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Sunday, September 25, 2022

A transfer target for each Premier League club in the summer window | Transfer window

Arsenal: Gabriel Jesus

With Alexandre Lacazette leaving Arsenal this summer, Arsenal need a striker. Eddie Nketiah is likely to extend his stay but, with Arsenal returning to Europe, they need more forwards. Gabriel Jesus is a serious target, though Arsenal may face competition from Tottenham and Real Madrid. Despite playing just 1,880 minutes for Manchester City last season, the Brazilian was directly involved in 16 league goals, scoring eight. With Erling Haaland and Julián Álvarez arriving at City, Jesus is on his way out. The 25-year-old is a versatile forward who would be a fine addition to this youthful, free-flowing Arsenal attack.

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Aston Villa: Quentin Merlin

We’re barely into June and Aston Villa have already completed a bulk of their summer business. Philippe Coutinho and Robin Olsen have made their loan moves permanent, while Diego Carlos and Boubacar Kamara have bolstered the defence and midfield, respectively. While Yves Bissouma would be the dream addition for Villa, a backup left-back is perhaps a greater need. Lucas Digne is first choice under Steven Gerrard, so a young understudy is key, with Quentin Merlin a rumoured target. The 20-year-old started 21 league games for Nantes last season and put up respectable averages of 2.1 tackles, 1.3 interceptions and 1.5 key passes per minutes in Ligue 1. Villa have already raided France for Kamara, so why not do so again for Merlin?

France Under-21 international Quentin Merlin could fit the bill for Villa.
France Under-21 international Quentin Merlin could fit the bill for Villa. Photograph: John Berry/Getty Images

Bournemouth: Nat Phillips

Despite interest from Premier League sides, Bournemouth won the race to sign Nat Phillips on loan from Liverpool in January. The 25-year-old proved key in their successful promotion push and the club are now trying to make that move permanent, though Liverpool are reportedly demanding £15m for Phillips. Whether that prices Bournemouth out of the move remains to be seen, but the centre-back brought crucial experience to the south coast last season and Scott Parker will be desperate to keep him.

Brentford: Christian Eriksen

When no team would take a chance on Christian Eriksen, Brentford gambled on the Dane and were duly rewarded. Brentford beat the drop, accumulating more points (46) than fellow promoted sides Watford and Norwich combined (45), with Eriksen’s impact clear for all to see. Seven of their 13 league wins came in his 10 starts, and attention in the 30-year-old has increased significantly as a result. Eriksen signed a short-term contract in January. Extending that deal could be Brentford’s most important business this summer.

Brighton: Joe Rodon

Joe Rodon has started just eight league matches since joining Tottenham in 2020. The Welshman has been unfortunate, with injuries coming at just the wrong time to convince whoever the Spurs manager was at the time but, even when fully fit, he is unlikely to force his way into Antonio Conte’s reckoning. It’s a shame to see a talented centre-back rotting on the bench and, at 24, Rodon is in the infancy of his career. Brighton have a number of centre-back options, but the Wales international’s experience in a three-man backline stands him in good stead. The Seagulls had one of the best defensive records in the league last season and Rodon would boost Graham Potter’s options further.

Chelsea: Josko Gvardiol

Chelsea need centre-backs this summer, especially now that Antonio Rüdiger has joined Real Madrid. Josko Gvardiol will not come cheap given that he is tied down at RB Leipzig until 2026, but he is the perfect fit for the left-sided centre-back role. He made more forward passes (897) than any other outfield player in the Bundesliga last season and his progressive approach would help set Chelsea on the front foot. If they want to compete for the title, paying for the 20-year-old would be worth the hassle.

Josko Gvardiol in action for RB Leipzig against Rangers in the Europa League semi-final.
Josko Gvardiol playing for RB Leipzig against Rangers in the Europa League. Photograph: Bruce White/Colorsport

Crystal Palace: Cheick Doucouré

Crystal Palace need to replace Conor Gallagher, who was instrumental for Patrick Vieira last season while on loan from Chelsea. Cheick Doucouré has emerged as a target for Palace after excelling for Lens. The 22-year-old helped the club earn promotion to Ligue 1 in 2020 and ranked seventh for tackles and interceptions combined (143) in the French top flight last season. He would add the necessary bite to the midfield that will be missing when Gallagher returns to Chelsea.

Everton: James Tarkowski

Excluding penalties, no team conceded more goals from set pieces than Everton (19) in the Premier League last season. Signing James Tarkowski would help their cause. He is out of contract this summer and keen to remain in the Premier League following Burnley’s relegation. He won more aerial duels (153) than any other player in the Premier League last season, returning an aerial success rate of 70.5% in the process. He also ranked second for headed clearances, with 101. The 29-year-old would be a welcome addition at Goodison Park.

Fulham: Alex Moreno

Fulham’s left-backs – Antonee Robinson and Joe Bryan – have Premier League experience, but Marco Silva may want to upgrade this summer. Alex Moreno has been mooted with a potential switch to Craven Cottage, with the Spaniard coming off a fine campaign for Real Betis. Moreno ended the season with five goals and three assists, and he is not one to shirk his defensive responsibilities, having ranked 15th for tackles and interceptions combined (110) in La Liga. The 28-year-old’s performances went under the radar, but he would be an astute addition for Fulham as they try to avoid an immediate return to the Championship.

Leeds: Rasmus Kristensen

Leeds had the second worst defensive record in the Premier League last season so there is work to be done. They laboured through the season with Luke Ayling and Stuart Dallas as their main right-back options, so strengthening in that position will be a priority. Jesse Marsch used his Salzburg contacts to sign Brenden Aaronson and he looks likely to bring in Rasmus Kristensen from his former club. Even though RB Salzburg crashed out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage, no player made more tackles in the competition than Kristensen (37) last season.

