With the transfer window shut, now seems like a good time to look at the transfer business done by the main title contenders and evaluate their chances of landing the top prize in English football.
The way I see it, any one of six teams could land the title this year after some impressive activity in the transfer market.
United won the Premier League last season by a fairly sizeable margin but many people are writing the Red Devils off to retain the title this season.
One of the main reasons people don’t see United repeating last year’s feat is the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson. Fergie was behind the unprecedented success of Manchester United for the last 20 years and a number of people don’t see his replacement, David Moyes, as a man who can keep this success going.
In terms of transfer business, United were very quiet this summer. They brought in youngster Guillermo Varela very early on in the market then went missing for almost the whole summer. It wasn’t until deadline day that they made their final two signings.
Belgian midfielder Marouane Fellaini was signed from Everton for £27.5 million and 17-year-old Saidy Janko joined from FC Zurich. Of all the players signed, Fellaini is the only player likely to feature regularly for the first-team.
The United line-up isn’t going to look too different from last year’s and with other teams around them strengthening their squads, it look like United may struggle. I also get the feeling they’ve lost the team bond they had under Fergie.
The players look frustrated at times and I think they’re going to miss the Scottish manager heavily. It will be tough for United this season but if any team can pull it out the bag, it’s them.
City will be out to win back the title after United stole it back from them last season. The Citizens will be under new management this season with Chilean manager Manuel Pellegrini coming in to replace the sacked Roberto Mancini.
Pellegrini will provide City with some Champions League experience, a competition where he has impressed in the past with Villarreal and Malaga. City are in desperate need of CL experience after two years of failure under Mancini where they failed to make it out of the group stages.
Pellegrini has also brought a different style of play to City, where he likes the use of wide men, whereas Mancini preferred City playing narrowly through the midfield.
Man City have been very busy in the transfer window, bringing in five players and spending close to £100 million. Fernandinho was City’s first signing of the summer, arriving from Shakhtar Donetsk for £30m. The Brazilian will provide stability in the centre of the park and will enable Yaya Toure to get forward more.
Sevilla pair Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo arrived next and the Spanish duo will really add to City’s squad this year. Navas is known for his blistering pace and crossing ability and he’s really impressed me so far this season. He will also provide width for City this year, something they really lacked under Mancini.
Negredo has a brilliant scoring record in Spain and will be looking to add that in England. He has also impressed me so far this season with his movement and his ariel ability. He’s a player with a natural eye for goal and I’d like to see him start with Aguero for most of the season.
Stevan Jovetic was the next player to come in and he’s a player I don’t know much about. He has an average scoring record but he’s a player who links up well with the players around him and he likes to play just off the striker, on the left hand side. He’s one of Europe’s top players and I’m excited to see what he can bring to City this year.
Martin Demichelis was the final player to arrive and in my opinion, this is the most important. Demichelis is a solid centre half and has valuable Champions League experience. He’s a player who will provide real stability in the absence of either Kompany or Nastasic and we could even see him starting some matches in the Champions League this season.
The players City have signed will contribute in their own way to the first-team and I hope they will be what’s required to win the title back. New manager, Manuel Pellegrini needs to get a solid atmosphere in the dressing room, which is something Mancini struggled to do. If this happens, I believe City will win the title.
Domestically, Chelsea had a very disappointing season last year, where they failed to mount a title challenge to eventual winners Manchester United.
Roman Abramovich sacked cult hero Roberto Di Matteo early last season and replaced him with Rafa Benitez, much to the fan's dismay. In fairness to Rafa, he did well at Chelsea to win them the Europa League whilst having little support from the fans.
Stamford Bridge legend Jose Mourinho is back at the helm this season and Chelsea have set their sights on the title after disappointing league table finishes over the last few years. Mourinho has brought in no less than six players over the course of the summer and look like a team that’s ready to challenge for a title again.
