It feels like we have been here before. We all know how the story ends, but just for shits and giggles, lets do this again:
GK: Lloris, Gazzaniga, Vorm
Vorm is out of contract this summer, and there is no reason to re-sign him like we did last summer. McDermott and Miki will play a key role here - but even if we do not go with a Youth player as 3rd keeper, we must find a HG keeper to be 3rd choice. Lloris is still top choice, but I am happy for Gazza to challenge him.
RB: Trippier, Aurier, Walker-Peters
I said last year, that one of these players had to go, and here we are. So, this year I am being serious - 1 or more have to go. We missed out on selling Trippier at his highest level last summer, and whether we like it or not - he is HG. Aurier has not taken his chances well this year, and may be running out of time. It does not matter what we do here - so long as we do something.
Alderweireld can go for £25M this summer - thing is, I don't think that is a sure thing that he leaves. Time will tell, both Manchester clubs are likely to be interested - maybe even Chelsea or Arsenal. Poch clearly prefers Sanchez to Foyth, right now. But I think we are pretty set here - if ALderweireld leaves, we can push Dier back to CB - or go find a reasonably priced CB to take Toby's slot. CCV should be sold this summer. It hard to see him with a future here - already well behind Foyth and Sanchez.
LB: Rose, Davies
If Rose is fit, he is one of the best. And, Davies is not terrible as a back-up. Given some of the other holes in the squad that need freshening, I think we will stick here. Maybe we take a punt on Sessegnon when Fulham get relegated, but I am not sure if he is really a LB at this stage.
DM: Dier, Wanyama
We could/should see a new DM in this summer. Wanyama is a shell of his former self, and DIer is a CB playing DM. As Dier ages, and loses his limited agility, he will need to move deeper in the line-up.
CM: Winks, Sissoko, Skipp (Onomah)
I think Poch's preferred formation matters here, whether we have a CM3 or CM2. But, I think this is our biggest need - a strong B2B CM who can help move the ball from the defense to the attacking third, and can also contribute a few goals. I think Winks is fine in a CM3, but he stuggles more in a CM2. Sissoko has obviously been a revelation this year - but he is not young. We should be bringing in a top CM.
Eriksen will be testing our limits this summer, if he does not sign an extension. We can't go into the season with him on his last year - this will have to be resolved one way or the other. Obviously, if he goes, that should add a chunk of money to the budget - and we will need it to find a replacement. Dele and Son are sure to be here next summer - but I could see us look to move Lucas and/or Lamela. I'd prefer to keep Lucas - I think he gives us more options, and is healthier/more consistent than Lamela. I think we will need to bring in 2 players here - assuming Eriksen leaves.
Striker: Kane, Llorente, Janssen, Parrott
Llorente will be gone. Janssen has a couple of months now to prove his worth in training, and maybe a few matches. Parrott might be a bench option next year for the Domestic Cup matches. We will need to find someone for the back-up striker role. Hopefully, it can be a top player who can also compete for minutes as an AM.
This will be a very challenging summer - we have more "holes" than a club competing for CL spots should have - but that is why it si so important to refresh 1-2 players every summer, so you are not left with needing to make a lot of changes at one time
Out: Vorm, Trippier/Aurier, Wanyama, Eriksen, Llorente, Janssen
Maybe: Alderweiereld, Lamela
So that is 8 players, on top of Dembele this January. And, to make it worse - nothing for Vorm or Llorente, and not much for Janssen or Wanyama
IN: 3rd GK, 4th CB, DM, CM, AM, AM, S
7 in. Seems like an impossibility.
We must upgrade CM/DM
If we move Dier to CB, then we still need to bring in another CM/DM
3rd GK must be HG
If we can sign Eriksen and Alderweireld to extensions:
3rd GK, DM, CM - replace Lamela/Lucas and replace Llorente
In a perfect world, Eriksen and Toby both stay, and we sign a top CM (eg Ndombele) and AM/CF (eg Werner).
However, I think both of them are probably off, so replacing Eriksen will be the issue. Personally think that going for a like-for-like replacement isn't our best strategy, I'd rather spend the money on two different players who can combine to match his productivity. Again, this relies on bringing in a top CM.