Saturday, 20 June 2015

Who Needs What And Why?’s take on how the English Premier League’s top clubs can push for the title, and the champions league.

The football transfer market is going to swing open in a couple of weeks and England’s top clubs should be lining up their prospective signings. While Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich continue to throw their “Europe’s elite” weight around, it’s going to be a little harder for English clubs to tap up the players they need for next season’s title bid. What do England’s top 5 clubs need? Here’s our take:

Manchester United – Experience, guile, fortification.

The red devils managed a 4th place finish, giving them a shot at Champions League football again. From a larger perspective, no true Man United fan would see a trophy-less season as a success, but most will agree that Louis Van Gaal did well to resurrect the side after David Moyes’ managerial stint. Looking forward, Van Gaal is 2-3 signings away from a sustained title bid next season. Memphis Depay is the first of hopefully a few more to walk through the doors at Old Trafford.

With Robin van Persie misfiring (relatively), Falcao flopping, and Rooney being played in a more withdrawn role, United could definitely use an effective and experienced striker up front. Someone who can push the flying Dutchman to his flying best again, and play as a target man to United’s creative midfield. Di Maria might not have impressed last season, but give him a man in the box to aim at, and things will suddenly look sunny.

A good, strong defender who can give Phil Jones and Chris Smalling a run for their money is another must. The two central defenders have been less-than-impressive this past season. Bringing in a versatile defender who can play out right as well, will effectively seal United’s dodgy defensive worries. Valencia and Rafael just don’t cut it out right and should be considered as back up rather than starting material.

Chelsea – More of the same!

Title winners Chelsea haven’t lost out on much except for the departing Didier Drogba. Three of their four starting defenders are probable entrants into the Team of the season and their midfield is lethal in attack, and impenetrable in defense. Jose Mourinho will have set his eyes on the Champions League for next season and to challenge for it, he’s going to need a top class striker to fill any void that Drogba leaves behind. Should Diego Costa lose form or suffer an injury, a back up striker will be needed. Remember, last season, Oscar was playing furthest forward in his absence.

In addition to a man up-front, this is also a good time for The Blues to bring in some players for the future. Loftus-Cheek showed signs of challenging for a first team call up and adding more such talent will only push the players to perform at their peak. As things stand, Chelsea can do very little to hamper a successful season, but there’s a lot of opportunity to make it a memorable one.

Manchester City – English blood, and a plug for the defence.

Manchester City fizzled out during the winter period of last season. This can be directly related to the lack of game time and form of YayaToure. With the premier league’s top scorer in their side, it’s criminal for the club to have finished 8 points adrift of Chelsea.

It’s clear that Fernandinho and Fernando just can’t hack it as defensive mids, and it seems like the league has finally discovered a way to expose captain Vincent Kompany’s flaws. A holding midfielder should be number one priority on City’s shopping list. Let’s not forget that City are also dancing on the line of disqualification due to the lack of homegrown players in their squad. Currently, their 25-man squad contains only 3 homegrown Englishmen, against the required 8.

We won’t be surprised if Manuel Pellegrini raids the premier league mid-tablers - Everton, Tottenham Hotspur, Swansea, Stoke, etc. for proven English talent. Raheem Sterling is already in his scope but it’s clear, that firepower is not the need of the hour for the league’s top scoring club. Seal that hole in the defensive line and the title could be heading back to Manchester.

Arsenal – A wall in the middle, and a man at the top

Arsene Wenger seems to get some sort of evil pleasure in not fixing the Arsenal’s most obvious problems. For the last four seasons the whole world has been yelling “Central Midfielder” at the gooners, and they continue to even today, but to no avail. An emergency signing of Mathieu Flamini last season was a gamble, and eventually a successful fix, abeit, temporarily. Currently the Arsenal squad has three players to fill that defensive midfield spot – Arteta,Flamini, and Coquelin. While the Coq has grown tremendously last season, he remains the only reliable holding player in the squad, and surely will suffer from fatigue at some point. Arsene needs to bring in an experienced player to mentor and mould Coquelin into a star. Schneliderin, Kondogbia, Cabaye, Khedira, have all been touted for the role, but they’re still far far away from the London club.

A lot of critics have also voiced their concern over Arsenal’s strikers. Giroud is a fan favourite but isn’t as lethal and deadly a finisher as a title-challenging club requires. Welbeck looked to be a suitable man for the job but injury and lack of playing time has taken its toll on his form. Walcott is still playing hide and seek with his contract, which means a world-class striker is something of a necessity.

More goals scored and fewer goals conceded, and the Arsenal could well be champions.

Liverpool – An army, and a new leader.

Call us pessimists, call us skeptics, call us whatever you want, we just don’t see Brendan Rodgers as a title winning manager. His signings in the past, his team selection, tactics, and rather obstinate opinion on Liverpool’s form seem to be taking the club one step forward and two steps back. He’s already confirmed three new signings, news that should make any clubs’ fans rejoice, but tell a true follower of the Reds that they’ve snapped up Danny Ings, Adam Bogdan and James Milner, and they’ll be less than impressed.

From the current Liverpool squad, we’d pick only Coutinho, Henderson, and Sterling as top, top players. The rest seem to have great talent on their day, but on most other days, they’re strictly average. With Raheem Sterling’s future in doubt, the Reds need to bring in a striker (Balotelli and Sturridgedidn’t do the job), a midfielder or two to push Lallana, Markovic and Allen to play at their best, and definitely a goalkeeper to remind Mignolet that he can be benched at any time.

If you ask us, we’re seeing a Brendan Rodgers exit come winter, unless he changes his system and stops playing players out of position. There’s only so much mediocrity that a club with Liverpool’s rich history can tolerate.  Liverpool have a long way to climb back to the top, but if history has taught us one thing, it’s that the Reds are one of the few clubs that can actually do it.

There you have it. That’s the way we see things. If you agree, disagree, or think we’ve missed something blatantly obvious, let us know in the comments below! Also visit 100% Authentic Official Merchandise Online Store for vast collection of football accessories.

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