Transfer needs – Everton, Hull, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester City

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With the summer transfer window either rushing or creeping toward completion, depending on whether you want your club to buy a new player or hold onto an asset, it’s due time we address the needs of each team with time ticking away.

[RELATED: Summer transfer window news]

[RELATED: Balotelli arrives at Anfield]

Everton

Roberto Martinez has added some key pieces over the summer with the main signing Romelu Lukaku from Chelsea for a whopping $47 million. That’s a lot of cash for the Toffees to splash but they needed to. Bringing in free agents Gareth Barry (who spent last season on loan at Everton) and Samuel Eto’o will proved the squad with plenty of experience and the additions of Christian Atsu on loan and versatile Bosnian international Mohamed Besic are good pick ups. Unlikely that Martinez will do much more business but with Everton in the Europa League this season, he may need to get a few more players in to bolster the squad.

Hull City

The Tigers need to do some business and it will hinge on their progress to the Europa League group stage. Steve Bruce has sold Shane Long for $20 million to Southampton and is desperate to bring in some more attackers with his big summer signing, Robert Snodgrass, out for six months after suffering a horrible injury on his debut. Defender Michael Dawson has arrived from Spurs but Hull will need plenty more signings between now and next Monday if they’re going to stave off relegation and compete in Europe. New additions up front, especially after their failed attempt to sign Jordan Rhodes, are key with just Yannick Sagbo and Nikica Jelavic as their recognizes strikers.

[RELATED: Transfer needs – Arsenal, Aston Villa, Burnley, Chelsea, Crystal Palace]

Leicester City

The Foxes have been frugal in the summer window with four free transfers incluing Matt Upson, Jack Barmby and Marc Albrighton but they did bring in forward Leonardo Ulloa from Brighton in a club record $14 million move. They need to strengthen throughout as Nigel Pearson’s men have looked solid yet unspectacular against Everton and Chelsea to open the season. Esteban Cambiasso has been mentioned as an option in central midfield, while they are closing in on James McArthur from Wigan. Work needs to be done if Leicester are going to shake off their tag as relegation candidates.

Liverpool

Mario Balotelli. Adam Lallana. Dejan Lovren. Lazar Markovic. Rickie Lambert. Emre Can. Javier Manquillo. Alberto Moreno. Divock Origi. Yeah, it’s been a busy summer at Anfield after nine new arrivals. Luis Suarez has left and Brendan Rodgers has splashed $193 million in transfer fees after receiving $128 million from Barcelona for Suarez. Liverpool;s business seems to be done for this window but their are still rumors around that Radamel Falcao could be heading to the Reds ahead of their first Champions League campaign since 2009-10.

Manchester City

They didn’t really need to sign many players over the summer, did they? City brought in a few top players, just for arguments sake, as young French defender Eliaquim Mangala arrived from FC Porto for $59 million and destructive Brazilian midfielder, Fernando, also came from Porto for $20 million. A back up goalkeeper, Willy Caballero, and Bacary Sagna on a free from Arsenal, also arrived as Manuel Pellegrini added to his squad prudently. This summer was all about keeping their best players around as Samir Nasri, Vincent Kompany, Edin Dzeko, Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero all signed new contracts. Don’t expect City to make any late signings unless an offer too good to turn down presents itself. Falcao has also been touted as a potential target for City before the window slams shut.

Timbers send Nagbe to Atlanta for allocation money

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) The Portland Timbers have traded midfielder Darlington Nagbe to Atlanta United in exchange for $1.65 million in allocation money.

Portland is also sending defender Gbenga Arokoyo to Atlanta and receiving a 2018 international spot as part of the trade.

[ RECAP – City hammer Swansea ]

Nagbe, who has become a regular on the U.S. national team, has been with the Timbers since the team joined MLS in 2011. He was selected with the second overall pick in that year’s MLS SuperDraft.

He has 27 goals and 30 assists in 214 matches with the Timbers. His goals are the second-most since the team joined MLS.

“Thank you, Portland, and everyone that supported my family and me the past seven years,” he said in a statement released by the Timbers.

Nagbe, 27, has 24 appearances with the national team and one goal.

Wenger says schedule congestion catching up to Arsenal

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Much like their 3-1 loss to Manchester United, Arsenal dominated the chances but couldn’t find the back of the net enough to get three points.

