Premier League transfer needs: Where each club must strengthen this summer

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With the transfer gossip in full flow, it is time to take a look at what each Premier League team needs this summer.

Most clubs have multiple needs, but below we’ve tried to narrow it down to one specific area where they need to strengthen.

[ MORE: Latest transfer gossip ]

Right, let’s get to it as PL managers and chairman will be scheming on how to shift players on and bring in reinforcements before the summer window slams shut on September 1.

   MUST-BUY

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Winger/CB Manchester City: The Citizens look like they might get Raheem Sterling but they need defensive reinforcements as Mangala is unproven, Demichelis is getting on and Kompany needs a big season.
source:  Center Back Chelsea: You worry that if either John Terry or Gary Cahill get an injury that Chelsea’s backline will be badly hit. Kurt Zouma provides cover but after adding Falcao, Chelsea needs one more CB.
source:  Strike/DFs   Manchester United:  The Red Devils are close to adding RB Darmian but Louis van Gaal needs lots of defender to strengthen his squad. With RVP on the way out, only Rooney and Wilson as recognized strikers will be an issue. Morgan Schneiderlin would be a fantastic buy.
source:   Wingers West Ham: Slaven Bilic has done plenty of business early on but he must look at strengthening the wide midfield position with Downing possibly on the way out and the likes of Jarvis underwhelming.

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Striker/DM ArsenalThe Gunners have signed Petr Cech to address their need in goal, but if they can grab a top class holding mid and forward, watch out Chelsea and Man City.
source:   RB Stoke City: With Steven Nzonzi gone, its likely that Geoff Cameron will slot into DM so they will be covered. However, RB will be an issue. The additions of Joselu and Wollscheid already this summer has addressed needs.
source:   CB/Striker EvertonRoberto Martinez has added Cleverley and Deulofeu in midfield but needs another CB. Only Jagielka and Stones are around. More competition for Lukaku is needed too.
source:   Striker/CM/CB Newcastle UnitedAnother team that needs fresh impetus after Steve McClaren’s arrival, Newcastle have been linked with Schalke’s Matip and PSV’s Wijnaldum. 
source:  Striker/CB WatfordThe Hornets will struggle but they can’t rely on Troy Deeney to get all of their goals. Capoue will strengthen midfield and Holebas will help in defense but another top CB would shore things up.
source:   CM/CB Southampton: Koeman is likely to lose Schneiderlin so a top class replacement like Clasie is needed in midfield. After missing out on Alderweireld, another CB would be helpful with a Europa League campaign.
source:   Striker/Winger Tottenham Hotspur: Spurs have bolstered their defense but you would hope Pochettino could get rid of Soldado and Adebayor and give Kane some real support. Same could be said for Lennon, Townsend, Lamela. A clearout is needed to replace quantity with quality.
source:   Striker/Attacking mid SunderlandWe all know the Black Cats struggle to score, so Advocaat must look to boost the attack. Simple as.
source:   Striker/CM Aston VillaIf Benteke ends up leaving, Tim Sherwood must spend the cash wisely on a hungry strike. Charlie Austin? Delph is another who could leave, so CM would need shoring up.
source:  Striker  West BromThe Baggies have the likes of Brown and Anichebe but they have failed to support Berahino. Everyone is looking for top class striker, WBA are no different.
source:   Striker BournemouthThe Cherries could grab Gradel and need more firepower. They have signed Distin who has PL experience at CB. A few signings across the board needed to bolster the squad, but Howe will go with the young team who go them promoted.
source:  CB/DM LiverpoolSterling could be on his way out but Liverpool have enough attacking talents to cope with that. Rodgers has signed the likes of Ings, Firmino, Milner and Clyne this summer. But a CB and perhaps another holding mid would help the Reds improve.
source:   Striker/CB Crystal PalaceAt times the Eagles can still be a little vulnerable at the back and apart from Scott Dann, the likes of Hangeland and Delaney are injury prone. If they can seal the deal for Cabaye it would be a major coup. A top-class striker and Pardew’s men can push for the top eight.
source:   CB Swansea CityWith Garry Monk doing his business early to get Ayew and Eder in, plus signing Shelvey to a new deal, all the Swans need is more cover at CB.
source:   Striker/CM/CB Norwich City: Throughout the spine of their team, Norwich need to improve. Alex Neil’s side had an unlucky run through the playoffs but now is the time to spend big to try and stay up.
source:   Striker/CM Leicester CityWith no current manager in charge of the Foxes, who knows what will happen. A poacher up top will be necessary as Vardy, Ulloa and Nugent blew hot and cold last year.

VIDEO: Top 10 players in the world as soccer resumes

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Who are the top 10 soccer players in the world right now as the season is about to resume in multiple leagues?

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

With the Bundesliga in full flow for a few weeks, Spain’s La Liga will return next week and the Premier League and Serie A will follow the week after.

Given that there are so many superstars scattered across those four leagues, here’s a list of the top 10 players set to be in action over the summer months as we will be treated to a sort of bonus World Cup with multiple leagues spreading out games over multiple days as top four, title and relegation battles take center stage.

From Manchester to Milan and Barcelona to Berlin, there will be so many superstars in full flow in the coming months.

Of course, the Ligue 1 season in France is canceled so we can’t watch Neymar and Kylian Mbappe for at least a few months. If we could, the Paris Saint-Germain duo would be high up on the list of top 10 players in the world right now as the soccer world gets ready to resume in empty stadiums.

Top 10 players in the world who will be in action this summer

10. Ciro Immobile (Lazio)

9. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

8. Sadio Mane (Liverpool)

7. Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)

6. Eden Hazard (Real Madrid)

5. Bruno Fernandes (Man United)

4. Kevin de Bruyne (Man City)

3. Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)

2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)

1. Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

Which clubs have toughest, easiest remaining PL schedule?

