It’s that time of year. As the biggest clubs brace for yet another window of hefty spending, theScore takes a look at the players they should be targeting.
Arsenal: Samuel Umtiti would bring some much-needed expertise to the Gunners’ backline. A World Cup winner with France, the 25-year-old has the technical ability and spatial awareness to restore order to Arsenal’s defense. He can also pitch in with a header or two at the opposite end of the field.
Chelsea: It would be foolish to send Tammy Abraham away on loan for a fourth time. With a transfer ban in the offing, the Blues have to work with what they’ve got. Abraham showed he’s deserving of a chance, firing Aston Villa to the Premier League last season with 26 goals in 40 appearances. And Chelsea need all the help they can get at the center-forward position. Olivier Giroud and Michy Batshuayi are the only other strikers under contract for the 2019-20 campaign.
Liverpool: The newly crowned Champions League winners don’t have any glaring holes to fill, but a player like RB Leipzig’s Timo Werner would be a welcome addition. A mobile center-forward, Werner would give Roberto Firmino some much-needed competition and the opportunity to rest every now and then. Divock Origi acquitted himself well in the absence of the energetic Brazilian – who missed significant matches last season due to injury – but Werner is more of a like-for-like substitute.
Manchester City: Pep Guardiola has every reason to build his midfield around Rodri, the responsible Atletico Madrid pivot who’s reportedly set to join City in the summer. Rodri has all the attributes that Guardiola craves in a defensive midfielder. His dynamic passing range and intelligence in open space would rejuvenate City’s midfield and ease the burden on Fernandinho.
Manchester United: Anyone but Nemanja Matic. One of United’s weakest performers in 2018-19, Matic showed signs of steep decline in the defensive midfield role. If there’s money to spend, a chunk of it should go toward the signing of Wolves upstart Ruben Neves. The shape-shifting Portuguese has more pace in his legs and a penchant to shoot from afar. He’s certainly fitting of a stage like Old Trafford.
Tottenham: It’s time for Tottenham to move on from Kieran Trippier. An aggressive full-back like Thomas Meunier would offer more down the right flank. Paris Saint-Germain have reportedly made Meunier available at the right price, and if they’re serious, Spurs could sell Trippier to finance the arrival of the Belgian international. It helps that Meunier has an understanding with Tottenham’s standout center-backs, countrymen Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen.
Atletico Madrid: The rebuild is on. With so many senior players on the way out, Atletico boss Diego Simeone needs to rethink every position on the pitch. But the departure of Antoine Griezmann – the lifeblood of Atletico’s attack for the past five seasons – will hurt most. Atletico need a player of Griezmann’s heart and hustle to keep the hunt going. Ante Rebic, Eintracht Frankfurt’s bustling second striker, would certainly do the trick.
Barcelona: Barcelona’s front three would look so much better with Neymar back on board. It’s no secret the Brazilian shares a close relationship with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, and according to reports in Spain, they’d prefer the Brazilian to the signing of Griezmann. There’s also a vacancy on the left wing: neither Philippe Coutinho nor Ousmane Dembele has laid his claim to the position since Neymar left in 2017.
Real Madrid: Los Blancos have already invested more than €200 million in new personnel, but the spending spree may not be over just yet. Manager Zinedine Zidane is a self-confessed fan of Paul Pogba, and the French midfielder is openly seeking a “new challenge” somewhere else. There’s just one problem: Pogba wouldn’t come cheap.
Bayern Munich: The reigning Bundesliga champions are on the lookout for wingers. Club president Uli Hoeness said it would take “crazy sums of money” to strike a deal for Leroy Sane, and reports seem to back it up. Manchester City reportedly turned down Bayern’s opening €80-million bid in May, leaving the Bavarians with little hope of securing a deal. They could do worse than Lille’s Nicolas Pepe, who lit up Ligue 1 with 22 goals and 11 assists in 38 league appearances.
