A number of Premier League clubs are still trying to fix problem areas on their teams before the transfer window closes on Friday night. We evaluate a handful of these clubs and propose a player that fits their account.
Chelsea: signing Moussa Dembélé de Lyon
Frank Lampard's message to his board this month has become increasingly clear. He repeatedly lamented his young team's lack of killing instinct and his inability to make his dominance count in games. Tammy Abraham performed admirably in his first season as a regular player in the Premier League, but Lampard is clearly impressed by Olivier Giroud and Michy Batshuayi, and wants to increase competition in advance.
Lyon striker Dembélé, who started his senior career in West London with Fulham, always appears to be Chelsea's target – and for good reason. The 23-year-old scored goals wherever he played and is certainly a fit man. He scored in the six games he played for Lyon so far in 2020.
Of the 36 players who have achieved double goals in Europe's top five leagues this season, their conversion rate of 27.9% is the fifth highest; Tammy Abraham's 18.1% conversion rate ranks 28th.
Manchester United: sign Emiliano Buendia from Norwich
Manchester United finally reached an agreement with Bruno Fernandes, but the team still needs reinforcement. Daniel James played more games than expected after his arrival in Swansea in the summer and – understandably, given his age – he was hit. He scored three goals for the club in August, but hasn't found the net since. United have needed competitions in the right wing for some time now and there is an underrated gem in the Premier League that could fit.
Emiliano Buendia has adapted very well to first-class football this season. He has yet to score in the Premier League, but the Argentine has recorded seven assists. His vision and creativity are certainly something that the United team does not have. Only Kevin De Bruyne created more chances for 90 minutes than the 23-year-old – and he did it on a difficult side of Norwich. He also ranks third in the championship in dribbling (78). Norwich will not want to lose his most valuable asset, but they do not have the financial power to reject a big offer, mainly because they are preparing for the Championship life expectancy.
Tottenham Hotspur: sign Youcef Atal de Nice
If there are one or even two striking areas to improve Tottenham's squad, it is in the lateral positions. Not so long ago, they had two England fullbacks in Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier. Now they have Serge Aurier and, well, no real natural backup on the right side.
Youcef Atal has been linked to the club in the past. That interest calmed down due to a knee injury sustained at the end of last year, but the Algerian is expected to get back into shape next week. The fact that he was left out and out of the limelight could play in Spurs' favor, postponing other clubs and making a late offer feasible.
The 23-year-old is undoubtedly better at attacking in defense; only Neymar completed more dribbling per game in Ligue 1 this season. Atal was able to follow in the footsteps of Ricardo Pereira, who posted similar figures while in Nice and became a huge success in Leicester City. Atal's ability to play on both sides would be a real bonus for Spurs.
Aston Villa: sign Eberechi Eze from QPR
Dean Smith made it clear that hiring another striker is at the top of his agenda, but reinforcing options should also be a priority for Villa. Jack Grealish has been playing more on the left recently – a change of approach motivated more by what suits his inconsistent teammates than what suits the captain of the Villa – so bringing an extreme is the key to the survival attempt of the club.
Eberechi Eze's versatility would be extremely valuable to Villa – and several top clubs. The 21-year-old has 10 goals and six assists in his name in the league this season and is subsequently our highest-ranked player in the division. He keeps the ball well, both in passing and dribbling. With QPR going nowhere fast in the middle of the championship, Villa must act quickly.
West Ham: subscribe to Tomas Soucek from Slavia Prague
If West Ham concludes a deal with Tomas Soucek before the window closes, as expected, it will be a very perceptive deal. Mark Noble will turn 33 in May and Declan Rice needs more support when it comes to protecting a porous defense. Soucek's arrival must do just that. The defensive midfielder would add a new dimension to West Ham in attack and defense. The 24-year-old has been crowned 26 times by the Czech Republic and is a true leader on the field, both for clubs and for countries.
He has also proved his worth in European club competitions over the past three years. Slavia Prague finished at the bottom of the Champions League group this season, but the giant midfielder was impressive against Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund and Inter. Its aerial threat in the opposition box is enormous. Even though he is a midfielder, Soucek scored twice in the group stage and scored eight goals for Slavia Prague in the league, beating opponents on dead balls.
Watford: sign Hassane Kamara from Reims
Adam Masina has stood out since Nigel Pearson took charge of Watford in December, but the club still has little chance of defense. José Holebas will have 36 years of contract and no contract in the summer, so some competition is needed. The club is linked to full-back Hassane Kamara, a Reims full-back, but has apparently failed to achieve what is a low price of 5.5 million euros for the Gambian, who impressed Ligue 1 this season.
Kamara was recently withdrawn after speculation about his future and could be on the move in the coming days. The 25-year-old has won five of the game's men's awards this season – only Neymar has more in Ligue 1 – suggesting Watford would be wise to revive his interest.
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