Premier League transfer window preview: who needs to improve what and where this summer?

Here, we take a look at issues each side will be dealing with in the coming months and the players they have been linked to

Samuel Lovett,Richard Thomas
Monday 22 May 2017 15:52
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With the Premier League season now over, clubs will already be turning their attention to next term.

The summer is a crucial stage for all sides as they look to recharge the batteries, restock and prepare themselves for another season of football.

Here, we take a look at issues each outfit will be dealing with in the coming months:

Arsenal

With their appearance in the FA Cup final next weekend, Arsenal's season is not yet over, but there is still a massive elephant in the room as Arsene Wenger's future remains unclear. With boardroom unrest, a failed takeover bid and potential exits for Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, an interesting summer lies ahead.

Transfer targets: Arsenal are in the market for a top striker and Alexandre Lacazette certainly fits the bill. The Frenchman is leaving Lyon in the summer but with reports suggesting Atletico Madrid are poised to swoop, the Gunners face a fight to sign the player. Sead Kolasinac makes for another (more realistic) option. A deal is expected but Arsenal need to make sure they don't let this one slip. A versatile central midfielder and full-back wouldn't do any harm either.

Bournemouth

A second successive mid-table finish represents success for Bournemouth and their task now will be to keep hold of their prized assets. Boss Eddie Howe is sure to make his way onto managerial short-lists, not least if a vacancy arises in north London, while Josh King and Steve Cook could attract interest from bigger clubs.

Transfer targets: Bournemouth will be hoping that Jack Wilshere's loan move to the club could open the door to more high-profile players. John Terry and Jermain Defoe would both make for excellent signings and would surely suit the mould of the club. The Cherries could return for Nathan Ake, whose future at the Bridge looks unclear, while Asmir Begovic would make for another strong addition.

In pictures: Premier League season 2017

Burnley

Burnley retained their Premier League status for the first time ever and must now work out how to do it again next season. It is unlikely to be plain sailing as Michael Keane is set to leave, possibly to Manchester United, while it is surely only a matter of time before somebody comes knocking on the door for boss Sean Dyche.

Transfer targets: Burnley face a tough challenge holding onto their star players this summer. United have been linked with Keane while Andre Gray has reportedly caught the attention of Everton and Tottenham. Should such players walk away, Dyche will need to ensure he finds suitable replacements - something he has acknowledged: "We're not a powerhouse in the market so we've got to be open minded."

Chelsea

Chelsea, aiming to claim the double, will be keen to avoid repeating the mistakes which led to an embarrassing defence of their last Premier League title two years ago. Rumours linger over a possible return to Italy for boss Antonio Conte, but he is more likely to be concerned with strengthening his squad.

Chelsea claimed their sixth English title

Transfer targets: As revealed by The Independent, Southampton's Virgil van Dijk and Alvaro Morata are Chelsea's primary targets for a busy summer that sees Conte looking to bring in at least six new signings to take his Premier League-winning side to the next level. The club hierarchy also feel they have the edge on United in the pursuit of Monaco's Tiemoué Bakayoko for central midfield. Romelu Lukaku is another option should Chelsea fail in their pursuit of Morata.

Crystal Palace

After Sam Allardyce led Crystal Palace away from relegation danger, the Eagles will now be looking to kick on. Their main focus will be strengthening their squad, hopefully turning Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho's loan deal into a permanent one, while fending off interest in winger Wilfried Zaha.

Transfer targets: The most obvious transfer target is Sakho, but Palace are realistic - rather than pessimistic - about the chances of signing him. Central defence is not the priority it once was, with Scott Dann, Tomkins and the revitalised Martin Kelly impressing there. With Yohan Cabaye amassing interest from Ligue 1, Fabian Delph is being eyed as a potential replacement while Soualiho Meité is another. Defoe is available on a free transfer this summer and Big Sam loves his former charge, but it is no secret that there will be plenty of interest in the 34-year-old striker.

Everton

Everton qualified for the Europa League in Ronald Koeman's first season in charge but their squad could be broken up this summer. They look set to lose 25-goal striker Romelu Lukaku, with serious doubts over the future of England midfielder Ross Barkley.

Ross Barkley has yet to sign a new contract 

Transfer targets: Everton's interest in Swansea City midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson is well-established - but reports claim Tottenham are thinking of resigning the Icelandic international. Should they make a move for Sigurdsson, Everton will have a fight on their hands but there's no doubt the player would reinforce the Toffees' central unit. Dries Mertens would similarly make for another good signing but their chances of landing the Belgian are slim. A replacement for Lukaku, should he leave, is also a big must with Sandro Ramirez touted as a signing.

Hull

Hull will be back in the Championship next season and may well be looking for a new manager. Marco Silva could not keep the Tigers up but enhanced his reputation and has been linked with a move to Watford.

