With the Premier League set to begin in a few weeks, there has been a flurry of transfer activity from clubs. Yet, not all teams have been sensible with their spending, and this may prove to be the difference come August 14th.
In preparation for the grand reopening, Maryam Naz looks at the five things to consider in the build-up to the new season..
1) Transfer flops:
Marco Silva’s side have paid £50 million for Richarlison, despite the forward having bagged no goals in the 2018/19 season. The 21 year-old initially impressed at Watford when he scored five goals in 12 games, but from there on, his performances stagnated. There is no evidence that the Brazilian will live up to his heavy price-tag under Marco Silva.
Another potential transfer fail is West Ham’s signing of Jack Wilshere. Wilshere departed from Arsenal as a free agent, after injuries kept him out of the starting 11. There have been flashes of brilliance from the 26-year-old, yet he is no longer the Wilshere of the noughties. He no longer possesses the flair and creativity that made him a live-wire in his early Arsenal days.
Last but not least: Riyad Mahrez. After securing his legacy at Leicester, he was snatched up by Pep Guardiola for £60 million. Yet where he will fit in this City side is perplexing. With the likes of Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane, Kun Aguero, and Gabriel Jesus – Guardiola cannot argue that he needs more attacking options. Mahrez is merely the ‘pepperoni on a triple- pepperoni pizza’ and will live in the shadow of other players.
2) Managerial sackings:
Spearheading the list of manager that may be sacked in the new season is Roy Hodgson. He dampened Crystal Palace’s optimism after admitting the club are unlikely to buy any players in this transfer window. Combine this with the fact that they have lost key players like Yohan Cabaye and Ruben Loftus-Cheek… things don’t look too rosy for Roy, do they?
Marco Silva is also on the list, despite making key signings in the past few summers. Yet these have been rash spendings on players who have not lived up to the price-tag. In total, nearly a quarter of a million pounds have been invested into the squad without any real results. Without any real additions to the defence, his side could cave away in the shadow of the their red neighbours.
3) VAR: value, at risk…
Premier League officials have revealed that video assistance will continue to be trialed across this season. The official statement suggested that this would allow for ‘further improvements to the system’.
Yet some criticise the use of the system, suggesting that it is the referee’s interpretation of incidents that need to change, rather than the system itself. On many occasions in the World Cup, the referee failed to use VAR for incidents that needed reviewing, proving that whilst it is valuable, there are still some kinks that need to be smoothed out.
4) The newbies…
Whilst all eyes might be on the likes of Guardiola’s Manchester City and Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, the three promoted Championship sides, Fulham, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Cardiff City also impressed last season.
After picking up 99 points last season, Nuno Espirito Santos and Wolves have recruited a crop of talented players, such as Joao Moutinho and Rui Patricio to bolster the squad. They could be a difficult side to beat in the coming months.
Likewise, Cardiff City have come on leaps and bounds under Neil Warnock and whilst the Premier League has not been particularly kind to him, his no-nonsense style of managing will leave a mark.
Fulham too, were impressive last season, and the young talent on show from Ryan Sessegnon will have clubs swarming to snatch him up.
5) No margin for error:
This year’s Premier League could be the most competitive in years. Not only has it attracted world-class players, but also world-class managers. This means that there will be no margin for error, because sides like Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea will be too strong to falter against.
This makes the title challenge more interesting as it won’t be a one-horse race. In the running are Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United, who have all made substantial additions to their squads.
Yet whoever makes the most explosive start will have the odds in their favour.
Follow Maryam on Twitter @mnaz98