The deadline day for this summer’s transfer window is almost upon us. All the Premier League teams have made at least one signing (looking at you Liverpool). Norwich City and Watford have invested heavily in new players while Arsenal have had a surprisingly busy time.
Rate this transfer window out of 10. 👇 pic.twitter.com/9Mu93IsyIg
— Transfer News Live (@DeadlineDayLive) August 29, 2021
There have been homecomings, records set and a lot of clamouring from supporters of a particular club for a defensive midfielder. Keeping the enormous activity in mind, FootTheBall names one player that every team should look to sign before the end. With several mid-table teams on a budget, some of these players are currently in the Championship but can have a sizeable impact in the Premier League as mentioned here.
RB: MEHMET ZEKI CELIK
The less said about the Gunners’ start to the new season the better. They have looked vulnerable all over the pitch and one area of particular concern has been right-back. With Hector Bellerin wanting out, Calum Chambers looking utterly out of depth and Cedric Soares being run ragged by Manchester City, this position needs to be sorted out quickly.
Hiçbir zaman vazgeçmedik! Zorlu geçen sezonun sonunda biraz eğlenmeyi hak ettik 😄🎺🥁🎶
We never gave up and got we wanted! Now it is time to have some fun 😄🎺🥁🎶 @losclive #DoguesJusquAuBout #LOSC #lille pic.twitter.com/2FCEUggnVe
— Mehmet Zeki Çelik (@mzekicelik17) May 24, 2021
Zeki Celik won Ligue 1 with Lille last season and is a solid presence on both sides of his game. He was one of the “good” performers for Turkey at the Euros and will be an instant upgrade for what Arsenal have right now. Lille are open to letting him go on either a permanent deal or loan with an option to buy for around €12m. Fiorentina are also interested but given Arsenal’s superior financial strength, they can certainly go after him.
CM: WESTON MCKENNIE
With Max Allegri back in the hot seat in Turin, McKennie has failed to cement a starting role in Juventus’ starting lineup. The American has been linked with a move away all summer and despite Allegri’s apprehensions of letting him go, the Old Lady will not be able to resist a good offer. Aston Villa can definitely benefit from his experience abroad and he will be able to compete well with the current crop of players.
Weston McKennie to the Premier League is gaining momentum as Aston Villa is reportedly ready to meet Juventus' asking price and Tottenham ready to exceed it. Is the #USMNT star off to the #PL? | #THFC #AVFC https://t.co/UfRFTewTcF
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) August 26, 2021
Conor Hourihane is set to leave on loan and though Dean Smith trusts Douglas Luiz and John McGinn, he will be happy with a further addition. McKennie is a good passer who likes to get forward and can increase Villa’s threat. They have the cash to spend after Jack Grealish’s transfer which will no doubt be used astutely like it has been so far.
CDM: GUSTAVO HAMER
One of the most savvy operators in the market due to their esteemed “Moneyball” strategy, the Bees are yet to taste defeat since getting promoted into the Premier League. The one persisting worry remains that they will sometime be overrun in midfield by too many teams which can lead to their downfall. To counter that, Hamer can be the perfect option, for now and the future. He is the crown jewel for Coventry City and has excellent pace along with ball reading skills to enable interceptions.
Still not quite over this Gustavo Hamer header from the weekend.. 👤💥
— Oddschanger (@Oddschanger) November 9, 2020
Given the fact that he also takes set-pieces for his team further raises his profile of being a shooter who can set up as well as score goals if the chance arises. No doubt Brentford have the funds to get the deal done and also have enough senior pros to guide Hamer through the initial settling in period.
BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION
CB: DUJE CALETA-CAR
Having sold Ben White for 50m, the Seagulls do have some amount of money to spend and given how they’re a defender light from last season, this move makes perfect sense. They have four senior central defenders, three of whom play regularly so adding Caleta-Car will only enhance that arsenal.
Here are the stats for Duje Caleta-Car last season in Ligue 1. #Wolves pic.twitter.com/CItYilucAW
— TheOther14 (@Other14The) August 25, 2021
Graham Potter’s side are always in danger of slipping into the relegation zone and though they have two wins to their name already, much bigger tests lie ahead. Caleta-Car is a Croatian international who has played the last three seasons with Marseille and featured at Euro 2020.
