What every EPL club needs: From Man Utd to Sunderland

Xavi, Al Sadd head coach expects a tough game with Al Nassr

As the 2016/17 Premier League season draws ever closer, we take a look at what every club needs to make their mark.

First up it was Arsenal to Crystal Palace, then it was Everton to Manchester City, and now it’s time for Manchester United to Sunderland…

Manchester United

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Who have they signed? Jose Mourinho’s revolution has begun in ominous fashion, with the Red Devils bringing in Eric Bailly from Villareal, Henrikh Mkhitaryan from Borussia Dortmund and a certain Zlatan Ibrahimovic from Paris Saint-Germain. The trio all address problems which United faced last season. Bailly is a natural centre-back who will provide competition for Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, Mkhitaryan will add guile and creativity going forward, while Ibrahimovic not only brings goals, but should help reinject a winning mentality to Old Trafford.

What do they need? Central midfield remains an uninspirational area, with none of Michael Carrick, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin or Marouane Fellaini able to control and dictate a game in the way former United greats Roy Keane or Paul Scholes could. Another right-back would not go amiss after Matteo Darmian had a hit-and-miss debut campaign.

Who should they sign? You may have heard, but United are trying to bring Paul Pogba back from Juventus. A world record deal is on the cards and it is easy to see why; Pogba is a world class central midfielder and would instantly transform Mourinho’s United into a scary prospect.

Who will they sign? It remains to be seen whether a deal can be brokered for Pogba, although it appears to have developed further than most people anticipated. If the move breaks down, expect Pogba’s France teammate Blaise Matuidi to arrive.


Alvaro Negredo

Who have they signed? Boro have been one of the busiest sides in the transfer market this summer, landing Viktor Fischer (£3.8m, Ajax), Bernardo Espinosa (free, Sporting Gijon), Marten de Roon, (£12m, Atalanta), Jordan McGhee (loan, Hearts), Victor Valdes (free, Manchester United), Antonio Barragan (undisc, Valencia), and Alvaro Negredo (loan, Valencia). Negredo’s name stands out the most after the striker scored 23 goals while at Mancheste City, but tenacious midfielder De Roon is also expected to impress.

What do they need? Neven Subotic was expected to arrive from Borussia Dortmund but a deal collapsed after the defender failed a medical, leaving Boro still in need of an established centre-back to compete with Daniel Ayala, Ben Gibson and Bernardo Espinosa. Additional quality in midfield may also be required.

Who should they sign? Timm Klose quickly adapted to the Premier League after joining Norwich in January and impressed, despite the Canaries’ relegation. The Switzerland international would be a shrewd acquisition. Former Arsenal and Liverpool favourite Kolo Toure remains a free agent and has bags of top flight experience.

Who will they sign? Another defender is certain to join, especially with Ayala facing a spell on the sidelines. It would be no surprise to see Aitor Karanka look towards the Championship, where Brighton’s Lewis Dunk is one of the best centre-halves and has been previously linked with a move to the Premier Leauge.


Nathan Redmond

Who have they signed? The arrivals of talented winger Nathan Redmond from Norwich and highly-rated midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg from Bayern Munich are excellent additions, but as is the case almost every summer for Southampton, they are playing catch up after a number of damaging departures. Manager Ronald Koeman joined Everton, while Sadio Mane, Victor Wanyama and Graziano Pelle have also left.

What do they need? In theory Redmond has replaced Mane and Hojbjerg has replaced Wanyama, which leaves Saints still searching for a striker to fill Pelle’s boots. The Italy international was the club’s top goalscorer in the Premier League for the past two campaigns, leaving new boss Claude Puel with a worrying lack of firepower.

Who should they sign? Loic Remy remains out of favour at Chelsea and is a proven goalscorer in the Premier League. Meanwhile, Ross McCormack has consistently scored goals for fun in the Championship for both Leeds and Fulham, and has the ability to make the step up.

Who will they sign? Italy duo Manolo Gabbiadini and Simone Zaza have both been linked and would bolster Puel’s attacking options, while the club is also understood to be leading the race to sign Brighton winger Solly March.

Stoke City

Mark Hughes

Who have they signed? There has been much for Potters fans to get excited about in terms of transfers this summer, in fact, there has been nothing at all. Mark Hughes is yet to make his first signing of the transfer window, although crucially the club have so far kept hold of the likes of Marko Arnautovic.

What do they need? A new striker, undoubtedly. Stoke now possess a brilliantly talented and creative attacking unit in Arnautovic, Bojan Krkic and Xherdan Shaqiri, but last season they were let down by a lack of a clinical forward to put the ball in the back of the net. Jonathan Walters and Mame Biram Diouf could only muster five league goals each last term.

Who should they sign? Mark Hughes continues to chase West Brom striker Saido Berahino, and such a deal would be a good fit for both club and player. An ambitious bid for Ajax and Poland forward Arkadiusz Milik should also be in consideration.

Who will they sign? Reports in Turkey suggest Stoke have failed in a bid to sign former Arsenal and Manchester United striker Robin van Persie, which could force the club to bite the bullet and pay up to finally land Berahino. Meanwhile, the Potters are also understood to have had a £13million offer for Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen accepted.


Jermain Defoe

Who have they signed? Like Stoke, Sunderland have failed to sign a single player this summer. The Black Cats managed to avoid relegation last term thanks to some clever business in January, but this transfer window has been overshadowed by the uncertainty regarding Sam Allardyce, who is set to be named England manager.

What do they need? A new manager, and fast, with David Moyes expected to be appointed as Allardyce’s replacement. Thankfully for Moyes, Allardyce has left behind a solid, well-organised outfit, which does not require a great deal of tinkering. A new striker to help lift the burden on Jermain Defoe is definitely need though. The former England international was Sunderland’s saviour with 15 league goals last season, Fabio Borini was the club’s next highest scorer with five.

Who should they sign? Like Stoke and Southampton, Sunderland need somebody who can be relied upon to score in the Premier League. Loic Remy fits the bill, while Enner Valencia appears available to be prised away from West Ham. Valencia’s teammate Diafra Sakho has been linked with a move to the Stadium of Light, as has Swansea’s Andre Ayew.

Who will they sign? Senegal international Sakho is the most likely candidate, with the 26-year-old reportedly trying to force his way out of the Hammers.