Van Dijk’s replacement at Liverpool made transfer predictions in January after the summer’s regrets

As the transfer rumors filter through, we have a decent understanding of at least which positions Premier League clubs are looking to strengthen this summer, if not who will be signed to bolster the reinforcements. And thus we also have a pretty good idea of ​​which areas clubs should seek to improve on, but which are not.

Here are some predictions for the January transfer window, based on regrets from this summer…

Chelsea signs a No.1
Mauricio Pochettino is ready to make Kepa Arrizabalaga his No.1, leaves the way clear for Manchester United chasing targets that both clubs had on very similar shortlists.

Kepa’s certainly had an excellent season by Kepa standards, even if it was an incredibly low bar, which is an ironic phrase as the bar has seemingly towered over the Spaniard in goals for much of his Chelsea career. But he has also had a very good season by Premier League standards. One of the most telling statistics points to him being the third best behind just Alisson and Bernd Leno, and although Thiago Silva won it, there is a very strong case to be made that he should have been Chelsea’s player of the season.

Pochettino’s priorities lie elsewhere, with Moises Caicedo one of what are likely to be two midfield targets, and a ‘high profile’ goalscorer also a must after the Blues scored just 38 goals last season.

Kepa may well be fine, but the majority of fans aren’t, and while he seems to have matured quite a bit in the last 18 months or so, one or two significant mistakes could easily see him back to standstill.

And at the end of the day, clubs don’t win titles without world-class goalkeepers, and Kepa is not one of them.

Arsenal are chasing a goalscorer
Gabriel Jesus was outstanding in his debut campaign for Arsenal but scored just 11 Premier League goals. Kai Havertz was less than stellar in his last campaign for Chelsea, scoring seven Premier League goals.

Arsenal fans reading this will reasonably point to the 44 goals scored by Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard to argue that they don’t. need a goalscorer and again in fairness it might be suggested that these players would not have scored the goals, contributing to a tally that was just six shy of Manchester City, had Jesus not been so brilliant for the others striker stuff.

We don’t know Mikel Arteta plan for Havertzbut the chances are that he will be inserted in the middle in the absence of Jesus, and render a similar service.

But allow us to blow our minds for a moment. What if, and bear with us, Arsenal signed a striker who dropped deep, linked play, ran in behind defenders and scored goal? We give you a moment to compose yourselves.

Van Dijk replaces in Liverpool
“You can’t play your absolute best every single game,” Van Dyke said as he assessed his and Liverpool’s turbulent 2022/23 season, which he admits came as a “shock” before claiming the final three months of the season made him feel “comfortable in my skin again”.

He is right that he finished the season far better than he started it, although even in recent weeks he was nowhere near the “absolute best” we saw between 2018 and 2020, when strikers did not bother to ride him and he looked almost absurdly comfortable in every game he played.

Dutch legends Marco van Basten and Ruud Gullit criticized him in March for “creating chaos” and “thinking he’s better than the rest” and the nonchalance which previously had U.S the drool led experts to tip Van Dijk to be the one with saliva dripping from the corner of his mouth in a footballer’s care home this summer.

We’re not at that point yet and Van Dijk’s improvement at the back end of last season could prompt Liverpool to prioritize other areas. But with the lack of midfield additions costing them in 2022/23, a similar failure to develop in defense this summer could force a rethink in January.

Manchester City buys another centre-back
Manchester City look like they can pull off the absolute ballsy move of going into a season without any full-backs, provided Sergio Gomez is shown the door for being a bit crazy and Rico Lewis makes a permanent move into midfield or goes. in goal or something.

Pep Guardiola would rather spend an evening with Jose Mourinho than let Joao Cancelo near his club again and Kyle Walker appears to be on his way to Bayern Munichwhich leaves him with five centre-backs to play in a back four, or three or two, or whatever the f*** system he decides to play with, which could be four if Aymeric Laporte leaves as expected.

City are likely to sign another centre-back this summer unless he drops Rodri a little deeper, which he could if Declan Rice arrives. It’s all quite exciting actually.

But Pep wants another one in January because he can’t resist a good centre-back, especially ones who don’t actually look that good but turn out to be absolute world beaters. See Nathan Ake and Manuel Akanji.

Newcastle loan deals
The Toon raid on Serie A has begun with Sandro Tonali and could continue with bids for Theo Hernandez and Federico Chiesa, while Ruben Neves could immediately be loaned to them from Al Hilal, which turns our stomachsand they are also in the running for James Maddison.

They haven’t done much wrong since the Saudi takeover and any of these potential signings would immediately improve them, raising the quality of the starting XI to a level fit for the Champions League. But we would question whether Jamaal Lascelles, Ciaran Clark, Matt Ritchie or Chris Wood are equipped to step out at the Bernabeu or San Siro.

Financial Fair Play will be the issue for Newcastle, who have the funds but not the license to spend what they want, and when January rolls around and Fabian Schar is out after 40 games, some short fixes may well do be the answer.

Tottenham sign another right-back
After Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier, two of the best right-backs in Premier League history, Spurs called on Serge Aurier, Matt Doherty and Emerson Royal at right-back before refusing to call on Djed Spence and ending up with Pedro Porro. It hasn’t been great.

Tim Sherwood, whose word we here at Football365 take as gospel, described Porro as “so bad it’s unbelievable” on his debut, adding that his “positioning is disgusting”.

It was a bit much and Porro vowed to make Sherwood “shut up” through his performances, but we’re not yet convinced that his defense is any better than the flying trio that preceded him. £39m was also a lot of money.

Manchester United sign someone, anyone or everyone
They look set to get Mason Mount and reports suggest they will push for a striker – maybe Colonel Randal – after sealing a deal for the Chelsea star. But it could well be if the Glazers keep pushing.

It looks like they have £120m for transfers unless big bad Sheikh Jassim or Sir Jim Ratcliffe take charge in time. After paying £60m or so for Mount, that leaves £60m for a striker, which is below what clubs want for most of their targets in any case.

That leaves nothing for an alternative to Kim Min-jae or a replacement for David de Gea. The club in Norwich better stock up on scarves again.

Should the Glazers still be in charge in January, they will sign someone to reassure the fans, as they tend to do, and if the Red Devils have a shiny new owner, we can certainly expect some lavish spending on statement signings push. for Champions League qualification.

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