Buy Or Die! What Can We Expect From The EPL Clubs This Summer?

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It’s almost that time again; the Summer transfer window opens at midnight on Sunday 19thMay. That’s less than a week away! Expect a number of the Premier League teams to be very active this year, too many have had a late relegation scare they will wish to avoid next season and more clubs than ever will now consider themselves serious contenders for the fourth Champions League spot. Here I look at what I believe may be the single biggest purchase and sale for each club over the summer months.

Arsenal  

IN – Arsenal have needed to invest in a strong ‘keeper for years and Iker Casillas hasn’t played since January for Real Madrid, since falling out of favour with Mourinho. Any transfer will be dependent on Jose’s exit though, with him now looking set for a summer move back to Chelsea, a new manager could again favour the 31 year old Spanish stopper. RATING – Outside Chance. But when it comes to Arsenal, there is not a pundit in the world who could judge Arsene Wenger’s minds. With thousands being linked with them, it is very difficult to narrow it down to a couple of targets.

OUT – This will be the first season in the recent past that the Gunners will have big clubs snooping around their players. No one is being linked with a big money move away from Emirates. A few rumours out there suggests it is Podolski. Lukas Podolski has had a decent first season with the gunners, with key involvement (scoring or assisting) in 18 goals in the Premier League. Fenerbahce are already believed to be sniffing around the German international. RATING – Highly Unlikely. 

Aston Villa 

IN – Paul Lambert was a big advocate of Grant Holt during their time together at Norwich City. Holt is 32 now, but would be a good addition to the Villa squad, who have lacked experience and strength this term. Holt has only scored 6 league goals this season, but Lambert would see him as an excellent partner for Christian Benteke. RATING – Highly likely.

OUT – Villa say they’ll reject anything under £30 million for Christian Benteke. But don’t be surprised to see them accepting much less for the Belgian forward. Liverpool and Chelsea are both showing some interest following Benteke’s excellent first Premier League season, which has seen a return of 18 goals. RATING – Villa fans likely to be disappointed.

Chelsea 

IN – Marouane Fellaini had a fantastic start to the season, scoring 7 of his eleven goals pre-Christmas. But the Belgian has struggled to regain his form after his suspension, following a retrospective violent conduct charge in the Stoke City game at The Britannia in mid-December. Goals against Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal though prove he can deliver at the highest level and he has recently admitted his desire to play in the Champions League. With Lampard’s future still uncertain, midfield reinforcements would be welcomed at Chelsea. RATING – Expect a bid, but Everton will demand top dollar.

OUT – Florent Malouda is a highly likely candidate to see the exit doors this summer. After being frozen out with Chelsea this season, it is better that he finds club which offers a decent time with the starting XI. RATING – Likely to happen in the next few days.

Everton

IN – Everton are favourites to re-sign 30 year-old Joleon Lescott from Manchester City. Lescott has struggled to hold down a regular berth at the heart of the City defence this season, and the rise of 19 year old Matija Nastasic has only proved to be a step back for the English International. Everton have struggled this season to cover their first choice central defensive partnership of Distin and Jagielka. Lescott would therefore be a welcome addition to the Goodison Park squad.RATING – Sure thing, Mancini will look to offload this summer.

OUT – Leighton Baines looked likely to exit Goodison last summer with Manchester United heavily linked with the England fullback. These rumours have returned as the current season closes and his current Everton manager takes the reigns at Old Trafford.  While Patrice Evra has a far more consistent year, he is almost 4 years older than Baines and United may again fancy their chances of pinching the 28 year old as a longer term left back solution. RATING – Outsider, Everton will look to hold.

Fulham

IN – Expect some furious activity at Craven Cottage over the summer months, Fulham have struggled since the sales of Dempsey and Demebele to Spurs. Martin Jol recently stated “We need four, five or six players…..we need to strengthen”. With Mark Schwarzer now 40, Fulham are likely to be in the market for a new goalkeeper. They will fancy their chances of pinching 25 year old Asmir Begovic from Stoke City for as little as £4 million, following The Potters’ purchase of Jack Butland in January. RATING – Fulham are likely to test the water.