Silva's future at Hull looks unsure

Transfer target: Hull are another club that face a hard summer ahead in holding onto their best players. Harry Maguire has been linked with no fewer than six Premier League clubs while reports suggest Liverpool have agreed a deal to sign Andrew Robertson in the summer. Defensive reinforcements will be needed should this be the case. One such player who the side have been in for is Simon Kjaer, the Fenerbahce centre-back. Hull officials visited Istanbul last month but now that the side have slipped into the Championship, their chances of signing the Dane look bleak.

Leicester

Leicester's Premier League defence might have ended in relegation had it not been for Craig Shakespeare's late intervention and he is waiting to find out his fate. With no Champions League football on offer next term, the vultures could start circling for forward duo Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy.

Gray has been linked with a move away from the King Power 

Transfer targets: Defence will be a key area for the Foxes, with both Robert Huth and Wes Morgan no longer the brick wall they were last season. A new forward to bolster the side's attacking options, and compliment Jamie Vardy, would also be welcomed. But the side could be forced to make a number of replacement signings, too. Wilfred Ndidi, Demarai Gray, Ben Chilwell and Riyad Mahrez have all been linked with a summer move. Depending on which players leave, Leicester will need to be smart in their recruitment and avoid any more failed high-profile signings (Islam Slimani, we're looking at you).

Liverpool

After a Europe-free season, Liverpool must now build a squad capable of coping with the demands of Premier League and Champions League football. A new goalkeeper is a priority, along with a striker, while keeping Phillipe Coutinho is a must.

Transfer targets: Liverpool are confident they will strike a deal for Fulham’s highly-rated Ryan Sessegnon, initiating a busy summer where Jürgen Klopp wants to bring in five new signings to bolster the squad for a campaign involving competition on four fronts. The German also hopes to sign both Timo Werner and Naby Keita from Red Bull Leipzig and Robertson from Hull City, as he seeks to sign at least one left-back, a forward, a central midfielder and a centre-half. Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk has been the main target for central defence but, although Liverpool are still pursuing the Dutch international, it is currently felt by those close to him that Chelsea are his likeliest destination.

Liverpool return to Europe

Manchester City

Pep Guardiola did not enjoy the ideal start to life in English football and he will be expected to fare better with Manchester City next season. There are issues hanging over several players, including Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero, and also goalkeeper Joe Hart, who will return from a loan spell in Italy. Money is likely to be spent in excess during the summer.

Transfer targets: With Pablo Zabaleta on his way out and the likes of Nicolas Otamendi, Bacary Sagna, Gael Clichy and Aleksander Kolarov all approaching the end of their respective careers, City's primary focus heading into the summer will be their defence. Fabinho has been touted as a potential signing and it's easy to see why. Versatile - the Brazilian can play in central midfield or at right-back - and highly accomplished technically, Fabhinho fits the Guardiola profile. With Aguero's future unclear, a new forward would also make sense.

Manchester United

The outcome of Manchester United's season hinges totally on their Europa League final with Ajax on Wednesday. A win would see a return to the Champions League and boss Jose Mourinho can then get on with signing some of the top names in European football, with Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe and Ederson all linked. United must work out how to handle a likely exit for record scorer Wayne Rooney, while David De Gea's future is also a hot topic.

Transfer targets: Who haven't the Manchester club been linked to? Every Tom, Dick and Harry is allegedly under consideration, with United expected to splash out again this summer. A partner for Eric Bailly is needed, while a reliable (injury-free) left-back would help to further reinforce United's backline. Further up the pitch, Mbappe or Griezmann would make for a dream signing with Zlatan Ibrahimovic yet to sign a contract renewal. Andrea Belotti is another forward to have been linked with the club though United's chances of signing any one of these three stars remain unclear. Either way, a new striker is needed.

Harrop scored 15 minutes into his Manchester United senior debut

Middlesbrough

Owner Steve Gibson has hinted that Middlesbrough will not be afraid to splash the cash next season in a bid to bounce back from relegation to the Championship. First they must find a manager. It is unlikely to be caretaker Steve Agnew, with Ryan Giggs reportedly on the short-list.

Transfer targets: For Boro, it's a matter of which players will stay and which ones will go. Victor Valdes has already been linked with a reunion with former boss Guardiola at City while Ben Gibson has reportedly caught the eye of West Brom, Tottenham and Newcastle. Keeping onto Brad Guzan is a must and it's believed the club have already blocked an early exit. Middlesbrough are also the latest club said to be keeping a close eye on Orlando City's striker Cyle Larin, with reports suggesting that the Teessiders are considering a summer swoop.

Southampton

Boss Claude Puel will be wondering if he will make it through the summer after rumours of player unrest dogged the latter part of the season. Southampton will have a battle on their hands to keep highly-rated defender Virgil van Dijk.

Transfer targets: As always seems to be the case at this time of year, Saints appear set to receive a host of bids for their star men. Van Dijk is wanted by a host of clubs from England and abroad, while Oriol Romeu is a rumoured target for Barcelona. In terms of possible arrivals, the south coast side are one of a number of Premier League clubs keen on KAS Eupen forward Henry Onyekuru. Leeds defender Pontus Jansson is another player on the Saints’ radar.

