With the transfer window set to open, Goal.com takes a look at the players each Premier League club will be chasing over the next few months
By Ed Aarons
It's that time again. With the 2011-12 season now consigned to the history books, Premier League clubs are already compiling their shopping lists ahead of the summer sales as they bid to strengthen their squads for the new campaign.
As always, the majority of attention will centre on which players will be snapped up by the big guns, with several transfer sagas set to play out over the next few months. Goal.com takes a club-by-club look at the movers and shakers throughout England's top flight.
What they need
After a nightmare season, much will depend on who replaces the outgoing Kenny Dalglish. A disastrous summer of recruitment this time last year ultimately cost 'King Kenny' his job, with the likes of Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing faling to live up to their expensive billing.
Andy Carroll's return to form and the continued presence of Luis Suarez means that the Reds have plenty of firepower on paper, but signing an out-and-out goalscorer should still be a priority for the new boss.
Lucas Leiva's comeback from long-term injury should provide a real boost in central midfield, although Liverpool still have yet to replace Xabi Alonso's passing ability since losing the Spanish international to Real Madrid in 2009. Unless Downing returns from Euro 2012 as a goalscoring winger, more support out wide is also required to provide service for Carroll and Suarez.
At the back, Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel have formed a solid partnership in central defence, although both are rumoured to be unhappy with the failure to secure Champions League football yet again.
The change of manager means that Liverpool are already playing catch up with their rivals for Champions League qualification, so time will be of the essence for the new man in charge. Wigan boss Roberto Martinez is a major contender for the job and he would certainly welcome the opportunity to persuade Nigerian winger Victor Moses to join him at Anfield, if he gets the nod.
Elsewhere, rumours of a swoop for Barcelona midfielder Seydou Keita refuse to go away, while Aston Villa striker Darren Bent could be the solution to their lack of goals. Alternatively, former Manchester United striker Giuseppe Rossi would be a decent signing for a club who will struggle to attract the very best given their absence from Europe's premier club competition.
Fulham midfielder Moussa Dembele has also been mentioned as a possible long-term replacement for Steven Gerrard, with his Cottagers' team-mate Clint Dempsey likely to be an attractive proposition for Liverpool's American owners.
After so many botched transfer windows under Dalglish and predecessors Roy Hodgson and Rafa Benitez, there is plenty of deadwood to get rid of. Joe Cole and Alberto Aquilani both spent last season out on loan and while the former has made hopeful noises about resurrecting his Anfield career, the latter will certainly be on his way if a buyer can be found.
After six years' loyal service, Dutch forward Dirk Kuyt should also leave along with out of contract Brazilian full-back Fabio Aurelio, while it remains to be seen if Suarez is targeted by either Barcelona or Real Madrid.
What they need
After their final-day heroics secured a first league title since 1968, Roberto Mancini will be keen to make sure it is never that close again. The disappointment of failing to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League will give the Italian plenty of bargaining power to persuade owner Sheikh Mansour yet more reinforcements are needed to mount a challenge on the European front.
In particular, finding a regular central defensive partner for inspirational captain Vincent Kompany will be a priority, while more firepower is needed if City are to challenge on all fronts next term. Question marks also remain over the left-back position - where Gael Clichy has been solid if unspectacular - and Gareth Barry could find his days are numbered in central midfield.
Take your pick. Such is the spending power at the Etihad these days that almost every major star in Europe and beyond has been linked with City in the past few months but with Uefa's Financial Fair Play rules due to kick in for the start of next season, there could be a limit to Mancini's budget this time around.
That shouldn't stop the Italian from landing his major targets, however, with AC Milan defender Thiago Silva top of the wishlist to replace Joleon Lescott alongside Kompany. Belgian forward Eden Hazard is also very much on the radar, but despite appearing to have already won the race to sign him from Lille, it remains to be seen where the 21-year-old will end up.
Otherwise, the public courting of Arsenal's Robin van Persie will be resolved one way or the other. If the Dutchman decides to stay in north London, though, the likes of Edinson Cavani, Radamel Falcao, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Gonzalo Higuain will come into the equation.
The Owen Hargreaves experiment is officially over with the ex-England midfielder having already packed his bags but there could be several high-profile departures as Mancini attempts to balance the books - a bit. First on the agenda will be finding a new home for enfant terrible Carlos Tevez, while Edin Dzeko's heroics on the final day may not be enough to save him either.
Emmanuel Adebayor's salary could be a stumbling block in agreeing a permanent move to Spurs, while Mancini will be hoping that Barcelona and Real Madrid are not tempted by his prized assets Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero.
£100 million plus
What they need
Despite only missing out on a 20th league title on goal difference, United boss Sir Alex Ferguson will be only too aware that he must act quickly this summer to keep pace with his 'noisy neighbours'. An over-reliance on veteran Paul Scholes highlighted United's shortage of quality central midfielders and that should be his primary target.
Otherwise, a quality right-back is certainly needed as Phil Jones and Chris Smalling will seek to establish themselves at the heart of the defence, although the return of Nemanja Vidic from long-term injury will give the Scotsman plenty of options at the back. Patrice Evra's spot on the other flank may also be under threat after a disappointing season for the Frenchman.
The hit-and-miss form of Chicharito may persuade him to enter the market for another striker to provide more support for Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck.
