End of Season Review (20/21)

With the EPL season over, I’ve decided to review the top 10 finishers. I will also comment on whether there’s room for improvement and a summer transfer tip.

1) Manchester City

A remarkable season for Manchester City for so many reasons. As the season progressed, they proved to be the best in the divison, in all aspects of the game. Defensively, they were incredible. Managing fewest goals conceded and most clean sheets. It came as no surprise to see Ruben Diaz handed the FWA Player of the Year award.

With the clubs top goalscorer being Gundogan from midfield, who was ten off golden boot winner Harry Kane, it’s clear to see there isn’t an over reliance on any one player. They will get goals from all over the pitch and proven they can even play without a striker. Of course, Aguero leaving the club will the fans deeply but I’d say it’d be foolish for others to count on that stopping them dominating against next season.

Room For Improvement?

I don’t anticipate Guardiola calling for too many additions going into the new season, but with Harry Kane becoming available, surely that’d be a signing worth trying for. The prospect of an out and out goalscorer at this club would put them as huge favourites to retain their title next year.

Tony’s Transfer Tip: Harry Kane

You know what you get with Harry Kane. A goal machine for club and country who is getting better by the year. Adding assists to his game these past two seasons has lead many to label him the best number nine in the world. The only question mark against his name are his niggling injuries that always seem to come up.

2) Manchester United

It’s been a strange season for the Red Devils. Amazingly, fans are calling for the manager to be axed. On the surface, that would appear unfair. The team at his disposal is far from ready to be targeting first. If we are honest, a 2nd place finish is overachieving. A top four finish wasn’t a guarantee at the start of the season. But I would agree with fans consensus. I don’t think Solskjær is the right man to lead this team to titles. But in his defence, I don’t think he’s the biggest problem at the club either.

Room For Improvement?

While they look set to target a centre forward or wide man, I think they should be firstly addressing their issue at centre mid. Donny Van De Beek has been one of the flops of the season and I’d question whether Fred and McTominay are good enough at this level. Neither have the quality to boss the midfield and a more physical presence would do a lot for their game.

Tony’s Transfer Tip: Wilfried Ndidi

His age being just 24 always seems to surprise people. Probably due to the fact he has seemingly been around for a long time and the maturity in his playing style. At a bigger team like United, I think

he’d begin to get even more recognition for his qualities. Whilst Chelsea have Kante, City have Rodri and Liverpool have Fabinho, United are lacking. Ndidi could be the man.

3) Liverpool

Had you been told that Liverpool fans would be celebrating sneaking into a top four finish on the last day of the season, you’d suspect you were told a lie. It just goes to show the nature of this league is to expect the unexpected. An injury crisis at the back has been the main reason for the club’s ambitions derailing. With ten games remaining and sitting in eighth, the season was a write off. Somehow, against the odds they managed eight wins and two draws to leapfrog Leicester and Chelsea.

Room For Improvement?

Ibrahim Konate looks set to join this summer from RB Leipzig. Though a great prospect, I think they could’ve targeted a more proven option to partner Van Dijk. With Koulibably seemingly set to leave Naples, I think he would’ve been a stronger alternative. Just six goals from midfield is woeful, so I think a goalscoring midfielder joining the club would help next season.

Tony’s Transfer Tip: Houssem Aouar / Hakan Calhanoglu

With Lyon missing out on a Champions League place, the French midfielder is set to leave France for a cut price this summer. Seven goals in the league and at just 22 years old, this would be great business. An even cheaper alternative would be Hakan Calhanoglu. The Turk managed nine goals and twelve assists in all competitions for Milan and three goals and four assists for his country too. On a free transfer, it’d be a no risk and potentially huge gain move to make.

4) Chelsea

Going into the season, Chelsea were one of the few teams who had actually spent cash. Bringing in big names like Ziyech, Werner and Havertz rightly elevated expectations. But Lampard didn’t find it easy. Eventually the owners patience wore thin and Tuchel was brought in as his replacement. A masterstroke move. The German has guided them to what seemed like an impossible fourth place finish, an FA Cup final and most notably Champions League glory!

Room For Improvement?

Unanimously, fans will be crying out for a goalscorer. After watching the highlight reel of Timo Werner misses this year, you’d be thinking RB Leipzig commited a crime when they somehow managed to get in excess of fifty million euros for him.

Tony’s Transfer Tip: Romelu Lukaku

The Belgian certainly has unfinished business at the club. I think he was unfairly judged at United and after being thrown out, has gone on to silence his doubters with two incredible seasons at Inter Milan. In Italy, he has progressed into a striker that few defenders can handle. With financial

problems at Inter and Conte already leaving, could it be the right time for the Belgian to return to where it all began?

5) Leicester City

You have to feel sorry for Brendan Rodgers’ side. The past two seasons they’ve sat in the top four for almost the entirety of the season only to lose it on the last day. While the regret will linger, an FA Cup win will live long in the memory too. If they show the Europa League the respect it deserves, then European Silverware could be a possibility next year

Room For Improvement?

To my surprise, Cengiz Unger has failed to achieve anything since his arrival, so Rodgers will be forced to try again in addressing their need for an extra attacking threat on the wings. Barnes and Maddison did have a strong campaign so another player of that quality will help push them on.

Tony’s Transfer Tip: Jesse Lingard / Wilfried Zaha

If West Ham can’t muster up the money to get Lingard back at the club permanently, I think Leicester should swoop in. Nine goals in just sixteen appearances is incredible. Alternatively, Zaha has long deserved his chance at a bigger club the Palace. I can’t expect any team bigger than Leicester to come knocking for his services though. It’d be a good fit. A tricky winger that will spark memories of Mahrez leading them to that infamous title win.