The biggest deal the Blues did was the £30 million signing of Brazilian midfielder Willian. He arrived from Anzhi after looking certain to sign for London rivals Spurs but Chelsea swooped in at the last minute to seal his signature.
Samuel Eto’o has also joined from Anzhi and will be another striking option for Mourinho, especially after Romelu Lukaku was loaned out to Everton.
They also brought in winger Andre Schurrle from Leverkusen for £18 million and he will most likely make most of his appearances from the bench, but will still provide effective impact.
Christian Atsu was signed late on in the transfer window from Porto, but the winger has been loaned out to Dutch side Vitesse. Speaking of Vitesse, the Blues signed highly-rated midfielder Marco van Ginkel from the Dutch team, but he’s yet to make a start for Chelsea and we might not see too much of him. He was brilliant during his time in the Eredivisie and I’d love to see him feature more often.
Mark Schwarzer is the final signing for Chelsea and he will provide solid backup to Petr Cech.
I think Chelsea have a brilliant shot at the title this year. With Mourinho back in charge, the fans and players will be right behind him and we could see some brilliant stuff from the Blues this year. I also think keeping Juan Mata at the club is a big boost for them.
I’m unsure as to what his situation is at the moment and why he isn’t playing much but I’d expect to start seeing him more often as he’s a brilliant player. Chelsea have started the season well and I expect them to have a great campaign.
Arsenal are going through a bit of a rough patch at the moment, with no trophies being won for almost a decade and every world class player they have possessed leaving. I don’t think they are ready for a title challenge this year but the next few seasons are shaping up nicely for the Gunners.
There were many calls for Arsene Wenger to be sacked as manager after another disappointing season last year where they scraped in to the top four. The summer transfer window was an incredibly frustrating time for Arsenal fans and there was more and more pressure being put on Wenger but a deadline day signing may have got the fans back on his side.
At the beginning of the summer Arsenal fans seemed to be optimistic after it was confirmed Wenger would have a big budget to spend during the window. However, it turned into a disaster with the Gunners missing out on several transfer targets such as Gonzalo Higuain and Luiz Gustavo.
Arsenal did make a signing, young French striker Yaya Sanogo joined the ranks at Arsenal but this wasn’t the marquee signing fans were looking for. As the window winded down, fans got more and more frustrated until on deadline day Arsenal pulled off a stunning deal.
German midfielder Mesut Ozil joined Arsenal from European giants Real Madrid for £42.5m. It was a brilliant deal for the club and euphoria broke out among fans on Twitter. Ozil is the signing Arsenal fans wanted and will provide superb creativity from the midfield.
However, in my opinion, Ozil isn’t the deal Arsenal desperately needed. Arsenal already have Santi Cazorla providing the creativity from midfield so Ozil wasn’t entirely necessary. A defensive midfielder is what the Gunners really needed and it’s beyond me that Wenger refused to pay something like £17m for Luiz Gustavo who would have been a more important signing for Arsenal in my opinion.
Another concerning thing for Arsenal is they are a little short up front. Olivier Giroud is a fine option up front but if he picks up a long-term injury, the Gunners could be in trouble. Yes, they have Sanogo but he doesn’t have what it takes yet to be a threat up front for Arsenal.
They do have Theo Walcott who has some experience there but he’s not a natural goalscorer which is what would be required. I’m not denying Ozil is a brilliant signing and he is a must in any fantasy team but I think Wenger just saw the opportunity to sign him just to keep the fans happy.The signing of a defensive midfielder or another striker would have been a better deal in my opinion.
Also, the deal for Ozil may have came a summer too late. If this deal was done last summer, Robin van Persie and Alex Song may have stayed at the club and Arsenal would be serious title contenders this year. I just don’t see Arsenal’s squad being strong enough to mount a title challenge.
Spurs have had the busiest summers of all the teams and we are going to see a very different Spurs side this year. Obviously with Gareth Bale leaving the club you’d expect them to be weaker but they’ve done some cracking business and I expect them to be a better side than they were with Bale.
