The odds for this season’s Premier League title suggest a three-horse race with Chelsea currently 2/1 favourites with bookmaker William Hill, followed by Manchester City and Manchester United both at 9/4. Arsenal are considered outsiders as 10/1 fourth favourites.
With a change in manager for each of the top three favourites who comprised the top three finishes in the Premier League next season makes for an exciting prospect heading into the new season.
Premier League clubs have missed out on a number of top players this summer, having been strongly linked to the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Thiago Alcântara and Gonzalo Higuain who will not be playing in England next season.
But here are the summer deals made so far by last season’s top four:
Failing in their attempts to sign Cesc Fàbregas and Thiago Alcântara this summer, Manchester United have only made two changes to their playing staff so far this summer after losing Paul Scholes to retirement.
Wilfried Zaha – £15 million (Crystal Palace)
Although the deal was completed in January, exciting young forward Wilfried Zaha officially completed his move to Manchester United this summer after helping secure Crystal Palace’s Premier League status through the playoffs.
Wilfried Zaha is a quick, powerful forward who was a frequent goalscorer at youth level. He scored 6 league goals in each of his last two seasons in the Championship with Crystal Palace. Potentially a replacement for Antonio Valencia down the right wing, Zaha offers a good attacking threat down the wings and is only 20 years of age.
He his senior England international debut as a late substitute versus Sweden last November,
Guillermo Varela – £2.5 million (Peñarol)
I cannot comment on the 20-year old Uruguayan as I have never seen him play, but he does offer David Moyes a backup to Rafael at right-back this season after the Red Devils played both Phil Jones and Chris Smalling there last season.
Yet to be capped by the senior national team with the right full-back position currently occupied by Maxi Pereira when Uruguay are not playing three at the back.
New manager Manuel Pellegrini has a number of exciting new players heading into their debut Premier League season at the Etihad. Big money has been spent and there is still more than a month of the transfer window to go. Both Carlos Tévez and Maicon have been sold to Italian clubs.
Fernandinho – £30 million (Shakhtar Donetsk)
A very expensive buy for a 28-year old midfielder who only has 5 international caps to his name coming from the Ukrainian Premier League.
Manchester City apparently see Fernandinho as an important player with the price they paid, not that coming up with the finances is difficult for them with their wealthy owners. This box-to-box midfielder is quick and offers a threat with his long-range shooting ability. Expect him to be partnered alongside Yaya Touré as an upgrade in place of Gareth Barry.
Jesús Navas – £14.9 million (Sevilla)
A lightning quick winger who offers more attacking threat down the right than perhaps James Milner or an out-of-form Samir Nasri.
Jesús Navas is great at getting past full-backs down the wing and likes to cut the ball back from the byline inside the penalty area. He failed to score a single goal in La Liga last season. Doesn’t offer the same defensive coverage as James Milner though which could leave Pablo Zabaleta exposed at right-back.
Álvaro Negredo – £20 million (Sevilla)
Joining Navas from Sevilla at Manchester City is Spanish international striker Álvaro Negredo. Previously linked to Everton, Negredo is joining a club who will be playing Champions League football this season and expected to compete for the title after playing for a mid-table finishing Sevilla last season.
Has been prolific in Spain’s La Liga for the past six seasons with both Almería and Sevilla but failed to impress during his brief time on the pitch for the national team at Euro 2012. Has 6 goals in 14 international appearances overall though.
Stevan Jovetić – £22 million (Fiorentina)
Long-time linked with a move to the Premier League it was Manchester City who acquired the services of the highly-rated Stevan Jovetić this summer.
The ex-Fiorentina man is a very skilful striker who scored a number of goals at Fiorentina. Both a scorer and a playmaker, the Montenegrin international has an accurate long range shot on him. Will be competing with Sergio Agüero, Edin Džeko and Negredo to play up front.
Perhaps José Mourinho has been the biggest signing made by Chelsea so far this summer. Otherwise it’s been quite quiet from the Blues who the manager has said to be chasing Wayne Rooney after failing to land Edinson Cavani.
André Schürrle – £18 million (Bayer 04 Leverkusen)
A key player in the Bayer 04 Leverkusen side that finished third last season, André Schürrle is another top left forward to add to the ranks at Chelsea.
Last season he scored 11 goals from that position in the Bundesliga and created 7 more for his team mates that included the prolific Stefan Kießling. With Ryan Bertrand and Victor Moses both playing in that position last season, Schürrle is certainly an improvement in reserve but should also start a fair few games for Mourinho’s side this season.
Marco van Ginkel – £8 million (Vitesse)
A young central midfielder to add to the ranks at Stamford Bridge after Oriol Romeu was loaned to Valencia.
Marco van Ginkel faces tough competition to get into the first team with the likes of Ramires, David Luiz, Frank Lampard and John Obi Mikel all playing in his position.
Mark Schwarzer – Free
Fulham didn’t renew the contract of their experienced 40-year old goalkeeper so Chelsea picked up Mark Schwarzer this summer.
Presumably will be playing backup to Petr Čech, but is an upgrade on Ross Turnbull who had a poor time at Chelsea, and Hilário.
Arsenal’s summer has so far been about failing to sign Gonzalo Higuain and Wayne Rooney. Now targeting Luis Suárez as Arsène Wenger seems keen to add a goalscorer to his team this season despite four players recording double figures in 2012-13. Failing to sell Nicklas Bendtner so far this summer must be a huge disappointment to Arsenal fans.
Yaya Sanogo – Free
The only player Arsenal have brought in so far this summer has been Yaya Sanogo who had previously been in Ligue 2 with Auxerre.
A 20-year old striker I have yet to see play, but who perhaps isn’t expected to go into the first team this season given his lack of experience at both professional and top flight level.
If you think any of these transfers will play a big part in the 2013-14 season and you like betting on football, check out William Hill’s odds for this season and find the shortest odds for the Premier League currently at an attractive 2/1.