In a tightly contested Premier League, the small margins are everything, which is what makes the transfer dealings of the clubs below so pivotal over the next weeks
By Matt Scott
Whether chasing the Premier League title or scrapping for survival in the top flight, the business done before the season can make or break a campaign.
Tottenham will be aiming for another top-four finish this term, but with Champions League qualification along with it this time while fourth-from bottom will be enough for several other clubs.
In the fourth, and final, instalment of our series, Goal.com examines the moves that Swansea, Spurs, West Brom, West Ham and Wigan could be looking to make in the coming month.
After a change of manager, and a raft of signings on the back of Michael Laudrup's appointment at the Liberty Stadium, attentions may now switch to keeping some of the Swans' stars in south Wales.
Former boss Brendan Rodgers has been heavily linked with a move for Joe Allen, while Jonathan de Guzman and Michu have been brought in from La Liga to cover a midfield that has already lost former loanee Gylfi Sigurdsson after the Icelander chose a permanent switch to Tottenham.
Nathan Dyer and Scott Sinclair impressed out wide last term but are lacking back-up or competition. Bristol City speed merchant Albert Adomah has been linked with a move to the Welsh side and could provide exactly what is needed on the flanks.
Another Spaniard, in the shape of Chico, a £2 million signing from Genoa has rocked up at the Liberty this summer. He will likely cover the gap left by Steven Caulker's return to Spurs after a successful season on loan at Swansea.
Laudrup may look to bolster his defence further. Michel Vorm managed 14 clean sheets in the league last season, a crucial factor in the Swans comfortable mid-table campaign.
Goals were not in short supply, but neither did they flow easily last season. Danny Graham managed to notch 12 over the season, but further contributions, either from midfield will need to be found in order to maintain Swansea's top-flight status.
Star of Euro 2012, Michael Krohn-Dehli has been linked with a move to England after showing a goalscoring touch in Poland and Ukraine and has admitted a move to the Premier League would interest him.
POTENTIAL INS: Mark Davies, Albert Adomah, Michael Krohn-Dehli
POTENTIAL OUTS: Scott Sinclair, Joe Allen
Tottenham missed out on Champions League football, despite finishing fourth last season. While that scenario may seem unfortunate, Spurs have no one but themselves to blame after being comfortable in third deep into the season.
The disappointment, ultimately, cost Harry Redknapp his job with Andre Villas-Boas replacing him, the Portuguese is not just aiming for a place in the Champions league, but the Premier League title to go with it.
The Belgian arrives as Ledley King has announced his retirement and is likely to slot straight into the side in place of the former skipper, while Sigurdsson looks to have also been brought in with departures in mind.
Rafael van der Vaart has been heavily mentioned as a possible target for Bundesliga clubs with his wife working in Germany and an up-and-down season possibly costing him his key-player status at White Hart Lane.
Also in midfield, Luka Modric looks set to finally depart north London. A year ago Spurs chairman Daniel Levy rejected a £40 million bid from Chelsea for the Croatian. A bid of £35m is expected to be enough to prise the schemer away this summer with a move to Real Madrid looking likely.
Spurs look most in need of bolstering at the very bottom and top of their team. Brad Friedel, while still a fine shot-stopper, is 41 and a replacement will be needed sooner or later. Hugo Lloris has been linked with a £12.5m move, but next summer could be more likely to see a man between the sticks arrive with Friedel having no intention of retiring soon.
Up front, Tottenham are drastically short. Jermain Defoe is the only recognised striker at the club, and he has been linked with a move away as Villas-Boas looks to stamp his authority on the squad.
Emmanuel Adebayor is expected to arrive permanently from Manchester City, if the right financial terms can be met for all parties, while Leandro Damiao, likely to be a much more expensive option, has been mentioned as a possible Tottenham target for a while.
