In the mid 2000’s the top four teams in the premier league were a virtual certainty, with Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool occupying the top four positions in any order you wish.
The top four teams did not actually alter from 2005-2010. There were a number of factors that halted this, firstly the mass exodus out of Liverpool between 2008 and 2011, Xabi Alonso, Javier Mascherano, Fernando Torres, Alvaro Arbeloa and John Arne Riise are just some of the big names to leave the club.
The second was the arrival of Sheikh Mansour and his billions bringing the likes of Vincent Kompany, David Silva and Sergio Aguero to Manchester City. The third is the influx of talent that was overseen by Harry Redknapp at Spurs, with the likes of Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and Rafael van der Vaart joining the club.
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Now though, it seems a new ‘big four’ may be about to be created, with Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal streaking ahead of the competition, whilst Manchester United have finally started to spend their enormous commercial revenue to attract some of the biggest names in world football.
Is there any hope for clubs challenging for these European places or will the new order take English football into yet more years of boring status quo? Here we look at which clubs could conceivably upset the established order in the next few years, and not just this coming season.
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The high profile casualty of the Sheikh Mansour led Manchester City revolution, the club has been knocked out of the top four, featuring only once since 2009 and at one point in 2011 almost went the same way as Glasgow Rangers, into insolvency.
Now though, the club is under new owners, who have certainly put their money where their mouth is and put almost half a billion pounds of transfer revenue into the club since their arrival in 2011, bringing in the likes of Luis Suarez, Roberto Firmino, Christian Benteke, Phillipe Coutinho.
Unfortunately this has not translated into consistent success on the pitch, with only one Capital One Cup and a second place finish being the highlights of their reign.
However, Liverpool may be on the cusp of once again becoming a giant of English football, with Anfield in the process of a much needed refurbishment, to bring the capacity from 45,362 to around 59,000 and the club’s value growing by the year the commercial future of the club looks bright.
It must also be noted that the youth of the Liverpool team looks formidable. With the likes of 18-year-old, Joe Gomez and 19-year-old Jordon Ibe playing in last week's impressive 0-0 draw with Arsenal, the average age of the Liverpool XI at the finals whistle was 21.8. This youth along with the club’s growing commercial value gives hope to the red faithful.
Under Harry Redknapp, Spurs were one of the most intimidating prospects in the Premier League with their brand of lightning fast counter-attacking football both great to watch and brutally effective.
However those days are now gone, with the mesmeric talents of Gareth Bale and Luka Modric being poached by Real Madrid for a combined total of £126 million. This and the misuse of these funds led them to be back where they started in fifth or sixth place looking longingly up at the riches of the Champions League.
However like Liverpool, there is light at the end of the tunnel for the North Londoners, their new 60,000 seater stadium which will be boosted by NFL revenue could be the sign of an era where they can finally challenge their bitter rivals, Arsenal and other big clubs on a consistent basis.
This will be lead by the attacking revelation that we saw last season in Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen. Kane burst onto the scene last year, finishing with 30 goals in all competitions and earning comparisons with English striking legend Alan Shearer for his positioning, finishing ability and potent combination of pace and power.
Eriksen, an excellent signing from Ajax is a real gem, with beautiful technique, wonderful vision and a deadly set piece, the Danish number 10 will dovetail behind Kane supplying him with ammunition to destroy defences like his Geordie idol. Tottenham must keep hold of these two and other big names such as Hugo Lloris if they want to challenge or they will simply remain where they are.
West Ham United
This is a controversial decision and I am sure there will be a lot of argument over this opinion, but bear in mind this is not stating that the club will be in the top four in the next one or two seasons, but is merely stating that they may be a threat to the status quo in the next few years.
As the more perceptive will have realised from reading this article a lot of focus has been placed on the commercial success of clubs. This is because as the Premier League becomes richer, with the new TV deals being agreed the more commercially viable clubs will prosper with larger shares of the deal and West Ham at this point are a commercial gold mine.
The club is moving into the Olympic Stadium which has a capacity of nearly double that of the wonderful but ageing Boleyn Ground. This along with the fact that this particular area of East London is being rapidly gentrified and becoming a very desirable place to live means that players from abroad will be easier to attract as it is a better place to live.
The club’s owner David Gold has attempted to bring about a change in the club’s values on the pitch as well and is trying to make West Ham an attractive place for the better players to come and ply their trade. This has meant moving away from their defensive and physical style into a more fast paced and attractive kind of football and it appears to be working slowly.
The likes of Alex Song, Dimitri Payet and Angelo Ogbonna would not have touched West Ham with a ten foot pole before their capture of the Olympic Stadium as it would not have matched their ambition as footballers.
With the right manager, and more high profile acquisitions to hopefully arrive West Ham can in the future be a club to finally break free of the stranglehold of mid table mediocrity and break into Europe’s big leagues.
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