OUT – Fulham keeper David Stockdale has already stated that he would welcome a move to newly promoted Hull City if Fulham allow him to leave this summer. The keeper has been in outstanding form while on loan at the KC Stadium this season, playing a key role in their final promotion push. The 27 year old said this week ”Unfortunately my chances at Fulham have been a bit limited. Although I love the club maybe it’s time to move if pastures new come.” RATING – Banker

Liverpool

IN – Liverpool were recently handed something of a boost in their attempts to prise Christian Eriksen from Ajax, with the Danish international hinting he is likely to leave the Eredivisie champions in the summer. “I didn’t hear anything from my agent but, if something shows up, I feel like trying. When nothing comes up, I’ll sign a new contract at Ajax because I want Ajax to earn something for me,” Eriksen explained.  The 21-year-old attacking midfielder has had a good season with Frank de Boer’s side scoring nine times in 14 league appearances. However rumours suggest that Borussia Dortmund are now the front runners for the midfielder.

This is the latest transcript of Eriksen’s interview with De Telegraaf where he confirms interest from Dortmund.

“Dortmund are a club where I would like to play,” Eriksen told De Telegraaf. I think I would be a good fit there. Dortmund play nice, attacking football. The Bundesliga has never really been my preferred choice and a few years ago I would not even have considered it, but now I do. The competition is getting stronger and it is no coincidence the two Champions League finalists are German clubs. I know there has been contact between the two clubs, and both Ajax and Dortmund have already talked to my agent. I will consider all the clubs and quietly make a decision. I want clarity when preparing for the new season, that’s the best thing – for everyone.”

The chances of Liverpool getting him are getting slimmer and will have to look elsewhere to strengthen their squad.  RATING – Unlikely, Eriksen will prefer Champions League competition.

OUT –  Liverpool will face a fight to keep hold of controversial Uruguayan striker Luiz Suarez over the summer, who is reportedly unhappy with his recent 10 match suspension and the continued lack of Champions League football at Liverpool. Chelsea remain the most likely destination in England, but Bayern Munich represent a more likely outcome with Pep Guardiola a big fan of the 26 year old. RATING – Liverpool will hold on tight.

Manchester City

IN – Both Manchester City and Manchester United are keen on the latest talent at Borussia Dortmund, Sven Bender. The 24 year old defensive midfielder has had a very impressive season at the Westfalenstadion, playing a key role in Dortmund’s impressive Champions league displays this season. Does anyone fancy having “Bender” blazoned across the back of their shirt on match day though? RATING – A solid bet.

OUT – Mario Goetze’s departure from Borussia Dortmund and the impending sale of Robert Lewandowski could pave the way for manager Juergen Klopp to  move for 27 year old Bosian striker Edin Dzeko. Dzeko has had limited opportunities at City again this season, but has still bagged 12 goals in 29 Preimer League outings.  As with many at The Etihad, the current salary levels give interested clubs with a problem. Klopp recently commented “.. judging by information we have, the wages he is content with technically do not fit ours, as we will not bend. We do not throw about peanuts. Still we will leave all doors open.”RATING– Highly likely.

Manchester United

IN  – Rumours persist about a potential return to Old Trafford for Christiano Ronaldo….let’s believe! Whether you’re a Manchester United fan or not, we want the very best players to grace the Premier League, right? Any move would likely see Nani and/or Hernandez moving in the opposite direction. Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement probably makes the transfer less likely, but David Moyes will be very keen to demonstrate his own ability to attract the very best players to Old Trafford. RATING – Don’t hold your breath.

OUT – Wayne Rooney has handed in a transfer request for a second time at United, Ferguson and the United hierarchy will no doubt be frustrated with the 27 year old England international, but do they need him too much? David Moyes will have no shortage of potential buyers if he decides to move Rooney on, with both Chelsea and Bayern Munich already declaring their interest.  RATING – Increasingly likely

Newcastle United 

IN – The Magpies have been flirting with the idea of re-signing Andy Carroll almost since the day he left for Liverpool. If it wasn’t for the absurd price Liverpool paid in the first place, Carroll would surely have made a move elsewhere by now, with Rodgers clearly not a fan of the Englishman. Expect a bid of £10 million over the summer to be enough to push the deal through and with Alan Pardew desperate to appease the Geordie fans after a dismal season, St James Park looks like the most feasible move for the England striker. RATING – Good shout.

OUT – Tim Krul has had another exceptional season at St James’ Park and he will again attract interest from the larger clubs. Both Chelsea and Arsenal have shown interest in the past and Arsenal may turn their attentions to the ever-improving Dutchman, who is still only 25 years old. RATING – Only if Arsenal’s other options don’t work out.

