The 2016-17 Premier League season has only just finished and already teams are making plans for next season. Chelsea have barely lifted their trophy and plans are being made by Antonio Conte for another title assault. The same can also be said of every other club in the top six of the Premier League. Success comes at a premium these days.
The key stat from this season that is the most interesting is the points totals of the top six clubs. Every single club has amassed more points than last season. Arsenal came second in the league in 2015-16 with 71pts. They amassed 75pts this season and have come 5th. This tells us how these teams need to improve next season. Otherwise a season of non-Champions League football in 2018-19 awaits them. All of the top six will be looking at Europe for the top talent but who will go where and why and who will they look to buy? We look at five top targets and who would want them.
The pacey Monaco striker has been a sensation this season. His goals have led Monaco to the league title in France and the semi-finals of the Champions League. With 29 appearances this season and 26 goals in all competitions, he has an almost goal per game record. The downside is his lack of experience in what is only his second season in the senior side.
However that won’t deter teams like Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Man United from looking at him. All three could badly need a striker for next season. Alexis Sanchez could be on his way out of Arsenal while Diego Costa will not be at Chelsea next season. Man United badly needed a proven finisher if they want to finish in the top six. Whether the lightning fast but inexperienced Mbappe is the answer remains to be seen.
At just 30 years of age, Leonardo Bonucci is in the prime of his career. Juventus have been the most successful defensive team in Europe this season. Bonucci has been a vital cog in that defensive wheel that has propelled Juve to the Italian title and a league and cup double. It could even (at the time of writing) land them the Champions League in Cardiff next month.
Clubs like Manchester City will certainly be looking at Bonucci. Pep Guardiola has openly said that he is working all through the summer to get the players he needs to close the gap on Champions Chelsea next season. City need to tighten up at the back and can offer the sort of wages that Juventus would find tough to match. Bonucci has played 227 times for Juventus with 15 goals and has 69 caps for the national team.
For the English clubs that can spend the big bucks, Antoine Griezmann will be a top summer target. The rumours have been flying for quite some time that the Atletico Madrid striker will be bound for Old Trafford this year but will that happen? Griezmann will surely pick a top club if he comes to England and that will surely rule out Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool.
United, City and Chelsea despite their recent hiccups are the financial powerhouses of English football. The kind of wages that Griezmann would demand and the transfer fee that Atletico Madrid would want wouldn’t be a problem for the big three. With 60 goals in 111 games for Atletico including 15 goals for France, Griezmann will be a top target. Chelsea will need to replace Costa while United badly need a proven world class finisher to take the load off Marcus Rashford.
The Borussia Monchengladbach keeper Yann Sommer has been on the radar of Premier League clubs for quite some time. This could be the year that he comes to the Premier League. At 28 years of age and with nearly a hundred appearances in the Bundesliga behind him, Sommer could be seen as a good signing for teams like Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City.
Pep Guardiola has been having problems with his goalkeeping position since he arrived. Joe Hart was loaned out to Torino while Willy Caballero and Claudio Bravo still seem to lack quality in certain areas. Joe Hart looks almost certain to leave City this summer, even with Sun Bets Premier League betting markets pricing Hart at an extremely low 1/12 to make the England World Cup 2018 squad. Sommer concedes an average of 1.36 goals per game but that would surely decrease with a better defence in front of him and better players around him.
Giorgio Chiellini has long since been regarded as one of the best defenders in world football. At 32 years of age and with over 400 professional games behind him, he would be seen as a perfect blocker for a whole host of top English clubs. Chiellini has spent his entire career in Italy despite numerous efforts to drag him away. He has also scored 25 goals for Juventus and has a total of 39 goals in his career! This isn’t bad for a defender!
Manchester City would clearly relish his experience at the back. Their defensive frailties were never more highlighted than in their Champions League exit to Monaco where they conceded six goals in the two ties. Vincent Kompany has been injury prone while John Stones lacks experience. With a host of City players making an exit this year, could Chiellini be persuaded to come to the Premier League?
Carl Sampson is a full time poker player, sports bettor, writer and self-confessed football nut.