Upgrading is a huge part of modern football. No clubs can ever afford to stand still without the risk of being left behind the ever-improving pack, they must seek to improve themselves every year or its a slippery slope.
As the summer of 2018 draws to a close (for some clubs it is already over), here’s a look at six teams across Europe in desperate need of upgrades…
Newcastle actually made a profit in the summer transfer window, something which stoked further discontent among fans towards owner Mike Ashley, and the Magpies are arguably not an obvious contender for relegation because of manager Rafa Benitez.
Newcastle lack quality all over the pitch, with new number nine Salomon Rondon scoring just 24 Premier League goals in over 100 appearances during his time with West Brom. The Venezuelan may well not reach the heights of the great Alan Shearer.
Club captain Jamaal Lascelles is a lone shining light at the back, while the team could do with significant upgrades all across the midfield as well if they are to return to former glories.
Tottenham have finished third, second and third in the last three Premier League seasons, a huge achievement for manager Mauricio Pochettino. But to make that next step and end a 57-year title drought, the squad are still desperate need of upgrades.
Striker Harry Kane lacks any kind of semi-comparable backup, worsened by Son Heung-min’s temporary absence at the Asian Games. Depth generally, or lack thereof, remains the major issue, with Spurs requiring numerous better players beyond their strongest XI.
Yet Spurs have just completed a summer in which they didn’t buy anyone, infuriating fans. Then again, their new home is not a bad upgrade whatsoever.
Bayern Munich keep pinching players from the best of the rest in the Bundesliga to weaken their nearest rivals and stay on top in Germany, but decreasing overall quality is actually putting them further and further away from seriously challenging in the Champions League.
Loyal servants like Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben are getting older, while players like Sebastian Rudy, Serge Gnabry, Sandro Wagner and Leon Goretzka are simply not at that level.
One could also argue that Bayern also need major defensive upgrades as Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng are beginning to wane in the twilight stage of their careers.
Chelsea at the start of 2018/19 are just a shadow of the team that won the Premier League in such convincing fashion only two years ago, with upgrades needed in the centre of defence and up front.
They are still lacking with Gary Cahill and David Luiz hanging on back there. And as far as the attack is concerned, Alvaro Morata remains a question mark, while there are also few options behind the misfiring Spanish striker.
New signing Jorginho was the player they really missed last year after Nemanja Matic left. But with the disappointing duo Danny Drinkwater and Ross Barkley the backups behind him, Chelsea probably require some serious upgrading in midfield as well.
Barcelona have an incredibly strong first XI filled with world class quality, but do they have a good enough squad to win La Liga and the Champions League this season? Most likely not.
In defence, Barça are still relying on Thomas Vermaelen to come into the side for squad rotation purposes, while midfielders Denis Suarez and Rafinha haven’t reached the level fans and officials at Camp Nou would have been hoping for.
With Paco Alcacer still the first backup striker, a major upgrade is needed there as well.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho was desperate for upgrades over the summer but the Old Trafford board was ultimately unable or unwilling to give them to him.
After capturing central midfielder Fred, Mourinho wanted a new forward, only for Gareth Bale to stay with Real Madrid and PSG to instantly rebuff a reported enquiry for Kylian Mbappe, and then a centre-back.
By the time deadline day came around, it was decided by the club, seemingly to the manager’s annoyance, that targeting the likes of Harry Maguire or Toby Alderweireld was a waste as they offered little value for money without enough of an improvement.
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