Unlike that Red Devils defeat, however, the Gunners were stout at the back against a lively West Ham United and picked up an away point from a nil-nil draw on Wednesday.

[ RECAP: West Ham 0-0 Arsenal ]

Wenger was content enough with the result, as he continued to be in the chorus of managers who lament the congested Premier League schedule around the holidays. From the BBC:

“We had so much of the ball, but it was very frustrating because we could even have lost it at the end. They’re happy to defend, they did that against Chelsea and Manchester City, so we couldn’t find the opening and the few chances we had we missed.

“When you play every three days, you lose your sharpness.”

That’s true, and to his credit Wenger didn’t try to say West Ham had one day’s more rest (which they did). As Man City runs away with the league and Manchester United doesn’t look fit to drop back to the back, the race for the final two Top Four spots is as congested as the schedule. Arsenal needs to turn some of its shot-heavy performances into goal-heavy cruises sometime soon.

Mourinho: Derby defeat didn’t help, but United overcame fatigue

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Jose Mourinho said the Manchester Derby nearly caught up to his men in Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Bournemouth at Old Trafford.

[ RECAP: Man Utd 1-0 Bournemouth ]

The Manchester United manager says that’s not on account of emotions or let down, but simply the volume of matches his Red Devils have played and the extra rest afford the visitors.

Romelu Lukaku climbed Nathan Ake to find United its opener, and the hosts were defending plenty in the second half. But United was able to endure on a soggy night at home, and maintain its place second on the Premier League table.

From the BBC:

“Fatigue, yes, but hangover – no. The game was a big one, and a defeat does not help in your recovery – victories help, defeats don’t. They were difficult opponents and difficult conditions. If we had scored the second it would have been a calm night for us.”

That said, this felt like one of the matches United would’ve drawn last season, and Lukaku was a difference maker as were David De Gea and Phil Jones at the back.

And Mourinho would not mail in the title race despite Man City’s 11-point advantage and continued league dominance.

“It is only over in May, if it is over now I go on holiday to Brazil or Los Angeles.”

Guardiola lauds Man City after record 15th straight win

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Pep Guardiola is breaking records pretty much every time Manchester City step onto the pitch right now.

[ RECAP – City hammer Swansea ]

On Wednesday they set a new Premier League and English top-flight record for the most consecutive wins in history, with City winning 4-0 away at Swansea to seal their 15th-straight win and stay 11 points clear of the table.

City beat Arsenal’s previous record of 14-straight wins in the Premier League from February to August 2002, and now they remain unbeaten with 17 games of the season gone.

Guardiola now holds the record for most consecutive wins in the top-flight of Spanish, German and English soccer with Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Man City respectively. He’s a machine and he’s turned Man City into one.

Speaking to the BBC after beat Swansea, Guardiola was delighted with the win, especially coming so soon after the energy-sapping Manchester derby win at Manchester United on Sunday.

“Considering we have a lot of games in our legs, a demanding game at Old Trafford three days ago, we were solid, we were serious and we made a good performance,” Guardiola said. “You suffer and enjoy, like a manager you see many things. When the team play good we are happy. Our feeling – we understand what we want to do. We play good inside, outside. I’m so happy for David (Silva), we cannot disguise his quality but in the past he didn’t score too much goals. He’s sharp, he’s in an amazing condition.”

Man City’s manager rightly pointed towards David Silva‘s brilliance as the Spanish playmaker scored twice at Swansea and he’s now scored four times in his last three games, including a late winner against West Ham and setting City on their way to a win at United on Sunday.

With the record now in hand and Man City also stretching their club-record unbeaten run in the top-flight to 25 games, is there a risk his side will be complacent as the bookmakers have slashed their PL title odds to 1/25?

“That is not going to happen. We are so demanding for our players. We can lose, we can drop points but complacency, never happened in the past, the present or the future,” Guardiola said. “Winning 15 games in a row gives us a lot of confidence. If people are happy watching us that is the best gift.”

Ahead of the festive season, Man City are the gift which keep on giving and they have to be up their with the best teams English soccer has ever seen.

Less than halfway through the 2017-18 season they show no signs of slowing down and the Premier League title is simply theirs to lose.

More records will fall this season as an imperious, attacking unit has been fine-tuned by Guardiola. We are watching history being made in beautiful fashion.