Summer 2020 transfer window club-by-club guide: Crystal Palace to Liverpool
The Premier League transfer window will run for 10 weeks from July 27 until October 5, which is a few weeks after the Premier League’s scheduled start on Saturday September 12. But who will your club sign?
The following guide - split into four - breaks down the potential transfer plans for all 19 guaranteed Premier League teams for the 2020/21 season. Do you agree with what areas we think your club should strengthen in?
Comfortably sitting in midtable for the seventh season on the trot, a limited budget has perhaps prevented the South London team from kicking on and challenging for Europe. However, having only scored 31 goals this season in the Premier League - only last-placed Norwich scored less - questions have been raised regarding Roy Hodgson’s style of football. If reports are to be believed, this has not just frustrated the Palace fans but also been an issue at boardroom level with Sean Dyche allegedly in the frame to replace the former England manager. Dyche has done an excellent job at Burnley on the type of limited budget he may expect to have if he swapped Turf Moor for Selhurst Park, but he may not be able to alleviate concerns over playing style.
What do they need?
Striker: Based on the aforementioned goal tally for this season, a striker is a desperate need. Christian Benteke has constantly struggled for goals since the 16/17 season when he found the back of the net 15 times for Crystal Palace in the Premier League, Connor Wickham has perennially looked out of his depth at this level and Cenk Tosun’s short loan spell was far from fruitful.
Palace will be looking for someone to complement Jordan Ayew up top, who managed a reasonably solid nine goals in the league this season. A return for Chelsea’s Michy Batshuayi, who hit six goals in 13 games in fruitful loan spell last season has been mooted, but he might be too expensive. Embarrassingly, the ideal replacement could be a player already on the club’s books who they are likely obligated to sell for a loss: Alexander Sørloth. The Norwegian striker struggled after joining from FC Midtjylland in January 2018, but this season has been a revelation for Trabzonspor in the Turkish Süper Lig, helping to guide them to a second-place finish and scoring 32 goals in all competitions. Brentford’s Ollie Watkins could be a shout instead.
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Winger: If Wilfried Zaha, who according to Hodgson is “so set on leaving” finally gets his wish, the South London side will very likely be in the market for a replacement. In spite of that, their expected goals total of 35.2 was the second worst in English football’s top-flight which highlights a need for more creativity regardless of the outcome of the Zaha transfer saga. The diminutive but rapid Scotland winger Ryan Fraser is available on a free from Bournemouth and would probably be gettable as big club interest in him has cooled due to a subpar season after his heroics across the previous campaign. If they can help him regain his form, he would be an astute addition for Palace.
Centre midfielder: The addition of Nathan Ferguson from West Brom last week has already addressed the left back issue. Instead, Crystal Palace may look to cash-in on Max Meyer who has flopped in his two seasons at Selhurst Park after his shock signing from Schalke 04 that was widely considered to be a coup at the time. Luka Milivojević has had a quiet season after two fantastic years while the duo of James McArthur and James McCarthy do not offer too much going forward. Argentine midfielder Jeronimo Cacciabue has been linked but there could be issues over experience, a work permit and adapting to English football, while QPR’s Eberechi Eze might be too expensive due to the sheer amount of interest in signing him. Cagliari’s Nahitan Nandez has been mentioned as an option, but the Eagles may have to battle West Ham for his signature.
The blue corner of Merseyside find themselves in a weird yet exciting position. They have three-time Champions League winner Carlo Ancelotti as manager, and he comes with the promise of big financial backing from the owners. However. first there will be the headache of rejigging a squad compiled by previous managers and featuring lots of big money signings who have failed to live up to their reputation. If Ancelotti can restore balance to the squad and instil a specific philosophy, then there is every chance he can bring success to the team that will potentially be moving into a brand new 52,000-seater stadium in a few years.
What do they need?
Centre back: Everton have somehow managed to survive with only three senior centre backs this season in Yerry Mina, Mason Holgate and Michael Keane. Lille’s 22-year-old Brazilian Gabriel Magalhães appears to be a likely acquisition for around £30 million but with European giants such as PSG and Napoli also interested, Evertonians will be hoping that the pull of Ancelotti will convince him to join their club. If he opts to move elsewhere, Barcelona’s Jean-Clair Todibo could be an option if his loan club Schalke do not exercise their option to buy him.
Winger: Theo Walcott, Bernard and Alex Iwobi were all big-name signings that have failed to live up to the hype. Hirving Lozano, the Mexican forward who has struggled at Napoli after excelling in the Eredivisie with PSV may cure their problems out wide, as could Wilfried Zaha who is a proven Premier League talent that is desperate to leave his current club.
