We’re now midway through the summer and the World Cup is over, so attention can officially switch to the new Premier League season! The transfer window, like or loathe it, brings excitement and opportunity, which teams across the division are sure to exploit in search of all important upgrades.
From big money signings, to clever under the radar arrivals, there are many ways to take advantage of the situation, and there are some clubs that will need to make more use of it than others.
Here are five outfits we at FFC believe will be looking for much-needed upgrades in the coming weeks.
Although they ended the season in sixth, hopes were much higher at White Hart Lane heading into last season. Okay Gareth Bale had been sold, but with £110m having been spent on talent from across Europe, there was a genuine belief in the white half of north London that the top four and maybe even a trophy was possible.
However, managerial disruption and arrivals failing to settle saw the Lilywhites’ campaign end in disappointment, which was amplified by massive defeats at the hands of top four clubs and Liverpool – dubbed as direct rivals for a Champions League spot – taking the title battle to the final day.
Pochettino has been brought in as an upgrade to the much-maligned Sherwood, and there is a lot of talk of new signings heading to ‘The Lane’. Bony or Lukaku would be a cut above Soldado up top, while Davies of Swansea is seen as an upgrade on Rose at left-back.
The Moyes reign ended in an absolute farce, with the Scot seemingly dismissed via Internet rumours as he barely touched the sides of Sir Alex Ferguson’s large boots at Manchester United.
Signings are already through the door at Old Trafford in the shape of Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw, who should be able to provide the upgrades needed in their respective roles.
Vidal, Hummels and di Maria are said to be the next targets, which would certainly hint at a better season at the Theatre of Dreams for 2014/15 and maybe even a title push.
Arsenal did what Arsenal do last season, started well with a title push before slipping away to a fourth place battle… which they won. As well as this they ended a nine-year trophy drought with the FA Cup, but there is still a feeling that a few upgrades could be the key to better times.
Sanchez is through the door and looks to be the real deal, while Debuchy will fill the Sagna-shaped hole at right-back, however there are more upgrades needed, chiefly in central midfield, where Arteta’s best days are behind him. Bender of Leverkusen is being talked about, but the ultimate upgrade would be Vidal, who could be the man Arsenal have missed since Vieira’s exit.
West Ham were pretty difficult to watch last season. Allardyce’s brand of direct football may always be enough to ensure safety, but the Irons’ fans are beginning to dream of more after watching the likes of Swansea make inroads at the upper end of the Premier League in recent years.
Zarate should add more flair but to play better football, many new players will be needed across the pitch. Upgrades on the likes of Nolan, Jarvis and Downing would almost guarantee that Carroll gets the service he needs, with the big man boasting a proven record of scoring goals with both his head and his feet.
The burden of Europa League football was a big one for Swansea last season, as they slipped from upper mid-table to relegation fodder. The Swans play attractive football, but sometimes a soft underbelly can be exploited by more savvy sides, which could be addressed with a few upgrades.
A new midfielder and a top class partner for Williams at the back – Chico can be a liability – would bulk out the core, while a fresh winger with a little more end product could help to maximise Bony’s output.