What EPL Teams Need to Fix This Summer
Only as the second half of the Premier League season begins to drag on do team gaffers and footy bettors truly begin to understand exactly what they might be missing. There then comes the excruciating season run-in, with transfer windows being firmly shut so no vital squad alterations can be made until the season is done. While summer transfers and personnel changes will be too little too late for those teams condemned to relegation, for others it will be a chance to take stock and to see how they should bolster their ranks ahead of the 2022/23 season. Of course, planning for the new season also comes with additional challenges, with the World Cup due to cut a swathe through the traditional domestic season, which will in turn affect how sports bettors go about formulating their Premier League accas. Here are some of the teams which have gaping holes in their rosters and who will have their scouts on high alert and on the search for talent that will set the tongues of online betting tipsters and sports fans wagging.
With Chelsea in turmoil, Man City may well have their pick of the Premier League talent pool this summer, and are already busy lining up some major transfer targets
Man City - Out-and-Out Striker
At the time of writing, Man City are being clawed back by Liverpool in the title race. The Sky Blues may yet rue not having properly replaced Sergio Agüero and Ferran Torres as their squad is now devoid of striking talent - especially when Pep Guardiola decides to keep Raheem Sterling on bench warming duties.
With the issue clearly having been noted by the powers-that-be at the Etihad, the hunt is now on for at least one striker who can help Man City match the striking prowess of their closest rivals.
The main name in the frame at the minute is Borussia Dortmund goal machine, Erling Haaland, who appears to have a straight choice between Real Madrid and Man City this summer. Super-agent Mino Raiola will be the man pulling the strings on that deal and it’s not hard to see why his phone will be ringing off the hook, with Haaland having averaged over a goal a game this season.
Man Utd - Leader On and Off the Pitch
If ever there was the epitome of a team of individuals, it is the current rag-tag bunch of stars who currently turn out for Man Utd on a weekly basis. While the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes manage to bail the Reds out of a tight spot here or there, they have been woefully inconsistent this season. This is thanks in part to their captain, Harry Maguire, not having the respect of his peers, and too many senior players being more interested in their individual stats rather than overall team goals.
What the team needs, now more than ever, is a player in the mould of Roy Keane, who can build a team ethic and help bring different cliques in the dressing room together. In the modern game there are not a huge number of players out there that can do this, but perhaps Chelsea’s loanee and current Crystal Palace stand-out Conor Gallagher could fit the bill. A more expensive option would be West Ham’s Declan Rice.
United could also do with offloading some of their hangers-on, with the likes of Jesse Lingard having wasted much of his career on the Old Trafford bench, but while earning a fortune in the process.
Chelsea - Rüdiger and Azpilicueta Replacements
All eyes will be on Stamford Bridge this summer, as the fallout surrounding its boardroom strife promises to run and run. One thing that is already clear is that lots of players, who are due to be out on contract in the summer, will not have their deals renewed.
Star players who fall into this category include the likes of Antonio Rüdiger, César Azpilicueta, and Andreas Christensen. With all this defensive talent being shipped out of the London club, Thomas Tuchel will be desperate to sign some defensive cover.
There’s no shortage of top talent out there at the minute, but with a transfer ban currently hovering over the Blues, it could be a tough task to plug the gaping hole left by departing defenders.
It remains to be seen what sort of transfer business Chelsea will be able to do this summer, and many out of contract players are sure to desert Stamford Bridge
Arsenal - Full-Season Performer Up Front
It’s amazing how Arsenal strikers suddenly up their games when it comes to contract renewal time. One just has to look at the way the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette miraculously find their verve and passion for the game when summer looms on the horizon. Of course, the former has already moved on to Barcelona, where he is putting his best foot forward for the Catalan giants, but surely it is now time for the same to be done with Lacazette.
With plenty of young striking talent on Arsenal’s books and lots of other potential deals to be had around Europe, it's an opportunity for Mikel Arteta to create a strike force that operates at full capacity for the entirety of a league campaign, rather than just when it feels like it.
Spurs - Midfield Enforcer
It is almost a running joke now that after every Spurs defeat, the television cameras will pan to Roy Keane, who will then declare, ‘This is just Spurs’.
While Keane’s assessments of the North London club’s performances are not always quite as balanced as they should be, it is true that, historically, Spurs teams tend to prefer the odd week off, rather than delivering for their supporters on a consistent basis.
That lackadaisical attitude appeared to have been nipped in the bud by Mauricio Pochettino, but since he left to join the Parisian billionaire’s club, Spurs have slipped back into their old habits. The one area Antonio Conte desperately needs to improve in the summer is the midfield, where too many lightweight, creative players are not pulling their weight. Perhaps a player like N'Golo Kanté can be persuaded to swap one London club for another.