With the 12/13 season now completed and the summer all but here, it is this time of the year when managers return from their holidays and start preparations in order to get the best out of the season ahead. In terms of last season, Harry Redknapp’s Queens Park Rangers dropped out of the top flight along with Reading and FA Cup winners Wigan Athletic. Taking their places in the Premier League will be nPower Championship winners Cardiff City, runners up Hull City and also Ian Holloway’s Crystal Palace who made their way to promotion via the playoffs.
This article will attempt to look at Premiership clubs and players that will perhaps benefit them in their upcoming league campaign.
Fans of Arsenal will be looking forward to the summer transfer window for the first time in a while. The reason for this is because Arsene Wenger has been promised an abundance of funds to strengthen his squad which will once again be playing in the Champions League this season. Players such as veteran centre half Sebastian Squillaci and £15 million signing Andrei Arshavin have been released, therefore freeing up a large chunk of the wage budget.
In terms of strengthening, Wenger will be looking to bring in another out and out striker to provide competition with Olivier Giroud who enjoyed a successful first season at the Emirates Stadium. One option that has been mentioned is David Villa. The Spanish striker has had his fair share of injury problems at current club Barcelona but despite this, has still managed to enjoy a fairly good season, scoring 16 goals in 39 matches. Many pundits believe Villa would be the ideal fit for Arsenal, with his goal scoring abilities and the fact that he can play anywhere in a front three. Another named mentioned is Montenegro’s Stevan Jovetic who is believed to be on the move from current club Fiorentina. Perhaps the main stumbling block for manager Arsene Wenger is the inflated transfer fee quoted by the Florence team, and the fact that he is holding out for a move to Italian giants Juventus. A number of rumours are surrounding Arsenal at the moment and if rumours are true then the London club should announce the signing of QPR goalkeeper Julio Cesar in the next few days. Another player in the rumour mill for Arsenal is Everton’s Marouane Fellaini.
In what might have felt like the longest season in recent memory for fans of Aston Villa, the good news came before the last game of the season when Villa secured their Premier League status. Paul Lambert was often scrutinised for his transfer policy last summer which saw him bring in a number of young players and a distinct lack of experience, something which arguably led to their downfall throughout the season. The news regarding club captain Stiliyan Petrov during the season did not help matters and he was greatly missed as an experienced presence in the centre of midfield.
With this being the case it will probably be important for manager Lambert to bring in an experienced central midfielder to replace the outgoing Petrov. One name that has been linked with Villa is Spurs midfielder Tom Huddlestone. Huddlestone has a long list of admirers but he could be the ideal fit for the Midlands side who could offer him the first team football that he has long been craving; this could also boost the player’s England chances. Despite being just 26 years old, the former Derby County midfielder has nearly 150 Premier League games worth of experience on his CV, something which makes him an attractive proposition for a team like Aston Villa.
The biggest rumoured player in relation to Villains is winger Scott Sinclair. Sinclair who can play either upfront or in midfield has had a torrid season at Manchester City, so much so that he is expected to move from the club after just one season. The ex-Chelsea player enjoyed his most successful period at Swansea, scoring 28 goals and firing the Welsh club to the top flight in the process. Many clubs will be hoping that Sinclair can rekindle his sparkling form which saw him move to then title holders Manchester City. The biggest question at Villa Park will be whether Paul Lambert brings in experienced players or continues his transfer philosophy of sticking with youth and whether they can keep hold of revelation Christian Benteke.
Premier League new boys Cardiff City are arguably in the best position out of the three promoted sides, both in terms of playing staff and financially. Former Liverpool midfielder Dirk Kuyt has been linked with a move to the Cardiff City Stadium with many suggesting that the Dutch winger had purchased a house in the Welsh capital. This is still yet to be confirmed but there is no doubting that the signing of Kuyt would be a statement of intent from the newly named ‘Red Dragons.’ Another midfield player that the former Bluebirds are looking towards is Thomas Ince who currently plies his trade for his father Paul Ince’s Blackpool side. Ince has an ever growing list of admirers and after his fantastic performances in the Championship last season, his £8 million valuation fits in perfectly with Cardiff’s transfer budget for the summer. Malky Mackay has been promised around £25 million to spend on fresh faces for his squad. In terms of defensive additions, Reds boss Mackay has long been an admirer of full back Chris Gunter. Gunter has impressed during his time at Reading even despite the club’s relegation from the Premier League. Cardiff City is eager to remain in the top flight and is believed to available for around £4 million.
