Brighton’s failure to sign a striker last summer was widely considered a mistake likely to cost them their Premier League status, but Glenn Murray stepped up admirably with 12 goals. Jurgen Locadia (above) was added to the ranks in January but started just three Premier League games, two of which he was deployed out wide. Another centre-forward is therefore a must before the start of 2018/19.
Linked with: Nick Powell (Wigan)
This is an important summer for Burnley, who will need to significantly bolster their squad depth in all areas ahead of a European campaign, while also retaining the team spirit that played such a big part in their seventh-place finish last season. Another centre-half would be useful – the long-serving Kevin Long isn't the greatest first reserve behind Ben Mee and James Tarkowski (above).
Linked with: Craig Dawson (West Brom)
Neil Warnock will be desperate to disprove the notion that he isn’t cut out for life at the top table following Cardiff’s remarkable promotion in 2017/18. Multiple additions will be required if the Welsh outfit are to stay up, but the area most in need of strengthening is up front. Five teams found the net more often than the Bluebirds in the Championship, with Kenneth Zohore (above) their top-scoring striker with nine.
Linked with: Salomon Rondon (West Brom)
Chelsea must sort out their managerial situation before turning attention towards signing players, what with Antonio Conte unlikely to be in charge by the time next season begins. Given that Cesc Fabregas’s powers are waning, a string-pulling playmaker should be at the top of the new man’s wish list. The jury is still out on Danny Drinkwater, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Ross Barkley – midfielders who were all bought last season.
Linked with: Jean Michael Seri (Nice)
Crystal Palace: Wide forward
The signing of Getafe goalkeeper Vicente Guaita will provide some much-needed competition for Wayne Hennessey between the sticks, so Palace should look higher up the pitch when it comes to identifying their primary targets. Christian Benteke endured a nightmare season last time out but is worth persevering with. Rather than an out-and-out central striker, then, Roy Hodgson should prioritise a wide forward as back-up for Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend (above).
Linked with: Andre Schurrle (Borussia Dortmund)
Everton’s recruitment was so poor last summer that they have overhauled that department of the club, with Marcel Brands replacing Steve Walsh as director of football. Another central midfielder wouldn’t go amiss, but a new centre-back is more crucial. Phil Jagielka (above) is now 35, Ashley Williams has been in decline for at least two years, Michael Keane struggled for much of last season and Ramiro Funes Mori has only recently returned from a serious knee injury.
Linked with: Jamaal Lascelles (Newcastle)
Fulham were arguably the best team in the Championship in the second half of last season, but there’s plenty of work to do if they’re to avoid an immediate return to the second tier. Signing Aleksandar Mitrovic on a permanent deal is the first item in Slavisa Jokanovic’s in-tray, followed closely by the acquisition of a box-to-box midfielder to play alongside probing passer Tom Cairney (above).
Linked with: Dylan McGeouch (Hibernian)
Huddersfield: Wide forward
Huddersfield will be hoping that second season syndrome doesn’t bite next term, but it’s hard to see anything other than another year of struggle for the Terriers. Scoring goals was a problem last time out – no top-tier team found the net less often – and David Wagner (above) will be keen to bolster his attacking options, particularly in wide areas.
Linked with: Donis Avdijaj (Schalke)
Wes Morgan has been a key part of the greatest period in Leicester’s history, but the 34-year-old is now past his best and can no longer be relied upon as a regular starter. With Robert Huth having already departed the King Power Stadium, a new centre-back partner for Harry Maguire (above) should be Claude Puel’s principal target this summer.
Linked with: Jonny Evans (West Brom)
The mid-season signing of Virgil van Dijk led to a dramatic upturn in Liverpool’s defensive solidity, and another top-class centre-back could turn a top-four battle into a title challenge next season. Dejan Lovren (above), while better than many give him credit for, remains prone to the odd error-strewn display and will be fortunate to begin 2018/19 as first choice.
Linked with: James Tarkowski (Burnley)
Manchester City: Holding midfielder
Having set a new Premier League record by amassing 100 points, it’s hard to see how Manchester City can improve next season. Pep Guardiola seems keen to land another wide forward, though, and signing a younger version of Fernandinho (above) would also be sensible. As brilliant as the Brazilian was in 2017/18, his 33-year-old legs may struggle with another 48-game season after the World Cup.
Linked with: Jorginho (Napoli)
Manchester United: Left-back
Another cash-splashing summer is to be expected at Old Trafford following Manchester United’s failure to mount a sustained title tilt last term. With Daley Blind out of favour, Luke Shaw still unfancied by Jose Mourinho and Ashley Young (above) a short-term fix at best, left-back is the area United should set about strengthening first.
Linked with: Alex Sandro (Juventus)
Dwight Gayle, Joselu, Islam Slimani and Aleksandar Mitrovic all led the line for Newcastle at times last season, but a combined Premier League goal haul of 11 shows why Rafael Benitez will be keen to source an upgrade at the top of the pitch. Ayoze Perez (above) was the Magpies’ top scorer with eight but the Spaniard does his best work in a withdrawn role, making a new out-and-out centre-forward desirable.
Linked with: Tammy Abraham (Chelsea, loan)
In hindsight, Southampton probably wished they'd sold Virgil van Dijk to Liverpool last summer, rather than letting an unhappy player hang around until January. Wesley Hoedt was inconsistent in 2017/18, Jack Stephens is still young and Maya Yoshida (above) remains unconvincing, so Mark Hughes will probably look to add another central defender in the coming weeks.
Linked with: Ben Gibson (Middlesbrough)
With Toby Alderweireld seemingly on his way to Manchester United, a new centre-half will be a priority for Mauricio Pochettino this summer. Davinson Sanchez (above) was excellent in his debut Premier League campaign and Jan Vertonghen is the division's best centre-back, but another option is necessary if Spurs are to successfully balance domestic and European competition.
Linked with: Matthijs de Ligt (Ajax)
Troy Deeney (above) remains hugely popular with Watford supporters, but he wasn’t as effective last season in comparison to previous years. Andre Gray, signed in summer 2017 from Burnley, scored just five goals in 32 appearances in all competitions, while Stefano Okaka could return to Italy before the start of next term. A new striker is therefore a must for the Hornets.
Linked with: Gregoire Defrel (Roma)
West Ham: Midfielder
Manuel Pellegrini (above) revealed he’s looking to sign “four or five players” following his appointment as West Ham manager last week, and at least one of those is likely to be an inventive central midfielder. The Hammers lacked creativity from deep under both Slaven Bilic and David Moyes last term, and Pellegrini will want to address that deficiency in the transfer market this summer.
Linked with: Danny Drinkwater (Chelsea)
Wolves: Right wing-back
A 99-point Championship haul and free access to Jorge Mendes’s clientele is a combination which suggests Wolves will have little trouble avoiding the drop next season. Nuno’s three-man defence worked well in the second tier and he’s likely to keep faith with that system in the top flight, but a new right wing-back would be welcome despite the commendable showings of Matt Doherty (above) in 2017/18.
Linked with: Victor Lindelof (Manchester United, loan)
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