15 Clubs That Have to Get Moving Fast in the 2014 Transfer Window
There might still be plenty of time left in the summer transfer window for clubs to get their main business done—but others are cranking up the heat nice and early and bringing in top players, thereby shrinking certain markets where similar players are available.
Patience and timing are important in transfer dealings, no doubt, but we've all seen clubs who wait until the last minute, then panic-buy or pay well over the market price.
Here are 15 teams who need to get themselves moving in the transfer window—and not all of them are here because they haven't yet signed anyone.
Most viewers are familiar with Barcelona: great in attack, terrific in possession, notoriously dodgy at the back when pressed.
The outgoing goalkeepers might have been replaced, but the same can't be said for centre-back Carles Puyol or for any kind of strengthening in that department.
It's tough to see how Toni Kroos fits into the Real Madrid side or why they signed him other than "because he's very, very good."
If they're after a No. 10, it's not exactly a vote of confidence in last year's Spanish project that saw Isco sign for a big fee, while if he's going to operate deeper, Luka Modric will be wondering why his club hasn't noticed that he was the best No. 8 in Spain last year.
Still, Real should have more money to spend elsewhere, and they'll need to to win back the league title. Goalkeeper, full-backs, anyone?
Tottenham Hotspur haven't signed anybody this summer yet, despite new manager Mauricio Pochettino being in place.
Not entirely sure we need any more reasons...
Manchester United have made good signings in Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw, but they don't address the tactical needs of Louis van Gaal—a holding, controlling midfielder should be needed in that case—or the weaknesses of the wide areas of United's midfield last season.
Much might depend on who impresses the new boss in preseason, but surely they need to ship out a few underperformers from the past couple of campaigns and have Van Gaal bring in a couple of his own top-class talents.
Daley Blind (above, right) would likely take care of two needs with one safe, inspired signing.
Liverpool have been busy, buying Lazar Markovic, Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Emre Can.
None of them come close to replacing Luis Suarez, naturally, whose goals certainly require replacement at least in part by the signing of another top-quality attacker.
In addition, though, the Reds need almost a complete overhaul of the defence, with one centre-back and one full-back an absolute minimum requirement. Almost £60 million has been spent so far, and none of that has touched a back line that was, at times last season, in shambles.
Athletic Bilbao face the same problems as always: By only buying Basque players, who can they convince to join?
Ander Herrera is a big loss, but if the likes of Mikel Arteta, Antoine Griezmann and Cesar Azpilicueta are either unavailable or not looking to move to Bilbao, it's tough to see how they can strengthen.
Valencia were poor for most of last season, and the off-field problems look set to continue.
They've lost Juan Bernat and Seydou Keita this summer—and Philippe Senderos, if that's an issue. Only Nicolas Otamendi is a reasonable incoming talent.
Mid-table anonymity might be a fond memory by January at this rate.
The change in managers at Juve was sudden and surprising, so it remains to be seen what impact that has on their transfer dealings.
Arturo Vidal looks almost certain to depart, and there are few particularly big-name rumours surrounding Juventus at this moment.
They won Serie A at a canter but quite clearly need to strengthen to challenge in the Champions League.
AC Milan have brought in Alex and Jeremy Menez from Paris Saint-Germain, both good signings, but considering they were off the scale in how poor they were last season, far more is required.
Adil Rami has joined permanently, but new manager Pippo Inzaghi must not only to find a system which works and the XI to go into it but also get the best out of some of the talented but inconsistent players at his disposal.
No European football will surely be a help rather than a hindrance to a rebuilding Milan side this season.
Napoli have not been overly active in the market after a third-place finish in Serie A last season.
Signing Michu on loan from Swansea City is a reasonable addition but hardly one who is going to breach the gap between Napoli and Roma or Juventus.
Rafael Benitez spent big last summer on the back of the sale of Edinson Cavani and the money it brought in, but they'll face renewed challenges from the teams below them this term. Further strengthening is required to keep their top-three place.
The fine Feyenoord side from last season is being dismantled.
Daryl Janmaat and Graziano Pelle are off, and Bruno Martins Indi has followed them. Tonny Vilhena and Jordy Clasie could leave, while others could certainly follow suit quickly enough.
Against that, they'll no doubt pull some talented youngsters from their academy, but Feyenoord could do with bringing in some established talent to avoid falling away from the title challengers completely.
Frank de Boer's decision to stay at Ajax another season is no doubt borne of a desire to challenge more considerably in the Champions League, following another Eredivisie win.
An admirable choice, but he will need to strengthen his team considerably to achieve it.
Richairo Zivkovic could be a great signing in time, but they'll need to replace captain Siem de Jong and any senior players who follow him out.
Monaco are perhaps waiting on offers for their two key players before delving heavily into the transfer market, with James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao the big names at the French Ligue 1 club.
They did enormously well to reach second place last season, but with Champions League challenges set to test them even further this term, they'll need to splash out again to improve the side.
Aymen Abdennour is their big signing of the summer so far.
Benfica haven't been entirely quiet on the incoming side of things, but their sales make for worrying reading for fans if established players aren't going to come in to replace them.
Lazar Markovic, Jan Oblak, Ezequiel Garay, Andre Gomes and Alan Kardec were all valuable parts of the side that won the league and reached the Europa League final last term, and all have departed.
Guilherme Siqueira has also ended his loan spell.
And finally, not one of the biggest names around Europe but English Championship side Blackpool.
They've cancelled a preseason tour, they have their first friendly coming up soon, and their league campaign begins on August 9 away to Nottingham Forest...and they currently have eight players contracted to the team.
No goalkeeper, just one midfielder and nowhere near enough to name a full side at this point, let alone substitutes and squad numbers.
Manager Jose Riga has work to do to bring in enough players of a sufficient quality to keep the team up this season, but at least once he does, there can be no excuses as to it not being his own set of players.
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