Rasmus Kristensen would improve the Leeds defence.
Rasmus Kristensen would improve the Leeds defence. Photograph: DeFodi/Getty Images

Leicester: Joe Aribo

With Youri Tielemans tipped to leave Leicester this summer, they need another midfielder. Leicester could do with a player to help shoulder the defensive burden placed on Wilfred Ndidi. Joe Aribo played alongside Ndidi for Nigeria at the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year and the pair impressed as the midfield base in their 4-2-2-2 setup. Leicester could use the money they receive for Tielemans to prize Aribo from Rangers.

Liverpool: Darwin Núñez

With Sadio Mané expected to join Bayern Munich this summer, Liverpool will be looking for another forward. Luis Díaz has been excellent since his move from Porto in January and Liverpool may return to Portugal to strengthen in attack. Benfica forward Darwin Núñez ended the season with 26 goals in the Primeira Liga, at least six more than any other player. Although primarily a striker, the Uruguayan can play on the left. That versatility would help him fit into Jürgen Klopp’s fluid frontline.

Manchester City: Marc Cucurella

How do you improve the best team in the country? A new left-back would help. João Cancelo shone in the role, but he is a right-back playing on the left and Pep Guardiola would prefer to have a specialist in the position. When Brighton signed Marc Cucurella last summer, few could have predicted he would end up on City’s radar 12 months later, but that is a testament to his rapid adjustment to English football. Trent Alexander-Arnold (51) and Reece James (42) were the only defenders in the Premier League who made more key passes from open play than Cucurella (40) this season.

Manchester United: Frenkie de Jong

Manchester United need a hard reset and fans are hoping Erik ten Hag is the right man to oversee the rebuild. There are a number of positions they need to strengthen in, but following the departures of Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic, they need bodies in midfield. Frenkie de Jong appears to be their primary target. The Dutchman is one of the best ball carriers in Europe. Indeed, he had a dribble success rate of 85% in La Liga last season – better than any other player in the division – and, while the 25-year-old is keen to stay in Barcelona, United are hoping Ten Hag can convince his compatriot to join him in Manchester.

Newcastle: Renan Lodi

Matt Targett has done little wrong at left-back following his arrival from Aston Villa in January but, given Newcastle’s financial backing, they will look at better options in every position this summer. Renan Lodi has been solid for Atlético Madrid since he joined the club from Athletico Paranaense in 2019, but his lack of gametime over the last two seasons could convince the Brazilian to depart for pastures new. No longer first choice left-back under Diego Simeone, Lodi would likely be a guaranteed starter under Eddie Howe. The 24-year-old is decent going forward and solid defensively.

Nottingham Forest: Djed Spence

Djed Spence had a significant impact during his season-long loan at Nottingham Forest and, having earned promotion, the club are keen to sign the 21-year-old permanently. Spence has been a crucial player in Steve Cooper’s three-man defensive system and, given that Middlesbrough already have Isaiah Jones, they are open to a permanent sale. Spence completed more dribbles (76) than any other defender in the Championship last season, which has attracted interest from Tottenham and Arsenal, so Forest need to work hard to secure his services.

Nottingham Forest would be wise to sign Djed Spence on a permanent deal.
Nottingham Forest would be wise to sign Djed Spence on a permanent deal. Photograph: Will Cooper/JMP/Shutterstock

Southampton: Harry Winks

When Antonio Conte took over at Tottenham, Harry Winks seemed to enjoy a new lease of life. But he has since dropped behind Rodrigo Bentancur and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg in the pecking order. Winks did not start a league game in the last three months of the season and a summer exit seems likely. Southampton could do with another experienced midfielder to provide competition for Oriol Romeu and James Ward-Prowse (who has also been linked with a move away) and the out of favour 26-year-old fits the bill nicely.

Tottenham: Alessandro Bastoni

Ben Davies put in a big performance for Wales as they beat Ukraine on Sunday to book their place at the World Cup, but that is unlikely to convince Tottenham to cool their interest in Alessandro Bastoni. Selling Bastoni would help Inter finance moves for Bremer, Paulo Dybala and Romelu Lukaku. The 23-year-old may be keen to stay in Milan, but he would link up with Antonio Conte and Ivan Perisic at Spurs. Many at Spurs see Bastoni as the heir to Jan Vertonghen on the left side of Conte’s three-man backline. He would elevate their backline to levels not seen since the 2016-17 season, when they had the best defensive record in the league.

West Ham: Armando Broja

Michail Antonio once again shouldered the attacking burden for West Ham this season, scoring 10 goals and providing eight assists. However, it’s a gamble to expect him to remain fit for the duration of the season. Adding another out-and-out striker would take some of the pressure off the 32-year-old. The Chelsea forward Armando Broja spent last season on loan at Southampton, where he scored six times for Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side. It may not seem prolific but James Ward-Prowse was their top scorer with just 10 goals. At 20 years of age, there is more to come from the Albanian.

Wolves: Gonçalo Inácio

Romain Saïss will leave Wolves this summer and the Moroccan’s exit leaves a hole to fill. Bruno Lage is expected to bring in another centre-back, which will be vital if he is to continue with a three-man backline. Sporting youngster Gonçalo Inácio is being mooted with a move to Wolves as Lage seeks to solidify a backline that shipped just 43 league goals last season, the fifth fewest in the Premier League. The 20-year-old averaged more passes per game (76) than any other player in the Primeira Liga last season and his arrival would aid Wolves’ quest to dominate opponents with greater regularity.

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