Only 27 days remain in the summer transfer window in England, and teams are getting close to wrapping up their pre-season friendlies ahead of the August 17 kick-off to the Premier League season.
Based on the transfer signings so far in the summer window, here’s my ratings on how each club in the Premier League has done as of press time:
Other than a defensive midfielder, the Gunners have one clear area that they will be looking to improve: goals. As many foresaw at this stage last year, summer signings Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski have failed to fill the huge void left by Van Persie. And with Walcott’s best position still under investigation, Wenger needs a goal scorer – and quick. On their day, Arsenal’s front six is as effective as any. However when the going gets tough, there is a transparent lack of poaching ability. For the first season in years, Wenger can rest easy that he will lose his best players. He is lacking a talismanic figure of recent seasons – a Fabregas, Nasri or a Van Persie. Instead, the Frenchman faces the task of finding one.
The Gunners have already failed with bids for Higuain, Rooney and Suarez. The money is there to spend but Wenger can’t seem to give it away at the moment. Arsenal’s occasionally leaky back four could also do with reinforcing. Thomas Vermaelan is a real fan’s favorite at the Emirates. However it increasingly looks like he’s a time-bomb as his tenure at the club goes on. Arsene should look past the ball-playing defender and invest in a good old fashioned centre-half capable of closing down games. Phil Jagielka and Ashley Williams have been mentioned. Both would be a breath of fresh air for Gunners fans who are becoming tiresome of their teams occasional naivety.
Ins: Yaya Sanogo (Auxerre, free)
Outs: Andre Santos (Flamengo, undisclosed), Vito Mannone (Sunderland, £2m), Francis Coquelin (Freiburg, loan), Johan Djourou (Hamburg, loan), Andrey Arshavin (Zenit, free), Sanchez Watt (Colchester, free), Sebastien Squillaci and Denilson (both released).
The best news for Villa fans is that Christian Benteke has committed his future to the club. With the Belgian and strike partner Weimann both having excellent debut campaigns, Villa could be in for a much more comfortable upcoming season if they’re both on fire. Lambert’s men provided lessons on how not to defend last term. This is something Lambert will be eager to remedy. The Villains have brought in Danish defender Okore to bolster their defense, although they shouldn’t stop there.
Richard Dunne’s departure to QPR along with skipper Sylvian Petrov’s premature retirement has left a lack of experience in Villa’s starting eleven that causes concern. Lambert’s priority should be to stabilize his young side by adding reliable Premier League experience to his setup. If Randy Lerner wants to keep his club afloat, he needs to revisit the ambition that saw him splash £24m on Darren Bent less than 3 years ago.
Ins: Nicklas Helenius (Aalborg, £2m), Antonio Luna (Sevilla, undisclosed), Jores Okore (Nordsjaelland, £4m), Leandro Bacuna (FC Groningen, undisclosed).