One position each top six club needs to strengthen in this summer

The Premier League’s leading sides have enjoyed a relatively quiet transfer window, compared to the free-spending summers of years gone by.

Transfer deadline day is just over a fortnight away, with time running out for clubs to add to their squads ahead of the new campaign.

The August 8 deadline is fast approaching, but where do the league’s top six need to strengthen before the window slams shut?

Here is the one position each top-six club needs to strengthen this summer…

Arsenal – Centre-back

For a team who’s defensive fragility has seemingly cost them on countless occasions in recent seasons, there seems to have been a surprising lack of rumours linking Unai Emery with strengthening his backline this summer.

Saint-Etienne’s William Saliba looks set to complete a move to the Emirates, and whilst the 18-year-old is highly-rated and has impressed since breaking through at the French side, he is not ready to make an immediate impact and will be loaned back to the Ligue 1 club for the coming season.

Unsettled captain Laurent Koscielny’s strike and desire to return to France should only increase the need for Arsenal to strengthen at centre-back, though with just over two weeks remaining of the window, time is running out to secure a high-quality addition.

Rob Holding’s return from long-term injury will be a welcome boost, however, Arsenal’s central defensive options look thin and below the quality required to compete at the top end of the Premier League.

Sokratis offers experience and physicality, however, youngster Konstantinos Mavropanos is raw and has struggled in the first-team.

Returning loanee Callum Chambers’ best work last season was in midfield at Fulham, whilst the less said of the erratic, error-prone Shkodran Mustafi the better.

Should Koscielny depart, Arsenal will head into the season with Holding, Sokratis, Mavropanos, and Mustafi as their centre-back options, though Chambers and Monreal can also deputise.

If the club fail to add a commanding central defender before the window closes, Arsenal fans should expect more defensive implosions next season.

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Liverpool – Left-back

Andy Robertson is Liverpool’s undisputed first-choice at left-back, the Scotland captain having enjoyed a meteoric rise since moving to Anfield in 2017.

Alberto Moreno’s departure at the expiry of his contract and subsequent move to Villareal means Jurgen Klopp’s side are short of back-up and competition for Robertson, and the club could look to address the problem before the August deadline.

Liverpool’s marauding full-backs have become key components in the evolution of Jurgen Klopp’s side, offering width and penetration in wide areas as they overlap the club’s inverted forwards.

James Milner has deputised admirably in an unorthodox left-back role at times in recent seasons, though the veteran midfielder can not offer the same energy and dynamism that Robertson provides.

Nathaniel Clyne has returned from a loan at Bournemouth, though the 14-cap England international is more comfortable on the right and has been linked with a move to Crystal Palace.

Teenager Sepp van den Berg has been Liverpool’s only signing of the window so far, though Klopp should consider adding a left-back to provide competition and back-up for Robertson next season.

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Manchester City – Centre-back

Aside from the club-record signing of Atletico Madrid midfielder Rodri, it has been a fairly quiet window for the champions thus far.

PSV Eindhoven full-back Angelino has also re-signed for the club after City opted to take up a buy-back option on the 22-year-old, the defender set to provide competition at left-back for Oleksandr Zinchenko and Benjamin Mendy.

City’s major business for the rest of the window could be at centre-back. Four-time title-winning captain Vincent Kompany brought an end to his 11-year stay at the Etihad this summer, returning to former club Anderlecht as player-manager, whilst there remains doubts over the future of Nicolas Otamendi.

Replacing Kompany is an unenviable task for Guardiola, such was the Belgian’s contribution to the club, however, the Spaniard could seek defensive additions.

John Stones and Aymeric Laporte are likely to be the club’s first-choice defensive pairing, though Guardiola has said the club are interested in a centre-back.

Rivals Manchester United are believed to have shown the strongest interest in signing reported City target Harry Maguire, having seen an opening bid rejected, though don’t be surprised to see the champions make their move.

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Manchester United – Centre-back

United posted their worst defensive record in Premier League history last season, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side slumped to a sixth-placed finish and missed out on qualification for next season’s Champions League.

The club have been chasing Leicester City’s England international Harry Maguire in a summer-long transfer-saga, and it is a chase that is likely to continue.

United have seen opening bids rejected for the 26-year-old, with Leicester holding out for a world-record fee for the defender.

Whether or not United will match the reported £80m asking price remains to be seen, although a defensive signing should be a priority before the window closes.

Victor Lindelof’s improvement has been welcome following his shaky start to life at Old Trafford, however, an extensive list of potential partners have failed to impress.

Long-serving duo Phil Jones and Chris Smalling continue to frustrate the club’s fanbase, whilst Eric Bailly has failed to build on early promise and could leave the club.

Marcus Rojo is also tipped to depart, and youngster Axel Tuanzebe is unproven at the highest level.

United are likely to push hard for a deal for Maguire as the window nears its conclusion, a signing which has evidently been made a priority for Solskjaer this summer.

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Tottenham – Right-back

Mauricio Pochettino’s squad is well balanced, having so far kept hold of Christian Eriksen and Toby Alderweireld after both players were tipped to leave.

The Champions League finalists have strengthened with the club-record signing of Lyon midfielder Tanguy Ndombele, as they look to get closer to the Premier League’s top two next season.

The decision to allow Kieran Tripper to join Atletico Madrid could see the club look to strengthen at full-back, with alternative Serge Aurier having failed to convince.

Kyle Walker-Peters has impressed in fleeting first-team appearances, though it remains to be seen whether Pochettino trusts the 22-year-old to be the club’s first-choice. Pochettino is also thought to be keen on trying Argentinian centre-back Juan Foyth on the right-hand side of defense.

Marseille’s Japanese international Hiroki Sakai has been muted as a possible signing, and would represent an experienced addition.

A left-back could also be targeted should, as expected, Danny Rose leaves the club, with Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon reported to be Tottenham’s top target.

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Chelsea – Forward

Chelsea’s two-window transfer-ban means the club are unable to add further additions this summer, with new manager Frank Lampard having to strengthen his squad from within.

Christian Pulisic, who arrives this summer after a £58m move from Borussia Dortmund was agreed in January, will be required to help fill the void left by Eden Hazard’s departure to Real Madrid, whilst increased involvement for Callum Hudson-Odoi will also add creativity to the wide positions once the teenager has recovered from his long-term Achilles injury.

Gonzalo Higuain’s loan move from Juventus failed to solve Chelsea’s lack of focal point, a problem position in which the club have struggled since Diego Costa’s fall-out and subsequent move to Atletico Madrid.

Olivier Giroud, who scored just two Premier League goals last season, is the club’s established forward and the Frenchman will hope to be given a regular opportunity in the league this season, having scored prolifically in the club’s victorious Europa League campaign.

Lampard’s major decision will be the futures of returning loanees Tammy Abraham and Michy Batshuayi, the forward duo are yet to establish themselves at Stamford Bridge but enjoyed impressive spells at Aston Villa and Crystal Palace respectively last season.

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