So, on to part two. I did initially plan on making this into a 20 team bonanza, but after the initial section on club 1, I realised it just wasn’t feasible. Plus, this way it makes it easier to look at a club individually, passing through the teams that aren’t so traditionally active in the transfer period.
Back to work.
With the United, Chelsea, City,& Arsenal and Liverpool covered (below) on to the next batch of hopefuls.
First up, Tottenham Hotspur; (last season, 5th)
Expected transfer budget available – £40M, potentially more should they lose a star player.
Highlighted positions; GK, RM, CF – Don’t lose anyone irreplaceable.
A mixed season for Tottenham in the 2010 campaign seen a flying Champions League debut, crashing out of both domestic cup competitions and securing the Europa League on the final day. For Spurs, any other year that’s not a bad season, but after tasting success in the CL, they’re expectation levels are sky-high, many fans were disappointed with how the year ended. In terms of signings, they desperately need a GK, Ben Foster or Robert Green could be a suitable replacement for the calamitous Gomes, and could come at an affordable price. A right midfielder is also needed in my opinion, someone who can provide effective cover for Lennon/Bale if needed or can compete with them for a starting position as both have a habit of going missing a times. (Yes, Bale too. He’s good but over-rated – will explain in another post!). Finally, they could do with a talisman CF, someone who will come in for a big fee, but score them 20 goals a season. If anyone is able to bring in a superstar at a shock price it’s probably Harry Redknapp. But whatever you do, do not call him a “Wheeler Dealer”. Any players lost will need replacing, but Modric, Bale and Dawson (three key players at the club) are the 3 they really should fight to keep above all.
If I was Harry Redknapp, I would sign; Scott Parker, Ben Foster, N’Zogbia, and maybe enter the race for Adebayor’s signature for a rotation of quality.
Everton; (last season – 7th)
Expected transfer budget available; £10M + sell to buy.
Highlighted positions; CF, RB, Wingers.
If the season started in January then my god, Everton would be the Barca of Britain, but why is it their early season form seems to let them down? And why do they seem to pick up horrendous long-term injuries to so many first team-ers? Though, I have to hand it to David Moyes, the job he does there with so little money – Just imagine what he could do with a bigger budget? As for transfers, I think he needs more quality at CF, someone who makes those cute runs off the shoulder of the CB, and someone decent on either foot. Problem with Everton is that their looking to the lower leagues, as their finances are so limited they can’t compete with the bigger sides for stars. Championship seems to be a trusted hunting ground, or the mid-table foreign sides. They also could do with a better RB, I think Heitinga is good for the bigger games, but his lack of pace is worrying, they need a quicker player in there that can come in against quicker wide men, Alan Hutton and Kyle Naughton are very realistic candidates. Finally, some natural width, when Landon Donovan was their he had a terrific time, and maybe prizing him away from the MLS could be beneficial, or stealing relegated/championship talent like Bentley, Larrson, O’Neil.
If I was David Moyes, I would sign; Craig Mackail-Smith, Seb Larrson, Alan Hutton, Robbie Keane.
(Prediction; 7th (but a good cup run, fancy them for the League Cup actually))
Fulham; (last season – 8th)
Expected transfer budget available; £10-15M
Highlighted positions; CM, LM, Full-backs.
With Mark Hughes resigning as I’m writing this, not only do Fulham need more players, but a manager too. But I shall continue.
Fulham will want a side strong, rigid and can hold a decent back line, Brede Hangeland brings a similar strength to Samba in his Blackburn side, but I think the next manager would look for a quicker player along side, with a better tackle. And I think a large percentage of his budget could be spent there, someone like Madjid Bougherra at Glasgow Rangers or perhaps swoop for Ashley Williams of Swansea or Luke Chambers of Nottingham Forest. All would make an excellent edition. I feel they create a lot through the middle, with Dempsey able to link up with the front players, but a natural wide man would give them that other option. Loan deals may be the best option here, or a lower-league swoop, names like Chris Burke, Vladimir Wiess or loaning Gabriel Obertan from Manchester United. Finally, their problems at full-back, the right purchase here could lead to their wide-men problems being solved too, I would like them to enter the Alan Hutton race, or try for Celtic’s player of the year Emilio Izaguirre, or again, go for the lower leagues with Chris Gunter.
