The Premier League season may still be young, but the transfer narratives that will shape the January window have likely already been written. Some of the sides started the season knowing full well they were short in key areas, while others are still hopeful that come January their issues will have resolved themselves. These are the five biggest Premier League transfer priorities as the Premier League transfer window approaches.
Premier League Transfer Priorities: Leicester City- Goalkeeper
Truthfully this entire article could have been based on the lack of squad depth that The Foxes have struggled with in recent seasons. Poor recruitment, terrible injuries and a lack of spending have seen Brendan Rodgers’s side slip from the cusp of Champions League qualification to the cusp of relegation over the course of the last 18 months. This season has seen Leicester start terribly having sold two of their best options in defence in the summer on course to the worst start that they have had to any Premier League season.
One of the most pressing concerns though is that long-serving goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel was allowed to leave the club for OGC Nice in the French top flight and was not replaced. This left long-term understudy Danny Ward as the team’s primary goalkeeper going into the new Premier League season. While Ward is not a bad goalkeeper by any means he has seemed ill-suited to play for a Leicester team that regularly concedes opportunities from set pieces and also plays a style of football that leaves the keeper exposed to the opposition at an alarming rate. His poor form has unfortunately been a large part of Leicester’s drop-off this season.
This shouldn’t be a hard position for The Foxes to fill as so many quality keepers are stuck on the bench as the second choice and the possibility of gaining a number one shirt at a Premier League team is surely an enticing one.
Premier League Transfer Priorities: Leicester City- Centre Back
While it might have been appropriate to dedicate this whole list to Leicester The Foxes are limited to just the first two spots. For many of the reasons listed previously Brendan Rodgers’s side desperately need some additions in the coming window. Alarm bells were ringing at the end of the summer window when Leicester had gone up until deadline day without bringing in a single new addition. This was especially worrying as Brendan Rodgers had gone on record multiple times in the media saying he needed new signings.
Star player Wesley Fofana was replaced by Leicester City’s only summer signing Wout Faes. While the Belgian centre-back isn’t a bad player by any means he is still adjusting to life in the Premier League. Not only that he is trying to do so while playing alongside makeshift centre-backs like Daniel Amartey and Wilfred Ndidi. It is not necessarily a lack of depth in the position that is hurting Leicester but, injuries and a lack of form. Çağlar Söyüncü and Jannik Vestergaard were brought in by Brendan Rodgers in the position but, neither player looks like they have the quality or the manager’s trust to start in the Premier League. Unless Rodgers can force one of these players back into the form he will need to convince the Leicester board to fund a move for another defender that can partner or take the pressure off of Wout Faes.
While it is pure speculation that this move could happen, out-of-favour Manchester United defender Harry Maguire may be available for a loan move in January and this would be the kind of move that could benefit all parties.
Premier League Transfer Priorities: Wolves- Central Defence
Like Leicester, Wolves have depth concerns all over he Of all concerns listed here this one is probably the least likely to be addressed in the coming window. Despite only having a few players capable of playing in the middle of the park Wolves have somehow managed to stave off injuries in this area for a few seasons. While it can be said that this risky strategy has paid off in recent years that doesn’t make it a great idea.
Currently, Wolves only have 3 players in the first-team squad capable of playing at the centre of defence and unlike Leicester, they don’t have midfield players that are capable of deputizing in the position. An injury or lack of form could be disastrous for the Wolves as the season goes on. As they are currently suffering an injury crisis in attacking areas they really cannot afford the same to happen at the back.
There is no obvious player that Wolves should go for as centre-backs of Portuguese descent are in short supply as the likes of Pepe and José Fonte come to the end of their careers. Perhaps they could offer the one-time excellent Çağlar Söyüncü a way out of his Leicester City torment in a way that will benefit everyone involved
Premier League Transfer Priorities: Manchester United- Striker
Lets not beat around the bush on this one. Cristiano Ronaldo is done at Manchester United. He himself could have told you that at the beginning of this season. After his immense performances for United last season, the legendary attacker was understandably not willing to play second fiddle to the attackers that failed to turn up for the side the previous season.
At the same time, many believe that the style of play Ronaldo offers does take away from the players around him. This has so far led to some very public displays of displeasure from both player and the manager. The circus needs to end. Ronaldo must find a new club in January and United must go on the lookout for a new striker.
The club were heavily linked with PSV attacker Cody Gakpo in the summer and we should expect these links to continue into the winter window. Gakpo has been electric for PSV this season so interest in the attacker will be high.
Premier League Transfer Priorities: Liverpool- Central Midfield
This season isn’t the first under Jürgen Klopp where injuries have severely hampered the club’s form. Despite this mitigating factor it would be hard to argue that the guys who have stayed injury-free this season have maintained form throughout. Liverpool has been horribly inconsistent this season and finds themselves in 8th position in the table.
One of the most obvious issues with the side is a lack of skill and intensity in the middle of the park. With players like Thiago, Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, James Milner, Harvey Elliott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Curtis Jones, Naby Keïta and Arthur it seems absurd to suggest that Liverpool has issues in the centre of the park.
At the very least it isn’t an issue with depth the club is suffering from. The main issues here are that some of these players are approaching the final stages of their careers while the younger players have suffered regularly from injuries. The players that fit into neither category like Fabinho and Keïta have been in poor form this season leaving a side that relies on pressing without much energy in the middle of the park.
Liverpool has been heavily linked with making a move for Borussia Dortmund wonderkid Jude Bellingham in the January window and this would truly be the first-choice player in world football to solve the issues the club have been having. Bellingham is an all-round midfielder that offers a threat going forward, has an excellent range of passing and is used to playing in high-intensity pressing systems. It is unlikely that Liverpool will find a closer fit than Bellingham in January.
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