Norwich City

IN – The Canaries remain favourites to secure the service of striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel from Sporting Lisbon.  An £8.5m deal is already in place for 24 year old Dutchman, with just the formalities to complete. RATING – Deal done.

OUT – Anthony Pilkington had an impressive start to the season with goals against both Manchester clubs, but has fallen out of favour somewhat at Carrow Road toward the back end of the season. The 24 year old Irishman has attracted attention from Stoke City though, who have struggled for goals this term. Pilkington would be available for around £4 million.RATING – Strong chance, as Pulis looks to reenergise his ageing Stoke squad.

 QPR

IN – Harry Redknapp is already planning a direct return to the Premiership and will look to Celtic’s Gary Hooper to provide the firepower to lead QPR’s assault in the Championships. Hooper has had a fantastic season north of the border, firing 19 goals in the league this season. A bid of around £5 million is likely to be sufficient to secure Hooper’s services, he may wait to see if a Premier League outfit fancy him first though. RATING – Odds on.

OUT – Loic Remy has managed 6 goals in 12 starts in a struggling QPR side, since his big money move to Loftus Road in January.  Newcastle United is the most likely destination should he leave, they had originally agreed a fee with Marseille back in January, thought to be in the region of  £10 million, but Remy opted for the more attractive financial proposition offered by Redknapp and QPR. RATING – He’ll go (anywhere) if the money’s right.

Reading

IN – New Reading boss Nigel Adkins is already looking at transfer targets as he plan the club’s immediate return to the Premier League saying recently “Our objective is to get a squad of players next season that will be hungry and harbour a desire to cope with the demands and challenges of the Championship”. Reading have been strongly linked with Motherwell midfielder Chris Humphrey is recent weeks. Adkins sees the 25 year old Jamaican international as a solid acquistion and a player with the quality for a future in the Premier League. RATING – Odds-on

OUT –  Royals striker Pavel Pogrebnyak has attracted interest from a number of clubs in Russia. The 29-year-old joined Reading on a free transfer from Stuttgart last summer after a successful loan spell with Fulham. The Russian has fired 8 goals in all competitions this season, but is now likely to leave following Reading’s relegation.  RATING – Definite mover, just destination to be confirmed.

Southampton

IN – Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino fancies taking  Scott Dann from Blackburn Rovers to strengthen his defensive line for next season. The Saints expect a bid of £6 million to be enough to secure 26 year old defenders services. RATING – Good chance.

OUT – Seventeen year old left-back Luke Shaw is attracting interest from some of the top Premier League clubs. Chelsea are rumoured to be preparing a new bid over the summer, as they search for a long term replacement for Ashley Cole. Chelsea had a £10 million bid rebuffed in the January transfer window and will test Southampton’s resolve again once the transfer window opens. Shaw also admitted in a recent Q&A on Twitter that Chelsea are his favourite team! RATING – Sure thing.

Stoke City

IN – Nicklas Bendter may finally end his spell at Arsenal and secure a permanent move to The Britannia in the summer. Tony Pulis is rumoured to be looking to off-load both Peter Crouch and Kenwyne Jones and with Michael Owen retiring, he will be looking for more attacking options. Bendter’s physical approach will be ideally suited to the Stoke City style of play and Pulis may start with a bid in the region of £7 million. RATING – Good chance if others move out first.

OUT – There are some strong rumours that Cardiff City will push the boat out and takeKenwyne Jones from Stoke City. Jones has struggled to hold down a regular place in the Stoke first team this season, making just 10 starts in the Premier League. The Bluebirds will be looking for players who can add invaluable Premier League experience following their promotion from the Championship and 29 year old Jones could be the man to provide some steel and top-flight know-how to their attack. RATING – It looks a goer.

Sunderland

IN – Danny Rose has had an impressive season on Wearside and has been a regular under new boss Paulo Di Canio. Tottenham look to have strong coverage for the left-back role currently and so a bid in the region of £6 million should be sufficient to push a permanent deal  through for the 22 year old. RATING – Dead Cert.

OUT – Sunderland’s highly-rated ‘keeper Simon Mignolet has been linked with a move to Serie A with Napoli, following another impression season at the Stadium of Light. Napoli’s current first choice goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis is 36 and they will look for longer term No. 1 as they also seek to strengthen their back-line for next season’s Champions League campaign. RATING – Worth a bet.

