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Transfer deadline day preview: What the big Premier League teams still need to do

Expect to see a ton of action over the final two days.

Liverpool v Arsenal - Premier League Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

It’s the second-most exciting day of the year: Transfer Deadline Day Eve! As ever, all eyes will be on the Premier League, where the clubs have the most money and the least sense.

The window shuts at 11 p.m. BST on Thursday, which is 6 p.m. ET. There’s a lot of business to be done between now and then.

Here’s what the big teams of England’s top division have left on their to-do lists.

What do Chelsea have left to do?

Like Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard, who in 1960 descended into the Marianas Trench aboard the bathyscaphe Trieste, Antonio Conte is on a quest for depth.

Up front (but actually on the bench), he wants Fernando Llorente. In the middle (but actually on the bench), he wants Danny Drinkwater. And at wing-back, perhaps, as well in the middle occasionally (and on the bench sometimes) he wants Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. One minor problem with this last plan is that Oxlade-Chamberlain, having seen Liverpool up close at the weekend, apparently prefers a move north.

Chelsea have also been linked with Ross Barkley, but since Barkley's injured, don't put too much weight on that. No really, don't. You'll aggravate it. Oh, Ross.

What do Tottenham have left to do?

Tottenham have been the still centre of this ridiculous transfer market, serenely keeping their heads while all around them have been losing theirs, and blaming it on PSG. Kyle Walker has departed, so Serge Aurier may come in, legal processes depending. Davinson Sánchez has joined, so Kevin Wimmer has left. And the occasional moments of unrest from other squad members, including Danny Rose's admission that he doesn't watch the European Football Show, have been expertly damped down.

It remains to be seen whether this amounts to sensible, justified confidence in a talented first team and an excellent coach, or a craven refusal to deal with the realities of football that will ultimately lead to failure. Either way, they look like they could do with another goalscorer.

What do Manchester City have left to do?

We'll say this for Pep Guardiola: when he decides a squad needs changing, he doesn't mess around. City brought in five first-team players last summer, added Gabriel Jesus in January, and have so far added five more this transfer window.

The biggest remaining target is Alexis Sánchez, who has just one year left on his contract at Arsenal. Though it initially looked as though Arsenal would hang on to him for that year, recent developments at Arsenal (see below) have moved things along. The two clubs are now at the haggling stage — City are offering money, Arsenal asking for cash plus a player — and stories about Sánchez disrupting the dressing room have started to appear in the papers. It's by no means done, and still may not happen. But it certainly looks doable.

Guardiola also wants a central defender, since Vincent Kompany's knees are made of Ritz crackers, Nicolás Otamendi is definitely getting sent off at some point, and Jon Stones is a child. (Eliaquim Mangala? Never heard of him.) Jonny Evans is the desired target, and a perfectly sensible one at that, though West Brom are playing hard to get. Be a surprise if he didn't move eventually though.

It's all quite sad, really. He seemed so thrillingly unorthodox, did “Pep.” Just another chequebook manager.

What do Liverpool have left to do?

Exciting times at Anfield. And let it never be said that Jürgen Klopp is unafraid to change his mind. Just one year ago he was telling the world that "Other clubs can go out and spend more money and collect top players, yes … Do I have to do it differently to that? Actually, I want to do it differently. I would even do it differently if I could spend that money."

Now he and his club are trying to shovel cash around with the merry abandon of people who know we're only a few months away from the total collapse of Western capitalism, and are trying to get their kicks while they can.

Mind you, it's all PSG's fault. It looks as though Philippe “the new Neymar?” Coutinho will move to Barcelona for approximately “how much?”. This money will then be parcelled out. Perhaps to Monaco, in exchange for Thomas Lemar. Perhaps to Arsenal, in exchange for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Certainly to Red Bull Leipzig, in exchange for Naby Keïta, but not until next summer.

So if all goes to plan, then Coutinho gets his dream move, Klopp gets his hands on some exciting potential, and Liverpool fans get to make some new banners. Everybody wins!

This is all a distraction, however. The real quiz comes at the back. If Liverpool do manage to prise Virgil van Dijk away from Southampton, then they will have succeeded in significantly upgrading the most vulnerable part of their team. Hurray! If they don't, they'll be going into another season with Dejan Lovren as a first choice central defender. Hurroo …

What do Arsenal have left to do?

Er … hide their collective head under their collective pillow and hope the screaming dies away?

A few happy weeks ago, before any of the actual football had started, Arsenal were in a peaceful place. Sure, some contracts were running down: Alexis Sánchez, Mesut Özil, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. But Arsene Wenger was sanguine, and reminded everybody that sometimes it's better value to let footballers leave on a free, than sell them. Nobody really knew what he meant, but it sounded clever. One more year from the big names. One more proper go.

Now it's all gone wrong. After their hideous shredding by Liverpool, Wenger has reportedly decided to purge his squad of traitors and counter-revolutionaries. Arsenal are negotiating with Manchester City for the sale of Sanchez, an offer has been accepted from Chelsea for Oxlade-Chamberlain (though he wants to go to Liverpool), and last season's panic signings, Shkodran Mustafi and Lucas Perez, are up in the shop window. And in what may be the world's first double-edged plus side, nobody wants to buy Özil.

So who will be this summer's panic signings? No idea. Wenger publicly gave up on a move for Monaco's Thomas Lemar a while ago, which makes his possible move to Liverpool all the more galling. Arsenal's squad needs at least one proper central defender — Jonny Evans has been linked — and a top quality defensive midfielder, but then that's been the case since Gunnersaurus had family. What Arsenal's squad really needs is a new manager.

Two more years! Two more years!

What do Manchester United have left to do?

Gareth Bale! Thomas Lemar! Fabinho! Serge Aurier! Cristiano Ronaldo! Pavel Nedvěd! Marcelo Salas! Nicolás Gaitán! Wesley Sneijder! Kevin Strootman! Carles Puyol! Ronaldinho! Jon Obi Mikel!

No. United are done. José Mourinho just has time to take one long, last look at his much folded, much unfolded picture of Ivan Perišić, then sigh, tuck it back into his wallet, and go about his day.