The transfer window is officially open for business and Premier League boardrooms are working tirelessly behind the scenes to get deals done.
Each side will want to improve from last season and the summer window provides a much needed chance to bring in reinforcements. We’ve decided to look at the key positions that the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’ need to strengthen this summer.
One key position each ‘Big Six’ side needs to strengthen
Arsenal – Central midfield
Arsenal’s season exceeded all expectations after a push for the Premier League, with the Gunners top of the table for a record 248 days without winning the title after faltering during the run-in.
Despite that disappointment, Champions League qualification was secured and Mikel Arteta’s focus is on improving the quality and depth in his squad. Central midfield is an area that requires additions and work is underway after an opening offer for West Ham’s Declan Rice was turned down.
Arsenal have significantly advanced on Declan Rice’s personal terms in the last few days — that’s why Arsenal will bid again to find a solution with West Ham. ⚪️🔴 #AFC
£80m was never gonna be enough to convince West Ham, as they hope for more than £100m to sell Rice. pic.twitter.com/Ev36DxKocd
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) June 15, 2023
Arsenal are also interested in Brighton’s Moises Caicedo and the arrival of that duo would provide the north Londoners with the dynamism and energy to implement a high-intensity press. Granit Xhaka is expected to move on despite an excellent season for the north Londoners, leaving Arsenal short on options beyond Thomas Partey.
Jorginho was signed as a short-term solution in January but lacks the legs required to press with purpose, while Mohamed Elneny is the only other senior option in the deep-lying midfield positions.
Arsenal are the frontrunners to sign Rice and the England international would be a statement signing. The addition of Caicedo alongside the 24-year-old would leave Arsenal with the most all-action engine room in the division.
Chelsea – Centre-forward
Chelsea are facing a season without European football after the club’s lowest league finish since 1994/95, with a disastrous campaign having seen Thomas Tuchel and Graham Potter sacked, before interim boss Frank Lampard tried and failed to address the slump.
In a myriad of issues, Chelsea’s lack of goals was a decisive factor in the club’s struggle for results. Just two teams who avoided relegation scored less goals than Chelsea (38), while the west Londoners have only scored less goals in a season just once in the club’s history (1923/24).
Mauricio Pochettino welcomes Liverpool to the Bridge in his first PL game in charge of Chelsea 💥 pic.twitter.com/EaWzMigaur
— B/R Football (@brfootball) June 15, 2023
Chelsea have lacked a reliable source of goals since Diego Costa’s exit six years ago and the failure to sign a centre-forward – despite a record-breaking spend of around £600m on new signings since last summer – is a mistake that must be addressed.
Christopher Nkunku is set to arrive and ended last season as the joint-leading scorer in the Bundesliga, but the Frenchman is not an out-and-out centre-forward and would perhaps benefit from working off a main frontman.
Dusan Vlahovic, Victor Osimhen and Lautaro Martinez are among the names linked. Each would represent a significant investment, but would fit the bill.
Liverpool – Central midfield
Liverpool’s midfield issues were the narrative of last season at Anfield, with Jurgen Klopp’s once relentless runners in midfield appearing aged, passive and pedestrian.
The Reds required a refresh regardless of departures, but the exits of James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain mean multiple arrivals are required.
Liverpool have secured their first signing of the season in Brighton’s Alexis Mac Allister and the World Cup winner looks an astute addition for the reported £35m fee, but further signings are needed in what is set to be a summer of change.
Thiago Alcantara and Jordan Henderson are each 32, while Fabinho’s form was poor last season and doubts remain over Harvey Elliott’s best position and suitability to the demands of Liverpool’s press.
Khéphren Thuram, a beast in the midfield 🥵🇫🇷 pic.twitter.com/fCAARnUKVY
— Ligue 1 English (@Ligue1_ENG) June 8, 2023
Khéphren Thuram is a name understood to be on Liverpool’s radar and appears a fine fit. The 22-year-old’s mix of technical and physical attributes appear well-suited to the Premier League, while he ranked among the elite bracket of midfielders in Europe’s top five leagues for successful take-ons and progressive carries last season.
