Premier League transfer needs: Where each club has to strengthen before Deadline Day

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With one week to go in the summer transfer window, now seems like a good time to look at the transfer needs for each Premier League team.

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The summer window closes at 1 p.m. ET on Sept. 1, so the clock is ticking as managers and chairmen struggle to get deals over the line and make room in their squads for new faces.

With that in mind, here is what each PL team needs before the window slams shut.

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Winger Manchester City: After buying Raheem Sterling, Fabian Delph and Nicolas Otamendi, City addressed most of their needs. If they can actually seal the deal for Kevin de Bruyne, it would make them contenders in the UCL and the PL. $75 million is a lot of cash, especially as they have Nasri, Navas and Sterling out wide.
source: CB Chelsea: After addressing needs at LB and in attack with Rahman and Pedro arriving, Chelsea needs one more CB. They are said to be close to signing John Stones for $60 million. If they can seal that deal, great window for Mourinho.
source: CB   Manchester United: Despite Wayne Rooney struggling to score goals, more on that here, Louis van Gaal isn’t interested in buying another forward. The midfield is packed, as are the wingers. Maybe United could do with a new CB as Daley Blind is a stop-gap and Phil Jones has struggled.
source:  Striker West Ham: Slaven Bilic has added 10 new players but only a handful have been influential so far. Bilic needs more firepower with Valencia and Carroll out injured. Will a move for Adebayor solve their problems short-term?

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Striker/CB ArsenalThe same needs at the start of the window are still clear for the Gunners: they need a top-class striker and a center back. With Koscielny and Mertesacker out last week, Gabriel looked okay but Chambers struggled. Up top, Cavani and Kokorin have been mentioned. The clock is ticking as Wenger looks for another late mega-deal.
source:  Striker Stoke City: The only area the Potters could use some help in is up top. They’ve score three goals in their opening three games but have made plenty of other chances. Hughes has added Shaqiri and Afellay to bolster the attack, but if a top forward comes up at the right price, the Potters must pounce.
source:  CB EvertonWith the Stones saga rumbling on, Everton only have two first-team center backs and he’s one of them. If Stones leaves for Chelsea, the Toffees will be in trouble but Martinez has been linked with a whole host of CBs. It is the one area where Everton look ridiculously thin.
source:  Striker Newcastle UnitedFour new key additions for Steve McClaren with over $65 million spent, but the Magpies still look short on goals up top. Cisse and Mitrovic have split time, but with two goals in three games, Newcastle need more firepower.
source: Striker WatfordThe Hornets have struggled to finish chances but look solid throughout the rest of the team. After a 2-2 draw on the opening day they’ve drawn 0-0 at home to West Brom and Saints. A lack of goals in those games may come back to hurt them.
source:  CB Southampton: Ronald Koeman is in need of a center back. Saints have shipped five goals in their opening three games and look all over the place. After losing Clyne and Alderweireld from last season’s back four, plus Forster and Bertrand through injury, it will improve, but Virgil van Dijk arriving from Celtic would be a big signing.
source:  Striker Tottenham Hotspur: Harry Kane needs help. That is clear for everyone to see and Spurs have gone after West Brom’s Saido Berahino. The Baggies have rejected bids from Tottenham but Berahino’s head has been turned and $40 million should do the trick to bolster Spurs’ forward line significantly. Heung-Min Son has also been mentioned as an option up top.
source: CM/DF Sunderland: Dick Advocaat has said he needs six new players before the window shuts and after a difficult start to the season, the Black Cats especially need help at the back. With 11 goals conceded in four games so far this season, bolster across the defense is a top priority for Sunderland.
source:  ST Aston VillaSherwood has had a bid for Gervinho turned down and it seems like Villa still wants to bolster its attack after scoring just one goal on their own through three PL games. Ayew has struggled to settle up top so far.
source: CM  West BromBerahino looks to be heading towards the exit, which would be a big blow for the Baggies, but they have signed Rickie Lambert and Salomon Rondon this summer to offset that potential loss. In CM they could use a more creative attacking player to help get things going in the final third. Let’s see if Pulis can work his magic once again on Deadline Day.
source:  Striker BournemouthThe Cherries are said to be chasing an experienced PL marksmen with Jermain Defoe’s name popping up. If they could grab him it would make a big difference to their attack, but it would be more of a luxury signing than a necessity.
source: CB LiverpoolWith three CBs in Lovren, Skrtel and Sakho, the Reds could need cover in the heart of the defense but should be set elsewhere after signing seven new players this summer. Rodgers’ squad is looking strong.
source:  CB Crystal PalaceThe Eagles have added Cabaye, Bamford, Wickham, McCarthy and Sako to strengthen throughout their spine. One more CB to combat injuries would be useful.
source:  CB Swansea CityThe Swans have been expertly built by Garry Monk and they only area they need to strengthen is providing cover for Ashley Williams and Federico Fernandez. Elsewhere, all is well.
source:  Striker Norwich City: The Canaries are said to be interested in Benik Afobe but Wolves want $20 million for the former Arsenal striker. If Alex Neil is serious about keeping Norwich up, they have to buy a predatory forward.
source:  CB Leicester CityClaudio Ranieri has bought well this summer with Okazaki and Inler top additions. If either Wes Morgan or Robert Huth go down in defense the Foxes could struggle. Like a number of teams, cover at CB would be nice.

