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The four positions Villarreal need to strengthen ahead of 2021/22 season

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Unai Emery has some shopping to do ahead of the new season

Villarreal CF UEFA Europa League Final Victory Parade Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

The transfer window is now open and clubs across La Liga have already begun strengthening their squads ahead of the new season.

Villarreal’s transfer window is yet to hit its stride, the Yellow Submarine moving quietly so far, bringing in Aissa Mandi on a free from Real Betis, while reclaiming Manu Morlanes and offloading Jaume Costa and Carlos Bacca.

But as Unai Emery and his men look to improve on last season’s seventh-place finish in La Liga and take their Europa League-winning form into the Champions League this season, which positions do they need to strengthen?

We take a look below.

Centre-back

The Yellow Submarine could do with another centre-back.

Ramiro Funes Mori has not impressed since his arrival in 2018, and Emery could do with another option at centre-back.

Pau Torres, Raul Albiol and new signing Aissa Mandi are all top centre-backs, but a fourth quality option would be useful with Juan Foyth adding extra cover if needed.

This one also comes with the caveat that if Torres leaves - and that is looking more and more unlikely - Villarreal will need to sign another top centre-back this summer.

If Torres stays, this position is unlikely to be prioritised.

Attacking midfielder

Emery has plenty of options in midfield, and the returning Morlanes will add even more cover having returned from his loan spell from Almeria.

Vicente Iborra - fresh off a contract extension - will also add to the position this season having struggled with injury last term.

The one thing Villarreal could do with, however, is a creative, attacking midfielder.

Dani Parejo and Manu Trigueros were excellent last season, and they will likely continue to start heading into the coming season.

But someone a little different, quick on the ball, someone able to free roam a little and cause more problems going forward would be a big bonus heading into a Champions League campaign, even if it’s just an option off the bench in tight games.

Again, this is unlikely to be a priority given the ‘overbooking’ Emery already has in the midfield, a problem that could see Francis Coquelin moved on.

Winger

The undoubted number one on Villarreal’s list of needs is a winger.

Villarreal were often dangerous last season with Samu Chukwueze one side and Gerard Moreno the other, but the former’s inconsistencies are yet to be ironed out.

A top-quality winger will not only push Chukwueze but add yet another dynamic to the Yellows’ attack.

Gerard Deulofeu has been suggested, a player not too many Groguets approve of, while Pablo Sarabia - who was excellent at Euro 2020 for Spain - has also been linked.

The PSG star is undoubtedly the better option of the pair.

Either way, a winger will be at the top of Emery’s priority list heading into this summer.

Villarreal need depth out wide and they simply have to improve the position heading into the Champions League.

Striker

Moreno did his best work out wide last season, cutting inside, but Villarreal didn’t get an awful lot from the central position.

Paco Alcacer often flattered to deceive, while Carlos Bacca and Fer Nino each did their bits when called upon.

Bacca has already been moved on, while Nino could play a bigger role next season.

Alcacer, if he does stay amid links of an exit, simply has to produce more than he did last season, scoring only six times in La Liga.

But in any case, if Villarreal can manage it, a reliable striker could make them an even more dangerous force, keeping in mind Moreno will be a guaranteed starter in that front line, along with either Chukwueze or a new winger.

Just who the Yellows can get remains to be seen, but I think I heard someone say ‘Bakambu’.