Without doubt the biggest news surrounding Chelsea this summer is the second coming of ‘the special one’ Jose Mourinho. There is a huge buzz around Stamford Bridge at the moment and many have Chelsea down as favourites to win the Premier League this season. In terms of signings, Andre Schurrle has already agreed to join from Bayer Leverkusen for a fee of £18 million and the German international will provide competition for places with Demba Ba, Fernando Torres and returning loanee Romelu Lukaku. With Mourinho being appointed less than two weeks ago, many are in the dark with regards to signings. Michael Essien will seemingly return from loan at Real Madrid but goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has agreed to remain at Atletico Madrid for a third successive campaign. With this being the case, a backup goalkeeper will be on a list of priorities for the charismatic manager from Portugal with many believing that Ross Turnbull and veteran Hilario are not up to the job. Mourinho will perhaps focus on bringing in another central midfield player to become an understudy to Frank Lampard.
Another new side in the Premier League next season will be Crystal Palace. Ian Holloway masterminded his side’s progress through the playoffs and many believe that he will keep faith with some of his squad in the top flight. Players such as Julian Speroni and Kevin Phillips will be expected to do a job, along with youngsters Jordan Parr and Jonathan Williams. With Wilfred Zaha now officially leaving the club and last season’s top scorer Glenn Murray having to miss a large amount of next season due to a knee injury, Holloway will have to bring in around five or six players to prepare for Premier League life. With Palace having a large amount of young players on the books it will be beneficial to bring in some experienced heads and players such as recently released Richard Dunne and Carlton Cole may be exactly what the Eagles are looking for. Reading’s Hal Robson-Kanu has also been linked with a move to Selhurst Park but as yet, no bid has been made.
After ten years under the guidance of David Moyes, Everton will be going into the 13/14 season with Roberto Martinez at the helm. The Spaniard will firstly be looking to keep hold of star players such as Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini. Many then believe that the ex-Wigan manager will return to his former stomping ground in order to sign central midfield player James McCarthy, along with wingers Shaun Maloney and Callum Mcmanaman. If the dreaded does happen and left back Leighton Baines joins his former manager at Manchester United then Martinez may return for one of his former players, in the form of Maynor Figueroa. Figueroa is out of contract at Wigan which therefore makes him a free agent, meaning any club can pick the Honduras international for nothing. An interesting time at Goodison Park where many will be looking to see whether the FA Cup winning boss can take The Toffees to the next level.
Fulham have moved quickly in this transfer window to replace the outgoing faces of Chris Baird, Aaron Hughes, Simon Davies and veteran shot stopper Mark Schwarzer. Coming in are long time target Derek Boateng from Dnipro and centre half Fernando Amorebieta, both on free transfers and loanee Sascha Rieter has joined on a permanent deal for an undisclosed fee. It is also believed that Martin Jol may make an audacious bid for West Brom central defender Jonas Olson, someone whom he sees making a great partner for club captain Brede Hangeland. The other name linked with making a move to Craven Cottage is Brighton winger Will Buckley but the fee demand may prove to be a stumbling block.
The last of the new boys in the Premier League next season will be Hull City. Steve Bruce has plenty of experience in the Premiership and will know what players he needs in order for it to be a successful season. George Boyd has already joined from Peterborough United after his loan spell during the second half of last season and fellow loan player Ahmed Elmohamady is apparently close to completing a £2 million move from parent club Sunderland. A new goalkeeper remains Steve Bruce’s priority with his number one target being Leicester City keeper Kasper Schmeichel but after having three bids knocked back the former Sunderland manager may turn his attentions to Allan McGregor from Beskitas. Bruce’s number one outfield target is rumoured to be Phil Bardsley whom he managed during his time at the Stadium of Light.
Arguably one of the Premier League’s modern day underachievers, could this be the season where Liverpool finally turn their domestic fortunes around? Kolo Toure has already joined and will replace the position vacated by Jamie Carragher and the Reds are also expected to announce the signing of Celta Vigo striker Iago Aspas sometime next week. Perhaps the main question surrounding Anfield this summer is whether they will keep hold of the controversial Luis Suarez. The striker has made it public that he wishes to leave England due to so called ‘bad publicity’ from the press. The other name linked with a move to Liverpool is Sevilla midfielder Luis Alberto and the club have apparently made a bid but it is yet to be accepted. Questions also continue to surround the future of Andy Carroll. The Geordie striker who famously joined the club for £35 million two seasons ago is expected to join West Ham United in a cut price £15 million deal. The only stumbling block may be agreeing personal terms with the powerful forward.
Many will question as to who will spend the most money this summer and right at the top of most people’s list will be Manchester City. The Manchester club is known around the world for their abundance of funds and this financial situation has already seen them bring in Fernandinho from Shakthar Donetsk for £34 million and Jesus Navas from Sevilla for an undisclosed fee. With Manuel Pellegrini now the confirmed manager at Eastlands it may not be long before more signings come through the door in the hope of bringing back the Premier League title, a trophy which they surrendered to their rivals Manchester United last season. Uruguayan forward Edison Cavani is a long time target, although the striker’s father has stated that he would prefer a move to Real Madrid. With problems often sighted in the heart of the City defence last season, Pellegrini may be tempted to move for Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel who has thoroughly impressed since joining the Premier League.