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Friday, June 14, 2024

One ideal summer signing for each Premier League club

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The transfer window is right around the corner and Premier League clubs are expected to splash the cash once again.

England’s top clubs have dominated the spending in comparison to European rivals in recent years and records could tumble once again in 2024.

Ahead of the summer transfer window, which opens on June 14, we’ve recommended one ideal signing for each Premier League club.

Arsenal – Alexander Isak (Newcastle)

After successive runners-up finishes in the Premier League, Arsenal will be aiming to take the next – and most difficult – step next season. Mikel Arteta’s team have shown they can compete for the title but require an addition of x-factor to become champions. The lack of a recognised and reliable centre-forward has been viewed as an area of weakness and Alexander Isak would provide a huge upgrade in the final third.

Though any deal could cost in the region of £100m, Isak has all the attributes to evolve into an elite option. He scored 21 league goals in 27 starts for Newcastle in 2023-24 and has been likened to Thierry Henry.

Elite company ✨

Alexander Isak is the first @NUFC player to hit 20 goals in one PL season since @alanshearer 21 years ago 🔥 pic.twitter.com/DBz5YkdprG

— Premier League USA (@PLinUSA) May 7, 2024

Aston Villa – Alex Baena (Villarreal)

Aston Villa got over the line in the race for Champions League qualification but a lack of depth saw Unai Emery’s side stutter during the run-in. The Spaniard could do worse than raid old side Villarreal for Alex Baena, after a breakout season for the winger at El Madrigal.

Baena led Europe’s top five leagues for assists (14), ranked second in La Liga for crosses and topped the division for xA per 90. The 22-year-old has a release clause of €60m (£51.2m) in his contract, though Villa could look to negotiate a lower fee.

Villarreal’s 22 year old midfielder Alex Baena has now provided the most assists in Europe’s Top 5 leagues this season. 👏🇪🇸

🇪🇸Alex Baena – 14 assists
🇪🇸Alejandro Grimaldo – 13 assists
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿Ollie Watkins – 13 assists

[@OptaJose , @alexbbaena] pic.twitter.com/bNekFSOcUH

— LaLigaExtra (@LaLigaExtra) May 25, 2024

Read – Every non-Big Six team to play Champions League football
Bournemouth – Emile Smith Rowe (Arsenal)

Emile Smith Rowe needs football after missing most of the last two seasons at Arsenal. Despite being available for the majority of the campaign, Smith Rowe clocked just 347 minutes of Premier League football.

The 23-year-old is a big talent but needs to rediscover his groove. Bournemouth, with intricate and high-intensity football under Andoni Iraola, appear a fine fit. The Cherries were reliant on Dominic Solanke for goals last season and Smith Rowe is a player capable of reaching double figures from midfield.

Brentford – Eddie Nketiah (Arsenal)

Eddie Nketiah has reached a crossroads in his career with the forward failing to earn regular football at Arsenal. The forward will turn 25 this month and needs regular first-team football, and Brentford appears a viable destination with the Bees expected to lose Ivan Toney.

Thomas Frank has spent £30m to sign Igor Thiago from Club Brugge and Nketiah could complement the Brazilian as he adjusts to the demands of the division.

Nketiah scored a record-breaking 16 goals in 17 appearances for England’s u-21 side and made his senior debut in October.

Brighton – Yukinari Sugawara (AZ Alkmaar)

Brighton are among a bunch of clubs said to be ‘very interested’ in signing Yukinari Sugawara with the right-back set to be on the move this summer.

The Japan international scored four times and provided seven assists for AZ last season, and averaged a huge 6.27 crosses per 90 minutes. A real set-piece threat, he could be available for just €6m (£5.1m) after entering the final 12 months of his deal. Another potential bargain for the Seagulls.

Chelsea – Victor Osimhen (Napoli)

Chelsea are another side in search of a centre-forward and Victor Osimhen has been heavily linked with West London. Having discussed his desire to play in the Premier League and admiration for Didier Drogba, the 25-year-old is open to a move to Stamford Bridge after a prolific period at Napoli.

Osimhen, who has a release clause of around €130m (£110m), has scored 76 times in 133 appearances for Napoli, who missed out on European qualification this season. He’s one of the best number nines on the market.

Air Osimhen ✈️

Victor Osimhen throws caution to the wind as heads in an equaliser for Napoli!

