Man United, Man City, Chelsea and Arsenal – who needs what?
Between them they’ve spent just over £430m this summer, but as the transfer window draws to a close, which of the so-called ‘Big Four’ still need to spend before the window slams shut and – more specifically – where should that money go?
It’s safe to say United haven’t looked this solid since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson – and although we’re only two games in, it’s clear to see why Jose Mourinho’s side are right up there as 13/5 second-favourites to lift the Premier League for the 14th time, and that’s largely thanks to the business the Special One has done this summer.
But there are still a couple of areas in which Mourinho will want to strengthen.
Going forward United now pose one of the biggest threats in the league with the likes of Paul Pogba, Wayne Rooney and, of course, Zlatan Ibrahimovic. But it’s at the back where the Red Devils still need to add numbers.
Quality in depth is somewhat lacking in defence, and it’s no surprise that several centre-backs have been linked with a move to Old Trafford this summer. Jose Fonte is the name on everyone’s lips at the moment – and the Euro 2016 winner would offer a cool head with experience at club and international level. For a rumoured £8m, Fonte would be a steal.
Verdict – One more new face at the back and United will really mean business.
New City manager Pep Guardiola has been incredibly busy this summer, adding an injection of youth to an ageing team.
And like their neighbours, going forward Guardiola boasts perhaps the most impressive array of talent in the league and already looks to be bringing out the best in Raheem Sterling again.
But the City boss faces the same problem as Mourinho at the back, and while the arrival of John Stones brought a sense of excitement to the Etihad, it’s questionable whether the full-backs at Pep’s disposal meet his high standards, not to mention the ongoing goalkeeping saga.
He’s already been linked with a move for Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin but door was quickly slammed in his face, while a reunion with Claudio Bravo looks more likely by the day.
Verdict – Don’t be surprised if Pep brings in another face alongside Bravo over the next week or so.
Antonio Conte did his business quickly in this summer window, bringing in N’Golo Kante from Leicester and Michy Batshuayi halfway through July.
The former Italy manager hasn’t spent a penny since then, but has recently admitted he needs one more defender.
And he’d be right to admit that. Cesar Azpilicueta, John Terry, Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic have been regulars for Chelsea at the back for what seems an eternity, and though they’ve been loyal servants to the Blues, perhaps a new defender would shake things up a little.
Verdict – In the summer of reunions, expect Conte to bring in a face he knows well. Who? We’ll have to wait and see…
Arsene Wenger has been heavily criticised in this transfer window for his lack of activity in the market, bringing in just one marquee signing in Granit Xhaka for £35m.
The French boss (rather sarcastically) apologised at the weekend for not spending £55m on Rob Holding from Bolton, arguing that he wouldn’t just spend ridiculous amounts of money on a player that doesn’t justify his valuation.
And while he does have a point, it’s the point he’s picked up in the Premier League so far that Gunners fans are more bothered about.
Their second-half collapse against Liverpool on the opening day strengthened the argument for a new defender while their lack of chances created against Leicester on Saturday only further emphasised the need for an out-and-out striker.
Verdict – A deal for Shkodran Mustafi looks increasingly unlikely and a move for a striker appears non-existent. Unfortunately this will be a frustrating week for Gunners fans.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.