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Transfer Window Vital To Shaping Next Seasons ‘Big Four’

Every year the summer transfer market extravaganza promises so much yet tends to deliver so little. Even though increasingly sensational sums change hands each year after the dust has settled the top order tends to remain virtually unchanged. The trans…

Every year the summer transfer market extravaganza promises so much yet tends to deliver so little. Even though increasingly sensational sums change hands each year after the dust has settled the top order tends to remain virtually unchanged. The transfer saga’s that get played out in the media get longer and even more boring year on year and very rarely does one transfer window have a serious transformative effect on the top clubs. However this year could see some genuinely fascinating developments among the contenders for Champions League football.

Currently there are six teams who are realistically fighting for the four Champions League places. However the chances of Manchester United and Chelsea dropping out of the top four next season is extremely unlikely so the focus shifts to the balance of power between the remaining four which could be radically altered over the summer. After so many years of having a fixed and frankly dull top four, having genuine competition for places is all rather exciting for the average armchair fan.

Last summer the primary focus for many of the big English clubs was to hold on to their stars rather than try and strengthen. Both Arsenal and Liverpool were desperately fighting off unwanted attention for Cesc Fabregas and Fernando Torres respectively. This year looks to be different for both clubs. Barcelona’s interest in Fabregas is said to have cooled after the Catalan club realised their squad has all the depth of a beauty pageant contestant except in midfield and are reputedly looking at other targets before returning for Fabregas. Real Madrid have already added Borussia Dortmund’s Nuri Sahin to an already bloated midfield and so it would be hard to make a case that they should need Fabregas either. Meanwhile for Liverpool, the revival continues apace under Kenny Dalglish with the added bonus that Torres’ replacements Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez won’t be targeted by other big clubs given how recently they have arrived.

For both clubs the focus this summer doesn’t need to be on keeping core players but rather on building on squads that are very close to where they need to be. For Arsenal only minimal investment should be required to push on and produce a side to go the distance against United and Chelsea. The one flaw in the argument about Wenger’s wonderfully frugal approach is that he shouldn’t need to spend much more than he has done to guarantee the title. Sebastian Squillaci is evidently not good enough at this level. A willingness to pay small amounts more for a better central defender would have paid serious dividends. Nemanja Vidic (£7m) and Thomas Vermaelen (£10m) proves that for a minimal increase in budget, Wenger could sign proven quality rather than like likes of Squillaci. As for Liverpool, their form in the second half of the season has been so staggeringly good that, will a few astute purchases, they should feel confident of taking back the fourth Champions League spot from Manchester City.  The core of a very good attacking side is in place. Lucas Leiva and Raul Meireles have both flourish this season in midfield while youngsters like Jay Spearing and Martin Kelly look to be the first tangible benefits of the Benitez reforms to the youth system. Add in two decent wide players and some defensive cover and Liverpool could be a very dangerous side indeed.

Of course the billionaire elephant in the room is Manchester City and how much they want to spend now that they can offer European football. Realistically no other club can compete if the Blues decide to enter the market. However when Edin Dzeko was added to the team Roberto Mancini suggested that he was now fully satisfied with the squad available and this summer may only see one or two finishing touches counter-balanced by a number of departures to thin out the squad. Although every player and his dog have been linked with a move to Eastlands as the tabs put several good performances together with pots of cash and come to the staggering conclusion that transfer swoop stories always sell, the chances are that City are more likely round out rather than revolutionise their side. Having had a season to gel, Mancini looks set to mount a serious title bid next season even if the Blues manage to ship out the likes of Emmanuel Adebayor, Jo and possibly even Carlos Tevez.

Finally Spurs. Boy oh boy have they packed it all in this season. Dizzying highs and worrying lows within 6 months. Of all the clubs fighting for Champions League football next season Spurs are the most likely to lose key players in the form of Modric or Bale as the big clubs circle around a wounded animal. Yet Levy has always been a very hard negotiator and will almost certainly extract top dollar for any players that do leave. Despite his emphatic rejection of the title, ‘Arry Redknapp is certainly a good wheeler-dealer. With a budget of £20 topped up by any funds from sales there is no reason that Spurs couldn’t remount a serious bid for Europe. Even though the difference between Arsenal and Spurs is 11 points at the moment, given where Spurs have dropped points in the second half of the season (Blackpool, West Ham, Wigan etc), coupled with the fact they won’t be distracted by Europe means that the difference could certainly be narrowed somewhat if not closed next season.

It may be that next season sees the current top four pull away and firmly re-establish a new order in the Premier League. It could be that, even with Manchester City’s billions there will be multiple changes at the top for a few seasons before the second tier of teams learn to cope with European commitments as well as domestic dominance. This summer transfer window could be very dull or filled with astonishing deals and brilliant bargains. In essence it doesn’t matter but for the first time there is real competition at the top of the Premier League and all the contenders have a summer in which to strengthen. This season was slated as being very sub-par. Next season could blow that theory right out of the water.

Submitted by Football Friends

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