6) West Ham

It’s safe to say, West Ham exceeded all expectations this season, finishing just two points off a Champions League place. Over the last few years, the ownership have been reluctant to splash the cash but despite this, the Hammers still managed to make some notable additions. Finishing the season with ten goals, Tomas Soucek’s transfer fee of just £19 million stands out most. The Czech will attract the attention of bigger clubs, but I expect him to stay another season at least. Only £5 million was spent on Coufal, who was arguably the right back of the season in the league.

Room For Improvement?

If they want to target a similar league position next year, the stand out position that needs addressing is a centre forward. It came as quite a shock when they let Haller go to Ajax in January, as he was the only recognised striker at the club! Defensively they do lack depth too.

Tony’s Transfer Tip: Ivan Toney

I’m quite sure whoever manages to sign Ivan Toney this year will have a striker that will be pushing for top goalscorer by the end of the season. With an abundance of options to play off a striker, I trust he will get a lot of scoring opportunities. Not that he will need many. He already managed to break the record for most goals in the Championship at his first attempt but that won’t quench his thirst for more.

7) Tottenham

A season to forget for Spurs. A team that appears to lack soul. Their desire came under question this season. Worryingly, with Harry Kane seemingly set to leave, it’s hard to envisage the tide turning next season. Incoming Sporting Director Fabio Paratici has the difficult task of finding a manager that will make fans forget about Pochettino. Rumours suggest, their first choice Antonio Conte has turned down their advances. I think Fabio and Daniel Levy will have to show some creativity and take a risk with someone less proven.

Room For Improvement?

On paper, the team is still very strong. The signings last year didn’t go as well as hoped, so targeting a few players who’ve already established themselves in England could be the smarter call.

Tony’s Transfer Tip: Jack Grealish

Since Eriksen left London, they’ve been crying out for a playmaker. The responsibility fell on Dele’s shoulders. It’s fair to say, the former MK Dons midfielder hasn’t lived up to his hype. No longer part of the England squad, he may well be shown the door too. Aston Villa moving quick to sign the

talented Buendia, leads me to believe they’ve already got their replacement for when Grealish leaves. If they want to flex their muscles, I’d try for Jude Bellingham too. Convincing Dortmund to let him go won’t be easy, but I think he’s already the most talented centre midfielder the country has.

8) Arsenal

I think it says a lot that despite their strong finish to the campaign, with five consecutive wins, an eigth place finish was all they could achieve. The ownership are taking most of the blame from the fanbase, who no longer have patience. Understandably, with a reluctance to loosen the purse strings and no clear plan. The emergence of Saka and Smith-Rowe this season has been of the only positives to take from this season.

Room For Improvement?

I think it’ll surprise a lot of people that Arsenal managed to concede the third fewest this season. For years, the fans have been dreaming of a top defender to arrive. Made to suffer, with the likes of Mustafi and David Luiz. Even this summer, I still think it’ll be at the top of their wishlist. Instead, I think they should need to bolster their midfield. A partner alongside Partey will strengthen the spine of the team.

Tony’s Transfer Tip: Yves Bissouma

The Malian has established himself in the division and now is certainly the time to take the next step in his career. 24 years old, the midfielder lacks any clear weaknesses. I can see him quickly settling and becoming a quiet leader on the pitch with his consistency. Because they lack depth, I think they need a few midfielders too. A cheap option could be Bakayoko. The former Monaco man continues to be shelled out on loan each season and with just a year left on his contract could be brought in fairly cheaply.

9) Leeds

Wow! Leeds’ long awaited return to the top division didn’t fail to live up to expectations. Bielsa’s approach to the game has always been highly respected, certainly proving to be a breath of fresh air. Throughout the team there were some stand-out individual performances too. Patrick Bamford managed an incredible seventeen goals, repaying the manager for entrusting him. Raphinia’s level of performances means there will be interest from the top teams in the country. If you believe the rumours, he could be at Anfield next season.

Room For Improvement?

The tactics implemented by Bielsa will always result in goals, but unfortunately at both ends. Even with a top talent like the 21 year old Meslier between the sticks, they managed to concede more than relegated Fulham. I wouldn’t like them to change their approach too much as it’s a pleasure to watch, but a commanding centre back should help them concede fewer next season.

Tony’s Transfer Tip: Ruben Loftus Cheek

Loftus Cheek presents an opportunity to get a top midfielder at a low cost. A full season at Leeds could allow the 25 year old the best chance to push his way into contention for a call up to the World Cup next summer too.

10) Everton

Following the strong business done in the summer and then their strong start to the season, had the fanbase thinking a top four finish was a real possibility. That remained the story of the season up until April. Just three wins from their last twelve saw the Toffees continue to slip down the table to a disappointing tenth place finish. I was never convinced Ancelotti was the right man to lead the club, despite his incredible résumé. I think the fans will probably welcome the fact he has now returned to Madrid. If they now snap up Nuno Espírito Santo, I see them improving next season.

Room for Improvement?

I think it’s time for Everton to try developing talents rather than continue to spend big. 28 million on Iwobi and 40 million on Sigurdsson looks like money wasted. The Nigerian managed two league goals in 55 league appearances! Throughout the team though, they are starved for goalscorers. 47 goals in 38 games is concerning.

Tony’s Transfer Tip: Khvicha Kvaratskhelia

Only 20 years old, the Georgian has shown enough at Rubin Kazan to convince me he’s going to have a stellar career. Whoever manages to sign him will eventually get double their investment back. I think he’ll become a fan favourite at Goodison Park with his eye catching dribbling skills.

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