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Next Season’s Top Four Already Decided?



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Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United achieved Champions League football last season and will be favourites to do the same this time around. Of the four the Manchester clubs have some catching up to do, so far United’s summer has been relatively quiet with Memphis Depay and the soon to be confirmed Matteo Darmian the only additions to their squad, the exit door at Old Trafford has been more busy with Robin Van Persie the most high profile departure to date, Nani has also moved on and they are expected to be joined by several others including right-back Rafael, Northern Irishman Jonny Evans, striker Javier Hernandez and goalkeeper David De Gea. De Gea’s move to Real Madrid seems to be a foregone conclusion as Madrid rarely fails to capture their high profile targets.

Elsewhere Manchester City have only signed youth player Enes Unal. The loss of James Milner to Liverpool has made Fabian Delph and Raheem Sterling priority targets, with Delph set to be announced as a City player imminently and Sterling pushing Liverpool for a move to the Etihad. Both will provide sorely needed home grown players to ensure Man City comply with F.A regulations but risk meeting the same fate as Micah Richards, Scott Sinclair, Jack Rodwell, Joleon Lescott and countless other British players who struggled for playing time before moving on and struggling to regain their form. The citizen’s pursuit of Paul Pogba seems to have reached an impasse and could drag on for the entire window without anything actually happening. They are expected to part company with Stevan Jovetic, Aleksander Kolarov and Edin Dzeko, which will leave there already trim squad short on numbers.

Arsenal have added Petr Cech and Chelsea have taken Radamel Falcao on loan from Monaco and are expected to seal a deal for Asmir Begovic from Stoke City to replace Cech, aside from these deals neither London club necessarily need much more, players leaving being the only reason for either one to require more additions. As it stands Chelsea are favourites to retain the League and could be pushed by Arsenal, while their Manchester counterparts will scrap it out for third and fourth place. Leaving Liverpool, Tottenham, Southampton and perhaps a Slaven Bilic inspired West Ham to attempt the close the gap on top four once again. That said, only midway through a season the table tends to take shape and with time still on each club’s side in the transfer window, the teams who make the right additions could surprise us all.