With the highly-anticipated 2022-23 Premier League campaign set to get underway this weekend, it’s worth noting how the leading clubs have shaped up in the off-season.
The main contenders have all made moves to strengthen their squads, with Erling Haaland’s move to Manchester City and Liverpool’s signing of Darwin Nunez the most eye-catching transfers so far.
Tottenham have made some ambitious moves, Arsenal have quietly made key changes to their squad, while it’s been rather slow progress for Manchester United and Chelsea.
City have led the way with their summer transfers as they added Borussia Dortmund forward Erling Haaland (£51.3 million) and Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips (£45m).
The defending champions had already raised a significant amount by offloading Gabriel Jesus to Arsenal (£45m) and goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu to Southampton (£12.6m), but the decision to sell Raheem Sterling to rivals Chelsea in a £50m deal certainly raised some questions.
However, signing Haaland and Phillips for less than £100m was arguably the best business of the pre-season.
For Liverpool, there have been some significant changes as the likes of Sadio Mane (Bayern Munich), Takumi Minamino (Monaco) and Divock Origi (AC Milan) have all moved on, but there has been the notable addition of Uruguay forward Darwin Nunez from Benfica.
Liverpool has also looked to the future by recruiting Fabio Carvalho (Fulham) and Calvin Ramsay (Aberdeen), while crucially also tying down Mohamed Salah on a three-year contract.
Ultimately, Liverpool have done well to resolve their long-term issues up front by adding Luis Diaz and Nunez this year, as well as securing Salah to a new deal.
Elsewhere, the signing of Sterling was a massive coup for Chelsea, but they have bid farewell to Romelu Lukaku, while links to Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar amounted to nothing. It could be an uphill battle for the Blues to mount a title challenge this season.
At Spurs, Antonio Conte demanded a big summer of ambitious recruitment following Champions League qualification, and £85m was well laid out on Brighton’s Yves Bissouma (£25m) and Everton forward Richarlison (£60m). Ultimately, they may well have now pulled clear of Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United with their strengthening programme.
Speaking of Arsenal, the signings of Jesus and Fabio Vieira will make them better, but missing out on Champions League qualification was a hammer blow to the club’s transfer plans.
United have also made little progress in re-shaping their squad after the worst Premier League season in the club’s history, with more players leaving than arriving, and it could certainly be a challenging first season at the helm for Erik ten Hag.