The Premier League transfer window is just days away from opening at the unusually early date of June 10 this year, long before the rest of Europe’s major leagues kick off the transfer feeding frenzy on July 1.
From the newly promoted sides desperate to bolster their squads to face the brutal storm that is England’s top flight, to title hopefuls seeking to add the final piece of the puzzle, we’ve looked at every club’s biggest priority this transfer window.
So without further ado, let’s crack in!
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Mikel Arteta’s men managed just 61 goals this season, which they’ll surely need to improve if the Gunners are to claim a top four finish next time around. The departure of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in January was a big blow, and Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah are both set to leave when their contracts expire this month.
Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been tied to a move to the Emirates for years, and money should be no object since Arteta is set to be handed a hefty transfer kitty.
NEED: Centre back
Aston Villa have already done some huge deals, on the back of a monster January transfer spree. Philippe Coutinho’s loan move has been made permanent. Manager Steven Gerrard landed a top target in French defensive midfielder Boubacar Kamara, and addressed the club’s biggest need by signing centre-back Diego Carlos from Sevilla. But Gerrard is still on the hunt for another centre-back to bolster his squad in the hunt for European football.
Ezri Konsa could miss the start of the season with a long-term knee injury, while fellow centre-half Tyrone Mings is being chased by a number of top clubs.
Villa is reportedly leading the chase for out-of-contract Burnley skipper James Tarkowski, and Gerrard’s former Rangers charge Calvin Bassey is also on their shopping list.
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NEED: Centre back
Welcome back to the Cherries! They’ve already released eight players after promotion, and have precious little cash to splash as they seek to survive. So there’s plenty of work to be done to improve the squad this transfer window.
Ex-Chelsea star Gary Cahill has left the club, while Nathaniel Phillips is returning to Liverpool after an impressive loan spell. Bournemouth will almost certainly attempt to convince Liverpool to sell the 25-year-old. They are also interested in Manchester City’s Ko Itakura, who had a dominant campaign on loan in Germany’s second tier and is attracting plenty of suitors.
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NEED: Right back
Brentford managed to secure a remarkable 13th-place finish in their first season back in the top flight. But don’t expect them to match that next time around unless they can find a proper right back.
After Denmark international Henrik Brentford departed in June 2021, Brentford tried to sign Gremio’s Brazilian youngster Vanderson in August last year, then again in December, but couldn’t get a deal done. Perhaps it will be third-time lucky for the Bees.
Sergi Canos struggled for form at right wing-back this season, forcing Thomas Frank to turn to centre back Kristoffer Ajer to shift to the fullback role. If a deal still can’t be struck for Vanderson, Nathaniel Clyne could be an option for Brentford, with the fullback out of contract after leaving Crystal Palace.
But if striker Ivan Toney departs, the Bees will be desperate to replace his 12 league goals by signing a new attacker.
BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION
Despite the club snatching their first-ever top 10 finish in England’s first division, it was a familiar story for Seagulls’ fans – their club just can’t find a striker who bags lots of goals. Brighton managed just 42 goals this season, a dismal tally that was better than just four rivals.
Leandro Trossard had eight league goals, as did Neal Maupay, while Danny Welbeck added six. But if the club is to match their ninth-place finish, they’ll have to find a striker who can hit that 10-goal mark.
Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah is set to be available for free with his contract expiring, and the club has been strongly linked to a bid – just as they were in January.
NEED: Centre back
With Antonio Rudiger (Real Madrid) and Andreas Christensen (Barcelona) heading to the exit as their contracts end, Chelsea need defensive reinforcements. Cesar Azpilicueta’s future is also in doubt, adding even more pressure on Thomas Tuchel to revamp his backline immediately.
But with the takeover deal now officially complete, expect to see Tuchel finally get a deal done for long-term target Jules Kounde. A deal collapsed at the last minute last year when Sevilla pushed for an additional £20m at the final stages of negotiations, but the teams look set to agree on a fee around £50-60m for the France international.
Chelsea has been linked to a host of other top talents, from Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly to Inter Milan centre-back Milan Skriniar, to RB Leipzig centre-back Josko Gvardiol or even Pau Torres or Caglar Soyuncu. What’s clear is that the heart of defence will look very different next season – though Chelsea could also look inward to solve their issue, with the likes of academy product and rising star Levi Colwill an option.