If I was the next Fulham Manager, I would sign; Emilio Izaguirre, Madjid Bougherra, and enquire Shakhtar’s Jadson. Loan deal for Obertan could be effective, too.
Aston Villa; (last season – 9th)
Expected transfer budget available; £15-20M
Highlighted positions; LB, CM, GK.
After a very mixed campaign the season ended on a relatively decent note, with wins against Liverpool and Arsenal. Since then, manager Houllier has stepped down leaving a vacant position (which looks to be filled by Mark Hughes, having resigned from his Fulham post this afternoon), the next man in will need to sort out this team because on paper they are far better than 2010/2011 has suggested. Brad Friedel looks to be gone so a goalkeeper is a priority, either Old Firm keeper comes with bags of quality or the media have reported interest in Birmingham goalkeeper Ben Foster. The central midfield isn’t that weak, but needs strengthened and a more level head; Mark Noble, Jordan Henderson, Thomas Hitzlsperger, David Vaughan, Scott Brown, would all bring that. They also have a left-back position which needs addressed, Emilio Izaguirre seems a popular name for this level of club, and Fabio Coentrao could be possible for the right fee. Wayne Bridge has been out-of-form in recent times, but the right manager could bring him back to his best. Finally, with Ashley Young and/or Stuart Downing set to leave Villa Park, can Marc Albrighton fill their shoes? I think he can, but with help on the other flank.
If I was the next Villa Manager, I would sign; Craig Gordon, Mark Noble, Emilio Izaguirre, Matt Jarvis/Jermaine Pennant + maybe enter the Craig Mackail-Smith race, his inability to give up could lead to chances created for the clinical Darren Bent. Could be a busy window for the Villans.
Sunderland; (last season – 10th)
Expected transfer budget available; £18-23M
Highlighted positions; STR, CB, Full Backs, Width.
Injuries destroyed Sunderland’s end of season push as their entire front line were on the sidelines, the departure of Darren Bent seen an immediate decline in goals but Asamoah Gyan and Danny Welbeck seemed equipped when fit. Season over and it looks like Sunderland won’t be seeing Welbeck again, and are in the hunt for the CF that would work well with Gyan, for that they’ll need an intelligent footballer, age isn’t really a problem because Gyan will do the running, but the link up will need to be smart; Robbie Keane, Miroslav Klose, Demba Ba would be the perfect candidates. Alternatively, Sunderland tend to buy well abroad, Sessengon a perfect example of quality. So the clear out’s at Monaco and Deportivo could be a bargain hunt for The Black Cats – Expect something. Titus Bramble has had a good season but can be left exposed, and his defensive partnerships are often edgy when pressed or countered. A stronger back line could be partially financed by the sale of Craig Gordon. Alan Hutton had a successful loan spell on Wear-side and would be ideal, a CB like Scott Dann or Roger Johnson would bring a solidity too. Natural width seems called for by the fans, personally I think playing through the middle suits them, but a player with the ability to find space on the wings and cut in could work well with Gyan/Sessengon. And I think I have the perfect answer……
If I was Steve Bruce, I would sign; Gabby Agbonlahor, Roger Johnson, Demba Ba, Alan Hutton.
That’s all for part II, next time I’ll be going through West Brom-Newcastle-Stoke-Bolton-Blackburn in what I think will be the most interesting one yet. I’m trying to get them done on a fairly quick basis as I don’t want to space them between another blog post and I want to write an article shaming Sepp ‘Sith-Lord’ Blatter fairly soon. Also, I don’t want clubs to make transfers before I’ve predicted things, like Norwich City have so nicely done with the signing of James Vaughan!
As always, let me know what you guys think below or on twitter/facebook!
Over and out.