It’s been a bit embarrassing for Liverpool’s rivals in the Premier League.
With an 18 point margin between second place and the Reds, the other teams need to spend to close the gap. Chelsea has started its recruitment drive, with Timo Werner set to join Hakim Ziyech in the Chelsea attack. However, they, like the rest of the traditional top six and more besides, will need more.
The Cityzens have been freed from the constraints of financial fair play and so it’s fair to expect they’ll be ready to spend.
Now that they can spend they have to ensure they do so correctly. Firstly, they will be looking to reinforce their defensive line. Kalidou Koulibaly is the obvious target, the Senegalese would be an instant upgrade in defence. His physical strength, technical ability and speed will be of great use in Manchester City’s high line.
There are also links to Sevilla’s Diego Carlos. The Brazilian has exploded onto the scene at Sevilla, quickly gaining a reputation as one of La Liga’s finest defenders.
He is also an exceptional long-range passer, completing 77% of his 21.3 attempted long passes per 90. This will allow the Citizens to spring attacks from deep to their pacey attackers.
Leroy Sane will also need replacing this window. The German attacker’s pace and direct dribbling were sorely missed at times for City. One proposition that could interest them would be Adama Traore. The young Spaniard has been a revelation this season. His pace and power has finally been coupled with the type of end product an elite attacker needs.
You may be wondering what more the Blues need after signing Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech. However, there are still a number of holes in the Chelsea squad that need to be filled.
Chelsea’s defence this season has been at best inconsistent, at worst downright poor. Only Cesar Azpilicueta has truly performed consistently for the Blues in defence. There is promise at right back in the form of Reece James but other positions need reinforcing.
Given the amount of money already spent on Werner and Ziyech, as well as the reported €80 million purchase of Kai Havertz, cheaper options may be needed. At left-back, while Ben Chilwell’s name has been linked, a smarter move could be for Porto’s Alex Telles.
The Brazilian international has had an excellent season, with 11 goals and 9 assists for the Dragons in Europe and the league.
He’d also be far cheaper than the young Englishman, with a reported £35 million release clause. Both are stronger going forward than back, but in a youthful backline, Telles’ experience will be vital.
At centre-back, Dayot Upamecano reportedly has a release clause of £54 million. This may be a high fee, but it’s certainly less than what’s reportedly being attached to reported target Declan Rice. The Frenchman has been exemplary for RB Leipzig, with his ability to play out from the back vital to Julian Nagelsmann’s system.
The Red Devil’s have been on a fantastic run in the Premier League, but there are still vulnerabilities. Once again it’s at the heart of defence where the Red Devils must look. Harry Maguire’s £80 million buy has strengthened them somewhat, but the big Englishman is still error-prone.
A move to rival Manchester City in this market could be a godsend to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Kalidou Koulibaly, for instance, would be just the leader and organiser this defence so badly needs. At 29-years-old he’d be coming into the Red Devils in his prime and also add the recovery pace to cover for Maguire in a high line.
Further forward, there is, of course, the need for a right-winger. Daniel James has shown he’s not ready for a starting place, a decent squad player but nothing more as of yet. It looks like Jadon Sancho could well be that man.
The young Englishman it’s fair to say is a magnificent talent. With 40 goal contributions in just 44 appearances, he’s not just one of the best young attackers in the world, but one of the best full stop. Able to play on the left or right-wing or as a 10, he’d instantly bring Manchester United to a higher level.
For the North London club, this season has been utterly depressing for the most part. While the Gunners have found salvation in the FA Cup, their Premier League form simply hasn’t been good enough. They’re in desperate need of upgrades to their defence and particularly their midfield.
In the centre of the park, there should be only one name at the top of their list, and that is Thomas Partey.
The Ghanaian has been truly exceptional for Atletico Madrid this season, with his performances against Liverpool in the Champions League bringing him great acclaim.
He would add the defensive solidity and mobility to go next to Granit Xhaka in midfield. And with a £43 million release clause, for a player of his quality, he’d be a bargain.
In the heart of defence, a cheap option will be needed and they could do far worse than Chris Smalling. The Englishman has been a standout player for Roma this season, and if he can be picked up for a reported £15 million price tag he’d represent a cost-effective option at the back.
It’s been a strange season for Tottenham. Coming off the back of the Champions League final loss to Liverpool, their season simply imploded. Mauricio Pochettino was unceremoniously shown the door, and Jose Mourinho has come in. The acquisition of Steven Bergwijn has revitalised their attack, but there is still much more work to do for Spurs to crack the top four let alone win the title.
The transfer of Tanguy Ndombele for whatever reason simply hasn’t worked out, so more is needed in midfield. This is where Watford’s Abdoulaye Doucoure comes in. He has been a bright spark in a poor Hornets side. Adept from defensive midfield to an attacking number 8, his ball carrying and long-distance shooting ability would be invaluable.
The North Londoners could also use another striker to rotate. Without Harry Kane, Jose Mourinho’s 4-2-3-1 system desperately lacked a focal point in attack. Step forward Uruguayan forward Edinson Cavani. The 33-year-old can play both in a striking two and as a lone striker. Excellent in the air and a lethal finisher, he’d be the perfect short term option to compete with Kane.