With the new Premier League season little over three weeks away, we take a look at 10 established names expected to be among the ones to watch.
Petr Cech (Arsenal)
Moved across London in a high-profile £10million deal from Chelsea and the 33-year-old goalkeeper could prove to be what was missing for a sustainable Arsenal title challenge. Brings over a decade of Premier League experience and a winning mentality to the Emirates and the Gunners defence should benefit from the Czech’s calming presence.
Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal)
Sits out start of the season after guiding Chile to their first-ever Copa America title and Arsenal fans will be counting down the days to his return after his incredible impact last term. The 26-year-old scored 25 goals following his switch from Barcelona as he helped Arsenal retain the FA Cup and hint at even better things to come in north London.
Fabian Delph (Aston Villa)
Turned down summer move to Manchester City after an £8million release clause was activated and the England international could benefit from that decision to blossom into one of the best midfielders in the Premier League. Box-to-box player who provides aggression, energy and passing ability but the 25-year-old must add more goals to his game.
Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
Stood tall among his peers last season when he scooped both the PFA and Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year awards. Hazard’s goals and assists fired Chelsea to title glory and he has the ability to test any defence; the Belgium international’s next challenge is to take his game to the level of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Jordan Henderson (Liverpool)
Shouldering the burden of extra responsibility following the departure of Liverpool stalwart Steven Gerrard to the MLS. The England midfielder has taken over the captain’s armband at Anfield but is among the Premier League’s most improved players in recent years and has shown real signs that he is capable of leading from the front.
Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)
The subject of the most talked about transfer of the summer and Manchester City will expect an instant return on their huge £49million investment. Young English talent has withered rather than prospered at City in the past but the former Liverpool winger has the talent to thrive and will hope to benefit from playing alongside stellar company.
Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)
Proven top quality and only proneness to the odd injury stops him running riot in the Premier League. But finished last season with nine goals in seven games and took that free-scoring form into the Copa America for Argentina. Now has over 100 goals in four years in English football and expect plenty more as City seek to reclaim the title.
Memphis Depay (Manchester United)
The skilful 21-year-old Holland forward has already drawn comparisons with Old Trafford great Cristiano Ronaldo following his £25million from PSV Eindhoven. While such talk might be a little premature, there is no denying the Dutchman’s pace and ability and dead-ball threat adds another element to United’s attacking armoury.
Bastian Schweinsteiger (Manchester United)
The first German to play for United brings World Cup and Champions League-winning pedigree as well as much-needed authority to Louis van Gaal’s midfield. Schweinsteiger turns 31 in August but, if he adapts to the quicker tempo of the Premier League, then United might just have pulled off one of the transfer coups of the summer recess.
Harry Kane (Tottenham)
This time last year the Spurs prodigy was more likely to go out on loan than light up the Premier League, but 12 months and 31 goals later and Kane is among the hottest talents around. Apparently coveted by Manchester United, the big question is whether the England forward can avoid ‘second season syndrome’ and hit the goal trail again.
YOUR PREMIER CLUB BY CLUB GUIDE:
Manager: Arsene Wenger
Position last season: Third
Nickname: The Gunners
Ground: Emirates Stadium
Players in: Petr Cech (Chelsea, £10m)
Players out: Lukas Podolski (Galatasaray, £1.8m), Ryo Miyaichi (St Pauli, undisclosed), Semi Ajayi (Cardiff, undisclosed), Abou Diaby (released), Ainsley Maitland-Niles (Ipswich, loan), Carl Jenkinson (West Ham, loan)
Key man: Mesut Ozil
Chances: Arsene Wenger’s side may have failed to close the gap on Chelsea and Manchester City, but their form over the run-in was impressive and culminated in the FA Cup final demolition of Aston Villa to retain the trophy at Wembley. The addition of an established goalkeeper in Petr Cech from Chelsea has renewed belief 2015/2016 will see the Gunners finally mount a long overdue sustained title challenge.