Cheikhou Kouyate and James McArthur are coming out of contract, but the biggest lost for the Eagles is the departure of Conor Gallagher.
The 22-year-old loanee will return to Chelsea, having secured Palace’s Player of the Season award for a sublime campaign where he notched eight goals and five assists.
Lens midfielder Cheick Doucoure has been heavily tipped to move to Selhurst Park, with the energetic youngster already a regular international for Mali.
Lewis O’Brien, a 23-year-old Huddersfield star, could be tempted to join Palace after the Terriers missed out on Premier League promotion – but Leeds are also keen on the midfield talent.
NEED: Centre back
Everton’s relegation escape this season has surely indicated to Frank Lampard just how much the team needs to change – and it’s all about the defensive unit. 66 goals conceded was the fifth-worst in the league, and their centre-backs are simply not reliable.
There’s injury-prone Yerry Mina, while Jarrad Branthwaite needs time to develop into a first-choice starter.
Nottingham Forest’s Joe Worrall was on the radar of Everton and West Ham, but Forest’s promotion could see an end to that speculation.
Everton are one of many clubs keen on James Tarkowski, so will have a tough task on their hands to convince the departing Burnley skipper to sign on the dotted line.
AC Milan captain Alessio Romagnoli is also the subject of strong gossip over a potential move.
But after years of misguided spending, Everton can’t splash too much cash until they start offloading failed buys from their roster.
Having won the Championship to book their place in the top flight, Fulham have already copped a blow with young gun Fabio Carvalho moving to Liverpool. Reinforcements out wide is a top priority for Marco Silva, but a long-anticipated move for Shakhtar Donetsk’s Manor Solomon is apparently on the brink of falling through.
Craven Cottage could witness Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard suit up for the club next season, with the out-of-contract veteran available for free. He’s reportedly the club’s top priority, but central defenders like Liverpool’s Joe Gomez are also on the radar to strengthen across the pitch.
Leeds haven’t bought a senior central midfielder since January 2018, and that simply has to change this window. Keeping Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips is the key to the club’s future. If they lose either, they’ll need to find a top-class replacement.
Leeds have already done a deal for Brenden Aaronson, the American midfielder from RB Salzburg. It’s a handy piece of business – though Leeds are probably still miffed they had two January bids rejected for the player, who could have been very handy in their relegation scrap. He’s set to play more as an inverted winger than in the heart of the pitch, so Leeds are still searching for a central midfielder.
Leeds previously bid for Cagliari’s Nahitan Nandez, and could go in again this time around. Exiled Chelsea playmaker Ross Barkley has also been linked.
Elsewhere, expect Leeds to target a fullback and some firepower up front.
NEED: Centre back
Cash-tight Leicester look set to offload a host of players, from defensive duo Caglar Soyuncu and Jannick Vestergaard to midfield star Youri Tielemans and Boubakary Soumare. Brendan Rodgers says the side needs a “healthy shake up”, starting with a left-sided centre-back. The Foxes conceded 15 goals from crosses, the most in the league, and 34 per cent of their conceded goals came from set pieces – also the most. They also copped 16 goals from corners, the equal-highest since records on that stat started in 2006-07. Physicality and intensity in defence will be an aim – and they’re one of many clubs in for Tarkowski. Elsewhere, they’re aiming for a winger and a Tielemans midfield replacement.
Sadio Mane and Divock Origi are set to depart Liverpool, and Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino are entering the final years of their contracts. Tying the latter duo to fresh deals is a priority, but Liverpool need reinforcements up front, given Firmino is the only genuine centre-forward. Liverpool talked to Kylian Mbappe before he remained with PSG, signalling just how serious they are about bolstering their attacking stocks. Now they’re in a bidding war with Manchester United for 22-year-old Uruguayan Darwin Nunez. Nunez scored 34 goals in 41 matches and added four assists for Benfica this season – including goals against Liverpool in both their Champions League clashes. His release clause is a whopping €150m but expect a deal to be done for about €100m.
Elsewhere, 19-year-old attacking midfielder Fabio Carvalho has signed from Fulham, which provides cover for the likely departure of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
It’s hard to even consider City becoming even stronger, especially since they’ve already signed Erling Haaland in a whopping £51m deal that sees the club finally plug the gap left by the departure of Sergio Aguero. They’ve also added rising star Julian Alvarez from Argentina for more striking depth.
