With the opening of the summer transfer window for English clubs, Wessex Scene provides for you a mini series of who we think will be coming and going for all the Premier League teams from A-Z. This is the final instalment of the series covering Tottenham-West Ham, with Will Scott giving his thoughts on who will be in and out the door at White Hart Lane this summer.
Tottenham should be pleased with their 5th place finish last year, especially considering that every squad above them has more depth and talent in their squad. Having been in this situation for a couple of years now the next logical step would be looking toward pushing in to the top 4 in order to secure Champions League football.
At the beginning of the season, after Soldado’s flop and Adebayor’s continual streaky play, many people were thinking that striker was the obvious role that needed filling for Spurs. However thanks to a certain Harry Kane, that can no longer be seen as the most pressing issue in the squad. Keeping hold of Kane is arguably more important than any realistic signing they can bring in over the summer (I also believe that for his career it’s best to stay at White Hart Lane). As mentioned before Adebayor gives you one good game in 3, at best. Spurs should look to offload what is probably a hefty wage in favour of a second striker who could be paired with Kane when chasing the game, but could also come on as a replace him and give you a guaranteed half hour of effort. Offloading Adebayor to Villa would present itself as a good bit of business, however getting Benteke in return seems out of the question now as it’s almost a guarantee he’ll go to Liverpool. Young Belgian Michy Batshuayi provides another option, and is someone who wouldn’t be averse to sitting on the bench as he’s young and still developing, yet has bags of potential to develop into a star.
Looking through the squad Tottenham do have good depth, however outside of Lloris, Eriksen and Kane every position could conceivably be upgraded if they’re to properly challenge for the top 4. Last season they shipped 53 goals (the same amount as Burnley and Leicester), whilst every other team above them conceded 38 or less. Clearly defence is an issue at the lane and although there’s solid depth along the back four every player is of similar ability with no true stand out players at the top. Whilst Kevin Wimmer and Keiran Trippier have already been signed, both of these players are classic Tottenham signings in the fact that both players are good not great, neither poses as much of an upgrade, just purely more depth at decent value for a squad who have to contend with the Europa League alongside their domestic endeavours. Somebody like Argentine international Garay, currently at Zenit, would represent a strong step up from the current quality in defence, however his most likely current destination appears to be rivals Arsenal.
Promotion to the Premier League has been the target for the Hornets for a while, and having come so close with Deeney’s epic goal to finish off Leicester a few years back they’ve finally done it without the dogfight of a playoff. It’s not difficult to see that Watford’s promotion was secured by their strong attacking play, finishing the season with 91 goals scored. The main aim for the squad should be to survive in the Premier League and look to build from there, in order to do this they’ll need to defend well enough to pick up scrappy points.
Missing out on Genoa’s winger Perotti at the start of the window, even after having had a bid accepted, was a blessing in disguise for Watford. This is because £7 million is a lot for a newly promoted club to spend on an area of the pitch which I believe to be their strongest, this money could be far better allocated to defensive areas in the squad. Taking this money and then using it to sign holding midfielder Capoue from Tottenham was a far better move. The frenchman brings Premier League and international experience to a young squad which has previously been build around loanees. Having fallen out of favour at Tottenham £6m represents a good deal for the club for a player that can hopefully provide some help to the defence and improve the spine of the team. Valon Behrami also brings more Premier League and international experience as he made the switch from Hamburg, providing strength to the midfield – not many newly promoted clubs can grab two internationals like Watford have.
On top of this Watford have managed to add two experienced defenders, again both internationals, in Allan Nyom (11 Cameroon caps) and Juventus’ Marco Motta (1 Italian cap, plus 6 olympic caps). Again this is a situation where Watford have added far more experience than a newly promoted team can expect to pick up, and again in an area of need. The Hornets have worked well early in the transfer window to hopefully allow the squad to bond well over preseason. After the money that has been spent, I can’t see Watford buying many more new faces without offloading a couple of players. They look well set to compete in the Premier League already.
West Bromwich Albion
Tony Puils stepped in and steered the ship safely away from relegation last season, and if West Brom can maintain their second half of the season from over the whole duration next year that’ll prove to be a strong improvement. In order to do that they’ll need to add consistency to their squad rather than looking toward players such as Sessegnon and Anichebe who promise so much yet offer very little on a regular basis.
Holding on to Berahino will be the most important task of the summer, however just holding on to him cannot constitute a successful window by any means. So far the Baggies have made pretty much no moves in the transfer window and that needs to change soon. Having let Yusuf Mulumbu and Graham Dorrans leave to Norwich they’ve seen two of their squad contributors walk to a team that will probably be competing in a similar spot in the league. The midlands outfit have seen bids rebuffed for QPR’s Matt Phillips and Forest’s Michail Antonio, however these are hardly high class signings but would add some depth. From this it’s clear to see that they’re targeting a winger to supply Berahino and Brown Ideye who Pulis managed to bring to form closer resembling the fee they paid for him. Having already picked up McLean from Wigan for only £1.5m one would think that there must be money in the bank to target someone else, however having pulled out of a Steven Caulker deal after thinking £8m is too much it would appear otherwise. Clearly Pulis is going to have to be shrewd over the rest of the window with what is evidently a small budget.
Having started the season incredibly well last season, West Ham faded down the stretch. Picking up a spot in the first qualifying round of the Europa League through fairplay means that the Hammers will be beginning the season earlier than usual, meaning that the possibility of fading towards the end of the season will be hanging over them again. They’ve come out and said that they want to be taking the Europa League seriously, should they qualify, therefore depth really becomes a huge need for a fairly thin squad.
Dimitri Payet and Angelo Ogbonna have been top end transfers for the club, with both expected to provide an immediate impact on the pitch in midfield and defence respectively. Having added strength to the midfield and defence with these signings now the club need to look towards the attack. The destination of Charlie Austin has long been up in the air, and the Hammers have been one of the clubs heavily linked with him. If they could pull off this transfer it would be massive, the QPR striker is a proven goalscorer in the top league and should in theory be even more productive on a team where he’s surrounded by better players. West Ham should be pulling out all the stops to ensure that Austin stays in London and in the Premier League. Should they pull off this signing they would then put themselves in a position where they’d only really need to add depth as opposed to be searching for quality upgrades.