Puel's time at Southampton could be nearing its end

Stoke

There is a sense that this could be a big summer for Stoke - and particularly boss Mark Hughes - after the club finished in the bottom half for the first time in four years. Working out how to get the best out of Wilfried Bony or Saido Berahino will be a priority.

Transfer target: Goalkeeper Lee Grant has been linked with a move away from the Potters despite winning the club’s player of the season award, while follow shot-stopper Jack Butland is said to be a target for Arsenal and Manchester City. In terms of possible new arrivals, it remains to be seen whether the club will be able to sign Bruno Martins Indi on a permanent basis. Stoke are also keen on giving Leeds United’s 30-goal striker Chris Wood his first taste of top-flight action.

Sunderland

Speculation continues to surround David Moyes' position as manager following Sunderland's relegation to the Championship. Jermain Defoe is expected to leave for top-flight football, while the club will do everything they can to hold on to highly-rated young goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

Transfer targets: Sunderland are set to lose key players Defoe and Pickford following their relegation, while Lamine Kone could also be sold in a bid to raise funds for a squad overhaul. With the contracts of eight players set to expire, it promises to be a summer of wholesale change at the Stadium of Light as the Black Cats look to construct a side capable of mounting a Championship promotion push.

Picford is likely to attract suitors in the summer

Swansea

Paul Clement will be charged with making sure Swansea do not get into another relegation dogfight. The Englishman is confident he does not need to sell top performers Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fernando Llorente, but their resolve could be tested.

Transfer targets: Sigurdsson has been linked with a return to former club Tottenham, with Everton and West Ham also said to be interested. Forward Fernando Llorente is said to be wanted by champions Chelsea. Batafemi Gomis has been in fine form on loan at Marseille, meaning he could come back into Paul Clement’s first-team plans, while the Liberty Stadium boss is also hoping to persuade John Terry to remain in the Premier League with his side.

Tottenham

After a title chase faded late on for a second successive year there are issues for Tottenham to address, not least their impending move to Wembley given their dire track record there. Mauricio Pochettino will want funds to bring in his own players and give his squad some much-needed strength in depth, while he must hope the club is not tempted to cash in on their top young stars. There could be some exits, notably Kyle Walker.

Transfer targets: Early speculation indicates Spurs are interested in signing one of wantaway Everton midfielder Ross Barkley and Swansea’s Gylfi Sigurdsson. The primary target is said to be Barkley, but Pochettino will turn his attention to re-signing the Icelandic international if the Toffees don’t lower their £50m valuation of the 23-year-old. Elsewhere, Moussa Sissoko is expected to be allowed to leave, while Bayern Munich’s Douglas Costa is reportedly a target.

Kyle Walker could be on his way out

Watford

Keeping Watford out of a relegation battle was not enough to save Walter Mazzarri from the chop, so the Hornets' annual search for a new manager will begin in earnest.

Transfer targets: With the Hornets having conceded the fourth-highest number of goals in the Premier League this season, injury-prone Barcelona centre-back Thomas Vermaelen could be brought in to shore things up. Midfield-wise, Everton’s McCarthy is a name doing the rounds, while up front it appears captain Troy Deeney could be on his way out of Vicarage Road. Watford are said to be interested in replacing their skipper with Torino’s Mirko Valdifiori. Guingamp’s Alexandre Mendy is another possible target.

West Brom

After a top-half finish, West Brom boss Tony Pulis will be hoping for significant funds to help push the club on. A striker, a winger and two full-backs could well be on Pulis' shopping list.

Transfer targets: Pulis said his side need to be better "at both ends of the pitch" following their final-day defeat to Swansea. The Baggies are one of a number of clubs said to be interested in signing Manchester City forward Kelechi Ilheanacho, while River Plate’s Argentine frontman Lucas Alario is another name to have been linked with a move to the Hawthorns. Troy Deeney and Jermain Defoe have also been mentioned. With Marc Wilson’s loan at an end, Albion are now down to just four senior defenders and will need to reinforce back. Benfica’s Jardel is one centre-back the Midlanders are allegedly pursuing.

Tony Pulis' side finished in the top half this season

West Ham

After getting through a difficult first season at the London Stadium, West Ham will be keen for home comforts next season. Boss Slaven Bilic will hope he sees some cash to help get his side back into the top half and will also be keen to keep hold of star man Michail Antonio.

Transfer targets: Zabaleta has emerged as a primary target and it's widely expected that the Argentine will join in the summer. West Ham would also definitely benefit from a new forward man. The club have been linked with a move for Defoe and City's Iheanacho but will face consierable competition for both players. Leeds' Chris Wood has even been mentioned. At the back, Chris Smalling has caught the Hammers' interest though it's unclear whether the defender will be one of the United players thrown out in the expected Old Trafford overhaul.

Additional reporting by PA

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