The transfer window has shut, meaning Premier League managers can’t improve their squads until January. With £1billion spent by top flight clubs, what does the completed summer activity mean for the season ahead?
Pep Guardiola matched his big ambitions with clever signings including Nolito, Leroy Sane and John Stones. His ruthless exile of Joe Hart showed his desire to stamp his authority on a City side who should have the quality to run away with the Premier League.
City will face stiff competition from Manchester United and Chelsea though. United bought Paul Pogba for a world record fee, while free agent Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s unique mix of quality and arrogance will bring a winning mentality back to the club. Chelsea’s deadline day re-signing of David Luiz bolstered a thin defence and his arrival along with Michy Batshuayi and N’Golo Kante will improve the spine of Antonio Conte’s men.
The last Champions League spot may come down to a three-horse race between last season’s top three of Leicester, Arsenal and Tottenham. The trio have all improved their attacking and defensive departments and are each capable of top four finishes again. With Liverpool also looking to qualify for Europe, 2016/17 could be the year that Arsenal finally fall short of Champions League qualification.
Hull endured a frustrating summer, and despite deadline-day signings of Ryan Mason and Will Keane, the Tigers will surely face a tough task to survive despite a good start. Meanwhile, Burnley twice broke their transfer record this summer for Steven Defour and Jeff Hendrick. Those additions will make the Clarets more competitive than their last Premier League campaign, but they will still be favourites for relegation.
Bournemouth have spent big on Jordon Ibe and Brad Smith from Liverpool, while the deadline day loan signing of Jack Wilshire raised many eyebrows. Keeping Wilshire fit could be key in whether the Cherries survive, but Eddie Howe’s summer business does suggest he may be preparing for relegation with an eye on a quick return to the top flight.
Also in the relegation picture this season is a handful of clubs who have failed to significantly improve their squads. Swansea lost Bafitembi Gomis and Andre Ayew, although Fernando Llorente is a quality replacement, while Watford have looked disappointing so far despite nine new arrivals at Vicarage Road.
David Moyes and Tony Pulis should keep Sunderland and West Brom up respectively, However, Sunderland’s recruitment of fringe players from higher teams and West Brom’s quiet summer means that survival is about all Black Cats and Baggies fans can realistically hope for.
On the other hand, Middlesbrough have added well with Alvaro Negredo already proving his quality in the Premier League. Boro could have a good campaign if Aitor Karanka’s men continue their promotion form.