The new Premier League season might only be three weeks old, but activities in the summer transfer window has brought up a mouth-watering debate as to what the top half of the table will look like at the end of the campaign.
The race to finish in the top four in the Premier League in recent seasons has always been a keenly-contested one, with Arsenal and Tottenham always engaging in a fierce battle towards the end of the season to seal the fourth and final Champions League position, after the two Manchester teams and Chelsea have tied down the first three slots.
However, the exit of Sir Alex Ferguson from the managerial hot-seat at Old Trafford after close to three decades of undeniable success ushered in a new era at the red half of Manchester which is currently being overseen by former Everton manager, David Moyes.
Under Sir Alex, United fans knew their Champions League status was always assured as they claimed an astonishing 13 league titles under the Scotsman. But, just two months into Moyes’ tenure, there are already signs of unease as to how the Red Devils will fare under the tutelage of the man who himself spent eleven years at Merseyside.
The core of the team that won the league last season ably led by talismanic Dutchman, Robin Van Persie is still at Old Trafford, but the relatively quiet transfer window which Manchester United had in the summer has already led to criticisms being directed at Moyes, and the club’s executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward.
The club’s supporters had clamoured for the signing of two central midfielders and a competent left-back, but came short of landing all their transfer targets bringing in only Marouane Fellaini on transfer deadline day.
While Manchester United were passive in the transfer market, their rivals were busy reshuffling their packs ahead of the new season.
Local rivals Manchester City, under new manager Manuel Pellegrini, recruited the likes of Jesus Navas, Alvaro Negredo, Fernandinho and Stevan Jovetic to help make the Chilean's tenure a fruitful one at the Etihad Stadium.
Chelsea, under returning manager Jose Mourinho, addressed their need for a reliable centre-forward (after failed attempts to sign United's Wayne Rooney) by signing veteran Cameroonian, Samuel Eto’o from Anzhi.
The additions of players like Willian, Andre Schurrle and Mark Schwarzer further added depth to an already established team.
Liverpool were also not left out as Brendan Rodgers showed his intent of taking the Reds back where they belong, by keeping hold of star striker Luis Suarez, despite a much-publicised transfer controversy in the summer.
Further capable additions arrived in the form of veteran defender Kolo Toure, goalkeeper Simon Mignolet and Iago Aspas to further confirm the Reds as genuine top-four contenders.
Late deals for Mahmadou Sakho, Thiago Ilori and Victor Moses (on loan) coupled with the Reds 100 per cent start to the season - courtesy of the ever-improving Daniel Sturridge - has already seen pundits tipping the Reds for a successful 2013/14.
Tottenham, meanwhile were perhaps the most active English side in the transfer window, investing the proceeds from the inevitable sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid to bring in quality signings in form of Brazilian midfielder Paulinho, former Valencia man Roberto Soldado, Erik Lamela amongst others.
Personally, I think Spurs currently have one of the strongest sides in the Premier League, and a top-four finish shouldn’t be the target for Andre Villas-Boas this season. With the stars that Spurs currently parade, they should be up there challenging for the title this campaign.
Not one to be outdone by their north London rivals, Arsenal made their own statement of intent, as manager Arsene Wenger responded to calls for him to buy players by shattering the Gunners' transfer record on deadline day, to bring in Mesut Ozil - a true world class player for £42million.
There is no doubt that this could turn out to be the most intriguing and most exciting Premier League season yet, thanks to the mother of all battles: the challenge for Champions League qualification.
Some might experience a change in fortune, while it could spell the beginning of the end for some teams.
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