Arsenal – Aly Cissokho
Rumours abound that Wenger is putting together an approach for Egyptian left-back Milo, a 21 year old who is also interesting Lyon and Benfica. After a mixed opening campaign for the Brazilian Santos there is little dispute that the Gunners require a quality addition in that role and Milo certainly fits the Professor’s prototype – young, relatively unknown, with bags of potential.
But perhaps the best strategy would be to allow Lyon to get their man then swoop for their present incumbent; the athletic Cissokho who would easily take the demands of English football in his rangy stride. He wouldn’t come cheap – a minimum of £15m – but would vastly improve a long-standing problem area for Arsenal
Aston Villa – Vurnon Anita
The signing of Sheffield United prospect Matthew Lowton may not have made too many Villains’ hearts skip a beat but it was always inevitable that new gaffer Paul Lambert would bring in a couple of his Norwich targets first. From there though the Scot needs to look towards bringing in some top quality fare to elevate a stale environment at Villa Park and Anita – viewed in some quarters as the next Clarence Seedorf – could be the man to build everything around.
The purse strings may be drawn tight at the club but Lambert must capitalise on being the new man in charge and demand a marquee signing while his stock is high and though Newcastle look to have wrapped a £7m deal up for the Ajax man a late gazzumping is still possible.
Chelsea – Mathieu Debuchy
At the time of writing Newcastle are in advanced negotiations to sign one of the surprise revelations of Euro 2012 which could be construed as fair considering they were tracking the Lille right-back long before he made his name in Pokraine. Yet arguably Chelsea’s need is far greater with Bosingwa and Ferreira both exiting the Bridge leaving only Ivanovic to bolster that role. Should Debuchy head to St James’ that leaves Maicon and Van der Wiel for the blues – the former a hugely expensive purchase, the latter a forlorn protracted chase that has so far led to nothing.
Everton – Jordan Rhodes
Moyes has an impeccable track record with swooping for lower league starlets who the rest scout to death but don’t commit to. Arguably his only failure in this regard was Beckford but surely the Huddersfield Town hit man is a surer bet to transfer his phenomenal scoring pedigree to the highest level. Still only 22 Rhodes is close to already reaching a century of career goals and is more than deserving of his chance.
Moyes meanwhile intimated recently that it won’t take a fortune to complete his summer plans and it’s assumed Mario Mandzukic was at the forefront of his thinking when he aired that view. After his explosive Euros however the Croatian has snagged a dream move to Bayern which leaves Rhodes next in line.
Fulham – Luciano Narsingh
Having secured the services of Hugo Rodallega this week Jol must now find a clever, unselfish front man to best compliment the Columbian. Narsingh was part of the Dutch Euro squad and provided more assists than any other player in Holland last season. Having already been given a tour of Craven Cottage the Heerenveen attacker looks destined for the capital, sadly to Fulham fans probably as Dempsey’s replacement.
Liverpool – Eljero Elia
Rodgers loves his wingers whilst the flying Dutchman’s nightmare spell at Juve recently resulted in him handing in a transfer request that was promptly accepted. There is a bargain to be had here for a 25 year old who could potentially tear full-backs a new one on either flank at Anfield and beyond next term. It would also see the assist-shy Downing consigned to the bench.
The only concern is that whilst the new gaffer does indeed enjoy seeing both touchlines hogged he also demands graft and responsibility from his wide men. If he feels such duties cannot be drilled into Elia then he may search elsewhere.
Manchester City – Javi Martinez
Losing out on Hazard hurt and the search continues for an energetic attacking wizard who can take some of the load off Silva and Nasri. But City are also in need of top class competition at the back whilst Barry’s operation means they’re also shy of a stylish link man from deep. Martinez can fulfil either role superbly. Quite simply the man oozes class and would be a welcome addition to the Premier League.
Manchester United – Kevin Strootman
Luka Modric is the missing piece in the United midfield puzzle; a darting, probing little maestro who opens teams up and blessed with such gifts he could retire both Giggs and Scholes with one scribble of his name. I know this. You know this. Ferguson knows this all too sorely. Unfortunately for him so too do Spurs and there is no chance of them relinquishing the Croatian for less than a king’s ransom which is presently beyond United’s financial restrictions.
Strootman may be a different proposition but at £14m is affordable, possesses the Keane-like snap that United have desperately missed and would improve their problem area at a stroke.
Norwich City – Chris Gunter
Until Lambert’s departure Kyle Naughton was almost a shoo-in to make the right-back berth his permanent residency but now seems set to follow the Scot to Villa Park. Which leaves the Canaries in need of a quick, nimble replacement and Gunter fits the bill perfectly. This week’s takeover on the Trent however makes a bargain swoop unlikely so Norwich may have to pay top dollar for a player who has been putting in Premier League displays in the Championship for far too long.
Newcastle United – Douglas
Quite how Pardew pulled off such a splendid season with the personnel at his disposal remains a mystery. Up front their pace and fire power in Ba and Cisse speaks for itself as too does the mix of industry and craft in Cabaye and Tiote explain their midfield dominance. But at the back – on paper at least – the Toon’s rearguard appeared perfectly ordinary yet were unbreachable at times, particularly up to Christmas. Pardew evidently feels such alchemy cannot be relied upon again and is actively trying to recruit quality to the back-line with Pieters on his way and Debuchy currently in talks. In the centre it is the FC Twente rock Douglas who is firmly their first choice to line up alongside Coloccini and the powerful, pacy Brazilian could potentially strike up an awesome South American partnership with the silly-haired colossus. No matter how well they did last term to go from Perch, Coloccini, Williamson, Simpson to Pieters, Coloccini, Douglas, Debuchy in the space of twelve months would represent huge progress.
