With the transfer window coming to an end this week teams are desperate to offload players and the “Big Six” of the Premier League are looking to buy players that could change the course of their season. Here is one player I think each “Big Six” club should sign.
Arsenal – Bruno Guimarães
Arsenal has undoubtedly had an impressive first half of the season sitting 2 points off 4th with a game in hand at the mid-way stage. Arsenal has a promising GK in Aaron Ramsdale and a promising back 4 consisting of the likes of Ben White, Gabriel, Takehiro Tomiyasu, and Kieran Tierney. Arsenals attack could use a long-term solution at striker but since no one realistically available in January improves them we pivot to CM as the position of need. Arsenals midfield pivot has been touted as an area that could use some improvement. Granit Xhaka has been at Arsenal for a while and while having some qualities he also brings lapses of concentration and crucial mistakes in big games. Thomas Partey has failed to live up to the expectations after his €50m move from Atletico Madrid and Albert Sambi Lokonga is viewed as a rotational piece for now. With Thomas Partey and Mohamed Eleney now leaving for AFCON, January’s transfer window should be Arsenal’s time to improve the CM position. The perfect fit for Arsenal is Lyons Bruno Guimarães, he is linked with a €45m move to Arsenal and this fee shouldn’t be an issue considering the quality of player Arsenal would be getting. Bruno Guimarães has been brilliant for Lyon, he’s an all-round midfielder having the ability to make industrious tackles, he’s very good at putting pressure on the opposition with his athleticism so he would fit the man to man press deployed by Mikel Arteta, but Guimarães most impressive attribute is his on the ball ability. He’s a very good carrier of the ball which is important as it allows him to bypass presses and advance the ball up the pitch for his team, he can pick out an incisive pass to players in between the lines, can switch the play to flank to flank stretching out the oppositions compact shape, and when in advanced positions can pick out an assist or goal. This is what Arsenal lacks when Thomas Partey plays as he doesn’t have the quality on the ball against teams that sit in a compact shape against them. Bruno Guimarães will speed up their build-up and interplay against these teams giving Arsenal more high-quality chances per game. When we look at his Fbref report we can see the stats to back this up he ranks in the 90th percentile and higher for Passes Attempted, Proggesive Passes, Progressive Carries, Tackles, and the 89th percentile for pressures per 90.
Chelsea – Pervis Estupiñán
Chelsea started the year off hot with most of their season sitting 1st in the Premier League but due to COVID and Injuries have fallen off a bit. Chelsea currently sits 3rd 10 points behind Manchester City in 1st and could use some reinforcements in many areas of the pitch. Chelsea is very top-heavy and they’re not expected to bring in any forwards without unloading some of their own. Chelsea has been linked to some Center Midfielders like West Ham’s Declan Rice and Monaco’s Aurelien Tchouameni but neither of these players is realistically switching clubs in January, instead, Chelsea could wait until the summer to address this position. Chelsea’s center backs have been good throughout the season but with heavy links to Sevilla’s Jules Kounde this would be more likely to happen in the summer. Chelsea’s biggest loss through injury this season has been Ben Chilwell and Reece James with doubt both excelled in the wing-back positions of Thomas Tuchel’s 3-4-3 with aiding the width, chance creation of the attack, and chipping in with some goals and assists, with Reece James injury being a week to week situation Chelsea need to prioritize bringing in an LWB to finish off the season. Pervis Estupiñán isn’t a familiar name but could be a very good deal for Chelsea. With links to West Ham and Napoli in the past, there is the belief that Estupiñán is available. Estupiñán would be an attacking upgrade on Alonso as he provides the dribbling ability and pace and power that Alonso lacks. A problem with Alonso is when the ball is worked out to him he fails to inject the attack with any pace or penetration as he is very slow and does most of his damage from dead-ball situations. With Estupiñán at LWB, the Ecuadorian would advance Chelsea’s attack into the final third with his powerful dribbling and athleticism having the ability to beat his man. Estupiñán has the chance creation ability while in the box can pick out a key pass or cross to a forward. Estupiñán is also a front-foot defender who can come out make tackles and interceptions to help his team gain possession quickly. We can see Estupiñán’s qualities as he ranks in the 83rd and 87th percentile for passes into the penalty area and crosses into the penalty area while he ranks in the 97th and 91st percentile for Interceptions and Tkl + Int.
