There is plenty of fiction in the English sports pages. Here, theScore scours the more believable reports and assesses each team’s weaknesses to pick out a realistic signing for every 2019-20 Premier League club.
Kieran Tierney: There are a few areas that need strengthening in Unai Emery’s squad, but someone to render the hapless Sead Kolasinac unnecessary is key. Celtic’s Tierney fits the bill as Arsenal’s first-choice left-back, with Nacho Monreal acting in a supporting role.
Axel Tuanzebe: Signing Tyrone Mings from Bournemouth on permanent terms may be tough, and Ethan Ampadu has been linked with a temporary move to Aston Villa. The most logical addition, however, is last season’s loanee Tuanzebe, who excelled under Dean Smith.
Tom Heaton: Heaton reportedly rejecting a new contract offer from Burnley will alert numerous clubs. One of those interested parties should be Bournemouth following a dismal season for Asmir Begovic.
Brighton & Hove Albion
Matthew Clarke: Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy’s uncharacteristic rough patch around April was possibly a byproduct of Brighton’s overreliance on the defensive duo. Clarke, 22, was ever-present for Portsmouth over the 2018-19 term and would provide a tough-tackling backup for Dunk and Duffy.
Neal Maupay: Maupay is unlike Burnley’s usual strikers in that he doesn’t look like a rugby prop forward, but he can be a hawkish hoarder of goals. The 22-year-old Frenchman netted 25 times in the Championship for Brentford last season.
Todd Kane: With a transfer ban still hanging over Chelsea, they will have to dip into their reserves for squad depth. Kane, 25, was apparently wanted by Frank Lampard at Derby County, so the manager may wish to renew the right-back’s expiring Chelsea contract should he take over the helm at Stamford Bridge.
Seko Fofana: James McArthur turns 32 in October and Max Meyer is quite slow. Fofana, the Manchester City youth product currently with Udinese, would be an ideal candidate to boost the energy levels in Roy Hodgson’s midfield.
Andre Gomes: This deal seems pretty close. Everton are expected to purchase the Barcelona flop for £22 million this summer after an impressive season-long loan on Merseyside. The transfer would make sense for both parties.
James Justin: Justin is yet another impressive youngster to emerge from Luton Town’s academy. The 21-year-old spent the 2018-19 campaign at left-back but is actually right-footed – so he can compete with Ben Chilwell and Ricardo Pereira – and has played in midfield.
No one: You could forgive Jurgen Klopp for being reluctant to add to his current Liverpool crop. Although some defensive and attacking cover would be helpful, teenagers Rhian Brewster and Ki-Jana Hoever can push for minutes in the 2019-20 season. The Reds don’t need to recruit.
Rodri: Manchester City have been searching for Fernandinho’s successor for some time and may finally end that long pursuit with Rodri. The Atletico Madrid star rarely loses possession, has wonderful passing accuracy, and constantly zips around the field to break up opposition play.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka: Wan-Bissaka would satisfy United’s new transfer remit of signing young British players and fill the void left by Antonio Valencia’s departure. If the Crystal Palace youngster is too pricey, Norwich’s Max Aarons would be a cheaper and, in time, potentially superior alternative.
Salomon Rondon: Rondon played his best football in England under the guidance of Rafa Benitez and should look to turn his temporary spell at Newcastle into a permanent stay. The West Bromwich Albion target man has already struck up a promising understanding with Miguel Almiron.
Charlie Gilmour: Norwich technical director Stuart Webber may have uncovered another diamond. Gilmour, 20, is available for nothing after he was surprisingly released by Arsenal, and his mature, technical play in midfield could be due to him naming Santi Cazorla as his role model.
Kieran Dowell: Dowell might not justify the hype from his flashy days in Everton’s youth setup, but his deceptive power and strength won a legion of followers last season in South Yorkshire. Sheffield United should try to sign the 21-year-old permanently after his strong half-season loan with the Blades.
Che Adams: Danny Ings, Charlie Austin, and Shane Long combined for 14 league goals during the 2018-19 campaign, so Ralph Hasenhuttl will be looking to improve that area in the close season. Birmingham City’s Adams would offer pace, strength, and intelligent movement in the Saints’ frontline.
Giovani Lo Celso: The links with Tanguy Ndombele still linger, but Real Betis’ Lo Celso should be a more affordable acquisition and is ready for an immediate starting role. The 23-year-old midfielder can satisfy both attacking and deep-lying duties, and boasts La Liga, Ligue 1, Champions League, and World Cup experience.
Terence Kongolo: Kongolo and Philip Billing appear the likeliest players to leave Huddersfield Town following their relegation. The former would help address the Hornets’ susceptible defense, both at center-back and on the left of a back-four.
West Ham United
Maxi Gomez: This rumor has been hanging around for a while. The Uruguayan scored 30 league goals over his past two seasons with Celta Vigo and, at 22, would be a welcome digression from West Ham’s habit of buying gnarled players who were good five-or-so years ago.
Yacine Brahimi: Adama Traore hasn’t worked out, so it’s time for Wolves to sign another speedy operator. Brahimi is still with FC Porto after playing for Nuno Espirito Santo during the 2016-17 season, and has a better end product than Traore does at the conclusion of his mesmerizing dribbles.