QPR – Rhys Williams
Hughes has bought early and shrewdly bringing in Green, Nelson, Fabio, Park, and Johnson to strengthen key areas before a pre-season ball is even kicked in earnest. But they remain a touch over-reliant on the old stager Derry to shore things up in midfield especially with the enforced absence of Barton until September.
Not only would the 23 year old Aussie provide quality cover here he’s equally proficient at centre-back, right-back and even scheming further forward. Last January Middlesbrough’s young captain admitted to a burning ambition to reach the top flight and after an outstanding campaign where he became the classy fulcrum of Boro Williams is deserving of the opportunity.
Reading – Jermain Defoe
Not as fanciful than first appears this one as recent reports link the diminutive poacher to a possible switch to the Madejski for £5m. Jason Roberts performed superbly to fire the Royals into the top flight in the latter half of last season but they need a higher class of finisher if they are to remain there. Defoe would be a statement signing and forge a potentially lethal partnership with their new Russian recruit Pogrebnyak.
Southampton – Matt Jarvis
It was only March of last year that Jarvis was given a surprise England start and though his form may have consequently dipped he is unquestionably too good for the Championship. West Ham have tabled a £4m bid but considering the ammunition the wide man could provide for Sharp and Lambert the Saints should be seriously considering topping that.
Stoke City – Michael Owen
At first glance this appears a non-starter with Owen’s exorbitant wages alone killing the deal and the refusal of the injury-cursed striker to consider a pay-as-you-play package.
But with the former goal machine now notably getting exasperated at the lack of decent offers from top flight clubs and threatening to retire rather than drop down a level the opportunity is there for Pulis to hold tight a while then come back with an identical proposal.
It illustrates the progress the Potters have made in recent times that their failure to thus far capture an 89-cap England legend has solely been due to money rather than the club’s standing. Indeed the prospect of pairing up again with Peter Crouch and playing in front of a bouncing Britannia must surely be tempting for a player who seems to have somewhat fallen out of love for the game.
Sunderland – Adam Johnson
‘AJ’ often looked a confused figure last season caught in two minds between what his natural dribbling instincts propelled him to do and what Mancini instead demanded. Consequently that split-second of indecision more often than not resulted in lost possession, groans from the stands and a stony stare from the bench.
It increasingly looks likely that the winger’s days at the Etihad are numbered and though a clutch of clubs are interested a return to the north-east could well be his best option. O’Neill is known for reinstalling confidence in lost souls and it’s entirely plausible that Johnson – whilst playing for the club he supported as a boy – could enjoy a similar revitalising that Ashley Young experienced under the Irishman at Villa.
Swansea – John Guidetti
In a recent email correspondence with a Cutter writer he pondered whether it was even worth anyone attempting to wrestle the league title from Man City’s grasp next term should they procure van Persie. ‘RvP, Tevez, Balotelli and Aguero…game over before its begun’ he wrote. ‘Don’t forget Guidetti’ I replied.
The 20 year old Swede may not feature for City this season but after becoming a household name in Holland from banging in 20 in 23 on loan at Feyenoord he is ready and waiting to announce himself in the Premier League. A season-long loan deal at a footballing side such as Swansea seems the perfect deal for all concerned.
Tottenham – Leandro Damiao
Spurs have reportedly had several previous bids turned down for the 22 year old Brazilian international who has already netted 70 goals in 115 career appearances in the Brasileirão and they should quite frankly stop p***ing about and pay their dues. As I wrote in July of last year – ‘To most strikers being a sturdy 6ft 2 would define their game; with Leandro Damiao it’s merely an additional weapon in his armoury. His strength simply affords him further opportunities to display his array of flicks, tricks and exquisite touch. Yet Damiao’s extravagance is never meant as gleeful exhibitionism: it’s Samba with a vengeance’.
West Brom – Josh McEachran
When new boss Steve Clarke flicks through his rolodex looking to utilise his extensive contacts in the game he’ll be sure to stop at C for Chelsea and enquire about the possibility of attaining the gifted youngster on a season long deal.
West Ham – Wilfried Zaha
The aforementioned £4m bid for Matt Jarvis puts this one in doubt but the Crystal Palace speed-hound surely represents a more exciting proposition. Zaha is an exhilarating prospect with pace to burn and the raw ability to corkscrew a full-back into the turf. Newly promoted sides need experience in key areas certainly but they also require brilliant and cocky young upstarts who won’t be afraid to showcase their talents in the intimidating arenas. Zaha, for my money, is a far better option than Jarvis to offer Allardyce’s muscle crew some zip and vigour.
Wigan Athletic – Dimitris Salpingidis
The 30 year old can play on the right or as a second striker and made a considerable impact at the Euros with a string of eye-catching displays. Better yet he’s available on a free after running down his contract at PAOK and has openly spoke of his desire to play in England. Mr Whelan, over to you….