Radars for Marseille center back: Duje Ćaleta-Car. Still just 23 years old, with very well rounded numbers. Looks a bit underrated to me.#Marseille #Ligue1 #Croatia pic.twitter.com/B2p0ZHp7CB
— Sam Gustafson (@GoalAnalysis) July 18, 2020
The French clubs are looking for money and his position appears under threat as he has not made an appearance this season with William Saliba preferred by new head coach Jorge Sampaoli. Caleta-Car can be eased into the Premier League with the first-choice defenders ahead of him and can see significant game time.
RB: CYRUS CHRISTIE
Sean Dyche’s men have come under fire this season for his usage of some hard tactics which are resulting in some strong challenges. Nevertheless, the Clarets have started off poorly with no wins yet. They have already made a big splash by signing Maxwell Cornet from Lyon and Christie will be the complement to his style.
Bologna target Fulham defender Cyrus Christie as Serie A side join Burnley and Stoke in transfer chasehttps://t.co/N6vTOZq9Il
— The Sun Football ⚽ (@TheSunFootball) August 30, 2021
Matt Lowton will likely keep the starting spot but Christie has a lot to offer. He is direct in his running and loves to get forward in dangerous places which can lift a stuttering side. Christie has fallen out of favour at Fulham and can be bought on the cheap in a tight market.
CB: JULES KOUNDE
A transfer saga that has been going on for sometime now. Thomas Tuchel has been keen to shore up his defensive line and after the departure of Kurt Zouma, a centre-back is even more in demand.
Chelsea have been linked with a double transfer swoop for La Liga duo Jules Kounde and Saul Niguezhttps://t.co/dWOFTkpCaO pic.twitter.com/KiNCD8eMrP
— Mirror Football (@MirrorFootball) August 30, 2021
Though Trevoh Chalobah has progressed well, the Blues have made no secret of their admiration of Kounde. The French defender excelled last season as Sevilla finished 4th and also played at the Euros. A move has been in the works but the final price has been a hindrance. At first, Chelsea tried to sell Zouma to Sevilla plus cash in order to sign Kounde but that failed.
Chelsea had agreed a verbal fee with Sevilla for Jules Kounde, but the club are now reportedly asking for £13m on top of that. Unless they reduce their asking price, Kounde to Chelsea is now 'unlikely'.https://t.co/Rqf9zuui65 pic.twitter.com/x9YduZPpgh
— Simon Phillips (@siphillipssport) August 30, 2021
The difference in valuation of the player can see the deal fall through this summer with Kounde already stating that he will respect his current club and not try to force a move.
CDM: SANDER BERGE
The Norwegian midfielder has all the makings of a player whom Patrick Vieira would love to coach. Berge looked right at home in his two seasons in the top-flight with Sheffield United and is one of the first names on the team sheet. He is an imposing figure all-round who can break up fast breaks and is also able to play the killer pass going forward.
Does your club need a physically-dominant deep-lying midfielder that can cover space quickly and break-up play, receive and release the ball efficiently, and help move possession forward with good passing and bulldozer-like ball-carrying?
If so, Sander Berge is your guy. pic.twitter.com/RQ6sfmvdKz
— Scouted Football (@scoutedftbl) July 18, 2019
Berge can slot in right in place of James McArthur or Luka Milivojevic in the Palace midfield and at just 23-years-old, has a lot of potential still left to be unlocked. Palace have started the season in a rough manner and need to stop conceding too many goals if they are to put on strong performances which Berge will definitely help with.
RB: CONNOR ROBERTS
The Toffees have started strongly under Rafa Benitez with two wins and a draw. Seamus Coleman, their captain, is not getting any younger however and this season seems like the right time to induct a new deputy. Roberts had a solid Euros with Wales and has been earning rave reviews for his extremely matured play since the start of last season.
Three Swansea awards collected for the 2020/21 season.
Goal at the Euros.
