By Neil Leverett
- Arsenal and Manchester clubs amongst big spenders
- New season kicks off on Friday 11 August
PREMIER LEAGUE – With less than a month to go until the 2017/18 Premier League campaign kicks on, we take a closer look at some of the big movers this summer.
After a summer off without major tournament football, fans up and down the land have been itching for the new season to begin, with a clamour for action so intense, that some have been forced to watch the Confederations Cup in Russia, to get their footie fix. Yes. The Confederations Cup.
Whilst fans and players, save for the minority that took part in the World Cup warm-up in June have been on their beach towels, posting many millions of selfies across the globe, club owners, managers and chairman have been far from relaxed in the transfer market.
So, with the cliché of ‘the most eagerly anticipated season in years’ rearing its head once more, what faces, new and old, will be gracing these shores with their presence?
Citizens continue to flex chequebook
Manchester City began their recruitment in earnest just days before the last season concluded. The addition of AS Monaco attacking midfielder Bernardo Silva for a reported £43m, further confuses Pep Guardiola’s offensive options. The Portuguese will add a more direct approach to the Citizens’ game and dare one say a more intelligent approach to one Raheem Sterling.
The price tag has raised eyebrows, but after a summer of luxurious spending for many clubs, the fee for a 22 year-old who is only just beginning to blossom, is surely a bargain in the modern market. Furthermore, Guardiola now has a wealth of options at his disposal; Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, the new Silva, Sterling, Ilkay Gundogan, Leroy Sane, Kun Aguero and Gabriel Jesus.
Should Alexis Sanchez make the much-protracted move north from Arsenal, Manchester City will be a force to reckoned with this term. Both home and abroad. With the addition also of goalkeeper Ederson from Benfica for approximately £35m also, Pep Guardiola is not shy in paying for what he wants to replace Claudio Bravo.
Gunners’ recruitment drive
After a failing to qualify for the UEFA Champions League for the first time in 18 years last season, Arsene Wenger has been forced to put his money where his mouth is, after the maligned Frenchman signed a new two-year deal at the Emirates.
With a seemingly doomed-to-fail effort to sign Europe’s hottest striking property Kylian Mbappe still ongoing, the Gunners have nonetheless already smashed their transfer record to bring in Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette for an initial fee of £46.5m.
The prolific French forward comes with a much-vaunted reputation but above all, goals. After Atletico Madrid’s transfer ban was upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, Wenger swooped for Lacazette who only months ago stated that he would ‘only move to a team with Champions league football’. Money talks.
Arsenal have lacked an out and out striker with pace since Thierry Henry and many believe that void could now be filled. As documented, the futures of not just Sanchez but Mesut Ozil are far from resolved, but further moves from the Monaco talent pool in winger Thomas Lemar could make for an extremely exciting campaign for fans.
Many suspected, Arsenal’s failure to qualify for the top table of European competition would damage the club, but it could be quite the opposite.
Klopp goes wing-nuts
Much like Manchester City, Liverpool have further stacked their midfield options, particularly on the flanks.
With Sadio Mane already on the books, boss Jurgen Klopp has moved for former Chelsea winger Mohamed Salah from AS Roma, as the Reds look to width as a greater source of threat this term.
The fee which – you guessed it – breaks a club-record fee at £36.9m, leaves fans scratching their head as to just how Liverpool could look come August 12th.
The Reds have Champions League to juggle which will afford a certain level of rotation, so that answer may not be fully resolved until well into the campaign.
Lukaku re-unites with Jose
Finally, but far from least, Manchester United snuck in like a thief in the night and stole in on Romelu Lukaku from Everton.
After weeks of Real Madrid playing sweep the monetary table cloth away with Jose Mourinho and Ed Woodward, the Red Devils grew tired of the whole debacle and instead plumped for the lunky Belgian for £75m.
Following the habitual scoring habits of Zlatan Ibrahimović last season, Lukaku has his work cut out and will be under considerable pressure to convert the chances that United failed to turn into goals last term. Not least under a man that failed to get the best from him, in the Portuguese steward.
United’s defence has been further bolstered by Victor Lindelöf’s arrival from Benfica. Mourinho was criticized for doing little to move his team away from ‘Louis Van Gaal’s army’ and a rather negative approach. This season is Jose Mourinho’s litmus test.
The 2017/18 Premier League campaign kicks off on Friday August 11th, when Arsenal host Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium.
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