Borussia Dortmund: With Nico Schulz, Julian Brandt, Thorgan Hazard, and Mats Hummels already heading to Dortmund, there’s little more the German outfit can do to improve its squad. But at the very least, BVB should explore signing full-back Achraf Hakimi on a permanent basis. After joining Dortmund on loan from Madrid, the 20-year-old showed incredible poise and versatility, playing on both the left and right flanks. He was one of the best full-backs in the Bundesliga until he injured his foot in April.
AC Milan: The Rossoneri are reportedly working on a deal for Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira, but it won’t be easy to convince the Gunners. The industrious Uruguayan is one of their most important players and is on palatable wages. Things, as always, could change, especially with former mentor Marco Giampaolo taking the reins at Milan. Giampaolo kick-started Torreira’s career at Sampdoria during the 2017-18 season and apparently developed a good rapport with the player’s family.
Napoli: The people of Naples would love to have Edinson Cavani back at the San Paolo, and manager Carlo Ancelotti would certainly enjoy having a striker of his ability leading the line. But is it a plausible scenario? Napoli are already earmarking a heap of cash for James Rodriguez, and PSG may or may not have any interest in selling Cavani. Just like last season, rumors of Cavani’s rumor may remain just that.
Juventus: What if Juventus made a move for Mauro Icardi? His relationship with Inter is beyond repair, and if he has no desire to leave Italy, a transfer to the eight-time defending Serie A champions makes the most sense. Moise Kean is far too young to start regularly, and the Bianconeri don’t really have another natural No. 9 in their ranks aside from Gonzalo Higuain, who’s returning from a year in the wilderness. Mario Mandzukic and Cristiano Ronaldo both love to drift wide. A penalty-box predator like Icardi would score many goals for this Juventus side.
Inter: Romelu Lukaku would find the transition to Serie A fairly simple. Despite opinions to the contrary, the 26-year-old is a technical center-forward who can do more than just score goals. He’d fit right into Antonio Conte’s plans at Inter. Conte wanted Lukaku at Chelsea in 2017; the Italian could get his wish a couple of years later in Italy’s fashion capital.
Roma: It seems like Roma have to sell one of their best players every summer. Kostas Manolas is the latest to be linked with a move away from the Italian capital, with Napoli considered the most likely destination. In return, the Giallorossi would be wise to request Amadou Diawara, the 21-year-old midfielder who’s dying for more playing time. Diawara would instantly add more bite to a tiring midfield and become a key component of Paulo Fonseca’s pressing game.
Paris Saint-Germain: It’s difficult to forecast what will happen in Paris this summer. No player is safe, not least Neymar, whose nagging injuries and indiscipline have damaged his stock in the French capital. If the Brazilian were to leave, Griezmann would be the ideal replacement. He would, of course, find himself back in his native France beside countryman Kylian Mbappe, who would, in turn, find more room in the center-forward role he covets. Griezmann’s leadership and industry would also invigorate PSG, a club criticized in the past for a perceived lack of fight.
Marseille: It’s 2019 and Marseille still haven’t found a striker to replace Michy Batshuayi. Bafetimbi Gomis jumped ship after one season, Kostas Mitroglou failed spectacularly, and Mario Balotelli lasted just five months. With the appointment of Andre Villas-Boas as manager, Marseille have a chance to reset. But the south-coast side – which has already paid a fine for Financial Fair Play violations – cannot afford big signings. Andre Silva, whose future at Milan is far from certain, could be a realistic loan signing.
Lyon: With midfielder Tanguy Ndombele set to leave Lyon for a sizeable fee, Les Gones have a tough assignment ahead of them. Ndombele was the equalizer for Lyon last season, often making progressive passes and runs up the pitch. Fiorentina’s Jordan Veretout would offer something similar. He made 2.3 key passes per game in 2018-19, ranking fifth among all midfielders in Serie A. It would be foolish not to bid for the 26-year-old.