Recruitment departments will be identifying players who can make the difference for next season and all 20 Premier League teams will undoubtedly be busy in the summer.
As part of a series, we asked our friends at Football Whispers to pick the players who each top-flight side in England should target. This part looks at Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Everton and Huddersfield Town.
After a great first season at Chelsea, which saw the Blues win the Premier League, Antonio Conte’s second campaign in England has been disappointing.
His side haven’t come anywhere close to launching a defence of their title; they currently sit fifth and are in real danger of finishing outside the top four.
After crashing out 4-1 on aggregate to Barcelona in the Champions League round of 16, Chelsea’s only chance of landing silverware now rests on the FA Cup.
Their poor form has largely been down to their new arrivals. After a bright start, Alvaro Morata has struggled in front of goal. Danny Drinkwater and Tiemoue Bakayoko, meanwhile, are yet to justify the big money spent on them.
Chelsea are weaker in midfield than last season and will want to strengthen when the transfer window opens.
Arturo Vidal would add a dynamism and a touch of quality. The Chilean’s future at Bayern Munich is under question with Leon Goretzka arriving in the summer.
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He previously worked with Conte at Juventus, with the Italian hailing him last year. “Arturo is a fantastic player,” he said. “I have a great respect for Arturo, and we spent many years in Juventus together. I would always want him to go to war with me.”
Even if Conte isn’t at Chelsea next season, they should consider the 30-year-old, whose quality and commitment never comes into question.
When a team picks up zero points from their first seven league games, and fail to score in any of them, it’s fair to assume they’ll be relegated.
But after replacing Frank de Boer, Roy Hodgson has done an excellent job with Crystal Palace and has given them a real chance of Premier League survival, even if they do sit in 16th with seven games left.
He’s already solved one dilemma by bringing in Vicente Guaita from Getafe when his contract runs out at the end of June to be the Eagles’ new No.1.
Next up will be addressing numbers in the middle of the pitch. Yohan Cabaye, Lee Chung-Yong and James McArthur have all played in the centre of midfield in Hodgson’s 4-4-2, but all are out of contract in the summer.
It looks like there will be an overhaul at Selhurst Park and if Palace are splashing the cash, they should attempt to make Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s loan deal from Chelsea permanent.
The signing of Ross Barkley in January seems to have pushed the 22-year-old further down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge and he’s at an age where he needs to play regularly if he wants to reach his potential.
And speaking in January, Hodgson admitted he’d like to keep him at Selhurst Park: “I’m pretty sure that if he's ever available for sale, we would certainly be in there with our hand up as one of the potential buyers.”
The Toffees spent big last summer to try to close the gap on the top six. Instead they’re worse off. Last season Everton finished seventh. They are currently in ninth.
The likes of Davy Klaassen and Sandro Ramirez failed to live up to expectations, but it’s been in defence where the issues lie.
Everton have let in 50 goals in 31 Premier League games, with Michael Keane failing to replicate his Burnley form and Ashley Williams making a number of costly errors.
That won’t have pleased Sam Allardyce, whose teams are known for being solid at the back.
Big Sam gave Phil Jones his senior debut at Blackburn Rovers, and with Jose Mourinho reportedly looking for new centre-backs this summer to partner Eric Bailly, the England international looks set to leave Manchester United.
It would be no surprise to see him become an Everton transfer target and he is exactly the sort of signing the Toffees would want if they are looking to get back into Europe.
After sneaking up into the Premier League via a penalty shootout win in the Championship playoffs, Huddersfield Town have proven those who thought they wouldn’t have enough for England’s top flight wrong. The Terriers sit in 15th with seven games to go.
If they stay up, and it’s a real possibility, Huddersfield will want to add a touch more quality to their side as they look to consolidate their place in the league.
Their defence lacked Premier League experience before this season and it’s shown. They’ve conceded 52 goals, only Stoke City, Watford and West Ham United have let in more.
David Wagner doesn’t seem to have settled on a first-choice left-back, and that’s definitely an area to be strengthened in the summer.
With West Bromwich Albion heading down, Huddersfield should consider pinching Kieran Gibbs, who would be an upgrade on Scott Malone and Chris Lowe.
The 28-year-old has more than 150 Premier League appearances to his name, as well as ten England caps.
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