Decent month for Connor Roberts. #Swans #YJB #Wal pic.twitter.com/50mQuT297f
— Ian Mitchelmore (@IanMitchelmore) June 16, 2021
Having racked up five goals and seven assists, he helped Swansea City to the Championship Play-Off final and is primed for a move to the Premier League. Roberts will instantly be a much pacier upgrade who is always on the lookout for going forward and helps overload the right flank. Under Benitez, his game will improve further as he very much looks to be top-class player soon.
CM: LEWIS O’BRIEN
Marcelo Bielsa’s side have not had the best of starts and were trounced 5-1 by arch-rivals Manchester United on opening weekend. Kalvin Philips was absent for that and Leeds’ record without their linchpin, the dropoff in quality in midfield is staggering. That is why they have been in the market for an able deputy but are struggling to get a deal done.
👏 What a season #htafc's @Lewis_OBrien98 is having!
🥇 Most tackles for players under-22 in the @SkyBetChamp.
🥈 Blocked second most opposition passes for players under-22 in the league.
🏆 January Goal of the Month award.
📊 The numbers behind his success…
— Huddersfield Town (@htafc) March 18, 2020
Leeds passed on signing Harry Winks from Spurs on loan citing his lack of first-team minutes since last season and have had looks at O’Brien who plays for Huddersfield Town. The 22-year-old has been a regular over the past two seasons and looks ready to make the step up under a manager who is known to demand the best out of his players.
WINGER: ADEMOLA LOOKMAN
The Foxes have brought in some good acquisitions and with Harvey Barnes also fit, the left flank is taken care of. The other side is what causes a bit of worry with Ayoze Perez not looking entirely sharp in his appearances so far.
Leicester ‘line up move for Ademola Lookman' after Dennis Praet leaveshttps://t.co/ZZBZMbqd95
— The Sun Football ⚽ (@TheSunFootball) August 30, 2021
Lookman will be an instant upgrade as he has been performing well across all of his clubs and has Premier League experience with Fulham and Everton. Leipzig are willing to let him go on loan as he will not be a starter there and under Brendan Rodgers, he can continue his development to become a really solid player. Marc Albrighton will provide the veteran presence for Lookman who can slot in seamlessly in Leicester’s setup and provide a more persistent threat through matches.
CAM: DANI OLMO
Despite the Reds’ apparent satisfaction with the current squad which is reflected in them not replacing Gini Wijnaldum, an attacking midfielder is something they can really do with.
4 – Dani Olmo has been directly involved in four goals in his last five Champions League appearances (3 goals, 1 assist). Deadlock. pic.twitter.com/XKpXVnWIKj
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 13, 2020
Neither of their current trio of Jordan Henderson, Harvey Elliot or Fabinho are particularly adept at making runs into the box and providing a consistent goal-threat from midfield. That is where Olmo comes in as one of the best in his class. With five goals and nine assists last season, the Spanish playmaker shone for his country at the Euros and the Tokyo Olympics.
2 – Dani Olmo has become only the 3rd player to assist 2 goals after being subbed on in a game at European Championships – after Cesc Fabregas (2008) and Dejan Kulusevski (2021). Supersub. #CROESP @RBLeipzig_EN pic.twitter.com/rf5ArVlKxz
— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) June 28, 2021
Olmo loves to take on defenders and beat them which is something that bodes well for Liverpool’s attackers up top. Furthermore, his penchant for trickery and making good runs will help in another title charge for Jurgen Klopp and co.
ST: ANDREA BELOTTI
The Cityzens have had a transfer window to remember and forget. After signing Jack Grealish for a British record 100 million, they have struggled all summer with replacing Sergio Aguero as the search for a striker goes on. Harry Kane was considered too pricey and Daniel Levy was in no mood to relent. Lionel Messi ended up signing with PSG.
Pep Guardiola still unsure whether Man City will buy striker this summer https://t.co/wT65TxhOeY
— Indy Football (@IndyFootball) August 23, 2021
The craziest reports came of Cristiano Ronaldo wanting a move to the Etihad but City’s reluctance to pay a transfer fee coupled with their neighbours also entering the race meant that the Portuguese was not switching allegiances. Belotti is a physically dominant striker who is equally good in the air as well as with the ball at his feet.
