For many reasons, this derby was a massive match for both…
Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, and Arsenal have all shown to have weaknesses throughout the first half of the 2014/2015 seasons. Some more glaring than others, these are the ideal signings that would most benefit England’s finest.
Chelsea is perhaps the most balanced side of the listed five. Proof of course is the five-point gap they have placed between themselves and Manchester City. The Blues, for all intents and purposes, have a squad with no weaknesses when lined up with their first XI. However, creaks have begun to show, as their most recent shock display against Bradford ended in a 2-4 scoreline. There is a distinct lack of depth, especially within the backline, that begins to wobble once enough fatigue has set in. Of course, the combination of John Terry and Gary Cahill has, for the most part, put a strong foundation for the Blues to build from. Conceding five goals against Tottenham Hotspurs and conceding four goals against Bradford City within the last month have shown that the side isn’t as invincible as it once displayed earlier in the season. Only three center backs have really acquired any time on the pitch throughout this season. Alongside Terry and Cahill, Kurt Zuoma has also been given limited game time. There simply needs to be another quality option, both to rotate Terry and Cahill, but to also challenge that status quo. This center back would preferably be young to serve as a cornerstone for the Blues for years to come.
Ideal Signing: Raphael Varane (Real Madrid)
The next “most balanced” side would certainly be the team below Chelsea in the current table. Manchester City has fantastic individuals like Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure, David Silva, and Sergio Aguero. Any of these players can be match winners on their day. However, Manchester City has an increasingly aging squad, even having on average the oldest squad in the current Premier League season. Manchester City need to replace the “old guard” with players of similar quality if they hope to be considered part of the Europe’s best. Of course, their youth system can fill in the gaps, however any modern squad needs to invest in proven quality to continue vying at the top. This one player needs to be in the mold of Yaya Toure, a mobile midfielder that is an engine that Manchester City can rely on. He needs to be young, of course, to offset the rest of the aging squad. Like Varane for the Blues, this player needs to be an imposing figure in midfield for the Citizens for a long time.
Ideal Signing: Paul Pogba (Juventus)
Manchester United has a squad full of offensive quality, but a mess of a cohesive defense. Players such as Angel Di Maria, Daley Blind, and Ander Herrera have yet to put a decisive mark on the Red Devils, however have shown their quality already. The rest of the squad, bar goalkeeper David De Gea, is inconsistent. The defense, although looking stronger lately, looks to be the area needed for the most improvement. If it were to fit with Louis Van Gaal’s system of possession-based football, a center back is needed that is willing to pass the ball forward. The current crop of Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo, Jonny Evans, and academy players Tyler Blackett and Paddy Mcnair don’t meet this criteria. They need a defender that is more than willing to pass side-to-side, inviting pressure on a fragile backline.
Ideal Signing: Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund)
Arsenal requires a player that can reliably shield the back line if they want to avoid any defensive collapses. Although Francis Coquelin, a rather inexperience defensive midfielder, has shown promising signs in the recent weeks, Arsenal cannot rely on him if they are to compete on all fronts. He doesn’t have to be the best player in his position, but at least someone that is consistent in his duties; either that or a player who can perform a physical box-to-box presence in the midfield. Mathieu Flamini and Francis Coquelin are just not simply enough for a club that is usually performing in every competition open to them for the better part of a season. A signing that improves on these personnel can equally make the likes Alexis Sanchez, Santi Cazorla, and Aaron Ramsey more offensively committed, which is the way one would want these players to play as.
Ideal Signing: Sami Khedira (Real Madrid), Luiz Gustavo (Wolfsburg)
Liverpool has enjoyed quite good form after having a dreadful beginning of the season. The club has enjoyed an unbeaten run since its 3-0 loss to Manchester United. However, this is just making up their horrid run earlier on. Liverpool’s ambition is to become one of the best clubs in Europe again, and with this current squad, there is a lack of star power. Luis Suarez practically almost gave the title to the Reds last season. The club hasn’t replaced that star man. Although defensively they are no where near as solid as they could be, a star player with an impact a fraction of what Suarez gave would be humongous for the club. This star player has to be established, and the ability to lead the front line with Daniel Sturridge.
Ideal Signing: Marco Reus
Of course, there are a plethora of other players that these clubs can sign that could prove to be a huge boost. However, these names would be the most likely ones to give the maximum impact that can either sustain or increase the level of play these clubs currently play at.