📺 @tntsports & @discoveryplusUK pic.twitter.com/cHno9jUuje

— Football on TNT Sports (@footballontnt) April 7, 2024

Ranking the five favourites to sign Victor Osimhen
Crystal Palace – Daichi Kamada (Lazio)

Crystal Palace face a fight to hold onto Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise this summer and the arrival of Daichi Kamada could safeguard their creative future. The Japan international has the option to leave Lazio as a free agent and previously worked under Oliver Glasner at Eintracht Frankfurt.

Kamada won the Europa League at Frankfurt in 2021-22 and provided 15 goal involvements in 25 league starts during his final Bundesliga season, before a mixed time at Lazio last season.

Everton – Elijah Adebayo (Luton)

Everton showed signs of progress under Sean Dyche last season, finishing comfortably clear of trouble despite eight-point sanctions for breaching financial rules. Finances are expected to be tight again this summer and Dyche will need to be savvy in the market.

Elijah Adebayo could be an astute addition for Everton to provide competition and cover for Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Beto has struggled to convince in English football, while Calvert-Lewin’s injury record and contract situation (expires 2025) is a concern.

The first Luton Town player to score a Premier League hat-trick.@EliSaint4 🪄 pic.twitter.com/u6ywiQKXiu

— Luton Town FC (@LutonTown) January 31, 2024

Adebayo impressed despite Luton’s relegation, scoring 10 times in 16 league starts, impressively outperforming his xG of 6.5, and averaging a league-leading 0.32 goals per shot.

Five relegated players who will be in demand this summer

Fulham – Jacob Greaves (Hull)

Fulham are set to lose Tosin Adarabioyo on a free transfer and the Cottagers will look to sign at least one new centre-back this summer. Jacob Greaves could be an interesting option for the West Londoners having established himself as one of the most highly-rated defenders in the Championship.

The 6ft 4in centre-back won the Hull City Player of the Year award and was named in the EFL Championship Team of the Season, following a campaign that saw him rank second for aerial duels won (177) in the second tier. The 23-year-old appears destined to take the step up into the Premier League sooner rather than later.

Ipswich Town – Sammie Szmodics (Blackburn)

Ipswich Town will return to the Premier League for the first time since 2001-02 next season, having won back-to-back promotions under Kieran McKenna. Ipswich were the leading scorers in the second tier despite lacking a prolific presence upfront, with
Nathan Broadhead and Conor Chaplin the club’s leading scorers with 13 goals each.

Sammie Szmodics scored more than that duo combined for a struggling Blackburn side, becoming the first Rovers player since Alan Shearer to score 30 goals in a season (33). The 28-year-old has all the attributes to thrive in McKenna’s front-footed side.

Leicester – Abdul Fatawu (Sporting Lisbon)

Leicester unearthed a gem in Abdul Fatawu last season, securing the winger on loan from Sporting Lisbon. The 20-year-old had played just 114 minutes of football in Europe since signing for Sporting but starred in the Championship last term, with six goals and 13 assists.

Securing him permanently should be a priority for Leicester – there’s a rumoured purchase clause of €17m (£14.5m) – once the club’s financial issues are solved.

Liverpool – Manuel Ugarte (Paris Saint-Germain)

Liverpool overhauled their midfield last summer, with ageing stars Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Fabinho moved on, and a quartet of additions brought in. The Reds signed Wataru Endo from Stuttgart after missing out on Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia, though the 31-year-old appears a short-term option in defensive midfield.

A long-term anchor could be sought this summer and Manuel Ugarte appears an interesting option. After signing for PSG from Sporting Lisbon for a fee of €60m last summer, he struggled to nail down an automatic role and was left out for much of the club’s Champions League campaign.

However, the 23-year-old is an elite ball-winner. Despite starting just 21 times in Ligue 1, Ugarte led the league for tackles (98) and averaged 91.2% pass completion.

Manchester City – Bruno Guimaraes (Newcastle)

Manchester City boast arguably the most talented squad in Europe, with only the elite capable of improving Pep Guardiola’s team. Bruno Guimaraes has been linked with the Etihad and appears an ideal fit for the Citizens. Combative, creative and all-action, the Brazil international could shine in a two-man pivot alongside Rodri.

With doubts over Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva, now could be the time to reinvent in midfield. A release clause of around £100m is not beyond the champions.

Bruno Guimarães during the 2023/24 Premier League season:

◉ Most fouls won (108)
◉ Most duels won (285)
◉ Most possession won (236)
◉ Most high turnovers (40)
◎ 8 assists
◎ 7 goals

This summer’s £100m man. 🤑 pic.twitter.com/HSYJSlsArv

— Squawka (@Squawka) May 24, 2024

Manchester United – Jarrad Branthwaite (Everton)

Manchester United let in 83 goals this season, the most the club has conceded in a single campaign since 1971. FA Cup success salvaged a place in Europe for next season, but the Red Devils must build from the back after their lowest league finish since 1990.

