EPL 1 year ago

The Battle of the Chequebooks

  • The Battle of the Chequebooks

    BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - APRIL 23: Supporters of Aston Villa hold up a message reading 'play for thr shirt, not the money!' during the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Southampton at Villa Park on April 23, 2016 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

The last seven English Premier League titles have been won by different sides. Not since Manchester United won three titles in a row between 2007 and 2009 has a team successfully defended their title. Will that record be maintained next season when Chelsea bid to keep hold of the Premier League title?

We seem to be in a situation where it’s almost of a case of ‘it’s your turn this time’ as Chelsea and the two Manchester clubs take it in turn to win the title. Arsenal, meanwhile, just sit back hoping to get an invite to the title party and security has been tightened since Leicester City gatecrashed the party in 2016.

Who Gets Lukaku?

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" омелу Лукаку / Romelu Lukak" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Aleksandr Osipov

So where do we look for the 2017/18 champions? As usual, there are probably just six teams in with a chance. Everton will come close to being in contention but poor away form and the threat of losing Romelu Lukaku to a major rival puts major question marks over their credentials. If Lukaku does stay, it might be a different story and the addition of Pickford, Sandro and even the return of Wayne Rooney might at least put them in the Champions League qualification picture.

Problems Already for Chelsea

Over the next couple of months, the top sides will be playing a real version of Fantasy Football League: top players heading to the Premier League and possibly some prized assets going to pastures new. Can Chelsea stay at the top? That's not looking likely, with the latest odds from bet365 having Manchester City at 15/8 to win the title.

All eyes will be on Chelsea but already it appears Diego Costa may be on his way out of the club. Could that lead to a bid for their former player Lukaku? Eden Hazard missing the start of the season is another blow and there's still talk of interest from Real Madrid. It'll be interesting indeed to see what they do to strengthen their attack if Costa does leave Stamford Bridge.

City Spending Spree Begins

It’s all part of why the title keeps changing hands. Sides work out their weaknesses and if they are based in Manchester then there’s the monstrous transfer budget ready and waiting. Hence the fact within weeks of the last season ending, Manchester City forked out £36m on goalie Ederson Moraes and another £43m on attacking midfielder Bernardo Silva. It’s a big statement already and if they can get hold of someone like Alexis Sanchez and keep Sergio Aguero fit, then the title might already be won.

Neighbours Manchester United have already been busy in the transfer market, with Victor Lindelof signed but the loss of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and possibly Wayne Rooney takes 30 goals out of the side. They need to get out of the habit of drawing at home against lesser sides but can they tempt the likes of Morata and Lukaku to Old Trafford?

Tottenham have been in title contention for the past couple of seasons but just lack that little something. If they can hold onto Kane and Alli and make that one massive signing, they could be in the title hunt again. Anyone fancy seeing Gareth Bale make a return? Playing at Wembley is a big problem too after their failures there last year. Only Tottenham could build a fortress and then knock it down.

As for Liverpool, still waiting for that first Premier League title, early transfer dealings aren’t working out too well even though they have Champions League football to offer. As for Arsenal, they still must try and hold onto Ozil and Sanchez before really being able to plan their return to the Champions League. An interesting couple of months are in store for the Premier League as the battle of the chequebooks begins before the action on the pitch.

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