Before the opening weekend in the Premier League, Sam Wallace casts a critical eye over each club’s transfer dealings, and how squads have improved – or weakened – over the summer break, before predicting where each will finish in the table.
How Some Premier League Teams Can Fare
- Manchester City
Winners of four out of the last five Premier League titles and a well-grooved squad that is fine tuned year after year according to the Guardiola way. City are so confident now in recruitment they are prepared to sell first-team players to top-six rivals. The Erling Haaland effect is not the only factor – others like Jack Grealish have had time to settle.
- Tottenham Hotspur
The full force of prime second season Antonio Conte driving them on, plus a strong transfer window. The form at the end of the previous Premier League season hinted at what was possible. A much deeper squad now and a different mentality under their manager. The attacking options, with Richarlison’s arrival, are promising and complement a strong January window.
Another bold transfer market with the sale of Sadio Mané and the prompt reinvestment in Darwin Núñez. They ran City very close last season after initially falling away and, like their closest rivals, Liverpool have continuity of style. The obvious place they have not strengthened is in midfield and this season will require younger players to step up in that area.
A new era under the Boehly-Clearlake private equity ownership and no guarantees as to how it might play out. The new owners have secured the finance to make some big signings so far with Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly, with more set to come, but there is still a squad left unbalanced. Thomas Tuchel has much talent at his disposal but the effect of the chaos of the last six months means that a year’s planning has been lost.
Too good for the Championship and too weak for the Premier League. Thus far the Championship winners have not made major changes to the team that was promoted and they have lost arguably their most talented performer, Fabio Carvalho. This has been a strange period for the club with two promotions and two relegations in the last four years. No one could doubt Shahid Khan’s commitment but it looks like another long season.
- Leeds United
The sales of Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips are a major blow to a squad that is short of match-winners and game-changers. Leeds’ model means that they will always have to trade their best players but selling two of them in one summer puts a lot of pressure on the replacements. Jesse Marsch did enough to change the approach and galvanise the team to survive last season and much will be asked of the manager this time around.
Precious little activity in the transfer market in the Premier League thus far for the second promoted team from last season’s Championship. Scott Parker will need some new recruits for what was an excellent Championship side and now needs to invest again for the top division. Many of those who played such a key role last season was also part of the team that was relegated. Gary Cahill and Nat Phillips, both defensive mainstays, have left the club.