Although the Premier League season has only just finished and the European competitions are set to be played in a congested format through August, Premier League sides’ attention will have already turned to next season. The season is scheduled to start on the 12th September, giving sides just a matter of weeks to alter their squads and prepare for the new season. With that in mind, the following is the potential starting line ups for each Premier League side for the start of the 2020/21 season with transfer rumours and transfers already completed taken into consideration along with players that would appear suitable and feasible for each club. Part one of this looks at half the teams with the second part covering the remaining ten sides, including the Championship play-off winner.
Mikel Arteta may not have a huge budget to work with so Arsenal will have to be clever in the market this summer. This will mean a focus in key areas, namely an enforcer in central midfield with the Gunners yet again linked with Atlético Madrid’s Thomas Partey. Atléti are rumoured to be keen on Alexander Lacazette which could see a potential swap deal on the cards. Elsewhere Phillipe Coutinho is rumoured to be keen on a Premier League return and could be a shrewd addition, most likely on loan. Dani Ceballos is set to extend his loan from Real Madrid for another season and William Saliba will finally link up with his new team mates after a successful season at St Étienne.
Predicted finish: 5th
The fact that Aston Villa survived on the final day of the 2019/20 season will give them hope of keeping their captain and talisman Jack Grealish. This, coupled with a reported price tag of up to £80m, may be enough to prepare for next season with their local hero.
With or without Grealish, the Villa squad needs major improvements and defence is likely to be a key area after shipping 67 goals last season. Shane Duffy has fallen down the pecking order at Brighton and would be a solid addition to the back line and Matty Cash may be ready for a Premier League move after an impressive season at right back for Nottingham Forest. Will Hughes could add some class to midfield following his relegation with Watford and may be available at a low price. Villa are likely to be on the lookout for another striker and a winger but should Grealish leave then expect a number of new arrivals at Villa Park.
Predicted finish: 18th
Brighton earned plaudits for their improved style of play last season and Graham Potter will be hoping that with some new additions they will be able to build on this. Getting Adam Lallana on a free transfer could be very good business and with his technical ability he should slot in seamlessly at his new club. Ainsley Maitland-Niles has been linked with a move to the south coast as he seeks more game time and Brighton are unlikely to send young talent Ben White on loan again with the Englishman playing a pivotal role in Leeds returning to the Premier League. Up front, Maupay will be expected to lead the line again after an impressive debut season in England’s top tier.
Predicted finish: 12th
Sean Dyche worked wonders again last season by guiding Burnley to a 10th place finish but appears to be growing tired of the limitations of his transfer budget. A problem exemplified by the lack of options once Jeff Hendrick and Aaron Lennon’s contracts weren’t extended until the end of the season following lockdown. It will be intriguing to see if the Burnley board provide Dyche with more funds to reward his efforts or have another low-key transfer window and risk pushing Dyche away and with that potentially their Premier League status.
Jose Mourinho is keen to send Oliver Skipp out on loan to aid his development and Burnley have reportedly expressed interest in the player Mourinho has tipped to be Spurs’ future. Charlie Taylor has been linked with a move and should this materialise Erik Pieters is likely to replace him at left back. At right back Dyche is said to be keen on Derby County’s Jayden Bogle who has had an impressive season in the Championship at just 20 years-old. Other than this Burnley’s business is likely to be about providing greater squad depth and trying to keep hold of winger Dwight McNeil whose consistently impressive performances will have a number of clubs on alert.
Predicted finish: 15th
Following the end of the their transfer ban Chelsea have completed some big business early. Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech will join the squad ahead of the new season and the rumour mill is in full flow for more. Goalkeeper is a crucial area to strengthen. Frank Lampard appears to have grown tired of Kepa Arrizabalaga’s frequent costly errors despite him being the world’s most expensive goalkeeper and Willy Cabellero is a reliable back up keeper but at 38 Chelsea must look to the future. Links with Jan Oblak seem unlikely due to his huge release clause so a move for Ajax stopper André Onana could be a cheaper option.
Elsewhere, a move for Ben Chilwell could help solve the problem at left back. Chelsea are also rumoured to be the front runners for Bayer Leverkusen sensation Kai Havertz and it would be interesting to see how Lampard can accommodate all his top players should this move happen.
Predicted finish: 4th
It appears that Roy Hodgson and Wilfried Zaha’s relationship has grown strained due to Zaha’s desire to leave and Palace playing hardball. It is rumoured that Zaha will be allowed to leave if the price is right and the line up has been predicted on that basis.
