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How are the squads shaping up?

Posted on July 30, 2016 by Scraggs

Well we at JTN have enjoyed a nice long break and tried to avoid the farcical transfer merry-go-round as much as possible without getting too involved. As we all know the press and general media whip up a storm with often ridiculous rumour as clubs go about re-shaping their squads for the coming season and now we shall attempt to put our spin on the situation in relation to the probable top clubs which now, rightly, includes Leicester with Tottenham now firmly established in that group.

With plenty of time still remaining in this transfer window and with clubs very likely to spend huge amounts even after the season begins this is our take on the current situation:-

Leicester- The “fairytale” title winners so they might have us believe, but with a squad full of heart, possessing a strong work ethic, some players of real quality and now experienced in the art of winning, they also have a coach in Ranieri who knows his stuff. Though they have lost one of their standout players in Kante to Chelsea and are fighting to keep hold of Mahrez the good news is that Vardy turned down Arsenal. Many believe that Leicester will return to their rightful place as also-rans in the premiership pecking order but not us, they have bought well and will add still further with many more games now added to their schedule. In our opinion still top four contenders though not top dogs this time.

Arsenal- Many are still finding it hard to believe that they snatched 2nd place last season, that unlikely finish placed them above their nearest neighbour and probably saved Wenger for another season. With a new contract for Wenger being the major target for the forthcoming season they will have to spend big in an attempt to even finish top in North London alone. £30m plus on a decent central midfielder was splashed early on but strangely not much else since. As things currently stand plenty more to do but then Arsenal fans have once again already been duped by last seasons 2nd place finish and will accept whatever Wenger throws their way, this time though it’s a contract he wants and another big fee will probably be spent.

Tottenham Hotspur- Until the final few games of last season Pochettino’s team were the only real challengers to Leicester for the title, unfortunately the pressure on what was the youngest team in the league took its toll and once the title was lost they suffered a mini collapse and surrendered 2nd spot. Up until that collapse the consensus of opinion amongst most experts was that this was the up and coming team and probable title contenders for years. Many have short memories and already the usual suspects are spoken of as not just odds on for  the top 4 but Spurs have even been relegated to 6th place in their opinion. the Tottenham Academy is still churning out some players of tremendous quality as shown by performances in recent friendlies against the Italian champions and champions League runners-up. Pochetino and his recruitment team have bought shrewdly and well so far, Wanyama is quality whilst Jansen has massive potential, both needed to supplement his squad. One more addition, possibly two, and a few departures will see the squad ready to go for it again this coming season.

Manchester City- On this side of Manchester it’s all about Guardiola and though we believe he will fare better than his predecessor it’s fair to say he has never faced a challenge thus far in his career like the Premier League and a few shocks await. Fortunes will be spent, stars on enormous wages cast adrift where possible and they will attempt to reduce the average age of the team and correct the homegrown balance of the squad. Surprised at so few additions so far and much still to do but they undoubtedly will. an end to 4 4 2 and lots of work for Guardiola to do, this is no stroll in the park like in his Barcelona days with the players then, at his disposal nor like Bayern Munich with Dortmund their sole challenger in the league. Top four and nothing more in our opinion no matter who or how much is yet spent. Perhaps a decent run in the Champions League.

Manchester United-  The other side of Manchester welcomes the man with the cheque book and Mourinho is sure exploiting the money at his disposal. Make no mistake Mourinho will purchase ready made players to achieve some sort of success and many of the youngsters that so impressed last season will be forgotten as they become bit part players. £60m spent already plus Ibrahimovic for a huge wage and signing on fee, Pogba it seems to follow at well over £100m and it might not end there. United won’t enjoy the Europa on a thursday but it will give their youngsters an opportunity for minutes on the pitch. Contenders.

At this point we will ignore last seasons finish in the table and move to a couple of pundits favourites that failed to live up to expectations:-

Liverpool- Having signed no less than 24 players over the course of the last three seasons and with no more than five really successful outcomes their new man has once again reverted to the cheque book and has already added six more players to the group. Klopp is obviously a decent coach and an improvement surely has to come about in the league. With no European football to look forward to the squad appears massively overloaded in some areas, as a coach that tends to play with just one striker it seems likely that from here onwards there could be mainly departures. Slight improvement and a cup run probably to be expected.

Chelsea- Tenth placed Chelsea have new men Conte and Kante both of whom will bring improvement over last seasons form, throw in Batshuayi at £33m, from what we’re hearing possibly Lukaku at over £60m and a £40m defender from Italy and it’s impossible not to consider Chelsea with no midweek fixtures as real contenders.

Most supporters not associated with the usual title winners and the mega rich clubs saw last season as one of the best in premiership history, expect this coming season to be even better with no less than seven teams vying for a Champions League spot and there likely to be one or two more surprises like Leicester if their transfer targets can be achieved. Each of the clubs mentioned above have coaches of real quality, add to them the likes of Koeman, Bilic and Mark Hughes, who is building a very decent squad at Stoke, as well as Eddie Howe and David Moyes, now at Sunderland, and it is clear that there has probably never been so many of such quality in any one season.

Buckle up, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

1 to “How are the squads shaping up?”

  1. mick says:

    they write Spurs off at their peril.

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