 Swansea City

IN – Scott Sinclair has had a very disappointing time at Manchester City and Mancini appears to have already decided that he will start next season elsewhere, recently saying “Scott is young and he has good quality but this year was difficult for him. I think it is better if he can have another solution.” Laudrup would love to take Sinclair back to the Liberty following his transfer in the other direction for £6.2 million. Laudrup would hope and expect to pay much less than the price City paid last year, Sinclair would also have to take a wage cut to make the move back to Wales. RATING – Likely, Sinclair needs to reignite his career.

OUT – Swansea captain Ashley Williams, 28, is high on Brendan Rodgers’ shopping list for the summer as the Anfield club look to replace the outgoing Jamie Carragher. Arsenal have also shown recent interest. Both clubs would be prepared to shell out £8 million for the Welshman, whereas The Swans value their central defender closer to £12 million. RATING- Expect Williams to move before the new season commences.

Tottenham

IN – Gonzalo Higuain currently finds himself sharing playing time with Karim Benzema at the Bernabeu. While Higuain has outscored the Frenchman in La Liga this year (Higuain 14, Benzema 10), the rumours are very much focused on the Argentinian being the player to make way for imminent arrivals at Madrid. Spurs will face competition from the likes of Arsenal and Juventus for the Argentinian forward, but they do possess the option to sweeten any deal with a player-plus-cash exchange to include Gareth Bale should they lose the battle to keep the Welshman. RATING – Possible.

OUT – With wages of £100,000-a-week, Spurs are willing to listen to offers for Emmanuel Adebayor as they try to manage their wage bill and redefine their attacking options. Adebayor’s former employers Monaco would be the preferred location following their promotion to the French top tier. The 29-year-old has managed just 3 goals this term, compared to 17 last, failing to provide the impact expected following an initially impressive loan spell from Manchester City. RATING – He’s as good as gone.

 West Brom

 IN – West Brom are one of a host of top-flight clubs who have shown an interest in Leeds youngster Sam Byram. Byram has operated predominantly as a right back for Leeds, but can also play in the centre of the park or as an attacking right-sided midfelder. West Brom may look to move early in the transfer window to snatch the highly rated 19 year old away from some of the larger Premier League clubs. RATING – Expect significant interest in Byram, West Brom will need to move quickly and with a decent bid.

 OUT  – With the recent revelation that impressive defender Jonas Olsson has a release clause of just £3.5 million in his contract, expect a host of clubs to attempt a bid of just that amount over the summer. Tottenham and QPR have both expressed interest in the past and Liverpool will also take a look as they look to replace the retiring Jamie Carragher. RATING – Very likely to move at that price.

 West Ham United

IN – If West Ham finances won’t stretch to bag Andy Carroll, look out for Big Sam making a move for Peter Crouch. Allardyce loves a target man and the 32 year-old could be just the solution for a season or two, Stoke may also be looking to off-load Crouch after a disappointing season with a return of just 6 goals for the former England International.RATING – Strong Likelihood

OUT – Mohamed Diame has had another excellent season in the Premier League. He would add quality and strength to any squad in the league, so anticipate a bid from one of the Champions League contenders before the start of next season. Arsene Wenger has admitted previously to being an admirer of Diame and may fancy his chances of taking him to North London to add steel to the Gunners midfield and to provide cover for Wilshere, who unfortunately continues to struggle with injuries. RATING – West Ham will do well to hold on to this one.

Wigan

IN – Wigan’s summer transfer strategy may have had a U-turn following their exit from the Premier League last night. The question still remain whether Martinez will continues as the manager, let alone predicting the transfers. However, if Martinez stays, expect some bargain business from the Latics. Martinez is a fan of Blackpool centre back Alex Baptise, 27, who can also operate as a full back on both sides of the park. Wigan are likely to test Blackpools resolve with a bid during the Summer window. RATING – Likely as Wigan are relegated.  

OUT – Wigan will do incredibly well to keep hold of Ivory Coast international Arouna Kone, and with relegation confirmed there will be a number of clubs snopping around to secure the signature of the striker. At 29 years of age, Kone will be reluctant to spend a year in the Championship and will look to remain in the top flight next season – expect Aston Villa and Stoke City to show interest over the summer months. RATING – Highly Likely.

Originally published in Strength In Depth. Edited and Re-published in permission with @StrengthInDepth

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