After a summer of transfer sagas, surprising results in the Euros and the inauguration of new managers, the dust will shortly settle as the English Premier League returns to our weekend diaries this August.
Amidst the instability prevalent in the country right now, the sorrows surrounding the world of British politics will soon be obliterated for many as the excitement builds for the eagerly anticipated return of the greatest football league in the world.
“But why the excitement?”, you ask. After a terrific 2015/16 season which saw the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United failing to qualify for the Champions League and the greatest shock in sporting history in the form of Leicester City winning the whole damn thing, one must assume that anything is possible next season.
“The three new Premier League gaffers have all enjoyed success elsewhere”
Last season’s failings saw the likes of Manchester City, United and Chelsea ditching their managers to secure the services of three of the world’s most highly sought-after bosses.
These have come in the form of ex-Barca and Bayern tiki-taka mastermind Pep Guardiola, the ‘Special One’ Jose Mourinho and former Italy Manager Antonio Conte, who was unfortunate to see his side lose to Germany on penalties in the quarter-finals of the European Championships.
The three new Premier League gaffers have all enjoyed success elsewhere – they will bring charisma and new tantrums to the press conference rooms and touchlines, for us armchair and stadium supporters to enjoy.
“Infamous rivalries such as Mourinho vs Guardiola, Mourinho vs Wenger and Klopp vs Guardiola”
Guardiola will be keen to build on his achievements at Barcelona and Bayern, Mourinho will be intent on rebuilding his credibility at Old Trafford after a horrific start to Chelsea’s Premier League defence last season, and Conte’s impressive reputation in Italy will be heavily scrutinised in England.
In addition to this, managers like Claudio Ranieri, Arsene Wenger, Jürgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino will be motivated to improve on last season’s performances to take on the new ‘super coaches’. Infamous rivalries such as Mourinho vs Guardiola, Mourinho vs Wenger and Klopp vs Guardiola will re-emerge under the intense pulsating pressure of Premier League games. As a result, the action off-the-field will be just as fascinating as what happens on it.
Regarding new transfers, a number of clubs have already made serious moves in the market. Manchester City have already signed Borussia Dortmund’s Ilkay Gundogan to stabilise their midfield. Meanwhile, Liverpool have won another Southampton player’s signature in Sadio Mane for £36 million and Chelsea have acquired the services of Belgium striker Michy Batshuayi for £33 million.
“One thing is for sure, all the clubs are spending big money to reclaim the title but it is no longer possible to buy the title”
Leicester City’s midfield maestro N’Golo Kante, who was instrumental in the Foxes’ title win last season, has also moved to Stamford Bridge and will prove a major loss for the title holders. Arsenal have already bought Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka but have not signed a striker, with Alexandre Lacazette of Lyon potentially in the frame for a £42 million move.
Mourinho made his mark early in the window, having already bought Zlatan Ibrahimovic on a free transfer from PSG. Henrikh Mkhitaryan has also joined from Borussia Dortmund while the Red Devils are said to be in talks with Juventus and France midfielder Paul Pogba in what would be a surprise £100 million move back to Old Trafford.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) July 6, 2016
One thing is for sure, all the clubs are spending big money to reclaim the title but it is no longer possible to buy the title. Leicester City’s exploits last season suggest that perhaps the smaller teams could stun the league as well.
Having bought the likes of Nampalys Mendy and Ahmed Musa, Claudio Ranieri’s team will be hoping to keep its other major stars like Mahrez to sustain a successful season in the domestic and Champions leagues.
Everton have recruited Ronald Koeman as their new boss, who will improve the Toffees defensively to mirror his successes at Southampton, who will have to rebuild yet again under Claude Puel.
“It’s going to be another enthralling and emotional season for fans, players and managers alike”
The newly promoted sides like Burnley, Hull and Middlesbrough will dream of a season similar to last year’s relegation favourites Leicester, but will aim for stability. West Ham in their new Olympic Stadium, Stoke and Swansea will all target Europa League places and FA Cup runs.
If last season is anything to go by, will the Premier League get any more unpredictable this year? Hold onto your hats folks – whether you’re a neutral or a diehard supporter, it’s going to be another enthralling and emotional season for fans, players and managers alike.
Image: Ronnie MacDonald via Flickr