They have already acquired Nathan Ferguson following the expiration of his contract at West Brom and may have to look to relegated players to strengthen. Ismaila Sarr could provide the spark to replace Zaha while Abdoulaye Doucoure would be a strong addition to the midfield and fits Hodgson’s preference of experienced players well. Goals have been hard to come by for Palace in recent seasons and the purchase of Michy Batshuayi, whose Chelsea career looks over, could help reduce this problem. He previously had a loan spell at Palace in 2019, where he bagged five goals in 11 league games, and may fancy a stay in London.
Predicted finish: 17th
Carlo Ancelotti saw signs of improvement from his Everton side during his first few months as manager but their season fizzled out with little to play for. A lack of squad depth was exposed and Ancelotti is sure to be looking for a number of signings to make the team his own. Ancelotti has favoured a 442 formation in his time at Everton and it will be interesting to see if he will stick with this.
In defence Jean-Clair Todibo is said to be gaining interest from the Toffees and Barcelona are likely to sell. Jonjoe Kenny could displace Seamus Coleman at right back following a successful year on loan at Schalke as Coleman’s recent performances have not been what fans have become accustomed to seeing from him. The signing of Allan from Ancelotti’s former club Napoli would add much needed steel in central midfield while Zaha could be the big money signing that Everton need to support Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin. Josh King is also likely to be looking to stay in the Premier League and could play on the left or up front in a very attacking line up.
Predicted finish: 8th
Marcelo Bielsa has guided Leeds back to the Premier League after a 16 year wait and his fascinating style of play could be a breath of fresh air in the Premier League. His meticulous preparation and unconventional tactics make Leeds an exciting watch and with a few additions they could cause some upsets.
With Brighton unlikely to loan out Ben White again and Gaeton Berardi suffering an injury that will mean he misses the entirety of the new season Leeds need a centre back. Gonzalo Montiel, who currently plies his trade at River Plate could be the solution with the 24 year-old reported to be valued at £15m by his employers. He can also play right-back which will be useful as Bielsa is known to like versatile players who can play in a number of positions and systems. In midfield, Leeds academy product Fabian Delph could return to add experience after an injury-struck season with Everton. Emiliano Buendia would be an acquisition of real quality but Leeds are sure to have a number of rivals if they are to move for the Argentinian.
Patrick Bamford scored 16 goals in 45 Championship games last season which is not the most fruitful of returns when playing for the eventual league winners. He has a habit of spurning big opportunities and Leeds are likely to be looking for more fire power with a move for relegated Espanyol’s Raul De Tomàs potentially on the cards. The 25 year-old Spaniard only signed for the club in January and was the club’s record signing but is unlikely to be playing in Spain’s second division come the start of the new season.
Predicted finish: 14th
Brendan Rodgers’ side looked as though they were going to beat the odds yet again and secure a Champions League spot but a dismal end to the season saw them surrender a 14 point lead over Manchester United to drop to 5th. Additions will be crucial, especially with the added games that come with being in the Europa League and their lack of depth was highlighted by a number of injuries towards the end of the season. Ben Chilwell may be sold and will need to be replaced. Ajax’s Nicolas Tagliafico has been linked with a Premier League move for a while now and Leicester could look to him as Chilwell’s replacement.
Further up the pitch, Leicester could be set to raid the relegated clubs with moves for Norwich’s Todd Cantwell and Bournemouth’s David Brooks both possible options. Both will add creativity to a midfield already packed with ability and provide Rodgers with options in the wide areas with Harvey Barnes likely to also be pushing to start. Jamie Vardy will be leading the line once more following his golden boot winning season and shows no sign of slowing at 33 years of age. However, another striker could be brought in to cope with the busier fixture schedule as well as more game time for Kelechi Iheanacho who has played well when paired with Vardy.
Predicted finish: 9th
After storming to the title Liverpool will be looking to repeat the feat next season. It is likely that the teams below them will all strengthen and it would come as a surprise if they do not have more competition next season. After cooling their long-standing interest in Timo Werner who has gone to Chelsea, it is unlikely to be a window where any major dealings are done regarding the champions.
It could be the season that Naby Keira cements himself in the midfield three after showing signs of improvement and the front three picks itself as long as they are fit. However, with Dejan Lovren joining Zenit St Petersburg and the expiration of Adam Lallana’s contract coupled with the likely exit of rotation players such as Xherdan Shaqiri and cult-hero Divock Origi, Liverpool will have to find replacements to push their starting eleven. Although one player that would be almost guaranteed to start would be Thiago Alcantara who has been linked with a move to Liverpool as he is rumoured to want a fresh challenge. Rhian Brewster may be given the opportunity to become RobertoFirmino’s understudy after a successful January loan to Swansea with 11 goals in 22 games which saw Swansea sneak into the play-off places.
Predicted finish: 2nd