Expect interest in the Frenchman to accelerate after his involvement in the u21 European Championship this summer, while Liverpool have also been linked with international team-mate Manu Kone.
Manchester City – Central midfield
Manchester City will begin the transfer window from a position of strength, with the treble winners having completed a historic season under Pep Guardiola.
City’s squad is the most talented in European football and has world-class talent across every area of the pitch, though midfield additions could be required. Ilkay Gundogan is out of contract this summer and his future remains undecided, with both Barcelona and Arsenal hoping to sign the German on a free transfer.
Bernardo Silva has also been linked with an exit after agitating for a move in recent transfer windows and Paris Saint-Germain have earmarked the Portugal international as a Lionel Messi replacement.
EXCL: Mateo Kovacić has now agreed personal terms with Manchester City after advanced talks already revealed last week 🚨🔵🇭🇷 #MCFC
Kovacić wants the move, next step has to be between clubs as Chelsea and City will discuss fee after the UCL final.
Chelsea, open to sell Kovacić. pic.twitter.com/PKdCHsEL9B
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) June 8, 2023
The departure of that duo would be a sizeable blow for the Premier League champions, whose squad is one built on elite talent but lacks depth in terms of numbers. Mateo Kovacic is expected to complete a move to the club from Chelsea, but a second midfielder – alongside another defensive option – look likely to be on Guardiola’s wish-list as the club look to continue their dominance of the division.
Manchester United – Centre-forward
Erik ten Hag will have been pleased with his first season in charge at Manchester United, a campaign which saw the Red Devils end a six-year wait for silverware with League Cup success and secure Champions League qualification.
The first building blocks in the road back to challenging at the top of the Premier League have been placed and the addition of a leading centre-forward could accelerate those ambitions. United were reliant on Marcus Rashford for goals last season, with only Bruno Fernandes joining the England forward in double digits for goals.
Only Aston Villa scored less goals than the Red Devils in the Premier League’s top nine last season, with Ten Hag’s team scoring a huge 36 goals less than Manchester City.
Harry Kane has been mentioned as the club’s leading target and would represent a real statement of intent, but the cost involved for a footballer who will turn 30 this summer – alongside Tottenham’s reluctance to do business with a Premier League rival – will make a deal difficult.
Manchester United are currently looking at other options for new striker as Harry Kane deal is not advancing at all 🚨🔴 #MUFC
Man Utd feel Tottenham never wanted to sell Kane to them and have no plans to enter into two-months saga.
Rasmus Højlund, one of the names in the list. pic.twitter.com/N0v8qd99PC
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) June 14, 2023
Atalanta’s Rasmus Højland looks a more viable option but is inexperienced, while Eintracht Frankfurt’s Randal Kolo Muani and Napoli’s Victor Osimhen have been linked.
Tottenham – Goalkeeper
Tottenham have several issues that need to be addressed after the club’s lowest league finish since 2008/09, but the most pressing area of concern for new manager Ange Postecoglou is in goal.
Hugo Lloris has announced his intention to leave north London after more than a decade at Spurs, though the club captain’s inconsistent form meant an upgrade at number one was required regardless of his future.
David Raya has emerged as the club’s leading target and Spurs are understood to have agreed personal terms with the Brentford goalkeeper. However, the sticking point remains the transfer fee with Brentford demanding £40m for a player who has just a year to run on his current contract.
🇪🇸 David Raya player characteristics:
🟢 Long passing
🟢 Shot stopping (reflexes)
🟢 Saving close range shots
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) June 15, 2023
Interest in Raya makes sense. The Spaniard topped the Premier League for saves (154) and save percentage (771.%) last season, while his distribution saw Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp claim the goalkeeper could play at ‘number 10’.
Raya ranked among Europe’s leading goalkeepers for crosses claimed and touches last season, while his kicking over range is a real weapon with no goalkeeper in the Premier League completing more accurate long passes last season.
Postecoglu will want to build from the back and Raya’s ability to begin attacks over short or long distances – alongside impressive shot-stopping statistics – make him an ideal upgrade in goal.