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4 Gaping Premier League Squad Holes Yet to Be Filled

With two days left until the Summer transfer window glides to a close, we’ve highlighted four teams who dearly need to pull their fingers/wallets out sharpish.

Arsenal – Defence

Despite splashing £70million on yet another striker to take their tally of forwards to six, the Gunners’ recruitment team are still scrambling around in the dark for a centre half. With the clock ticking down, there are no signs they have yet remedied the leaky defence that afflicted them so badly last term.

The bad news has to start with club captain Laurent Koscielny throwing his toys out of the pram and being shipped out of the team for the crime of rank sub-ordination. Whilst his arse is planted firmly on the naughty step it’s probably up to Shkodran Mustafi and Papastothopolous Sokratis to man a defence that shipped 71 goals in all last season, when both proved ropier than a climber’s garage.

There was a whiff optimism around the Emirates when it emerged French starlet William Saliba had been identified as an antidote to the Gunners’ woes. But regardless of how snazzy the video that officially unveiled him may be, the fact the 18-year-old been sent straight back on loan to St Etienne makes him more or less useless in solving their problems here and now.

 

Kieran Tierney has been touted as one of the best up and coming left-backs around and worthy successor to the ageing Nacho Monreal. After a nauseating amount of posturing from Arsenal and Celtic, it appears the Gunners may just get their man and would go some way to easing the pessimism in North London with the new campaign fast approaching.

Newcastle – Centre Forward

The Magpies struggled for goals enough last season so letting go of three front-men, Joselu, Salomon Rondon and top-scorer Ayoze Perez, was always going to cause Carlo Ancelotti levels of raised eyebrows.

Bringing in the little-known Brazilian forward, Joelinton, for a club record £40million fee after a far from glittering season at Hoffenheim, where he netted just 8 times, will do little to reassure fans. Considering all these dealings made Mike Cashley a net loss of £10million it’s doubly hard to make much sense of it all.

He joins Yoshinori Muto (1 PL goal last term), Miguel Almiron (0) and Dwight Gale (Captain Championship himself) in a forward line that couldn’t be less proven at this level.

After last year’s showing, it’s not like they can count much coming from midfield either - centre half Fabien Schar came in third on the goalscoring charts last term after Perez and Rondon.

Geordie’s will be desperate for the rumours about Allan Saint-Maximin to be true, but his track record doesn’t exactly reek of goals. The 22-year-old French winger, who can’t play without his Gucci headband, logged his best ever season in front of goal but that still only amounted to 6 in all competitions.


Those on Tyneside must be absolutely clammin' to get this deal over the line.

Armed with a distinctly Championship manager in old Turnips Bruce, it could we be yet another testing season for the St James’ Park faithful.

Crystal Palace – Centre Forward

Star striker Michy Batshuayi being recalled by his talent-hoarding parent club Chelsea is a tough one to take for Palace fans. The bullish Belgian was their most prolific goal scorer at the back end of last term, netting six in 10 games. Meanwhile, Alexander Sorloth has gone on a 2-year loan to Turkey that he’ll almost certainly never return from, so they’re left with just Christian Benteke and Connor Wickham for Zaha and Townsend to never pass to.

Jordan Ayew has come in for £2.5m despite a frightfully tepid spell on loan last season. With £60million big ones lurking in Steve Parish’s bank account from the Wan Bissaka sale, Palace would be fools not to spend a chunk of it on someone capable of locating a barn door with any manner of small stringed instruments.

Mario Balotelli has to be worth enquiring about since he seemed to do pretty well out of his last transfer to Marseille in January. He’s now a free agent but after treating himself to 51 goals from just 88 games since swapping Italy for France, he won’t be around for long. Sure, he might command a hefty salary but with a proven goal scoring record in the Prem and the fact Connor Wickham *squints* - once scored 9 goals in season for Ipswich - it might just be worth breaking the bank.

Norwich City – Central Midfield

The Canaries shipped a bumper 57 goals in the Championship last season so managing the step up to the top-flight gives me the willies something awful, so to speak. They would be wise to heed what happened to Fulham - comfortably the leakiest team to go up that year, the Cottagers let in 9 fewer than Norwich in their pre-Prem campaign, before jaffing their wad up the wall on trinkets and baubles in attack as they shipped them by the bucketload.

The issue for Norwich is that a distinctly sub-par midfield has not been bolstered in the slightest and Farke’s . The three central holding players (Trybull, Tettey & Thompson) are Championship-standard at best and will be run ragged by more able opponents this season. The trio have a combined market value of £4million which is just about enough to buy one of Fernandinho’s big toes.

A player like Bournemouth’s Harry Arter could be a feasible target given his attractive price tag and considerable experience. Whether or not City could prize him from the South Coast where the Irish anglophile has just returned from a loan at Cardiff is another matter.

Nathaniel Chalobah is another who’s been mentioned and would represent exceptional business if snaffled on loan. Any deal would be heavily dependent on Olivier Doucoure’s many suitors being batted away first, however.

Harry Corton
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All Images - PA. Stats via WhoScored.

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