With highly publicized changes coming to Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City – who else is in need of a fresh start of some sort? Stoke, Everton & Southampton.
The first team in need of some changes is Stoke. A perennial mid-table team since they returned to the top-flight in the 2007-08 season, they boast an impressive squad full of talent and experience. They now have more champions league winners in their squad then the top four combined, with five players; Marc Muniesa, Ibrahim Affelay, Xherdan Shaqiri, Bojan Krkic and Marko Arnautovic all playing in champions league winning sides.
Even with the talent and big game experience, they have not been able to go one step further into European football, which can be attributed to two things: The first being their second tier players are lacking the sufficient quality of those similar to other teams like Leicester City and West Ham. The second problem being their coach; Mark Hughes is not doubt a talented coach, but his biggest shortfall is that he isnt a coach that inspires playing above ones-self.
In need of a Ranieri like figure who can inspire players, but also attract better talent, Stoke would do well to throw the checkbook at Manuel Pellegrini at the end of the season.
Another team in need of changes is Everton. A curious case every single year. They always seem to be on the outside looking in, but not that far either. Regularly occupying a position in the top 6 or 7, they always posed a threat, until this season. Plagued by injuries early on in the season, they currently sit 12th, which is a far cry from where they can be, and really where they should be.
Roberto Martinez has shown himself to be a competent manager with an attacking instinct, he is under no immediate pressure to keep his job, maybe only in the event of this type of season occurring next season. The biggest thing Everton must do in this off season is buy players by the bucket load. Their results are dependent upon the performances of Romelu Lukaku, Kevin Mirallas and Ross Barkley. Much like Stoke, their second tier players are lacking the quality to sustain a Europa League position, and with Tim Howard moving on, their experience level is on the drop. Moves must be made this off-season.
The last team in need of changes is Southampton. Whilst not in dire need like the aforementioned teams there will be moves made in the off-season. Coinciding with their rise under Pochetinno and Koemann, their key players are in high demand. Saido Mane, Shane Long, Dusan Tadic, Victor Wanyama, James Ward-Prowse and Graziano Pelle are all linked with moves away from the club and with their level of quality, replacements must be found.
It’s highly expected that Koeman will raid Holland for the replacements and keep Southampton in the top-half position, but the proper off-season business must be done to ensure all their hardwork over the last 3 years doesn’t amount for nothing.
Expect a season of changes, in both personnel and results for many teams as crazy the 2015/2016 season draws to a close.