Roy Hodgson with Wilfried Zaha
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Centre midfielder: Due to the inconsistencies of Gylfi Sigurdsson and Andre Gomes combined with the long-term injury to Jean-Philippe Gbamin and Tom Davies’ lack of experience, the Toffees will likely need to enter the market for a centre midfielder. A bidding war with Tottenham has ensued for Southampton’s Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, but reports suggest that the player prefers a move to north London. The prospect of signing Napoli’s Brazilian international midfielder Allan will probably excite Everton fans more, but 23-year-old Espanyol player Marc Roca is a realistic and affordable target for the centre of the park due to his club’s relegation from La Liga.
Leeds United’s return to Premier League action for the first time since 2004 with eccentric tactical pioneer Marcelo Bielsa at the helm means their opening game will probably be the most eagerly anticipated out of the promoted sides. With the dust barely settled from their Championship victory, owner Andrea Radrizzani has already been chatting away to the press about his desire to sign household names such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani. While those two players may well be unrealistic targets, Leeds fans will be pleased to hear of the owner’s ambition and will be hoping to make a big impression on their return to English football’s biggest stage.
What do they need?
Striker: Patrick Bamford lead the line this season with 16 goals in 45 appearances in the Championship, but long goalless spells and multiple failures at Premier League level with Crystal Palace, Norwich, Burnley and Middlesbrough may haunt him and convince fans that they need extra quality in attack. The loan signings of Jean-Kévin Augustin and Eddie Nketiah during the season highlight Bielsa’s desire to find the right solution for that role. Even if the Argentine does decide to give Bamford another chance in the PL, Leeds would still only have two senior strikers in him and young Tyler Roberts. 20-year-old Canadian international forward Jonathan David has been a revelation for KAA Gent with 23 goals in all competitions this season and Leeds are reportedly duelling Lille to bring him to West Yorkshire. Middlesbrough flop Christhian Stuani has been of interest too thanks to him scoring an impressive 70 goals in 103 games for Girona over the past three seasons, but as he turns 34 in October Leeds will not want to spend too much on him.
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Centre back: Throughout their Championship campaign, Brighton loanee Ben White has been the first name on the teamsheet for Leeds United as their joint top appearance maker. Amidst interest from other top division clubs and Brighton’s willingness to use him as part of their own first-team squad, he could cost as much as £35 million. However, as someone who has already integrated into the squad and familiarised themselves with Bielsa’s methods and philosophy, the Elland Road club may just be tempted to pay up. If a permanent move for White fails to materialise, they might instead look to one of the manager’s compatriots in River Plate’s Lucas Martínez Quarta or Spurs’ Juan Foyth.
Attacking midfielder: Leeds are blessed with good options on the wing, with Helder Costa making his move permanent and potentially the same occurring with Jack Harrison. It is attacking midfield that may prove to be a problem. Mateusz Klich, the ageing Pablo Hernandez or the inexperienced Tyler Roberts are the primary options, so there is a lot of room for improvement in this area. A multitude of names such as Amer Gojak, Thiago Almada, Eberechi Eze and Matias Zaracho have all cropped up in the rumour mill as individuals who may rectify this problem.
The former Premier League side, against all odds had a disheartening second half to the season under Brendan Rodgers. After starting the season convincingly and looking nailed on for a top-four finish and return to Champions League action, the Foxes went on to let slip the 14-point lead they had over Manchester United in January. They finished the season in fifth and will have to put the Champions League anthem on pause for the time being. While England left-back Ben Chilwell could be on his way out, golden boot winner Jamie Vardy is showing no signs of decline and James Maddison has put pen to paper on a new four-year contract. Youri Tielemans, Çağlar Söyüncü, Harvey Barnes, Hamza Choudhury, Kelechi Iheanacho, Wilfried Ndidi, James Justin and Demarai Gray are all 24 and under so you would expect them to continue improving and they should use this near-miss as motivation for next season’s exploits.
What do they need?
Left-back: Assuming that Ben Chilwell does leave the King Power Stadium for the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City or Manchester United, his successor in the left-back role will be a major priority for Leicester. Sources around the club have been staying tight-lipped on any transfer activity but Atalanta’s Robin Gosen’s has been touted for a move if Chilwell vacates the left-back berth. Who Leicester end up going for depends on what they can attract after missing out on the Champions League. Are they able to attract proven talent from relatively big clubs in Europe? Or do they have to go for young players who are already playing first-team football and have the potential to improve? Vitesse’s Max Clark, Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand and Burnley’s Charlie Taylor have all been tentatively linked, but fans of the Foxes will understandably be dreaming of Ajax left-back Nicolas Tagliafico, however unrealistic that may be.
