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Who Should the 20 Premier League Clubs Be Targeting in the Transfer Window? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Arsenal: Naby Keïta

The fact Arsenal need reinforcements in central midfield every summer shows they have failed to rectify an issue that has been holding them back for some time. They have been linked with a move for RB Leipzig’s Naby Keïta on numerous occasions this year and the Guinean could be the answer to their problems. An all-rounder in the middle of the park, the 22-year-old scored eight goals, registered seven assists and averaged 2.7 dribbles in the Bundesliga last season, while producing 2.6 tackles and 2.6 interceptions per game to boot.

Bournemouth: Sam Larsson

The left wing has been something of a problem position that Jordon Ibe failed to make his own last season, with Marc Pugh starting more often (15 times) as Eddie Howe chopped and changed. If Howe were to address the issue again this summer, Sweden international Sam Larsson could represent an affordable and exciting alternative. The 24-year-old Heerenveen winger led the way in the Eredivisie last season in assists, with 12, while also scoring nine goals and ranking second for total dribbles (91).

Brighton: John Ruddy

It may not be a move that offers great excitement to fans of the newly promoted side but, with David Stockdale rejecting a new contract and expected to leave on a free, recruiting John Ruddy would make sense. The 30-year-old is also a free agent, having failed to really kick on in recent seasons, but he enjoyed his best form for Norwich under Chris Hughton at a time when he was capped for England and even linked with a move to Chelsea.

Burnley: Tom Lawrence

After a successful season on loan at Ipswich in the Championship, Tom Lawrence has admitted that his future at Leicester remains unclear. If the club are willing to sell the 23-year-old, a switch to another Premier League club should be on the cards. Burnley could do with the forward’s energy and invention. Capable of playing from either flank or as a support striker, the Manchester United graduate was the one bright spark for Ipswich last season, with nine goals and nine assists.

Chelsea: Andrea Conti

Victor Moses exceeded expectations in his new right wing-back role but his season ended in disappointment and controversy. Antonio Conte would clearly like more options on the right and he’s rumoured to have an interest in his near-namesake, Conti, who has enjoyed an excellent season for Serie A’s surprise package Atalanta. The 23-year-old weighed in with eight goals and five assists from the flank in a similar system to that used by Chelsea.

Crystal Palace: Harry Maguire

If Palace are priced out of a permanent move for loan star Mamadou Sakho, they should look to Harry Maguire. Both center-backs have a slightly unconventional playing style but belie their somewhat lumbering frames to impress both in and out of possession. Maguire completed the most dribbles of any Premier League center-back last season, while reading the game well to average 2.2 interceptions per game and earn the captaincy under Marco Silva. With Hull relegated, the race is on for the 24-year-old’s signature.

Everton: Jordan Pickford

In desperate need of a goalkeeper after unconvincing claims for the No1 jersey from both Joel Robles and Maarten Stekelenburg, Everton’s interest in Pickford is unsurprising. The Sunderland stopper has reportedly gained higher profile admirers but a move to Goodison would make sense, given that he would unquestionably be first choice. The youngster made more saves per game (4.9) than any other Premier League keeper last season, earning a place in our team of the season with a rating of 7.04.

Huddersfield Town: Tom Cairney

With a shock promotion to the Premier League confirmed on Monday, Huddersfield’s transfer targets may have become a little more ambitious this week as they bid to establish themselves in the top flight next season. A move for an attacking midfielder could be on the cards and, while Tom Cairney has reportedly gained strong interest from Newcastle, Huddersfield should consider rivaling any offer for the Fulham captain. He would suit the side’s possession-based approach, having secured the best pass accuracy by a distance in the Championship last season (92.6%), when he also scored 12 goals and registered 10 assists.

Leicester City: Frederik Sorensen

With Wes Morgan’s injury towards the end of last season exposing Leicester’s lack of depth in defence, reinforcements at the back should be their first priority this summer. A player as versatile as Frederik Sorensen – he is able to play at center-back or right-back – should be on their radar, particularly following an underwhelming campaign from Danny Simpson. The 25-year-old Dane starred for Cologne as they secured an unlikely Europa League finish, averaging a highly impressive 3.1 tackles and 2.7 interceptions per game.

Liverpool: Ricardo Pereira

Full-backs likely to be on Jürgen Klopp’s wishlist this summer. James Milner and Nathaniel Clyne were dependable last season but neither really contribute a great deal in attack in open play. A more offensive option could be pursued in the coming months and the adaptable Ricardo Pereira has reportedly caught Klopp’s eye. He can play in either full-back position or in a more advanced role on the wing, having proven a valuable asset to Nice in Ligue 1 during a two-year loan spell from Porto. The 22-year-old averaged 1.2 key passes, 1.2 dribbles and 2.9 tackles per game last season.

Manchester City: Alex Sandro

If City have genuine aspirations of becoming a force to be reckoned with in Europe under Pep Guardiola, they will need to back him to rebuild an ageing squad. It would take a massive offer to convince Juventus to sell Alex Sandro, but it’s the sort of statement move that the club will be looking to make. The Brazilian has been consistently superb for the Serie A champions all season, earning their highest league rating (7.63), as he established himself as one of the very best full-backs on the continent.