Unsurprisingly, rumours have linked United with several creative midfielders from Eden Hazard to Shinji Kagawa. But while the former seems destined to choose either City or Chelsea, the Japanese star from Borussia Dortmund would be a welcome addition to the United squad.
Otherwise, a move for highly-rated Athletic Bilbao playmaker Javi Martinez or Benfica's Nicolas Gaitan could be on the cards, or perhaps Sir Alex will rekindle his interest in Wesley Sneijder? Everton left-back Leighton Baines is also coveted by the veteran manager and the former Wigan player would certainly relish the opportunity to finally oust Ashley Cole as England's first-choice left-back.
Up front, United will be loath to spend big money to bring in another striker, yet a move for Dutch goal machine Klaas Jan Huntelaar may be just the kind of signing that makes all the difference.
Club record signing Dimitar Berbatov has made no secret of his desire to leave Old Trafford this summer but there probably won't be too many more to follow him out of the door. Young French midfielder Paul Pogba has apparently been wooed by Italian giants Juventus after failing to agree terms on a new deal, while Brazilian defender Fabio has been told he will spend the season out on loan.
Michael Owen's departure after three injury-plagued seasons also opens the door for another striker, although Sir Alex may be keen to promote several players from his youth ranks to bolster his squad.
What they need
The unexpected fifth-placed finish was beyond the wildest dreams of even the most optimistic Toon supporters and boss Alan Pardew faces a real challenge to repeat that performance next term. A fantastic record of unearthing gems - usually in France - was the primary reason behind Newcastle's success last season and the former West Ham and Reading manager will be hoping chief scout Graham Carr can sniff out yet more bargains this summer.
A Europa League campaign means Pardew will certainly need to bolster his squad significantly but much will depend on how many of the club's standout stars like Papiss Cisse, Demba Ba, Yohan Cabaye and Cheikh Tiote remain on Tyneside. Owner Mike Ashley will have the final say, with at least one of those likely to be sold on for a major profit.
A regular right-back to replace Danny Simpson will be the priority elsewhere, while more depth in central midfield should allow Newcastle to once again compete with the best teams in the land.
The signing of 22-year-old midfielder Romain Amalfitano French side Stade de Reims shows that Pardew isn't the kind of manager to hang around too long and there is every chance more reinforcements will be on their way sooner rather than later.
Otherwise, Lille's Mathieu Debuchy and Crystal Palace's England under 21 right-back Nathaniel Clyne have been strongly tipped to move to the North East, although the latter will be subject to a hefty compensation fee that will be settled by tribunal. Icelandic midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson would be another welcome addition to the Toon midfield should Cabaye move on, while another French midfielder in the form of Benjamin Corgnet could bring yet more Gallic flair to the club.
Simpson's refusal to sign a new contract has led Pardew to cast his net far and wide for a replacement but he will be hoping the former Manchester United man is the only first-team regular to leave this summer. Almost all of the side that earned their boss the LMA's Manager of the Year Award last term have been linked with moves to new pastures, with goalkeeper Tim Krul, skipper Fabricio Coloccini and forward Hatem Ben Arfa among the most coveted.
Back-up goalkeeper Steve Harper and midfielders Danny Guthrie and Alan Smith will definitely be moving on though and Pardew will want to ensure he can bring in quality replacements to boost his options from the bench.
What they need
After working miracles with a squad of players largely inherited from their days in League One, boss Paul Lambert will be expected to repeat the trick on a limited budget. Matching this season's 12th-placed finish may be asking too much of The Canaries, though, especially given that the Scottish manager is highly-coveted by several rival clubs and could well be on his way.
If Lambert stays, expect plenty of more bargains to be picked up in the close season, with particular emphasis likely to be on replacing wantaway striker Grant Holt. His 15-goal haul last season was a major factor in Norwich's outstanding performances after sealing successive promotions but after failing to earn an England call-up, the 31-year-old will be hoping to test himself on a bigger stage.
Elsewhere, a small squad needs more options in central midfield - even after the signing of the excellent Johnny Howson from Leeds in January.
With Norwich's owners still paying off major debts and funds likely to be limited once again, wheeler-dealer Lambert no doubt has his eye on several lower league gems who are destined for greater things. One who will not come cheap is Howson's former Leeds team-mate Robert Snodgrass, while the Canaries have already missed out on Nottingham Forest winger Gareth McCleary after he was snapped up by newly-promoted Reading.
Forest right-back Chris Gunter could well be on his way though after Kyle Naughton's successful loan spell from Spurs ended, while Holt's departure would force Lambert into the market for a new striker. Unsettled Stoke City hitman Cameron Jerome could be an option, although Norwich would be priced out of a swoop for Huddersfield goal machine Jordan Rhodes.
Aside from Holt, the performances of Elliot Bennett, Wes Hoolahan and Howson are sure to have attracted the interest of bigger clubs and Norwich could also face a fight to hold on to new England goalkeeper John Ruddy. All may be persuaded to stay on if Lambert commits to another season but you get the feeling his departure could began an exodus that would leave the Canaries as odds-on favourites for the drop.
The decision to allow defenders Adam Drury and Zak Whitbread to leave the club shows the confidence they have in young England under 21 star Ryan Bennett, while Aaron Wilbraham's release means ex-Everton striker James Vaughan may now get his chance to shine after a frustrating season on the sidelines.