The key now is to mitigate the departure of Fernandinho by adding a central midfielder. Kalvin Phillips and Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong have both been linked, but most likely appears to be Sporting CP’s Matheus Nunes. City also need a fullback after their injury woes last year forced Fernandinho to step in at both centre-back and right-back last campaign. Brighton’s Marc Cucurella and Valencia star Jose Gaya have been linked.
City’s chairman recently promised ‘a couple more’ signings this window – so expect City to get even stronger.
In truth, United is desperate for improvement across almost every position. But with Paul Pogba leaving for free (again) and Nemanja Matic set to join him out the door, a dominant centre-mid is the top need. The club is keen on Frenkie de Jong and Leicester’s Youri Tielemans. Declan Rice’s £100m price tag could shut down a deal for the West Ham star, but RB Leipzig’s Amadou Haidara was linked to a move last year and could be a more realistic option.
Chris Wood’s £25m arrival in January was meant to solve this issue. But the Kiwi managed just two goals and leaves the Magpies searching for more depth up front. Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin is their number one target, according to The Telegraph, but they could stun the league if they can beat Liverpool and United to pull off a deal for Darwin Nunez.
Forest’s biggest priority this transfer window will be to ink permanent deals for their host of talented loan stars: superstar fullback Djed Spence from Middlesbrough, now on the radars of the Premier League’s very best teams, as well as Aston Villa’s Keinan Davis, Manchester United’s James Gardner, Watford’s Phillip Zinckernagel and Sheffield United’s Max Lowe. Forest would love to lock down all of them. But need more depth up front – especially if they can’t lock in Davis with a reported £15m bid. Newcastle’s Dwight Gale has been mentioned.
There will be changes across the park. Expect PLENTY of movement, even if the transfer fees aren’t eye-watering. That will likely include a fresh goalkeeper, midfielder(s), a fullback and a centre-back.
It’s hard to pick a single priority, especially given how awful their keepers were last year, but we’re going with a forward. The Saints scored just 43 goals this season, and are set to lose Shane Long this window as well as loanee Armando Broja back to Chelsea. Forwards Nathan Redmond (three) and Stuart Armstrong (three) contributed fewer goals than centre-back Jan Bednarek (four) last season, while the top scorer was deep-lying midfielder James Ward-Prowse.
Blackburn Rovers’ Ben Brereton-Diaz was previously linked to the club, while Manchester City’s teen striker Liam Delap could be a canny loan move. Angers’ Mohamed-Ali Cho has also been rumoured to be on the shopping list.
Antonio Conte has been backed with a massive £150m transfer kitty, and half a dozen arrivals could be in order – from centre-backs to right back to the midfield.
Conte has already poached one of his former charges at Inter Milan in Croatian Ivan Perisic, and another Inter star in defender Stefan de Vrij could follow. Fellow centre-backs at Inter Alessandro Bastoni and Milan Skriniar have also both been linked! Sven Botman is set to leave Lille this window and could be a great buy, while Villareal’s Pau Torres has been tied to the club in the past.
Around the park, expect more wing-backs – so crucial to Conte’s system – with Djed Spence from Middlesbrough high on their priority list at right back after his sensational Forest stint.
At centre-mid, the club wants Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse, but that would cost a huge chunk of their £150m budget and is therefore unlikely.
Besides the relegated duo Watford and Burnley, West Ham’s average age of their starting XI was the oldest among the Premier League last campaign. Fresh faces are a must. Striker Michail Antonio didn’t score a league goal from January to May – five months! Put that down to fatigue, since he played more minutes in all competitions than in the two previous seasons combined. Nevertheless, the underperforming forward needs competition, which could come in the shape of Hull City’s Keane Lewis-Potter. Watford’s Emmanuel Dennis is an option after they were relegated, while the club reportedly contacted Moise Kean’s agents.
Elsewhere, their ageing centre-back stocks could do with a refresh.
Manager Bruno Lage declared: “Maybe we need two or three players to increase the quality and the number of players in the squad.”
Joao Moutinho is set to depart with his contract finished – though there could be a late backflip there – while Ruben Neves looks set to leave after five years in Wolverhampton. Sporting’s Joao Palhinha fits the mould, both in his playing style and in his Portuguese nationality! Palhinha could cost £25m, but Tottenham is also reportedly in the hunt.
Elsewhere, the club needs goals. Top scorer Raul Jimenez managed just six league goals. Only three teams in Europe’s top five leagues had a top scorer manage fewer goals.