As soon as the final whistle blows in the Champions League final, the footballing world’s attention will immediately turn to the transfer market.
With several Premier League giants needing to rebuild their squads and the division’s riches allowing even mid-table sides to go toe-to-toe with the continent’s top spenders, fans in England will be hoping to see some big names linked with their clubs.
We’ve analysed transfer data from the last decade, along with performances in the English top-flight this season, to predict who will be in the market for what this summer.
What can history tell us?
Whether or not Manchester United can tempt Jadon Sancho back to the Premier League, signings arriving from the Bundesliga are practically a given.
In the last five seasons, 23 of the 250 biggest transfers – the 50 most expensive from each – hailed from Germany, compared to just eight across the previous five campaigns.
Portuguese and French clubs have also seen the stock of their players rise in the eyes of English buyers recently, so will be braced for more bids.
Within the Premier League itself there are also well-trodden paths between clubs. Two of the three most popular of all time involve West Ham re-homing Liverpool and Arsenal players over the years, suggesting that the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck will have at least one suitor this summer.
History also suggests that at least three of the 10 forwards at bottom-half clubs who reached double figures for goals will be on the move – this includes Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace and the Bournemouth strike duo of Callum Wilson and Josh King.
However, anyone looking to move to a bigger club should beware: fewer than a third went on to reach the 10-goal mark again the following season.
What do the stats suggest?
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has quite the rebuilding job on his hands at Old Trafford this summer and we suggest that he prioritises a towering central defender.
Manchester United had one of the lowest headed conversion rates in the division this season and just four headed goals: both significantly behind the rest of the big six.
Rivals Manchester City should also be in the market for a commanding centre-back given that they had the division’s highest share of goals conceded – and shots faced which found their net – from inside the six-yard box this season.
Which squads need rebalancing?
In a division as physically demanding as the Premier League, managers need to ensure that they don’t let age catch up with any areas of their squad.
We’ve crunched the data for each major playing position to identify how playing time tends to vary with age and applied this to every squad based on who they’ve fielded this season.
Our analysis suggests that Chelsea’s early move for Christian Pulisic was an incredibly sensible one as – regardless of Eden Hazard’s rumoured departure – time is catching up with their wingers. Pedro and Willian are both past their peak and will increasingly need to be rotated.
West Ham may find that they need some fresh blood up front, as all of their senior strikers are now in their thirties, while Watford will probably need to recruit a full-back to share the load with the ageing Jose Holebas and Daryl Janmaat.
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