One position where Premier League clubs can lose weight
With the final weeks of the summer transfer window fast approaching, our football writer Nathan Spafford has taken a look at a position each Premier League club can afford to lose a little weight this summer and a player in that position who could bulk up their minutes:-
With Fabio Vieira yet to come into the fold from a pre-season injury and reports that the Gunners are still after another attacker in the wide areas, Arsenal seem to be stocking themselves well in the attacking midfield department. As a result, academy graduate Emile Smith Rowe could look to bulk up his minutes elsewhere in the Premier League this season to try and grasp a place on the plane to Qatar this winter.
Aston Villa had a busy early summer, making the majority of their summer signings while most club officials were still on their holidays. Left back Ludwig Augustinsson was brought to the club as competition but likely back up to first choice Lucas Digne on that side of the defence. With club captain Ashley Young also excelling in that position amongst others in his versatile range, someone is going to have to miss out and could look for a move away before the end of the window.
Siriki Dembele seemed a short term fix at best when brought to the Cherries in January to help shore up what was a faltering promotion bid. A middling second tier player at best, Dembele’s opportunities for minutes are likely to be difficult in the top flight as it stands. With another forward being lined up to arrive at the Vitality Stadium this month, a return to the second tier of English football could be on the cards for the former Posh frontman.
Sergi Canos has long been a figure of frustration in his time at Brentford, struggling to nail down a sustained position and often flattering to deceive too. The Spaniard spent much of last season trying his best at right wing back but a change in formation on occasions and the arrival of Aaron Hickey from Bologna have seen the former Liverpool talent’s opportunities drop substantially already. The Bees could easily shift that weight from their squad this month.
Jan Paul van Hecke enjoyed a particularly fruitful spell on loan at Championship side Blackburn last term as Rovers made an unlikely push for the play-off places which they already seem intent on recreating this time around. Another sense of déjà vu could see Brighton’s Dutch defender take another temporary year away from Sussex to further his own ambitions while on a roll. Brighton have numerous options across their defence ahead of van Hecke and may see fit to let him bulk up his game time away from the AMEX this season.
Conor Gallagher has earned some minutes in the Chelsea first team this season, but is directly fighting Emile Smith Rowe for one of the squad spots in England’s World Cup party. Gallagher was a mercurial cornerstone of Crystal Palace’s success last season and a return to South London would benefit all parties. Chelsea have midfield reinforcements on the way and players ahead of Gallagher in the pecking order and so another loan move across the capital would make a lot of sense.
From one Crystal Palace could gain to one they could shift on. The Eagles have three goalkeepers on their books who have been Premier League regulars in the past or present. Former Stoke and England goalkeeper is the odd one out with Vicente Guaita donning the first choice gloves between the sticks and former West Brom and England counterpart Sam Johnstone playing the role of backup on the bench. Could a loan return to the Potters for Butland suit everyone here? Yes, we think it could.
Dele Alli’s career shows no signs of slowing its tumble from glory days to a dumpster fire. A loan move to Besiktas is the likely next stop as the Turkish club have made firm enquiries for the former England and Tottenham hotshot. There aren’t many players Everton can afford to lose given their financial state and injury problems but Alli is one of the few they can. Such a shame.
Marco Silva purposefully left out a clutch of first team contracted players from his squad plans before the season started so Terence Kongolo, Josh Onomah and Ivan Cavalerio can all expect to get more minutes if they play just once for any club other than Fulham this season than if they stay at Craven Cottage.
Leeds had a famously tight squad under Marcelo Bielsa which rendered their position in lists such as these difficult at best. A bit of squad bulking was definitely in order and the results are showing, but all first teamers should get a run in the team this season, so let’s go for talented youngster Sam Greenwood to get some goals in the Championship or upper echelons of League One this term.
They are yet to sign an outfield player this summer and could lose a clutch of key players in the final weeks of the window if reports are to be believed. The Foxes will need all the backup they can get.
Liverpool’s line up against Crystal Palace showed that they don’t have much to spare in personnel right now. That Nat Philips could look so flat-footed and get in the team ahead of fellow Championship loanee in the 2021/22 season Sepp van den Berg suggests the latter could look to another second tier loan move this campaign. Also, Curtis Jones would benefit from a full season as a first choice midfielder in the top flight, but Jurgen Klopp seems reticent to let the young England midfielder depart his clutches.
Following the arrival of left back Sergio Gomez from Anderlecht, Man City look perfectly stocked with two first class players per position and won’t look to disrupt that balance. Liam Delap is being heavily linked with a loan move to Stoke to facilitate his likely future rise to the City first team, so that’s what we’re going with here too.
Somehow, Phil Jones is still a Manchester United player. Let the man live his best life and showcase his undoubted talent and ridicule all those who have ridiculed him for far too long. Brandon Williams too has fallen down the pecking order with the arrival of Tyrell Malacia so another temporary spell away would benefit the versatile full back who can operate on either side.
Left back Jamal Lewis didn’t even make the Magpies’ Premier League squad for the second half of last season. The Northern Ireland defender looked such a bright prospect when he broke through at Norwich City but his career has stalled and then some in recent years. Eddie Howe’s side can do without the defender so it is time to let him bulk up his minutes at another Premier League side. Bournemouth would be a tidy shout.
There will be casualties from the raft of first team signings brought into the City Ground this summer. There is no doubting Forest had to sign quality and quantity this summer and they have done that in abundance. Cafu and Jack Colback will find themselves surplus to requirements when the full contingent of new boys are available, but Sam Surridge too could struggle for game time if Neal Maupay joins Emmanuel Dennis in the incomings list. Back to the Championship, you go.
Four goalkeepers, Jeremy. Four. That’s insane. Southampton lost Fraser Forster to Tottenham in the summer, but gained Gavin Bazanu and Matuesz Lis as well as retaining Willy Caballero for another season alongside last term’s first choice Alex McCarthy. Four keepers of similar quality is a headache, but one of them needs to head out on loan. Lis is the safest bet.
Whisper it quietly, but could wing-back Djed Spence end up back at Nottingham Forest after all this season? The youngster has yet to feature for Spurs and wasn’t even on the bench for the Chelsea draw. Manager Antonio Conte has already referenced the youngster’s age and inexperience at the top level and with Spurs’ lofty ambitions, Spence could be sent out for first team experience elsewhere to smooth this transition.
David Moyes has overachieved with West Ham for two seasons running, owing much to the fact he has done it all with such a tight squad. As a result, there aren’t many West Ham could afford to lose, but big money disappointments Alexander Kral and Nicola Vlasic could up their value with moves elsewhere. They are dipping in value significantly with every underachieving appearance for the Hammers.
Another team with little wriggle room, Wolves are often a bad team to end these pieces on as the club has stagnated somewhat. We’re praying for Wycombe’s promotion to the Premier League to save us, but in the meantime, young talent Luke Cundle will see his already little minutes diminished further by the imminent arrival of Mathias Nunes. So, him.