Manager: Tim Sherwood
Position last season: 17th
Nickname: The Villans
Ground: Villa Park
Players in: Scott Sinclair (Manchester City, undisclosed), Micah Richards (Manchester City, free), Mark Bunn (unattached, undisclosed), Idrissa Gueye (Lille, undisclosed)
Players outs: Darren Bent (Derby, free), Andreas Weimann (Derby, undisclosed), Yacouba Sylla (Rennes, undisclosed), Matthew Lowton (Burnley, undisclosed), Shay Given (Stoke, free), Enda Stevens (Portsmouth, free), Graham Burke (Notts County, free), Chris Herd (released)
Key man: Christian Benteke
Chances: While Villa saw a positive turn in fortunes after Tim Sherwood replaced beleaguered boss Paul Lambert, they only just stayed up and fell apart on their return to Wembley having peaked against Liverpool for the semi-final. Nevertheless, the signings of Micah Richards and Scott Sinclair will have strengthened what remains a promising squad. Keeping hold of and then getting the best from Belgian frontman Christian Benteke will again prove key to hopes of continued progress under Sherwood.
Manager: Eddie Howe
Position last season: Promoted, Championship winners
Nickname: The Cherries
Ground: Vitality Stadium
Players in: Josh King (Blackburn, free), Artur Boruc (Southampton, free), Adam Federici (Reading, free), Christian Atsu (Chelsea, season loan), Tyrone Mings (Ipswich, undisclosed), Sylvain Distin (Everton, free)
Players Out: Josh McQuoid (Luton, free), Brett Pitman (Ipswich, undisclosed), Ryan Fraser (Ipswich, loan), Jayden Stockley (Portsmouth, loan), Ian Harte (released), Joe Partington (released), Mohamed Coulibaly (released), Miles Addison (released), Darryl Flahavan (released)
Key Man: Harry Arter
Chances: The Cherries were the pick of the Championship last season, holding their nerve in one of the tightest promotion races to claim a place among England’s elite clubs for the first time. Manager Eddie Howe, though, faces his biggest challenge yet in keeping the south-coast club from being a one-season wonder. Whatever the results, though, fans at the compact Vitality Stadium will be out to enjoy themselves - and maybe just give one or two of the big boys a bloody nose along the way.
Manager: Jose Mourinho
Position last season: Champions
Nickname: The Blues
Ground: Stamford Bridge
Players in: Radamel Falcao (Monaco, loan), Asmir Begovic (Stoke, undisclosed), Nathan (Atletico Paranaense, undisclosed)
Players out: Petr Cech (Arsenal, £10m), Gael Kakuta (Sevilla, undisclosed), Marco van Ginkel (Stoke, loan), Josh McEachran (Brentford, £500,000), Christian Atsu (Bournemouth, loan), Mario Pasalic (Monaco, loan), Lewis Baker (Vitesse Arnhem, loan), Izzy Brown (Vitesse Arnhem, loan)
Key man: Diego Costa
Chances: Jose Mourinho’s side had their style critics last season, but you could not argue with results as consistency was rewarded with the title to add to the Capital One Cup. The decision to allow Cech to join Arsenal was made reluctantly, amid concerns it could come back to haunt them in May. Mourinho, though, is confident he can get the best out of Manchester United misfit Radamel Falcao as the Blues begin life without Didier Drogba (again). Much will depend on what realistic challenge Chelsea face from their domestic rivals, and how much the quest for Champions League success takes out Mourinho’s squad.
Manager: Alan Pardew
Position last season: 10th
Nickname: The Eagles
Ground: Selhurst Park
Players in: Yohan Cabaye (Paris St Germain, £10m)
Players out: Kyle da Silva Notts County, free), Lewis Price (Sheffield Wednesday, free), Shola Ameobi (released), Owen Garvan (released), Peter Ramage (released), Stephen Dobbie (released), Jerome Thomas (released)
Key man: Yohan Cabaye
Chances: Alan Pardew’s stock continued to rise following an impressive spell after moving to Palace from Newcastle in January, as the Eagles soared away from the relegation zone up into mid-table security. The south-east London club will now look to push on again to cement their place in the Premier League establishment, following a club-record summer signing and important sound infrastructure development.
Manager: Roberto Martinez
Position last season: 11th
Nickname: The Toffees
Ground: Goodison Park
Players in: Gerard Deulofeu (Barcelona, £4.2m), Tom Cleverley (Manchester United, free)
Players out: Sylvain Distin (Bournemouth, free), Antolin Alcaraz (released)
Key man: Ross Barkley
Chances: Roberto Martinez will be out to avoid another topsy-turvy campaign which saw progress in the Europa League, but shortcomings domestically. With no major summer overhaul required, Everton should be able to build on what was a positive final couple of months and again look to break back into the top eight.