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Now we know that the Premier League will return on June 17, which clubs have the toughest and easiest remaining schedule to navigate?

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Our partners at Sky Sports in the UK have taken a deep dive into the remaining schedule for all 20 Premier League clubs and it is intriguing to see this list. I love this kind of analysis.

Based on the current Premier League table, our partners have calculated the average position of teams who all 20 clubs have to face in their remaining schedule.

[ MORE: Remaining PL schedule in full ]

First, here’s the list and below we will break down which Premier League clubs have the toughest or easiest remaining schedule and why.


Average opponent position

Man United: 12.3

Man City: 12.1

Wolves: 11.8

Southampton: 11.7

Newcastle: 11.4

Leicester: 11.3

West Ham: 11.3

Chelsea: 11

Norwich: 11

Everton: 10.7

Burnley: 10.6

Liverpool: 10.6

Arsenal: 10.5

Tottenham: 10.4

Watford: 10.1

Sheffield United: 9.4

Brighton: 8.6

Aston Villa: 8.4

Crystal Palace: 8.2

Bournemouth: 8.2


Analysis

This is very revealing when it comes to the ‘strength of the remaining schedule’ for all 20 Premier League clubs and explains why some fans are still hesitant to see their teams back in action, while others are licking their chops in anticipation of a late-season surge up the table.

In short: if you are Bournemouth, Aston Villa and Brighton you could struggle in this relegation battle. All three clubs have plenty of the big boys left to play, while fellow relegation rivals West Ham and Norwich have much easier schedules, on paper, to navigate.

As for the top four battle, Man United look to have a clear edge on Chelsea in the race for fourth place but Wolves are also high in this list so Nuno Espirito Santo’s side look well sit to finish off another remarkable season with a flourish. Sheffield United have a very tough remaining schedule so if they can stay in the top six it will be a fabulous achievement for Chris Wilder’s side, while we should keep an eye out for Southampton and Newcastle to potentially make a late surge up the table given the respective strength of their schedules.

However, this is just a study on the average position of teams they are facing. It doesn’t taken into account the players now available after recovering from injuries which impacted plenty of clubs in varying degrees, or the fact that different teams will adapt differently to playing in empty stadiums. If the Bundesliga is anything to go by, away teams have dominated so far and that could mean that the more away games Premier League teams have left in their schedule (six of Villa’s final 10 games are at home, while six of Sheffield United’s final 10 games are away) the more points they could pick up.

We all know funny things happen late in the season every season and with an intense scrap for the top four, Europa League spots and the battle against relegation, previous form can go out the window as desperation sets in. Still, stats like these are fascinating to sift through and give us an inclination as to wide to expect on a general level.

Liverpool, Man United show support for Black Lives Matter

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Liverpool and Man United have joined the growing number of clubs and players across the world offering their support to the Black Lives Matter movement in the USA and honoring George Floyd.

Following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN last Monday there have been widespread protests across the USA.

A video showed former Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, putting his knee on George Floyd’s neck for more than 8 1/2 minutes. Chauvin was arrested last Friday and charged with murder, authorities confirmed.

Over the weekend Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho and Achraf Hakimi revealed messages of support on their jerseys, while USMNT midfielder Weston McKennie wore an armband saying ‘Justice for George’ and Borussia Monchengladbach’s Marcus Thuram took a knee after he scored in the Bundesliga.

On Monday Liverpool players posted a photo of their entire squad taking a knee around the center circle at Anfield during a training session with the message Black Lives Matter and Unity is Strength, while Man United star Marcus Rashford released a powerful statement on the widespread protests across the USA.

Paris Saint-Germain and France superstar Kylian Mbappe also posted an image on social media with the caption “police with us, not against us.”

Across the soccer world clubs and players are speaking out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and honoring George Floyd.

Report: MLS threaten lockout, players on the clock

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Reports have emerged that MLS may lock out their players as the owners put the MLS Players’ Association (MLSPA) on the clock when it comes to negotiating a plan for the 2020 season during the coronavirus pandemic.

Per a statement released by the MLSPA late Sunday, they say that players have formally submitted a package to the league so that “players can return to competition as soon as they are safely able to do so.”

However, it is believed that package has been countered by the owners and the league want a decision by Tuesday or will sanction a lockout.

The MLS players’ statement detailed that they voted in favor of “economic concessions for the 2020 season, modifications to the recently agreed-upon CBA, including its extension by a year, and their agreement to participate in a summer tournament in Orlando.”

They also accepted salary reductions across the board, reduced bonuses and additional concessions to existing and future terms of the CBA.

Multiple reports, including this one from ESPN’s former USMNT striker Hercules Gomez, states that MLS owners are giving the players until Tuesday to come to an agreement or they will shut the league down.

MLS reportedly say they have already given the players their best offer and they are not budging, with a report from Jeffrey Carlisle of ESPN saying that the league want the players to take a 8.75 percent pay cut, while the players have agreed to 7.5 percent. There is also the ‘force majeure clause’ which would allow either side to back out of a CBA due to a diastrous event such as the coronavirus pandemic.

The top-flight of soccer in North America has been shut down since Mar. 12 and talks have been ongoing for several weeks between MLS and the MLSPA regarding the financial impact the coronavirus pandemic will have on the league.

With players making big concessions across the board, the fact that MLS shot that offer down so quickly suggests both sides still have a long way to go around the virtual negotiating table. Time is running out.

Right now, the 2020 MLS season looks like being a mini-tournament in Orlando for six weeks to hold things over and who knows what comes after that. But given the location of many of their teams in states which still have strict lockdown orders, plus fans not being allowed to attend sporting events across the country, the situation appears bleak for MLS for at least the next few months and probably much longer than that.