Transfer activity this summer is – hopefully like the weather – about to hot up…and we name one player each of the 2018-19 Premier League top six clubs ought to be targeting.
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Manchester City – Rodri
After winning the English treble in 2018-19, City manager Pep Guardiola’s judgement is beyond reproach in the current climate and as it appears Rodri is his top transfer target this summer then who are we to argue?
The rationale is that the 22-year-old Atletico Madrid midfielder is viewed as a potential long-term replacement for Fernandinho – and this would appear the ideal time to blood the younger player while the Brazilian is still around to show him exactly what is required.
Liverpool – Adrien Rabiot
How do you improve a team that won 14 of their last 15 matches of the season and, having narrowly missed out on the Premier League title, gained the ample ‘consolation’ of lifting the Champions League trophy? That is exactly the scenario in which Liverpool find themselves.
If anything, with last year’s signing of Naby Keita not yet having worked out, there is still a lack of creativity in central midfield. Adrien Rabiot is available on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain and would be a thrifty addition at a time when, barring any unexpected departures, not too much investment in the Reds squad is required.
Chelsea – Philippe Coutinho
Chelsea are, of course, under a transfer ban, but an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport could give them the opportunity to bring in a replacement for Eden Hazard, who looks certain to join Real Madrid.
The Blues have already secured the signing of Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund, but he is unproven in English football and may need time to settle. A more ‘off the peg’ option is unsettled Barcelona playmaker Philippe Coutinho, with whom Chelsea have been strongly linked and he, of course, has already shone brightly in the Premier League with Liverpool.
Tottenham Hotspur – Nelson Semedo
With Kieran Tripper strongly linked with a move away, Serge Aurier a loose cannon and Kyle Walker-Peters still very raw, a right-back could be high on the agenda for Tottenham this summer – if they finally loosen the purse strings after two barren transfer windows!
Semedo is reported to want out of Barcelona having been unable to force his way ahead of converted midfielder Sergi Roberto, and if this is the time when Spurs splash the cash then the Portuguese flying machine could be a viable target.
Arsenal – Djene
The Gunners are shopping in the bargain basement with reportedly only around £40million to spend after again missing out on the Champions League, and centre-halves surely have to be high on the target list given the way Unai Emery’s defence crumbled in the Europa League Final.
Djene, a Togo international, was one of the stars as Getafe threatened to gatecrash the Champions League qualification party in La Liga and his signing would not put too heavy a dent in the Arsenal budget.
Manchester United – Thomas Meunier
A wholesale revamp is required in the United squad and one of the main problem positions is right-back, where Ashley Young has nailed down the starting spot – to the anguish of many Red Devils fans, who believe the former England international has decidedly had his day.
Diogo Dalot has plenty of promise, but manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could really do with a player around the prime of his career for this role and Meunier fits the bill ideally – he has quality, is available for around £25million and, best of all, is a self-confessed United fan!