Manager: Claudio Ranieri
Position last season: 14th
Nickname: The Foxes
Ground: KP Stadium
Players in: Robert Huth (Stoke, undisclosed), Shinji Okazaki (Mainz, undisclosed), Christian Fuchs (Schalke, free)
Players out: Tom Hopper (Scunthorpe, free), Adam Smith (Northampton, free), Chris Wood (Leeds United, undisclosed), Paul Gallagher (Preston North End, free), Zoumana Bakayogo (released), Conrad Logan (released), Gary Taylor-Fletcher (released), Matthew Upson (released)
Key man: Leonardo Ulloa
Chances: After looking certainties for relegation, Nigel Pearson rallied his troops to produce a remarkable escape after seven wins from the last nine matches and finish well clear of danger. However, there remained tensions behind the scenes, which resulted in a summer of change. The Thai owners will now look to new boss Claudio Ranieri for a period of sustainability in the top flight. The Tinkerman maybe tempted to make changes, but will inherit a squad battle-heartened for the challenges ahead over what looks set to be a tough campaign.
Manager: Brendan Rodgers
Position last season: Sixth
Nickname: The Reds
Players in: Roberto Firmino (Hoffenheim, £22m), Nathaniel Clyne (Southampton, £12m), James Milner (Manchester City, free), Danny Ings (Burnley, tribunal, Adam Bogdan (Bolton, free), Joe Gomez (Charlton, undisclosed)
Outs: Raheem Sterling (Manchester City, £49m), Steven Gerrard (LA Galaxy, free), Danny Ward (Aberdeen, loan), Sebastian Coates (Sunderland, undisclosed), Javier Manquillo (Atletico Madrid, early termination of loan), Glen Johnson (released), Brad Jones (released), Jordan Williams (Swindown Town, loan)
Key man: Daniel Sturridge
Chances: Beleaguered Reds boss Brendan Rodgers will be hoping his squad can put their inconsistencies of last season behind them - not to mention the Raheem Sterling transfer saga. Liverpool did a lot of their business early, with some sound additions, and if Daniel Sturridge can find a run of fitness to hit the goal trail then that should keep them moving back towards the top four again as the Reds begin life without Steven Gerrard.
Manager: Manuel Pellegrini
Position last season: Second
Ground: Etihad Stadium
Players in: Raheem Sterling (Manchester City, £49m), Enes Unal (Bursaspor, undisclosed),
Player outs: Matija Nastastic (Schalke, undisclosed), Alvaro Negredo (Valencia, undisclosed), Dedryck Boyata (Celtic, £1.5m), Scott Sinclair (Aston Villa, undisclosed), James Milner (Liverpool, free), Micah Richards (Aston Villa, free), Karim Rekik (Marseille, undisclosed), Frank Lampard (New York City FC, free), John Guidetti (Celta Vigo, free)
Key man: Sergio Aguero
Chances: While last season’s runners-up spot and shortcomings in Europe may have been viewed as a backward step, manager Manuel Pellegrini shows no signs of hitting the panic button despite knowing the pressure of expectation. More astute summer signings - including finally landing Raheem Sterling, albeit paying a hefty price for the England frontman - signalled the intent at the Etihad Stadium to remain very much in the title race once again.
Manager: Louis van Gaal
Position last season: Fourtth
Nickname: The Red Devils
Ground: Old Trafford
Players in: Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich, undisclosed), Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton, undisclosed), Memphis Depay (PSV Eindhoven, £25million), Matteo Darmian (Torino, undisclosed)
Players out: Tom Cleverley (Everton, free), Nani (Fenerbahce, undisclosed), Will Keane (Preston, loan), Robin van Persie (Fenerbahce, undisclosed), Saidy Janko (Celtic, undisclosed), Ben Amos (Bolton, free) Tom Thorpe (Rotherham, free)
Key man: Wayne Rooney
Chances: United fans will be hoping next season will see Louis van Gaal’s impact following some inconsistencies as they eventually returned into the top four. Remains to be seen the impact of Champions League qualifier at the start of the campaign, but the squad has been boosted by some high-calibre players who will need to hit the ground running to continue the Dutchman’s rebuilding programme at Old Trafford.