Jarrad Branthwaite is understood to feature highly on the club’s wish list and it’s easy to see why. The 21-year-old ranked in the Premier League’s top players for clearances (6th), interceptions (7th) and dribblers tackled (8th) in 2023-24 to earn Everton’s Players’ Player of the Season award. The Toffees need to sell this summer and he appears an obvious exit.

Ranking the five favourites to sign Jarrad Branthwaite

Newcastle United – Tosin Adarabioyo (Fulham)

Eddie Howe is targeting defensive depth following long-term injuries to Sven Botman and Jamaal Lascelles. With finances unclear after missing out on Europe, the Magpies have pursued free transfer deals for Fulham’s Tosin Adarabioyo and Bournemouth’s Lloyd Kelly. The former is a target for several top clubs after two quietly excellent top-flight seasons at Fulham. Available as a free agent, the upside of a deal could be huge.

Nottingham Forest – Caoimhin Kelleher (Liverpool)

Nottingham Forest have signed ‘first-choice’ goalkeepers like it’s going out of fashion recently. Since promotion two years ago, Dean Henderson, Keylor Navas, Matt Turner, Odysseas Vlachodimos and Matz Sels have all signed with mixed success.

A long-term number one should be on the agenda this summer and Caoimhin Kelleher looks an attractive and attainable option. Too good to be playing second fiddle to Alisson at Liverpool any longer, the 25-year-old needs a move to fulfil his clear potential.

Save after save after save.

Take a bow, Caoimhin Kelleher 🤩 pic.twitter.com/Hjq9gXh4lK

— Liverpool FC (@LFC) February 26, 2024

Southampton – Armando Broja (Chelsea)

Armando Broja’s progress at Chelsea has stalled and a loan move to Fulham in January did not work out as hoped. Injuries and a lack of opportunity have halted the forward’s development, so could a return to a former club be what is needed?

Broja enjoyed a breakout season on loan at Southampton in 2021-22, scoring nine times in all competitions. The Saints are back in the Premier League and in need of support for Adam Armstrong, who despite a brilliant season in the second tier has scored just four times in 64 previous top-flight appearances.

Tottenham – Dominic Solanke (Bournemouth)

Ange Postecoglou has said improving his forward line is a focus for Spurs this summer and Dominic Solanke could be the ideal addition. After a slow start to his top-flight career, Solanke exploded in 2023-24 to score 21 goals in all competitions.

Just seven players have ever scored more Premier League goals in a season for a bottom-half team, while Solanke led the league when it came to applying pressure with his work rate from the front. Smooth in possession, hard-working and improving in front of goal, the 26-year-old looks ready to take the step (back) up to a European club.

No two players this season won more Premier League points through the goals they scored than Cole Palmer & Dominic Solanke 🔵🍒 pic.twitter.com/PK6tLsamLI

— LiveScore (@livescore) May 21, 2024

West Ham – Ivan Toney (Brentford)

West Ham have endured a wretched record when it comes to signing strikers, with big-name additions Sebastien Haller and Gianluca Scamacca having struggled in East London, despite shining elsewhere.

Julen Lopetegui will have a striker at the top of his agenda for the summer window and a move for Ivan Toney makes sense. The 28-year-old has made clear his desire for a new challenge away from Brentford, has 12 months to run on his deal, and interest from the Premier League’s very best appears to have cooled.

A West Ham team who have competed regularly in Europe of late could appeal to Toney, who has 36 goals and 11 assists in 84 appearances since Brentford’s promotion.

Wolves – Jonathan Rowe (Norwich)

Gary O’Neil has suggested Wolves need to sell before signings can be made this summer and Pedro Neto looks like the likeliest high-profile exit. The winger’s injury record is perhaps all that has prevented a transfer in recent windows, but clubs including Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City are again being linked.

Dazzling from Jonathan Rowe! ✨@NorwichCityFC lead!#EFL | #SkyBetChampionship pic.twitter.com/ouxNGklXQw

— Sky Bet Championship (@SkyBetChamp) January 12, 2024

Jonathan Rowe was the subject of interest from Wolves last summer and the Midlands outfit could return in 2024. The 21-year-old scored 12 league goals for Norwich last season and marked his England u-21 debut with a goal in October.

Read – Five surprise teams who will play Champions League football next season

See more – Five Championship players primed for Premier League transfers

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