POTENTIAL INS: Emmanuel Adebayor, Adrian, Leandro Damiao, Ganso, Hugo Lloris, Joao Moutinho
POTENTIAL OUTS: Steven Pienaar, Luka Modric, Carlo Cudicini, Rafael van der Vaart, Jermain Defoe, Giovani dos Santos
Another club with a new manager, Steve Clarke has made the move into first-team management at the Hawthorns, but things have been fairly quiet on the transfer front in the west Midlands.
The Baggies have snapped up Ben Foster permanently and nippy Belgian winger Yassine El Ghanassy on loan, and the side seem well placed to continue the steady mid-table improvement enjoyed under Roy Hodgson.
With no major outgoings, the Baggies squad looks well-rounded and has plenty of strength in depth. Several players have caught the attention of other sides, however, and high-profile departures could force Clarke into the market later than he might have wanted.
Youssouf Mulumbu and Peter Odemwingie have both enjoyed fine consecutive top-flight seasons, the Congolese midfielder has been mentioned in the same breath as Tottenham and Newcastle while Hawthorns chiefs reportedly rejected a bid from Al-Gharrafa for the Nigerian striker.
Former Chelsea assistant Clarke has claimed that he is still looking to operate in the market and Obafemi Martins has recently been linked with a switch back to the Midlands after previously turning out for Birmingham in a loan spell two seasons ago.
POTENTIAL INS: Tongo Doumbia, Obafemi Martins, Claudio Yacob
POTENTIAL OUTS: Simon Cox, Youssouf Mulumbu, Peter Odemwingie
Despite being one of the newly promoted teams in the top flight, West Ham look well stocked for for a season of comfortable survival after going down to the Championship with some high-calibre players.
Obviously, that is a dangerous view to take for anyone the club themselves, but Kevin Nolan, Matty Taylor and Jussi Jaaskelainen are all seasoned performers at the highest level.
West Ham were extremely busy in the transfer market last season and, as a result of that, already have a fairly large squad, possibly making signing too many players unlikely.
One area of concern may be defence, where the Hammers look short of numbers and short of genuine quality. James Tomkins and Winston Reid looked a robust pair in the second tier, but could easily be found out by the stronger, quicker and more skillful forward lines in the Premier League.
Due to that, most of the players linked with a move to the east end have been defenders. Curtis Davies may be ready to make a step back up to the top-flight after Birmingham failed to win promotion last season, while former Rennes centre-back Kader Mangane decided to move to Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal over the Hammers.
One arrival at the Boleyn Ground has been Modibo Maiga. The 24-year-old Malian striker was heavily pursued by Newcastle before the signings of Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse, coupled with doubts over his fitness, saw the Magpies opt against a move.
POTENTIAL INS: Douglas, Miguel Torres, Curtis Davies
POTENTIAL OUTS: Ricardo Vaz Te, Pablo Barrera
Roberto Martinez's task this summer looks arduous - keep Victor Moses at Wigan and assemble a squad capable of survival in the Premier League again.
The powerful Nigerian is being doggedly chased by Chelsea, according to Latics owner Dave Whelan and a £10 million switch looks like a distinct possibility over the next few weeks.
Meanwhile, Fraser Fyvie has joined from Aberdeen and Mauro Boselli is ready for another crack at the English top-flight after failing miserably after his £6m move to Lancashire in 2010.
The Latics squad is currently desperately short of quality options and another season of struggle is surely set to be endured by Martinez's side.
The Spaniard has always done well to keep the Latics in the top flight, however, and his loyalty to the club amid approaches from Liverpool and Aston Villa this summer may serve to galvanise the squad.
Blackpool pair Matty Phillips and Alex Baptiste have recently been linked with a move to Wigan. The former is a flying winger, who demonstrated a keen eye for goal last season while the former Mansfield man would provide some much-needed competition in defensive areas.
POTENTIAL INS: Alex Baptiste, Matt Phillips
POTENTIAL OUTS: Victor Moses
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