In the past, the Premier League has claimed to be the best domestic competition in the world on the basis of its competitiveness. Each and every season, multiple sides put themselves in a position to make a run at the various pieces of silverware available to the top 20 teams in the country.
Whether or not the Premier League is the best in the world though has been brought into prominent discussion in recent times with La Liga’s Real Madrid and Barcelona arguably possessing the greatest squads and Germany’s Bayern experiencing the greatest continental success since 2009. In the early stages of the 2013 Summer Transfer window however, Premier League clubs aren’t only associated with promising and talented players from around the world, but appear most likely to secure their services. Dead-weight and players commanding enormous salaries without requisite performance also appear on the way out and if the trend continues, the Premier League in 2013/2014 could be of the highest quality seen in years.
Few world-class players have been as disappointing following a transfer than Fernando Torres – the only other name that springs to mind was his replacement at Liverpool. Rumours heavily linking the Spaniard to Barcelona highlight him as David Villa’s potential replacement should the striker move to the Premier League against Sandro Rosell’s wishes. Napoli are also potential suitors with new manager Rafa Benitez hopeful of re-uniting with the former Liverpool star by virtue of a cash-and-player transfer for Cavani. Edin Dzeko appears to be in a similar position to Torres with the striker likely to be used as trade-bait in an attempt to lure the Napoli star to Etihad Stadium.
Arsenal seem keen to abandon their identity of financial responsibility and player development with Wenger being linked to several big names already this window. Gervinho appears likely to depart with Marseille the front-runners whilst Andrei Arshavin has already being released following a prolonged fall from the heights he experienced in 2010-2011.
The toxic Carlos Tevez appears to be on the verge of securing a move away from Manchester City with Liverpool an interested party as they look to recover from the likely departure of Luis Suarez. On the Red side of Manchester, Wayne Rooney could finally be on the way out at United. Undoubtedly a quality player and terrific servant under Ferguson, Rooney could take his talents and hair plugs elsewhere instead of re-uniting with his former manager at Everton David Moyes. Few would argue that Rooney has the potential to take his career to new heights should a transfer be secured with tentative links interest from several European giants. Joining Rooney on the exit list could be Nani following the Portuguese winger’s significant form decline over recent seasons and his failure to live up to his compatriot Ronaldo’s reputation at Old Trafford.
Thus far it has been a transfer window heavily defined by attacking options, so Mourinho’s interest in offloading Brazilian David Luiz provides a pleasant change. Having found his niche as a defensive midfielder last season, Luiz appears likely to depart for La Liga where his skill-set would be more appreciated.
New management generally leads to activity in the transfer window and with so many new coaches finding new homes, especially at the Premier League’s richer clubs, the stage is set for a dramatic increase in class for nearly every side.
Chelsea are already looking to replace Torres with Hulk and Edinson Cavani, the best strikers in Italy, Portugal and Russia over the past 3 seasons, on Mourinho’s radar. City’s new manager Manuel Pelligrini and somewhat humorously Sunderland’s Paolo Di Canio are further linked with the Uruguayan Cavani who is set to change the landscape of the Premier League depending on with which club he signs. Nemanja Matic also appears likely to rejoin the Blues with the ‘Special One’ seeking an accomplished holding midfield duo reminiscent of Xabi Alonso or the Makelele/Essien combination of his last London tenure.
Whilst unlikely, the potential return of Cesc Febregas to Arsenal would undoubtedly boost the Gunners silverware prospects. The rumoured £180,000 per week made available by the release of several key players is most likely to be dented by the signing of Gonzalo Higuain from Real Madrid. Italian prodigy Stephan El Shaarawy could also be on the way to the Emirates as a part of Wenger’s complete attacking overhaul. If the transfer was to go through, expect his impact to match that of Eden Hazard last season.
Undeniably the greatest signing for the Premier League at large would be Cristiano Ronaldo’s homecoming to Manchester United. Despite rumours of other interested parties, it would be surprising to see him playing for anyone other than the Red Devils if he doesn’t honour his contract at the Bernebau. Whilst the rumoured £85 million transfer fee is prodigious, it isn’t out of place these days and David Moyes could open the cheque-book to almost double the club’s existing signing record. Rooney’s departure could heighten the likelihood of this transfer with the duo failing to excel in each others presence under Sir Alex Ferguson.
Speaking of strikers in Manchester, both City and United are fighting over Robert Lewandowski, the Polish international who has scored 66 goals for Borussia Dortmund over the past two seasons. Regardless of whether he is wearing blue or red next season, the acquisition of the Bundesliga’s best striker of the past two seasons is a tremendous acquisition for the Premier League.
If those names aren’t enough, Manchester City’s signing of Jesus Navas, the potential for Maroune Fellani to join a side in which his talents would be complemented by the players surrounding him, his possible replacement by Championship-bound James McCarthy, Tottenham’s pursuit of Brazilian Bernard and the small fortune they are set to inherit from the sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid.
Improvement however hasn’t been limited to the wealthy clubs in the early part of this transfer window. Fulham have shot into a commanding lead in transfer power-rankings following the signing of Dutch keeper Maarten Steklenburg and the release of many under-performing and aging players. Holding midfielder Ambrosini’s impending move to West Ham promises integrity and experience in an otherwise youthful side whilst Kolo Toure’s move to Liverpool somewhat counteracts City’s monopoly on central-midfielders. Andy Carroll looks set for a move to West Ham although it is unclear in which category he should fall under. Liverpool have dodged a bullet in receiving a rumoured £16 million for one of the greatest transfer flops in club history, however the Hammers have also signed a quality replacement for talisman Carlton Cole who has left the club.
For every great gain, there is generally a great loss, however with some luck the Premier League could limit the exit its of star over the coming months. Gareth Bale appears unlikely to remain in England whilst Luis Suarez seems to be keen to escape the prying eye of Britain’s media. Regardless, only time will tell if the ‘ins’ will outweigh the ‘outs’ when the transfer window closes. All we know is that for the time being, the signs are incredibly promising for the 22nd season of the English Premier League.