Liverpool – Julain Alvarez
Liverpool has had an improvement on their 20/21 campaign in which they just finished 3rd in the final weeks of the season. Liverpool sits 2nd in 8 points off Manchester City who sit in 1st. While Liverpool is on track to have a better season than a year ago you can say this was expected as they are much more injury fortunate than last year. Liverpool has to finish off strong and a signing in January to replenish the squad is a no-brainer here. Liverpool seem set at the defense with options at FB and CBs, CM is a position that could use an upgrade but they have players that can come in and keep the quality like Naby Keita and Oxlade Chamberlain with a move for a CM in the summer more likely. However, forward is a position Liverpool should take advantage of in the market. They don’t necessarily need a starter here but with options like Minimano and Orgiri in the forward line, the quality of depth is something they should improve. River Plate’s Julian Alvarez is the best talent in South America and has been linked to pretty much every elite club in Europe. He is reportedly has a £17m release clause that any club wanting to sign him has to pay and this fits Liverpool’s transfer policy of not spending huge fees on players. Julian Alvarez in South America has lit up South America this season scoring 20 goals and registering 12 assists in the Argentine Primera Divison. He’s a complete forward who can receive the ball at his feet and drive at the opposition while also being very good at getting in goal-scoring positions. So Alvarez won’t be a day 1 starter for Liverpool but they can work him into the lineup rotate him in and out the first 11 and by the 2022 season could have a top striker on their hands.
Manchester City – Owen Wijndal
Manchester City has been excellent and looks like a lock to repeat the Premier League. Having a 8 point gap at the top it’s hard to find any positions of need for such a complete team. One obvious area is the fact they don’t have a recognized center forward however it doesn’t seem like they need one as they score plenty of goals and with Erling Haaland being available this summer it wouldn’t make sense to bring in a striker right now. The left-back position has always been a question mark for Manchester City with the likes of Fabian Delph starting there in their first title-winning team under Guardiola and now Cancelo can play there at a very high level but he’s naturally a right-back. Owen Wijndal at PSV is one of the most promising young left-backs in world football in one of the most progressive teams in the Eredivisie. Wijndal is a very good passer from deep areas being able to move the ball effectively in between the lines. He also is very good at pushing up the pitch getting into the final third to support the winger he does this by providing overlaps and underlaps to make himself available for a pass or open up space for a teammate. Wijndal is a very good one-on-one defender he angles the opposing winger where he wants him to go before putting in a tackle to win the ball back.
Manchester United – Maxence Caqueret
Manchester United has been one of if not the most disappointing team this season. After bringing in Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane, and Cristiano Ronaldo they sit in 4th and 19 points off 1st. Manchester United has a lot of needs but the biggest one is CM. With the likes of McTominay and Fred being first-team regulars Manchester United desperately needs an upgrade as they are not the quality United should have at CM. The likes of Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes are much better when they are given free roles and able to influence play near the goal so, for this reason, Manchester United needs to be targeting a player who can progress from the first phase while being secure defensively. Maxence Caqueret is perfect for this role. He’s very much a player similar to Marco Verratti, on the ball Caqueret is one of the most aesthetically pleasing players in Europe. When he gets the ball building up from the back he’s able to shift his body and maneuver away from pressure which is vital because when Pogba doesn’t play Manchester United doesn’t have anyone that can help them play out of the press. Caqueret is also very good at passing being able to pull off a 1-2 in tight areas, work the ball out to the flanks, and play through balls into the forwards this would be huge for Manchester United as one of McTominay and Fred’s biggest criticisms are they can’t break lines passing. Caqueret isn’t just a deep playing playmaker he’s also amazing defensively he reads the game well being able to see when a pass is about to be played so he can intercept the pass and regain possession for his team. In the press, he’s fantastic at moving out the midfield line applying pressure, and winning the ball back high up the pitch to set up a transition for his team. We can see Caquerets qualities as he ranks in the 93rd percentile for tackles, 94th percentile for tackles won, 96th percentile for pressures, and 94th percentile for successful pressures.
Tottenham Hotspur – Adama Traoré
Tottenham Hotspur currently sits in 5th place on 36 points. They’re 2 points off 4th with 2 games in hand so with 4th on the line Tottenham should look to improve the quality of their squad. Realistically Tottenham needs a makeover of the squad as the new manager Antonio Conte has a specific style of play and a profile of players he likes. However, in January’s they’ll make 1-2 signings. With that being said who should they target? Tottenham could use an upgrade at LCB but since Conte’s arrival, he’s kept them more stout so I think they can wait until the summer for the perfect man. CM is another position of need but I don’t think there is anyone available of the qualities that could improve them more than the player they’ve been linked to the most, Adama Traore. Adama Traore is one of the most unique players in the Premier League he has arguably the best dribbling ability in the league using his pace, power, and close ball control to glide past players with the ball at his feet. This could be so valuable for a team instead of having to put 7-8 passes together to break down a low block Traore can dribble past 2 players and get you in the final third. Adama has the pace and lower body strength to play in transition fitting the Antonio Conte counter-attacking play. A lot has been made of Adama Traore’s final product as he can be erratic in front of goal missing a lot of “easy chances” but in Conte’s 3-5-3/3-4-3 Adama could play as the RWB so his main job would be to progress the ball forward very much as Achraf Hakimi did for Conte at Inter Milan. When we look at Adama Traore’s statistics he’s ranked in the 98th and 99th percentile for dribbles completed, dribbles attempted, and successful dribble percentage. He also ranks in the 97th and 93rd percentile for progressive carrying distance and total carrying distance.