The transfer rumor mill spins quickly this time of year. In order to help you keep up on both the actual comings and going as well as the rumors, I have compiled the latest and greatest on both fronts. As we have passed the date when Premier League clubs announce players who have been released at the expiration of their contracts, lists of first team players who have been released has been included. This is a lot of data so I'm breaking it up into four columns of five teams each. Here's the opener covering Arsenal, Aston Villa, Bournemouth, Burnley, and Chelsea. I'll follow with the rest over the next couple of days.
Arsenal (Priorities: CB, CB, LB, AM, Wide Attacker)
Not too much cooking for the Gunners so far this summer. Rumors have seen them linked with a variety of players from all over Europe and South America. This week saw them linked with Thomas Meunier (D) of PSG, Joachim Andersen (D) of Sampdoria, Dennis Praet (M) of Sampdoria, Cristian Pavon (M) of Boca Juniors, William Saliba (D) of St. Etienne, Alexis Claude-Maurice (M) of Lorient, Yannick Corrasco (AM), and Kieran Tierney (D) of Celtic. At the same time, the speculation is that David Ospina will make his move to Napoli permanent for a modest fee.
None of these rumors are unreasonable. The wording around the Sampdoria pair of Andersen and Praet seems the strongest whereas the others sound more like the result of initial tire-kicking from Arsenal’s representatives. Not necessarily untrue but earlier in the process.
Villa look like they’re trying to make a quick start to their summer dealings after winning the Championship playoff to gain a return to the Premier League. The Midlands club have already secured the signature of left-sided midfielder Jota from cross-town rivals Birmingham City. They have also been linked to Nottingham Forrest attacking midfielder Joe Lolley as well as making Tyronne Mings’ loan from Bournemouth permanent to reinforce the defense. Maxi Gomez is a big time name mentioned as a possible recruit at forward to replace Tammy Abraham who will presumably be returning to Chelsea (to likely be loaned out again) now that his loan has been completed.
Bournemouth (Priorities: Keeping current stars while adding a CM and defensive quality)
The Cherries will be worried about the prospect of losing Ryan Fraser all summer, Arsenal have been rumored to be interested for some time with Manchester United and Liverpool both being mentioned more recently as well. Bournemouth will face a fight to keep loanee Nathaniel Clyne with Napoli, West Ham and Crystal Palace all interested as well. While Clyne is hopefully inbound to the defensive corps after a successful loan and Lloyd Kelly has already arrived to boost the left side of the rearguard, Tyronne Mings appears headed to Aston Villa after his own successful loan spell helped the Villains back into the Premier League.
Players Released: Marc Pugh
Brighton and Hove Albion (Priorities: Just about everything)
Albion have a lot of work to do after struggling for much of the season. They survived but only barely and will need to bolster their newly arrived manager with some reinforcements to the squad. Despite the need for a lot of new blood, rumors have been slow to develop. Albion have been linked with Blackburn midfielder Bradley Dack who scored 15 goals in his first Championship season with Rovers as well as Derby County right back Jayden Bogle. A start perhaps but certainly not enough to keep them safe from relegation.
Players Released: Bruno
Burnley (Priorities: CM, Wings, Defensive Depth)
The Clarets are a tough one to pin down when it comes to transfers. They typically aren’t in the rumor mill a great deal and end up finding under-the-radar players who play above their talent in Sean Dyche’s system. Outside of Joe Hart likely leaving (Norwich City?), there hasn’t been much news to speak of yet.
Chelsea (Priorities: F, CB, Manager, figuring out transfer ban)
The Blues are a bit of a mess right now. The rumor mill has Maurizio Sarri headed to Juventus leaving behind a situation that certainly doesn’t scream “great job”. Chelsea switch managers like fashion accessories. They are facing a transfer ban this summer and next January. They just lost Eden Hazard to Real Madrid. Three of their ascending stars, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, and Antonio Rüdiger ended the season injured and have uncertain timetables heading into next season. Presumptive Hazard replacement Christian Pulisic has been an excellent complementary player at Dortmund but is being asked to take a massive leap forward. Oh, and Olivier Giroud is still their best center forward unless one of their loanees (Batshuayi, Morata, et al) find a home upon their return. Chelsea have been linked with a number of potential moves like Bale and Coutinho but unless/until their transfer ban is resolved in their favor there will be no summer business.
It is also worth noting that Chelsea have a raft of players returning from meaningful loans where they contributed significantly. Players like Kurt Zouma, Tammy Abraham, Álvaro Morata, Victor Moses, and Michy Batshuayi could plug into the squad as contributors if the transfer ban is upheld and the Blues need the sort of experienced squad players that they would typically pick up on the transfer market. OK, Morata seems unlikely to ever play for Chelsea again but you could see the others fitting in along with youngsters like Mason Mount or Reece James.
Players Released: Gary Cahill, Rob Green
Of the teams covered in this installment, Arsenal, Bournemouth, and Chelsea are all fascinating cases for different reasons. For a mid-table side that struggled down the stretch, Bournemouth have a lot of top end talent that will almost certainly end up at bigger sides including Nathan Ake, Ryan Fraser, David Brooks, and Callum Wilson. Arsenal are being linked with a lot more talent than the modest budget they've been rumored to have would seem to indicate possible regardless of how necessary it is that they refresh. Chelsea's future is fascinating due to the pending transfer ban combined with the possible change of manager. The center of the Chelsea midfield would be an interesting place if a new manager doesn't like Jorginho and Chelsea isn't interested in keeping Mateo Kovacic after his loan from Real Madrid. N'Golo Kanté is an amazing player but I don't think he can actually play two positions at once even if it seems like he might have at Leicester City in their title winning season.