The 2020/20 English Premier League season kicks off in 11 days and the countdown can’t be complete without taking a look at the piece of business conducted by the title-challengers in the transfer window.
Gbamm! Accesses the Premier League’s top four clubs preparedness and recruitment to date, expected arrival’s and their chances ahead of the upcoming season in the first of a two part series.
Liverpool: Premier League champions Liverpool surprisingly have been quiet in the transfer market failing to adequately strengthen a side that obviously needs new legs!
Greek left-back Konstantinos Tsimikas is the only new addition to the squad to date, as Jurgen Klopp has tried unsuccessfully to defend his decision not to be forced into buying, no surprises the deal to buy Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara continues to drag on.
However, the Reds might just be setting themselves up for a challenging campaign, as failure to replace the departed duo of Dejan Lovren (central defence) and Adam Lallana (midfield) and adding quality competition to a “settled line-up” could see them struggle to retain the Premier League title and sustain the progress made in the last three years.
Manchester City appear not to be taking any chances ahead of what could potentially be a defining season for Pep Guardiola. The Citizens finished as runners-up in the Premier League and were knocked out in the quarter-final of last seasons UEFA Champions League in what generally was termed a failed campaign for the big spenders.
The owners aren’t holding back the cheque book, as they have set out to strengthen the squad, completing deals for Ferran Torres and Nathan Ake, while they are reported to have agreed personal terms with Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly as both club’s workout a transfer fee.
Defence was a major issue last season due to the failure to replace the departed Vincent Kompany and Aymeric Laporte’s frequent injuries left them badly exposed. The holes at the back appear to have been plugged with Ake’s acquisition and the incoming arrival of rock-solid Koulibaly.
Perhaps even better news could be the signing of FIFA Ballon d’or record winner Lionel Messi, who is desperate to depart boyhood club Barcelona and reunite with Guardiola on the blue half of Manchester. If City complete both deals (Koulibaly and Messi), then it will be unmistaken to rank them as Premier League favourites for the new season.
Manchester United are on the verge of completing a first transfer of the window, £40m for Donny van de Beek from Ajax Amsterdam. The 23-year-old Dutch midfielder has completed his medical and his addition only means Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has quality options in the middle of the park.
Away from midfield, defence continues to be a nightmare as the club must shift out a few “deadwoods” to make room for relevant signings, top on that list highly-rated RB Leipzig star Dayot Upamecano.
Dean Henderson has signed a new five-year deal after spending the last two seasons on loan at Sheffield United, meaning David De Gea will be getting some fierce competition in goal and isn’t a guaranteed starter, while the club continues its pursuit of primary transfer target Jadon Sancho, despite Borussia Dortmund’s ultimatum elapsing.
The Red Devils look good to go for the season if they can wrap up a centre back and forward signing to a side that showed some massive potential at the back end of last season.
Chelsea: Despite heavily spending on offensive reinforcement (Kai Havertz deal is still in view) and the excited buzz it has created in the media, Chelsea have failed to tackle their defensive problems from last season head-on, notably in the goalkeeping position.
In addition to Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech’s arrival, experienced Brazilian defender Thiago Silva (free transfer from PSG), England international left-back Ben Chilwell (five-year deal from Leicester City) and 21-year-old French defender Malang Sarr (a free signing from OGC Nice, who is expected to spend the season out on loan) have all joined the Blues.
N’Golo Kante’s frequent injuries last season and Jorginho’s inconsistency could make signing a defensive midfielder a top priority this season, a major reason why West Ham star Declan Rice remains a target for the Blues.
However, while it’s not certain if Frank Lampard is done with his recruitment process, one thing has been established, if Chelsea fails to sign a quality goalkeeper and rather rely on both Kepa Arrizabalaga and Willy Caballero, then all of their brilliant work in the transfer market will be undone within the first three months of the campaign.