Manager: Steve McClaren
Position last season: 15th
Nickname: The Magpies
Ground: St James’ Park
Players in: Georginio Wijnaldum (PSV Eindhoven, £14.4m)
Players out: Jonas Gutierrez (released), Ryan Taylor (released), Adam Campbell (Notts County, compensation), Sammy Ameobi (Cardiff, loan)
Key man: Georginio Wijnaldum
Chances: After the trials and tribulations of last season’s turbulent ride at St James’ Park, everyone from the dugout to the boardroom will be hoping for a smoother campaign. New manager Steve McClaren still has a point to prove after failing to take Derby back into the top flight and, for now at least, the former England boss appears to have the full support of owner Mike Ashley’s chequebook. How long that lasts should results on the pitch not follow remains open for debate.
Manager: Alex Neil
Position last season: Promoted, Championship play-off winners
Nickname: The Canaries
Ground: Carrow Road
Players in: Graham Dorrans (West Brom, undisclosed), Youssouf Mulumbu (West Brom, free)
Players out: Cameron McGeehan (Luton, undisclosed), Mark Bunn (Aston Villa, free), Javier Garrido (released), Carlos Cuellar (released), Luciano Becchio (released), Kyle Callan-McFadden (released)
Key man: Wes Hoolahan
Chances: Scot Alex Neil oversaw a superb run of form since taking charge of the Canaries during January, which culminated in victory against Middlesbrough in the Championship play-off final at Wembley. However, the former Hamilton player-manager’s biggest test awaits as he now goes up against the elite coaches of English football. Norwich made some sensible additions to an already strong squad, which should just about have enough to keep afloat.
Manager: Ronald Koeman
Position last season: Seventh
Nickname: The Saints
Ground: St Mary’s Stadium
Players in: Juanmi (Malaga, undisclosed), Cedric Soares (Sporting Lisbon, undisclosed), Maarten Stekelenburg (Fulham, loan), Cuco Martina (FC Twente, undisclosed), Jordy Clasie (Feyenoord, £10.5m)
Players out: Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool, £12m), Morgan Schneiderlin (Manchester United, undisclosed), Dani Osvaldo (released), Artur Boruc (Bournemouth, free), Jos Hooiveld (released), Omar Rowe (released), Jake Sinclair (released)
Key man: Graziano Pelle
Chances: Saints punched above their weight last season and capped a fine campaign with a well-deserved European place. Manager Ronald Koeman has set the bar high. Despite losing Nathaniel Clyne and Morgan Sneiderlein, the squad still has enough quality to secure another positive season of progress at St Mary’s.
Manager: Mark Hughes
Position last season: Ninth
Nickname: The Potters
Ground: Britannia Stadium
Players in: Jakob Haugaard (FC Midtjylland, undisclosed), Philipp Wollscheid (Bayer Leverkusen, undisclosed), Joselu (Hannover, £5.74m), Shay Given (Aston Villa, free), Marco van Ginkel (Chelsea, loan), Glen Johnson (Liverpool, free)
Outs: Robert Huth (Leicester, undisclosed), Steven Nzonzi (Sevilla, £7m), Asmir Begovic (Chelsea, undisclosed), Andy Wilkinson (released), Thomas Sorensen (released), Wilson Palacios (released)
Key man: Bojan Krkic
Chances: Stoke again continue to progress under Mark Hughes, with another top-10 finish. Plenty of comings and goings should freshen up the squad for the new campaign, which is likely to produce more forward thinking at the Britannia Stadium, rather than just getting the result any way possible.
Manager: Dick Advocaat
Position last season: 16th
Nickname: The Black Cats
Ground: Stadium of Light
Players in: Jeremain Lens (Dynamo Kiev, £8m), Sebastian Coates (Liverpool, undisclosed), Adam Matthews (Celtic, £2million), Younes Kaboul (Sunderland, undisclosed)
Players out: El-Hadji Ba (Charlton, undisclosed), Anthony Reveillere (released), Santiago Vergini (Getafe, loan)
Key man: Jermain Defoe
Chances: Sunderland fans are probably still trying to work out just how Dutch general Dick Advocaat managed to keep them up last season. But after having come good with such a late Great Escape, no-one at the Stadium of Light will want to go through such nerve-shredding drama again. Expect Advocaat’s impact to make Sunderland a hard-to-beat unit once more, and provide plenty more floral tributes for his wife as fans look up the table rather than over their shoulders.
