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Where Do The Premier League Top Six Still Need To Strengthen?

With just three weeks remaining until the close of the transfer window, Premier League clubs will soon begin rushing to get deals over the line.

The shortened transfer window, coupled with the distraction of the World Cup, has meant that most clubs have not been able to be as active in the market as they would have liked – leaving them to face a late rush between now and August 9th.

For some, the bulk of their transfer business has already been done, but with such a short time frame remaining, how are the Premier League top six shaping up ahead of the new campaign?

 

Manchester City

Major Signings: Riyad Mahrez (Leicester)

Major Departures: Yaya Toure (Released), Pablo Maffeo (Stuttgart), Angus Gunn (Southampton)

Verdict: With largely the same title-winning squad as last season, Pep Guardiola has not felt the need to reinforce to a strong degree. The arrival of Riyad Mahrez, along with the loan return of Patrick Roberts and further development of Phil Foden, means that the champions are well-stocked in attack.

The failed pursuits of Fred and Jorginho do, however, suggest that Man City are looking for a midfielder to replace Yaya Toure. If they do add to their squad in this window, it will be there.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JULY 12: Manchester City's new signing Riyad Mahrez holds a shirt at the Etihad Stadium on July 12, 2018 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Tom Flathers/Man City via Getty Images)

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Manchester United

Major Signings: Fred (Shakhtar Donetsk), Diogo Dalot (Porto), Lee Grant (Stoke City)

Major Departures: Michael Carrick (Retired), Daley Blind (Ajax), Sam Johnstone (West Brom)

Verdict: Man United have been surprisingly quiet in the transfer market this summer, doubly so given Jose Mourinho’s strong assertion that investment is required. Fred is a promising signing in midfield, as is Dalot (who, one presumes, is one for the future) but the squad still has gaps. At full-back, for example, Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young are approaching their mid-thirties – and with Blind already gone and Matteo Darmian likely to follow, options in these areas will only narrow further.

The right wing is also an area of concern – Alexis Sanchez, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford are all duking it out on the left and while one of those could move to the opposite flank, buying a specialist right-winger would surely be a more favourable option.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JUNE 04: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Manchester United unveil new signing Fred at Aon Training Complex on June 4, 2018 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Manchester United/Man Utd via Getty Images)

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Tottenham Hotspur:

Major Signings: None

Major Departures: None

Spurs are either biding their time and waiting to pounce, or Mauricio Pochettino is largely happy with the players available to him. Right now, it appears Aston Villa playmaker Jack Grealish is the only player close to making a move to White Hart Lane, though expect that to change if Toby Alderweireld and/or Mousa Dembele end up departing.

Tottenham are a team with strong squad options all over the pitch, though, so apart from an arguable lack of depth in central midfield, no area really stands out as one that has a burning need to be fixed straight away.

<> during the Tottenham Hotspur training session at Tottenham Hotspur Training Centre on February 2, 2018 in Enfield, England.

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Liverpool

Major Signings: Naby Keita (RB Leipzig), Fabinho (Monaco), Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke City), Alisson Becker (Roma, subject to medical)

Major Departures: Emre Can (Juventus), Jon Flanagan (Rangers), Harry Wilson (Derby County, loan), Ovie Ejaria (Rangers, loan), Adam Bogdan (Hibernian, loan)

Verdict: Liverpool have probably had the best transfer window of any of the top six so far, insofar as they have fortified areas of the pitch that badly needed it. Keita had already been confirmed, but the addition of Fabinho will prove to be a more than able replacement for Emre Can. Assuming the Alisson deal goes through, it will fix that long-standing goalkeeper option, while Shaqiri is a fine rotation option.

In terms of what still needs to be done, assuming Liverpool are still in the market then a creative playmaker (e.g. Nabil Fekir) could still be a position to look at, as could another central defender.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MAY 28: (THE SUN OUT, THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT) Fabinho signs for Liverpool Football Club at Melwood Training Ground on May 28, 2018 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Nick Taylor/Liverpool FC/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

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Chelsea:

Major Signings: Jorginho (Napoli)

Major Departures: Kenedy (Newcastle, loan), Mason Mount (Derby County, loan), Todd Kane (Hull, loan)

Verdict: As it stands, Sarri already has work to do. Jorginho will provide an excellent base for his 4-3-3 but there are other areas to look at it. A centre-back should be on the cards if Gary Cahill is being phased out, unless David Luiz can play his way back into contention. They also lack a bit of depth in the attack, hence the interest in Aleksandr Golovin of CSKA Moscow.

However, the positions of some of Chelsea’s current stars are up in the air. The likes of Thibaut Courtois, Eden Hazard, Willian, Alvaro Morata, Michy Batshuayi and N’Golo Kante have all been linked with moves away recently – depending on who among that list actually leaves, that position becomes an immediate priority for new manager Maurizio Sarri.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 13: Chelsea Unveil New Signing Jorginho with Chelsea Head Coach Maurizio Sarri at Stamford Bridge on July 13, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

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Arsenal:

Major Signings: Bernd Leno (Bayer Leverkusen), Sokratis Papastathopoulos (Borussia Dortmund), Stephan Lichtsteiner (Juventus), Lucas Torreira (Sampdoria), Matteo Guendouzi (Lorient)

Major Departures: Per Mertesacker (Retired), Santi Cazorla (Villarreal), Jack Wilshere (West Ham).

Verdict: With the attack already considered one of the best in the country, new manager Unai Emery had work to do in balancing the squad out. The signings he has made, mostly in defence and midfield, have largely done that with Lichsteiner providing tremendous backup for Hector Bellerin, Leno replacing Cech as starting goalkeeper, Sokratis aiming to fix that problem centre-back positon and Torreira giving the side some bite in midfield.

Whether it will be strong enough to get back into the Champions League spots remains to be seen but Arsenal, for the first time in a long time, look like they have a properly balanced squad.

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