91 – Andrea #Belotti has scored 91 goals in Serie A since he joined @TorinoFC_1906 in 2015/16, only Ciro Immobile ha netted more in this period: @ciroimmobile1 122 goals@gallobelotti 91@G_Higuain 90@FQuagliarella27 86@EdDzeko 85
— OptaPaolo 🏆 (@OptaPaolo) April 10, 2021
He is the one shining light for Torino and has been Italy’s number two striker for a while. Belotti will be much more of a target man than either Ferran Torres or Gabriel Jesus and is also much better at finishing which makes this a pretty viable deal.
CDM: RUBEN NEVES
The one position the supporters have been wanting to see a change in since a long, long time. United’s preferred duo of Fred and Scott McTominay have been broken up due to the latter’s injury which has led to Nemanja Matic filling in. The Serbian was replaced by Paul Pogba alongside Fred and the duo were absolutely bulldozed all game long by Wolves in their last encounter.
😡 Rio Ferdinand isn't holding backing after Fred has a tough first-half up against Adama Traore #WOLTOT pic.twitter.com/cByPUJHjbj
— Betfair (@Betfair) August 29, 2021
Adama Traore beat Fred multiple times as the Brazilian struggled and failed to contain him while Pogba’s natural game was disrupted in a defensive role. The perfect player for them to fill the void was playing in the opposition. Neves put up a masterclass in how to both defend the backline as well as go forward when the opportunity arises.
Is Man United's midfield missing a Ruben Neves figure? #mufc https://t.co/yasMnt3OSf
— Man United News (@ManUtdMEN) August 29, 2021
He was quicker in getting to the second ball and was calm while making his tackles. The Red Devils can certainly do with a player of his calibre if they are to win the title this season.
CDM: HAMZA CHOUDHARY
It has been a summer of discontent for Newcastle fans as they have only managed to sign one top-class player who had a spectacular half season on loan. They have been conceding goals cheaply as evidenced by a 90+6′ equaliser to Southampton on Saturday. Choudhary has been a bit-part player since his arrival at Leicester City but has the making of a first-team regular.
What dreams are made of! ALHAMDULILLAH pic.twitter.com/splbInaLJk
— Hamza Choudhury (@HamzaChoudhury1) May 16, 2021
He is quick and has an uncanny sense of timing his challenges well. Though he is not the most physical of players, the fact that he has protection in the midfield will allow him to drop deep and join in the defence if necessary too.
ST: GRADY DIANGANA
The newcomers are finding life difficult once again, given they have become something of a “yo-yo” team in between the two divisions. Norwich need goals and only relying on Teemu Pukki will not help. Diangana is an exciting talent who is known for getting into good positions and taking shots well.
Grady Diangana has been directly involved in 15 league goals since the start of last season [9G 6A].
A solid strike but surely Jordan Pickford has to do better. 🤦♂️ pic.twitter.com/RzbEnukmC5
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) September 19, 2020
Though he is mostly deployed as a winger, he has the abilities to play as the sole man up top or be paired with another striker. Furthermore, his pace in behind and close ball control skills will also help in escaping defenders and helping his teammates attack together.
CAM: DAVID BROOKS
The Saints have started the new season in a good if unremarkable fashion. Two successive draws and three goals is nothing bad but things could get a lot worse. Adam Armstrong has started his career well and signing Brooks will be the perfect gift for him. The Welshman has already netted thrice and looks set to be one of the Championship’s most important players, if no team comes for him.
David Brooks: Has scored more counter-attacking goals (3) than any other player in the Premier League this season
For more player stats — https://t.co/MoPRKI6Q1b pic.twitter.com/2HggVsf393
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) February 13, 2019
That will be a mistake by the Saints given how they can pair Brooks up with James Ward-Prowse with the two able to unlock most defences on their day. Brooks is also able to play in behind the striker which can give Ward-Prowse a free role to wreak havoc in midfield.
RB: EMERSON ROYAL
Spurs have already had their greatest success of the season by keeping Harry Kane and the fact that they are leading the table right now comes after. Nevertheless, right-back is an area where there has been a lot of chopping and changing since last season.
