Earlier in the week we looked at the rumors surrounding Arsenal, Aston Villa, Bournemouth, Burnley, and Chelsea as the summer silly season keeps the rumor mill going. Today we continue (alphabetically) down the list of Premier League teams with a look at Crystal Palace, Everton, Leicester City, Liverpool, and Manchester City. Of the five sides, perhaps only the Champions League holders, are in for a calm window. The other four have a lot of business to come. Palace (Zaha, Wan-Bissaka), Everton (Richarlison, Lucas Digne, André Gomes), and Leicester City (Maguire, Chilwell, Pereira, Maddison, and Tielemans) all have a lot of attractive targets while City's core of Vincent Kompany, David Silva, Fernandinho, and Sergio Agüero are aging and the squad needs to be refreshed if they are to continue to challenge for all of the trophies.
Let's dive in...
Crystal Palace (Priorities: Keep Zaha, Keep Wan-Bissaka, add at F, add at GK)
Roy Hodgson’s side finished strong and would have an excellent outlook if there were much hope that they could keep all of their key players together. Wilfried Zaha is the sort of star that separates mid-table sides from relegation strugglers. Aaron Wan-Bissaka grew by leaps and bounds and, a mere season after bursting onto the scene, is considered among the top few right backs in the league. The rest of the squad is solid but not spectacular. Thus far, the rumors have been low key on both the inbound and outbound fronts. City have been linked to Wan-Bissaka and Zaha’s name comes up from time-to-time but not seemingly in a very serious way. Christian Benteke has indicated a desire to stay despite offers from China. On the inbound side, the rumors have been fairly hard to come by. Nathaniel Clyne has been mentioned as a possible Wan-Bissaka replacement while young Dutch players Thomas Ouwejan (LB) and Jerdy Schouten (CB/DM) have been rumored but likely as developmental prospects rather than immediate starters. Jack Butland has been mentioned in passing but the fee Stoke City are looking for seems to be a bit steep for Palace if true.
There are a lot of moving parts with Everton’s summer dealings. The downside of loan deals that don’t have clauses to make them permanent are presenting themselves as André Gomes and Kurt Zouma proved valuable Premier League starters that now have to either be retained at their new, elevated, value or replaced. Lucas Digne and Richarlison both played well enough to merit consideration for a move to a bigger club. Marco Silva has some history of recruiting far and wide and this summer is no exception thus far with Argentine forward Adolfo Gaich and Getafe CB Djene Dakonam linked in addition to pursuits of last season’s loanees. With Jagielka, Williams, and Zouma all potentially gone Mina frequently injured, center back will certainly be priority number one.
Leicester City (Priorities: Keep stars, sign Youri Tielemans permanently, depth/youth a F)
The Foxes range of potential outcomes from this summer is one of the widest in the Premier League. After an excellent run of form after Brendan Rodgers took over they could mount an assault on the Big Six if everything falls into place. On the other hand, they could easily see a raft of stars depart and, if strong replacements aren’t found, find themselves in the relegation zone. Most of the rumors have swirled around potential outbound players like Harry Maguire (Manchester City, Manchester United), Ben Chilwell (Tottenham, Manchester United), Ricardo Periera (PSG), and James Maddison (Tottenham) all frequently discussed. There are, of course, corresponding inbound rumors including Daniel Sturridge (F, Free Agent), Jay Rodríguez (F, West Brom), Mbwana Samatta (F, Genk), Reece James (CB, Chelsea), and James Tavernier (RB, Rangers) as well as the obvious general linkage with Brendan Rodgers’ former Celtic players.
Players Released: Shinji Okazaki, Danny Simpson
Liverpool (Priorities: depth)
What do you get for the team that has just about everything including a shiny new Champions League trophy? The answer is that you look to be opportunistic. Liverpool are in the enviable position of not only having an excellent squad but one that is exactly where you’d want a squad to be in terms of players entering or in their primes. As such, the rumors have been fairly sparse with the odd spurious mention of one of their attacking stars leaving for Real Madrid or Barcelona (not going to happen) or a huge name of the Matthijs De Ligt or Nicholas Pepe variety arriving. The Reds are more likely to look to youth to replace outgoing (or soon to be outgoing) veterans like Daniel Sturridge, James Milner, Alberto Moreno, and Adam Lallana. They are also likely to look for opportunistic depth just about everywhere, especially at the outside back spots. The De Ligt and Pepe hype seems to have died down in recent days and there have been a few mentions of Bruno Fernandes and Memphis Depay although it is just as reasonable to think that has as much to do with those two participating in the Nations League final than it does with any real activity.
For a team that won one of the most hotly contested Premier League races in history, Manchester City are certainly being linked with a lot of squad change. On the outbound side, there are rumors about Nicolás Otamendi, Danilo and Ilkay Gundogan ending up elsewhere while the potential inbound list is a who’s who of theoretically available rising stars including Matthijs De Ligt, Joao Felix, Bruno Fernandes, Harry Maguire, Ben Chilwell, and Rodrigo. There have certainly been many others but those are the most frequently mentioned. City do, of course, have a FFP/UEFA investigation hanging over their heads which could put a stop to the inbounds but until something definitive happens you can expect City to act as quickly as possible to get their business done before any sanctions hit them. It wouldn’t be surprising to see City end up with Maguire, Chilwell, Rodrigo (who has asked out at Atletico Madrid), and Felix as they look to redouble their efforts to win their first Champions League title.
Players Released: Vincent Kompany