Manchester United: Faouzi Ghoulam

Napoli failed to agree terms on a new deal with Faouzi Ghoulam and are willing to cash in on left-back, which has alerted the interest of most of the Premier League’s big hitters. The 26-year-old Algeria international is one of the finest attacking full-backs in Europe and proved as much last season by registering nine assists across Serie A and the Champions League. His average of two key passes per game was the most of any full-back in Europe’s top five leagues. With José Mourinho clearly not keen on Luke Shaw, a move for Faouzi would come as no surprise.

Newcastle United: Youssouf Sabaly

Youssouf Sabaly was linked to Sunderland last year but newly promoted Newcastle would be wise to offer him a route out of Paris Saint-Germain to the Premier League if he is deemed surplus to requirements in France. The full-back, who can play on either side of a back four, has spent the last four seasons out on loan and, at 24, has never made a league appearance for his parent club. He spent last season with Bordeaux, where he was the club’s highest rated player (7.28), having averaged 2.6 tackles and 1.6 dribbles per game as well as chipping in with four assists.

Southampton: Ben Gibson

Virgil van Dijk is almost certainly going to leave Southampton this summer. His absence in the second half of the season due to injury forced Claude Puel to employ an encouraging defensive partnership of Maya Yoshida and Jack Stephens. They performed admirably but, while neither deserves to be unceremoniously dropped, competition at the back is necessary. Ben Gibson has attracted interest from a number of Premier League clubs and, despite Middlesbrough’s relegation, he seems well placed to avoid a drop back to the Championship. Southampton would be a logical fit for a defender who showed good composure and positional sense in his first season in the top flight.

Stoke: Chris Wood

Stoke made two marquee signings to remedy their problems up front last season, first with the loan arrival of Wilfried Bony and then the permanent transfer of Saido Berahino, but both flattered to deceive. The latter will of course be given more time but with Bony’s unproductive spell at the Britannia coming to an end another striker may yet be a priority. An alternative to 36-year-old Peter Crouch would make sense, and so too would a move for the Championship’s top scorer Chris Wood. The 25-year-old was clinical in front of goal last season for Leeds United, scoring 27 times. He is a powerful target man who would suit Stoke’s approach.

Swansea City: Cheikh N’Doye

Having been linked with Angers captain Cheikh N’Doye last summer, Swansea may consider a move 12 months on now that the 31-year-old’s contract has expired. The Senegal international is thought to have offers from across the continent, and even China, so it could take a big contract to persuade the midfielder that Wales is the place for him. Swansea could do with greater quality and presence in midfield, so it’s certainly worth a shot. N’Doye won a massive 8.2 aerial duels per game last season, as well as contributing five goals and five assists.

Tottenham Hotspur: Patrik Schick

Such is the quality of Tottenham’s first-choice XI, it’s difficult to think of a position that needs strengthening, with squad depth instead the priority for Mauricio Pochettino as he looks forward to another season in Europe. With that in mind, he may look to sign another forward following Vincent Janssen’ struggles last season. A bid for Sampdoria wonderkid Patrik Schick has been reported. The 21-year-old Czech international scored 11 times last season despite starting just 14 of his 32 appearances. His invention and strong dribbling ability could be put to use in a wider role too.

Watford: Pontus Jansson

The Watford squad is a real hotchpotch of nationalities so the fact that Walter Mazzarri was reportedly unable to get his message across in Italian – or any language for that matter – is no great surprise. The group doesn’t really have an identity so it’s difficult to suggest where to strengthen first but injuries at the end of the campaign exposed a lack of quality options at center-back. Pontus Jansson enjoyed an excellent campaign with Leeds and has been linked with a move to the top flight for some time, ranking among the top five in the Championship for clearances (10.1) and blocks per game (1.2). Also, Watford don’t have a Swede yet.

West Brom: Charlie Taylor

A long-term target of the Baggies, with Tony Pulis a known admirer of the 23-year-old, the fact that Charlie Taylor’s contract expires this summer actually seems to be making a deal for the left-back more complicated. The West Brom boss is keen to avoid a subjective compensation package to Leeds via a tribunal and would prefer to agree a fee for the promising defender. It’s understandable, with no real natural left-back in the squad – a position that has been covered by right-back Allan Nyom and midfielder Chris Brunt – that Taylor would be of interest. He endured an injury-disrupted campaign last time out but offers a good outlet from wide, averaging 1.1 dribbles per game while registering three assists from 26 starts.

West Ham United: Jermain Defoe

It’s a somewhat sentimental one but there’s no question West Ham would love Jermain Defoe to return to east London rather than moving to Bournemouth on the south coast. The Hammers need striking reinforcements, given Andy Carroll’s injury problems, and Defoe proved last season that he’s far from finished, forcing his way back into the England set-up aged 34. Defoe started all but one of Sunderland’s league games last season, scoring 15 goals for a side that managed just 29 in total.

(The Guardian)