🗞[@MailSport] | Tottenham Hotspur still hope to sell Serge Aurier before the deadline tomorrow with LOSC Lille among those interested in signing the player before the deadline.#THFC #COYSpic.twitter.com/o8vezcB44W
— Last Word On Spurs (@LastWordOnSpurs) August 30, 2021
Serge Aurier’s play has fallen considerably with him prone to making mistakes and going into rash challenges. Matt Doherty has looked the shadow of the player he was for Wolves in 2019-20 and needs a lot of extra work. With Japhet Tanganga still developing his game, Emerson will be an able starter who can provide stability.
Emerson Royal 🇧🇷
Brazil international – 4 caps
79 La Liga appearances for Real Betis
3 La Liga appearances for FC Barcelona this season.
Played a total of 3,186 minutes for Betis last season, more than any other player at the club. pic.twitter.com/BgITjYCDzB
— Lilywhite Rose (@Lilywhite_Rose) August 30, 2021
He was a regular with Real Betis last season in their top-six finish and is a player who loves to get forward. Apart from that, Emerson also exhibits a cool head and willingness to get tight with his man which will enable the covering defenders to get back in shape. A nice signing all things considered.
ST: DIVOCK ORIGI
Like the Canaries, Watford know that they will need goals and a lot of it if they are to continue in the Premier League for next season. With the impending departures of Andre Gray and club legend Troy Deeney, the importance of a proven striker is immense. Origi is already a cult hero at Liverpool but has found game time limited simply because of the world-class nature of the options ahead of him.
🚨 NEW: Liverpool are open to offers for Divock Origi. Nat Phillips could also depart, while Liverpool are looking to off-load Loris Karius and Sheyi Ojo. #awlive [@JamesPearceLFC] pic.twitter.com/5260Qcri4N
— Anfield Watch (@AnfieldWatch) August 23, 2021
He will provide an instant upgrade for the Hornets and his intelligent running coupled with sharp movement will allow the players in behind to flourish as well. Though Liverpool might have some hesitation in selling him, a good enough offer should entice them to bite the bullet.
WEST HAM UNITED
LB: NICHOLAS TAGLIAFICO
The Hammers currently sit 2nd on the back of Michail Antonio’s brilliant start to the season and their summer could get even better. While talks are on regarding the possible transfer of Jesse Lingard, the left-back position is something that the team is keen to shore up. Tagliafico will be a fantastic addition given his experience with Ajax in the Netherlands and Europe.
🚨 – BREAKING: Agreement between Ajax & West Ham United for Nico Tagliafico for €12M. He will sign for 4 years. Only personal agreement left. [via @MikeVerweij] pic.twitter.com/IfzrZZvkyh
— 𝐀𝐅𝐂 𝐀𝐉𝐀𝐗 💎 (@TheEuropeanLad) August 30, 2021
Furthermore, he was also part of the Argentina squad that clinched gold at Copa America 2021. Tagliafico is a solid passer of the ball along with having a strong physical presence. Though he does venture forward, his tracking back is highly commendable as he can be found marking his man well and not committing to challenges until the last moment.
CB: TOSIN ADARABIOYO
Bruno Lage’s side have had no luck this season, losing three games straight despite racking up almost double the xG of their opponents. Wolves lack of clinical finishing aside, they can also do with a new centre-back to freshen things up.
Wolverhampton had a bid refused for Sven Botman 3 days ago… and now the deal with Lille is completely OFF. Wolves are now also targeting Tosin Adarabioyo from Fulham as one of the options. 👀🐺 #Wolves #transfers
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 30, 2021
Max Kilman has looked like the player who needs more minutes at a lower level while Willy Boly has been completely overlooked so far. After seeing their approach for Sven Botman shut down, they are now weighing up their options with Adarabioyo a likely candidate. The Fulham defender is young at 23-years-old but has already made more than a 100 career appearances including in the Premier League.
Championship players with a defensive duels success rate over 85% and a passing accuracy over 90%:
End of list. #FulhamFC #FFC #MCFC #Championship #EFL pic.twitter.com/uV6MCqVCVr
— The Near Post (@TheNearPostEFL) August 25, 2021
He is quick player who can carry the ball well out of the defence and even start attacks through his sharp passing. Wolves have the resources to make this deal happen and the Cottagers will be hard pressed to turn it down.