Any Football Manager (or Championship Manager depending on your age) fan will have at least one story of a marquee signing they made for the most unlikely of teams.
It could be the time you convinced a young Ronaldinho to move from Gremio to Nottingham Forest. Or luring Zinedine Zidane away from Juventus to join your Aston Villa revolution. My personal favourite is signing Championship Manager legend Javier Saviola to my Crystal Palace team as we challenged for domestic and European glory.
Successful Football Managers know that it is possible to accumulate lavish transfer budgets to attract the top stars to your club. Here we are going to look at the one marquee signing each Premier League team would make this summer if this was Football Manager. Some of the transfers target specific team needs, some transfers are just because we can, and some are just downright unrealistic. That’s the fun of Football Manager. In reverse order of how the teams finished last season……
QPR showed time and again this season how well they can defend. What they have lacked is somebody who can create chances and even more so somebody who can tuck those chances away. Solve the later problem by signing the reportedly unhappy Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez from Manchester Utd for £20million. Hernandez has shown he is one of the best finishers around, now all you need is somebody to get him the ball.
Newly promoted teams usually struggle in one of two places. Either they can’t score enough goals, or they leak too many goals. Looking at Burnley they are a team that would benefit from gaining a player with Premier League experience, and also a centre half. Why not get both in one? Rio Ferdinand has been told he is no longer needed at Old Trafford. Available on a free transfer it’s time to convince Rio to trade the Theatre of Dreams for Turf Moor for one season.
As we highlighted before newly promoted teams often struggle to score goals. Leicester need to target a front man who can do it at this level. Demba Ba showed in his few chances last season (especially against Liverpool) that he is still a decent Premier League striker. For £10million this is a serious upgrade. We already know he looks good in blue!
The Baggies have needs at every position. It’s time for the West Brom board to splash the cash. For some reason Jose Mourinho does not rate Romelu Lukaku. For £25million bring the Belgian ace back to the club where he has so many happy memories from his loan spell.
Hull’s league position last year is confusing. What was an excellent campaign looks worse due to the fact that they rested many of their starters in the run up to the FA cup final. A large part of that success was the excellent loan signing Jake Livermore. Fans love him, and for £10million he could become a long term addition to this Hull side.
Villa are a decent side who need to upgrade some positions to become a good side. Villas first priority is to hold on to striker Christian Benteke. After that Villa need some steel in midfield and Sporting Lisbons William Carvalho is the man for the job. Available for £30million Carvalho should be high on Villas wish list, unless they want to bring back ex Villian Gareth Barry on a free transfer.
Sunderland have succeeded in taking Premier League veterans and getting the best out of them in the twilights of their careers. The next player Sunderland should target is Ashley Cole. Surplus to requirements at Chelsea Cole is still a world class full back who fills a need in Sunderlands back line. Cole is now available on a free, but would probably demand large wages. Dig deep in those pockets chairman!
Every West Ham optimist believes that Andy Carroll will stay fit long enough to start scoring regularly again. Why not bring in somebody to help him with that burden. While it is widely accepted that West Hams midfield needs to get younger, something about bringing back Hammers old boy, and recently released Frank Lampard makes the footballing world smile.
Swansea play football the right way (whatever that means). They have a footballing philosophy similar to that of Ajax, Barcelona and Arsenal. In that case make a splash and bring in a big name who fits the bill. After another outstanding season in La Liga it will cost big bucks to bring in Anders Herrera, but if Swansea want to crack the top half of the league regularly these are the names they need. Are they willing to pay £30million plus to secure his services? They should be.
Under Tony Pulis, Palace are the antithesis to Swansea. They still finished one place ahead of the Swans. Filling a need and getting a top class player Palace are another team who should be seriously looking at Ashley Cole. Would Cashley be willing to choose Selhurst Park over Anfield? Money talks.
With Alan Pardew under contract for another 29 seasons most Newcastle fans have quite low expectations. Since losing Yohan Cabaye in January the outlook is even bleaker. Time for Mike Ashley to deliver in grand fashion and bring the sleeping giants back to greatness. Barcelona are willing to listen to offers for Cesc Fabregas. At £35million Newcastle fans will soon be asking Yohan who?
Mark Hughes has done well at Stoke City. To take the next step he needs to make a big splash this summer. If this were 1990 the ideal fit for Stoke would be Mark Hughes the player. In 2014 they will have to settle for £30million rated Jackson Martinez from Porto. This signing is something of a risk, but its time for Sparkey to take a risk to get Stoke into Europa League contention.
I’m sure the Saints first objective is to hold onto all of their assests. Once they have achieved this they should look at bringing in a striker who fits their style of play and who can hit the back of the net. Guiseppe Rossi is a player with Premier League experience who has had a some good seasons under the radar. 16 goals in an injury hit season this year, for £25million the Italian/American could become a hit at St. Marys.
We keep hearing how the fans have been the best part of United’s season. Time for Van Gaal to dip into that war-chest and repay the fans by bringing back a fan favourite and Old Trafford legend. No, not Diego Forlan, we are splashing £100million to bring Cristiano Ronaldo back, then Van Gaal can address the midfield and defence.
Spurs are not afraid to spend the big money. Seemingly they are afraid to spend it on good players though. Although a centre half is a good way to go why not get somebody to help Eriksen supply either Adebayor or Soldado. Start a bidding war with Newcastle for Cesc Fabregas. Just think how sick every Arsenal fan will be watching their former captain in a Spurs jersey. That’s worth the £35million alone.
The two main priorities for Martinez should be to bring back the squad he had last season. Gareth Barry is available for free so that shouldn’t be a problem. The problem is convincing Romelu Lukaku to join when he is sure to attract a lot of interest should Chelsea be willing to let him go.
Arsene Wenger had the right idea last year. Not spending £45million on Ozil (which I still feel is money well spent), but trying to convince Luis Suarez to leave Anfield. This summer’s target should be the exact same. Arsenal need a striker in the worst way, and Suarez is a perfect fit. Spend that £80million Arsene, and then go on to secure fourth place a little bit easier next season.
Can anybody clarify Mourinho’s position on his current striking options? He is very tight lipped about it. Similar to Arsenal, Chelsea should resort to last summer’s blue print and convince Wayne Rooney to jump ship and join Stamford Bridge. Be wary though Chelsea, he is due to hold his club to ransom again in 2016. Jose Mourinho’s new toy will set Abramovich back £60million.
Luis Suarez is Liverpool’s biggest need. Whatever happens this summer Liverpool cannot let him leave. After that Liverpool need to address their centre half position. Mats Hummels is the target here. At 25 he is the perfect age. Would Dortmund allow him to leave for £35million? There’s only one way to find out.
Manchester City probably need a centre half to pair with Vincent Kompany. Maybe they need a centre midfielder to add depth behind Toure and Fernandinho. But in a world where Financial Fair Play doesn’t impact transfers, these players are not the sexy pick. Let’s go big and pay £150million to get Leo Messi. With Nasri, Silva, Messi and Aguero leading the line, who needs to defend?
Maybe some (if not all) of these transfers are unlikely in the coming window, but in Football Manager, anything can happen. Regardless it’s going to be a big summer for transfers, so teams better get active early. Let me know if you agree or disagree with your team’s selection.
Eoin Purcell, Pundit Arena.