The 2015/16 Premier League season is just days away and many are suggesting that we could be set for the best campaign of the modern era. There is plenty to look forward to and this year may well be one of the most competitive seasons in living memory.
Let’s start with the traditional ‘big four’. Manchester City have splashed £49 million on Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling and he is set to go straight into their starting 11 beside such stars as David Silva and Sergio Aguero. Aguero’s fitness will be key to Manchester City’s hopes this season although reports would suggest that they may be in the market for another striker as Stevan Jovetic has left and Edin Dzeko seems likely to follow suit. City also signed Fabian Delph from Aston Villa after the ex-Leeds man broke into the England set up with impressive form last year.
Arsenal and Chelsea have improved their squads with key signings. Arsenal fans and pundits are suggesting that goalkeeper Petr Cech could be the final piece of the puzzle for Arsene Wengers men. The Gunner’s 1-0 win over champions Chelsea is evidence enough that it won’t be an easy ride to the title for the blues this season. Chelsea have signed Radamel Falcao on loan as well as Stoke keeper Asmir Begovic and with largely the same team that dominated last year they are rightly favourites to retain the league title.
Manchester United have been the biggest spenders in the top four, investing in several top class players and sparing no expense in improving the quality at their disposal. United boss Louis Van Gaal will be expecting his team to be competing at the very top after spending big on the likes of Memphis Depay, Bastian Schweinsteiger, and Morgan Schneiderlin and there are rumours that Barcelona’s Pedro may also be on his way to Old Trafford.
Liverpool will be looking to break back into the top four after a disappointing season last year. Brendan Rodgers has been busy in the transfer market, recruiting the like of James Milner, Danny Ings, Roberto Firmino and Christian Benteke in a bid to fire Liverpool back to the top of the league. With fees of £28 million and £32.5 million Firmino and Benteke will be expected to do the business for Liverpool.
Record amounts of money are being spent as a result of the lucrative new TV deals on offer to clubs and it’s been a busy transfer window with almost all teams now possessing stronger teams than last year. Stoke could surprise a few people this year after adding more former Barcelona players to their squad with Ibrahim Afellay and Moha El Ouriachi
joining Marc Muniesa and Bojan who previously played for the Camp Nou giants. Aston Villa have been spending the money they received for Delph and Benteke freely, recruiting several talented young players from Ligue 1. Villa fans will be hoping that their three new Jordans (Ayew, Veretout, and Amavi) can help lift the club away from the bottom of the table. Villa have also signed former Premiership winner Micah Richards, midfielder Idrissa Gueye, and Blackburn hitman Rudy Gestede.
Southampton have added spanish striker Juanmi and dutch international Jordie Clasie to their ranks as well as defenders Cedric Soares, Steven Caulker, and goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg. Ronald Koeman will be hoping his side can replicate the form that saw them challenging near the very top last season. Newcastle United have made some long overdue investments too. PSV captain Georginio Wijnaldum has been one of the summer’s major coups along with the acquisition of Serbian striker Aleksandar Mitrovic. The Magpies have also sured things up at the back by signing defender Chancel Mbemba. Tottenham have focussed on strengthening from the back after buying Kieran Trippier, Kevin Wimmer, and Toby Alderweireld.
Promoted side Watford have signed almost a whole new team, manager Quique Flores bringing in no less than 11 new players but championship journeyman Troy Deeney will be the main man for the Hornets after getting past the 20 goal mark last year. Some bookies have tipped Watford to go straight back down but they will be hoping that experienced Premier League recruits such as Etienne Capoue and Valon Behrami will be able to steer them to safety.
There are several Irish players with a big season ahead of them too. James McClean has signed for West Bromwich Albion and has impressed in pre season and newcomers Norwich City recently completed a deal for Ireland’s Robbie Brady who will be eager to impress after relegation with Hull last year. Another Irishman at a promoted club is Harry Arter and Republic of Ireland supporters will be keen to see what the recently capped midfielder can do in England’s top tier. Everton midfielder James McCarthy has been subject to interest from Spurs and Man City and will be keen to impress and Wes Hoolahan has also returned to the Premier League with Norwich and will be keen to prove he still has what it takes to make it at the tope. Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish is likely to be watched closely as the FAI and FA wait for the talented youngster to make up his mind about his international future.
With almost every team investing heavily this time around and several teams equipped to really compete at the top the 2015/16 season could be the best for some time. Fans will be making last minute predictions and tweaking fantasy football selections but thankfully they won’t have long to wait before the Premier League is underway again. The weekend can’t come fast enough.