Spurs narrowly missed out on the top four last season and they’ll be looking to go one better this season and may even have their sights on the title. Tottenham have been very busy this summer and actually did all their business before Bale was sold to Madrid for something like £85m.
Spurs brought in seven players and all will have major impacts on the first-team. Spurs’ most expensive signing was Argentine winger Erik Lamela who joined from Roma for around £30m after bonuses. Lamela could be seen himself as a direct replacement for Bale and is said to be a very talented player.
Spurs went in the market for a striker and snapped up Valencia frontman Roberto Soldado for just over £25m. Soldado has got off to a good start at Spurs and is a player with natural goalscoring ability which is exactly what Spurs need.
Centre-midfielder Paulinho also joined the north London club. The Brazilian joined from Corinthians and will provide Spurs with lots of energy in the midfield. Etienne Capoue also joined Spurs and will link up with Paulinho in midfield. The Frenchman signed from Toulouse and will be a huge physical presence in the Spurs midfield this season.
Spurs then added Christian Eriksen and Vlad Chriches late in the window. Eriksen joined from Ajax and is another player who will provide immense creativity from the midfield. Chriches is a centre-back, joining from Steua Bucharest and I’m not sure whether he will be a first-choice centre-back or a backup to Kaboul and Dawson.
Nacer Chadli is the other player Spurs landed and he joined from FC Twente for £7m. It looked like he would be a first-team regular but after the arrival of Lamela and Eriksen he may have to settle for a place on the bench but he will be a very good option for AVB as he’s a dangerous player.
Spurs have made huge changes to their squad and it will be tough for them this season without Bale. I do believe the players they’ve brought in are worthy replacements but I don’t see them mounting a title challenge this season as there have been pretty drastic changes and I don’t see the team gelling well enough this season to do so.
I think making the top four should be their aim this season but they will definitely be contenders in the next few years, as they have one of the best squads in the league.
Like Spurs, Liverpool have had a busy summer and they look like a team who has improved a lot since last season. They struggled to a 7th place finish last season but I can see them doing better than that this season. My only concern for Liverpool is that their squad might not be good enough to make a title challenge this season but I expect them to challenge for the top four.
Liverpool have had a pretty busy summer with the club bringing in eight players, including three on deadline day. Centre-backs Mamadou Sakho from PSG and Tiago Ilori from Sporting Lisbon were signed along with Victor Moses on loan from Chelsea.
Liverpool were desperate for centre-backs and Sakho and Ilori will provide Brendan Rodgers with numerous options in the position. Moses comes in for just this season and will provide Liverpool with a lot of width which I think is something they need.
Another loan deal was done for Liverpool with left-back Aly Cissokho joining from Lyon. The Frenchman will probably be cover for Jose Enrique but also can play left-midfield which is a great option for Rodgers.
Spanish players Iago Aspas and Luis Alberto have also joined the Anfield side and they will probably both act as cover for the midfield and attacking positions. Aspas has impressed me so far but he will probably have to settle for the bench once Luis Suarez comes back.
Goalkeeper Pepe Reina was sent on loan to Napoli which meant Simon Mignolet was able to join from Sunderland. Mignolet is a solid keeper and looks like a good addition to the side. Kolo Toure is the other Liverpool signing and he will provide great leadership and experience at the back after joining from Manchester City on a free transfer.
Liverpool have strengthened a lot over the summer and look good so far this season. Once Suarez returns they will be even more dangerous and I can see them narrowly missing out on fourth place.
It will be tight between Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool but I think Spurs have the better squad and will sneak it.
Its been a brilliant summer transfer window and I can tell this season is going to be one to remember. I think City’s fantastic squad will see them edge out Chelsea and United for the title and the same with Spurs beating Liverpool and Arsenal to 4th. However, Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool all have the potential to be title contenders in the next few years.
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