While discussions are ongoing about how to end the Premier League season, talking about the next transfer window has inevitably slipped the football agenda.
One ripple effect of the coronavirus pandemic is that we don’t know for sure when – or if – this season will end, and therefore when clubs can start recruiting players.
The summer transfer window is a key moment for managers looking to shape their teams and, with time available, planning will continue despite the lack of matches.
By looking at the age and playing time of each player this season, we can see the composition of each team and where the clubs might want to strengthen, as well as the places where gaps may appear as they seek to replace the players who are out of contract and ready to go this summer.
We have already evaluated the top 10 teams, so now we are checking those in the bottom half of the table.
Crystal Palace: new blood needed
With seven players in the first team aged 30 and over and the longest-standing average starting XI in the Premier League, Roy Hodgson recently said he would like to “inject new blood” into the team.
It might worry Eagles fans that no player under the age of 27 is a regular beginner.
At 27, talisman striker Wilfried Zaha is at the peak of his career and could move away as he did last summer, leaving them huge boots to fill.
The Eagles will also have to sign a new central defender, Scott Dann due to leave when his contract expires, and Gary Cahill, 35 in December.
Everton: Building to succeed
Hired as a manager who “knows how to build a winning trophy team”, Carlo Ancelotti is likely to be busy during his first summer transfer window.
With Leighton Baines out of contract and a decision to be made regarding the final signing of lender Djibril Sidibe, Everton will likely be looking for sidelines, although Jonjoe Kenny is about to return after a season of loan to Schalke.
The midfielder could also be a priority, with only Gylfi Sigurdsson playing regularly in the first team this season, but at Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Ancelotti already has two of the best prospects in the league.
Newcastle: Everything changes on the Tyne?
Speaking of a potential £ 300 million takeover by a Saudi-backed consortium, Newcastle may be in its busiest transfer window for years.
But even if that doesn’t happen, the team should still be very different next season, with seven players currently on the verge of leaving after Ki Sung-yueng’s release in January.
As top scorer in the Premier League, Steve Bruce will no doubt be looking to step up his attacking options, with £ 40 million striker Joelinton scoring only one Premier League goal all season.
Southampton: signatures at both ends
After letting Maya Yoshida and Cedric Soares go on loan in January and with the expiration of their contracts this summer, Southampton will need defensive reinforcements.
Although the club has signed two young hopefuls on loan to cover their starts, the Saints apparently have only the option of buying center-back Kevin Danso, side-back Kyle Walker-Peters is expected to return to Tottenham.
A striker could also be on Ralph Hasenhuttl’s shopping list as Shane Long’s departure leaves him only Danny Ings, teenager Michael Obafemi and Che Adams, 23, who has yet to score for the club.
Brighton: Attacking the alternatives
Graham Potter will likely look to step up his attacking options, with the club’s Premier League top scorer all time, Glenn Murray, who will celebrate his 37th birthday in September.
And despite the club spending more than £ 36 million on the offensive trio of Florin Andone, Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Jurgen Locadia, none have managed to establish themselves, although academy graduate Aaron Connolly has impressed and Jose Izquierdo is about to return after a long-term injury.
At the rear, the club will be supported by the return of the best academy candidate Ben White after the impressive 22-year central defender loan to Leeds this season.
West Ham: with the old?
With 10 players aged 32 or older at the end of June, it looks like West Ham has a busy window, even if it isn’t as bad as it looks.
Javier Hernandez having already left, two of them being players without a contract and four goalkeepers, the main concern will be how long captain Mark Noble and Robert Snodgrass can continue at the highest level.
Keeping hold of hot prospect Declan Rice will also be a priority for David Moyes, as well as having more options up front, with Sebastian Haller the only real striker to play more than 10% of the minutes this season.
Watford: Who is in the goal?
Ben Foster and Heurelho Gomes are expected to leave at the end of their contract, so the goalkeepers will be Watford’s number one target (pun intended), while some experienced defenders will have to be replaced.
The club could also start planning for life after their talismanic captain Troy Deeney, who turns 32 next month – an unenviable task given its importance over the past decade.
Since only Crystal Palace has played an older average since the XI this season, Nigel Pearson may be looking to add some youth to the team, with Ismaila Sarr currently the only young prospect near the first team.
Bournemouth: a busy window
Whether Bournemouth stays up or down, they’ll likely be one of the busiest clubs, with seven players ready to go.
The loss of wingers Ryan Fraser and Harry Wilson will have the greatest impact on the starting lineup, while the departure of some of the former guards who promoted the club in 2015 will leave a gap in overall strength.
Although the Cherries have many talented young hopefuls, it will be interesting to see if Eddie Howe continues to rely so heavily on them to provide the depth and coverage of the first team.
Aston Villa: Experience sought
After needing to sign “many players with potential” Last summer, to strengthen the team, Dean Smith will be looking to add some top flight experience this time to help lead a first team as they approach the peak of their careers.
Keeping starring man Jack Grealish will obviously be the club’s main challenge, as the midfielder is regularly linked to movement at Manchester United.
After suffering long-term injuries on New Years Day, the return of top goalie Tom Heaton and forward Wesley will reduce the need for major reinforcements to these positions.
With a relegation that seems likely, the Canaries’ main task in the transfer window will be to prevent their harvest of exciting young hopefuls from being swept away by the bigger clubs.
Like Smith, his Aston Villa counterpart, Daniel Farke can choose to add experience to support this potential, with only midfielder Kenny McLean playing more than 50% of the players at their peak.
After scoring 11 Premier League goals this season, star striker Teemu Pukki will likely also be asked, although his release leaves only 19-year-old hopeful Josip Drmic and Adam Idah at the front.