Manager: Garry Monk
Position last season: Eighth
Nickname: The Swans
Ground: Liberty Stadium
Players in: Andre Ayew (Marseille, free), Franck Tabanou (St Etienne, £3.5million), Kristoffer Nordfeldt (Heerenveen, undisclosed), Eder (Braga, undisclosed), Ollie McBurnie (Bradford, undisclosed)
Players out: Jazz Richards (Fulham, undisclosed), Kenji Gorre (ADO Den Haag, loan), Rory Donnelly (Gillingham, free), David Cornell (Oldham Athletic, free), Alan Tate (released), Rory Donnelly (released), Gerhard Tremmel (released)
Key man: Gylfi Sigurdsson
Chances: The jury may have still been out on Gary Monk at the start of the season, but the rookie boss delivered another positive campaign to move the Welsh club a step closer becoming an established part of the English elite. However, the hard work must continue to secure what would be another remarkable mid-table finish.
Manager: Mauricio Pochettino
Position last season: Fifth
Ground: White Hart Lane
Players in: Kevin Wimmer (Cologne, £4m), Kieran Trippier (Burnley, undisclosed), Toby Alderweireld (Atletico Madrid, undisclosed)
Outs: Paulinho (Guangzhou Evergrande, £9.9m), Jordan Archer (Millwall, free), Lewis Holtby (Hamburg, undisclosed), Etienne Capoue (Watford, undisclosed), Younes Kaboul (Sunderland, undisclosed)
Key man: Harry Kane
Chances: Despite the disappointment of again failing to break back into the Champions League places and being in the shadow of north-London neighbours Arsenal as they romped to FA Cup glory at Wembley, Spurs continue to think big. Pochettino has again been backed in the summer transfer market and with the prospect of a stadium redevelopment on the horizon, the watchful eye of Daniel Levy will be expecting what is the nucleus of a strong squad to close the gap on the top four, and fast.
Manager: Enrique Sanchez Flores
Position last season: Promoted, Championship runners-up
Nickname: The Hornets
Ground: Vicarage Road
Players in: Sebastian Prodl (Werder Bremen, free), Giedrius Arlauskis (Steaua Bucharest, undisclosed, Matej Vydra (Udinese, undisclosed), Etienne Capoue (Tottenham, undisclosed), Valon Behrami (Hamburg, undisclosed), Jose Holebas (Roma, £1.8m), Allan Nyom (Udinese, undisclosed)
Players out: Jonathan Bond (Reading, undisclosed), Marco Motta (released), Luke O’Nien (released)
Key man: Troy Deeney
Chances: Despite all of their managerial changes, Watford secured a long-awaited return to the top flight on the back of some impressive attacking displays. However, the likes of Troy Deeney and Matej Vydra will all have to now step up a level if the Hornets are to find their sting among the big boys and new boss Enrique Sanchez Flores so prove the club’s choices vindicated.
Manager: Tony Pulis
Position last season: 13th
Nickname: The Baggies
Ground: The Hawthorns
Players in: James McClean (Wigan, undisclosed)
Players outs: Graham Dorrans (Norwich, undisclosed), Alex Jones (Birmingham, free), Kemar Roofe (Oxford, undisclosed), Youssouf Mulumbu (Norwich, free), Jason Davidson (Huddersfield, free), Chris Baird (Derby County, free)
Key man: Saido Berahino
Chances: Parachuting Tony Pulis into The Hawthorns hotseat at the start of the year had the desired impact as the Black Country club kept themselves clear of any late-season relegation drama. The Baggies will be well-organised for the new campaign and should expect to be moving up the table under Pulis’ meticulous guidance.
Manager: Slaven Bilic
Position last season: 12th
Nickname: The Irons
Ground: Boleyn Ground, Upton Park
Players in: Pedro Obiang (Sampdoria, undisclosed), Dimitri Payet (Marseille, undisclosed), Angelo Ogbonna (Juventus, undisclosed), Darren Randolph (Birmingham, free), Stephen Hendrie (Hamilton, £1m), Carl Jenkinson (Arsenal, loan)
Players out: Dan Potts (Luton, free), Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough, undisclosed), Carlton Cole (released), Jussi Jaaskelainen (released), Guy Demel (released), Nene (released)
Key man: Diafra Sakho
Chances: With Sam Allardyce replaced by Slaven Bilic, the Irons are confident they have the right man to lead the club on into the Olympic Stadium. Former Hammers defender Bilic will have the crowd on his side, for the first few months at least. But just like Big Sam, the Croatian could soon find himself up against the Boleyn Ground faithful should things not go to plan in the last season at Upton Park, which West Ham just cannot afford, on or off the pitch.