Cole returns to Chelsea as youth team coach

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One of Chelsea’s best players in club history is back at his old stomping grounds in a new role.

Chelsea finally confirmed over their social media channels that former left back Ashley Cole is back at the club coaching in the academy, helping the next generation of stars grow and learn the games. Specifically, Cole is coaching the U-15 squad.

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“I’m also doing my badges at the moment and so being here at Chelsea means I have the chance to coach every day, whereas maybe if I wasn’t working at a club it would be hard for me to get the hours in,” Cole told Chelsea’s website. “I’m learning not just how to be a coach and how to speak to people in a different environment but the side of coaching that you don’t see like planning the sessions and setting up the equipment.

“As a player, you just turn up for a session and do it. If it’s a possession drill, you just arrive and try to keep the ball but now I’m getting to understand that there are always ideas behind a particular session or practice. Organization has to be key and those are the little details that it takes to be a great coach.”

While plenty from Cole’s era have moved into the media for lucrative punditry roles, it’s nice to see players like Cole and his former teammate Frank Lampard, now Chelsea coach, go into coaching to help pass on some of the great lessons they’ve learned during their careers. .

Cole said in the interview that he wasn’t sure what was next after playing three seasons for the LA Galaxy and then joining Lampard at Derby County for the second half of last season. He added that he got his first taste of coaching kids while with the Galaxy, helping some of the academy players and taking part in video sessions.

“The Academy are very good at giving ex-players a route back to the club and a chance to learn as coaches,” Cole said. “They’re eager to bring in people who understand what it means to be at Chelsea and what it means to wear the badge. You have to be a top player to play for Chelsea so they want those top ex-players influencing and trying to help the next generation develop and be better players.”

Spanish FA once again opposes La Liga match in U.S.

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For the second consecutive season, La Liga and Relevant Sports have proposed a league match to take place this winter in the U.S.

And once again, the La Liga proposal doesn’t have the support of its national soccer federation.

[READ: La Liga wants to move Villarreal-Atletico Madrid to Miami]

Luis Rubiales, president of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), told reporters on Thursday that it would oppose the match taking place outside of Spain’s borders, keeping a consistent line in the sand on how far globalization can go in soccer.

“It would disrupt the competition,” Rubiales said, via AS. “To play a game in Miami, La Liga needs permission from five bodies that it doesn’t have.”

The five bodies Rubiales referred to are the RFEF, FIFA, CONCACAF, U.S. Soccer and MLS.

Last time around, Relevant Sports and La Liga announced a long-term, lucrative marketing contract to expand the brand’s footprint in the Americas, and soon after, petitioned to move Girona’s home game against Barcelona to Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium, the home stadium of Relevant Sports owner Stephen Ross and his Miami Dolphins.

Ultimately, La Liga president Javier Tebas and Relevant Sports were unable to get permission from the RFEF or FIFA to hold the event outside Spain and it went off as expected in Girona. At the time, Spain’s player’s union and fans groups opposed the move. Tebas has filed a lawsuit in Spain to try to force the RFEF to approve their request, but it seems unlikely to be awarded and it surely doesn’t provide any good will between the two parties.

There’s been plenty of talk about bringing league games abroad before, but it has just been talk so far. The Premier League considered adding an extra game to the season to be played all over the world, but never went through with creating plans for matches.