Attacking midfielder: If James Maddison had not signed a new contract this would have been more of a pressing concern but even with that confirmed, Leicester still lack depth in this role. Therefore, they could be searching for a versatile attacking midfielder to ease the burden on Maddison and slot in elsewhere in the midfield or attack if need be. Ayoze Perez fulfils this role to a certain extent and is a good player but to be blunt he should not be a starting player for a top-four side. Bordeaux’s Yacine Adli or Brentford’s Saïd Benrahma may add the depth in this area that Leicester require.
Striker: Kelechi Iheanacho again struggled to make his mark in league action for Leicester despite a few strong outings in cup competitions with only five goals in 20 top-flight matches. The Foxes are believed to be one of many clubs keeping tabs on Celtic’s Odsonne Edouard and Luka Jovic could perhaps join on loan as an opportunity to redeem himself after a poor debut season at Real Madrid.
Liverpool secured their nineteenth league title and first in 30 years in commanding fashion, setting numerous records along the way, which includes winning the Premier League with the most games to spare (seven), having a 25-point lead at one stage in the season and recording 24 consecutive home wins. That leaves their charismatic manager Jürgen Klopp with the fortunate problem of trying to work out how to improve on such excellence. The January purchase of Red Bull Salzburg forward Takumi Minamino demonstrated that the Reds are constantly looking for ways to improve and highlighted that their policy of signing and developing lesser-profile players into world-class talents still stands. That said, they will happily fix certain aspects of their squad with a marquee galactico-esque signing if required, as they did with both Alisson and Virgil Van Dijk.
What do they need?
Back-up defenders: 34-year-old James Milner has often been used out of position to provide cover at left-back and very occasionally at right-back too. Meanwhile, Nathaniel Clyne has been released, leaving the teenage duo of Neco Williams and Ki-Jana Hoever as the only back-up right-back options. Joe Gomez can play there too but Klopp would rather he just starts at centre back.
Talking of centre backs, the sale of Dejan Lovren to Zenit for £10.9million leaves the club lacking depth there with the trio of Van Dijk, Gomez and Joel Matip their only senior players in that position. With fixture congestion potentially being worse due to a late-starting season and the IFAB reportedly making the five substitutes rule change a permanent one, squad depth has never been more important. Schalke’s Ozan Kabak and Sevilla’s Diego Carlos are apparent centre back targets for the Merseyside club, while David Alaba could offer some much-needed versatility.
Centre midfielder: Reports that Bayern’s Spain international midfielder Thiago Alcantara could join Liverpool have caused some confusion, as his age profile does not fit the Reds’ usual modus operandi. However, Klopp has long been an admirer of the player and Thiago’s alleged keenness to leave Bayern means the Bundesliga side could be willing to sell for a cut-price fee. Milner is getting old, Naby Keita is yet to truly hit the ground running and Xherdan Shaqiri looks set to follow Adam Lallana out of Anfield, so there would be a fair amount of first-team minutes for Thiago to soak up. He would bring further dynamism to the Liverpool midfield with his ability to carry the ball forward on the dribble and also spray line-breaking passes. Captain Jordan Henderson functions brilliantly as the heartbeat of the team in a holding midfield role, but the deep-lying playmaking ability of Thiago Alcantara would add another element to this Liverpool side.
Thiago in training with Bayern Munich
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Back-up striker: Roberto Firmino is evidently a very talented player whose role for the team encompasses plenty of duties and transcends the typical expectations of a striker to purely score goals, especially considering Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah scores so many goals form wide. However, it is difficult to ignore that Firmino scored only 9% of his shots on goal this season. Compare that to the likes of Danny Ings, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Anthony Martial and Jamie Vardy who all scored over 20% of theirs and the point becomes clearer. This is not say that Liverpool should replace Firmino, but they should at least sign a striker who can provide a tougher challenge for the position of starting striker than Divock Origi.
The Belgian has at times chipped in with key goals such as his strikes in last year’s Champions League semi-final and final against Barcelona and Spurs respectively, but there are younger and better options available. Additionally, after five seasons at Anfield as a rotation option and with him now being 25 years old, Origi might want to move on and cement a starting spot elsewhere. A young striker such as Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Marcus Thuram could challenge Firmino straight away and will likely start to hit his prime once Firmino is on the wrong side of 30.