Every season the Premier League's 'big clubs' try to deliver on the promise that big money signings are going to make them the team to watch.
For years now this commitment to cash flush buys have increased the gap between those with the big bank balances and the mid-table clubs who primarily rely on shrewd buying and young talent.
The summer transfer window however, has shown a major shift from the status-quo. With the usual increase of transfer budgets and boards loosening the grip on wage demands, it looks like some of the big signings in this summer's transfer window are heading to the clubs outside of the top four.
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Top Four Strengthening
The big clubs have clearly strengthened. Manchester United bolstering their midfield with Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger, Arsenal making sure they've got a reliable goalkeeper in Petr Cech and Man City finally capturing some pace down the wing in Raheem Sterling.
Liverpool are the main contenders to the positions occupied by the new big four of Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Man United as the Merseyside club try and force themselves back into the frame of Champions League football. Having strengthened all over Liverpool's intent could easily ruffle some feathers further up the table.
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All of the above have made sure they maintain their status as the clubs that will dominate the top of the table, however, in subtle fashion those around them have acquired some top talent.
Stoke City, forever known as the long ball playing, bullish defending, creatively inept side. Mark Hughes has gone and captured one time wonderkid Ibrahim Afellay on a free transfer, linking up with former Barcelona team-mate Bojan Krkic. Hughes is transforming the side with inspired buys.
Aston Villa, a club who struggled massively during the tail end of last season had been robbed once again of prized assets in Fabian Delph and Christian Benteke.
However, unlike every other season the manager and board has been able to dip into the kitty and splashed out on French forward Jordan Ayew and relatively unknown, but exceptionally talented Idrissa Gueye from French outfit Lille.
Having also secured Micah Richards on a free, Tim Sherwood has shown real intent that previous years the club wouldn't have in trying to benefit from the sale of big players.
Crystal Palace are another one of the big movers, as are Newcastle United, two sides massively looking to make shapes in the league.
Yohan Cabaye had more lucrative offers than Crystal Palace shall we say. One of which was Roma, who have secured Champions League football. Aleksandar Mitrovic likewise, who had been rumoured to make the move from Anderlecht to Chelsea opted for Newcastle instead.
Both decisions show that two highly rated players saw potential and positive movement with their new clubs. A feeling that must surely have been echoed when Newcastle captured Netherlands International and PSV captain Georginio Wijnaldum.
West Ham, another team not to be underestimated this season have flexed their muscles in the transfer market. Angelo Ogbanna, an unused substitute in this seasons Champions League final for Juventus should prove a force at the back and Ligue 1's Dimitri Payet, who holds the record for most assists last season in France's top flight will certainly light up the midfield.
Leicester with Shinji Okazaki, Everton capturing Gerard Deulofeu, Swansea signing Andre Ayew on a free transfer.
Southampton with their usual brilliant regeneration following smash and grab antics from the bigger sides.
All these sides have ingeniously signed players from under the noses of rivals on the continent. A sign that the Premier League is getting back to it's fiercely contested self.
This renaissance of the lesser teams in England's top flight is a sign of intent to those above them. The Premier League, one week before we welcome it back, looks at it's most competitive it's been for years.
For so long it had been heralded the Premier League was the league that on their day, anyone could beat anyone, and with the inception fast approaching it's becoming more and more of a possibility that the exciting and crafty buys from those who normally uphold the mid table positions, could really put any of the big boys to the sword, and surely throughout this season, we are destined to see some big upsets.
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