Associations – not leagues, to be clear – have brought things like Super Cups abroad. For example, the RFEF moved the 2018 Spanish Super Cup to Tangiers, Morocco, while the France Football Federation has brought its national Super Cup match to both the U.S. and Montreal, Canada in recent years. However, the argument in favor of bringing those games abroad is they’re basically meaningless. Meanwhile, one result in a league season could – in theory – determine whether a team is relegated or not, especially if the margin is three points or less.

We could see another legal fight on our hands, so watch this space, there’s plenty more to come.

Rodgers excuses Maddison’s behavior after England departure

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Leicester City and England midfielder James Maddison made headlines for the wrong reasons after he was pictured last week watching the England match at the Czech Republic from a casino.

Despite the negative attention from Maddison’s decision to watch the game at that venue, he has the backing of his club manager, Brendan Rodgers.

“The kid went away with the international team and took ill while he was away,” Rodgers said, via the Guardian. “He wanted to stay and hopefully be ready for the second game. But the England medical staff – which I can understand, as he had flu and they didn’t want that to spread to his teammates – decided it’s best for him to leave the camp. So he leaves, gets some tablets with our guys at the club, then he feels better.

“He watched the game at home on his own on the Friday and then goes out at half-time – probably he’ll make better decisions in his life but he went to a casino on his own to sit and watch the second half by a poker table. The suggestions are he left England purposelessly and then goes to a casino but that’s totally not the case at all. But his eyes have been opened now to the wider world in terms of what he did. He knows in hindsight he’s made a mistake.”

Considering all that went on during England’s international break, from the poor performance in Prague to the horrible racism endured in Bulgaria, this is a bit of a silly scandal. To be honest, as long as Maddison is taking care of his body and himself, why does it matter if he was at a casino, or a pub, or anywhere?

However, there’s no denying that the optics look bad. Folks didn’t know that he arrived to England camp with the flu, or a flu-like illness at least, and the England medical staff are right to send him away to make sure no one else gets sick. He may have been feeling better by Friday and wanted to get out of the house. I think we’ve all been there after being sick for a few days.

The most important lesson for Maddison is to learn that his actions, out of context, can be misunderstood. In terms of soccer, after Ross Barkley’s performance for England, Maddison will have to prove in his club form that he should still have a place in the England team for the near future. There’s only two more international dates left before the 2020 Euros, so time is running out for Maddison to make an impact to Southgate.

Tierney, Lacazette available for Arsenal

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Arsenal are edging closer to finally having a full-strength squad.

Ahead of Monday’s prime-time matchup with Sheffield United, Arsenal manager Unai Emery confirmed that Kieran Tierney was in line to make his Premier League debut, while Alexandre Lacazette was back in full training and should be in the gameday squad.

“Today is Lacazette’s first training back with us,” Emery said in a press conference on Thursday. “He finished it well and he’s feeling well with his injuries. Tomorrow we will be training again and he will be with us. We will decide.

“The most important thing is that first he is training, then secondly it’s whether he can be with us and it depends how he can feel in the next days training with us, whether his ankle is not giving him any more problems.”

This is a huge boost to Arsenal, which has had to rely on some youngsters and have made some lineup changes to accommodate not having Lacazette on the field. Tierney meanwhile could step into a position where there’s already a decent starter, Sead Kolasinac.

Lacazette’s return also couldn’t have come at a better time. In Premier League action, Arsenal’s high-powered offense has been stymied, scoring just two goals in the last two league games. Meanwhile, against weaker defenses in the UEFA Europa League and the Carabao Cup, Arsenal has bagged a total of 12 goals.

The veteran Frenchman has scored two goals in three appearances so far this season, including a big goal just before halftime in the 2-2 draw with Tottenham. However, he suffered a long-term ankle injury in that match that has kept him on the sidelines for more than a month.

“[Tierney is] ready to play,” Emery later said. Now we have two options in that left-back role with Sead Kolasinac and him. We’re going to play a lot of matches after Monday. We will need every player. It depends how he comes into the first training with us, Sead, after his international matches. We now have two players in that position and we can use one on Monday, it depends how they are, one or the other.”

Tierney, the 22-year-old Scottish left back, has made two appearances for the Arsenal first team since recovering from a double hernia operation over the summer. Signed from Celtic for around $32 million, Tierney adds a skill that Kolasinac has struggled with – expert crosser of the ball into the box, where the likes of Lacazette, Nicolas Pepe, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang can score when given a decent chance.