So, Manchester City loom large over the short-to-medium-term optimism of anyone else in England’s top flight. Unfortunately for them, the Stone Island-wearing midlife crisis-laden Pep Guardiola seems to be in top gear and showing no signs of stopping.
But what can do the other chasing sides do in the summer transfer window to try and catch up? Well, here’s a few ideas:
Jose Mourinho kept nineteen clean sheets in the Premier League this season, oft with a combination of the following: Antonio Valencia, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Ashley Young. If he was a cardinal, he’d be made pope for those kinds of miracles.
Presuming Eric Bailly is back to full fitness, perhaps Mourinho can now build around him, as well as replacing Lukaku in midweek games with someone who won’t expect to start every week.
Thomas Meunier is comfortably the most underappreciated right back in the world at the moment and while PSG is all well and good for most, eventually its stars get sick of the lack of substance around the place. Pair him with Kalidou Kouliably of Napoli and you’ve automatically got the best back four in England.
Add in someone like Nils Petersen from Freiburg, too – and United could well be loaded going forward if they ever learn how to utilise Paul Pogba.
Honestly, I’m not even sure what Spurs can do. They’ve got the best back four on paper in the Premier League. They have their enforcer, their 10 and decent depth. Do we begin to look at a difference maker out wide? Son must play in this team, as well – so there really aren’t glaring holes to be filled, yet they still fail to achieve.
They’ll have a tough time landing him, but Roma forward, Stephan El Shaarawy, fits this model perfectly and his technical ability would only further enhance Harry Kane’s output after he gets knocked out in the World Cup group stages again.
Pascal Gross has taken to the Premier League like ehh – there’s no real good analogies here, is there? But you know what I mean. A talented, industrious no-nonsense midfielder could help Spurs’ depth in central areas. He had an incredible season for Brighton and wouldn’t break the Bank of Levy.
Now, we’re not suggesting Toby and Jan are pushing on, but it might be worth investing in youth in central defence and who better than Ireland’s own Sergio Ramos/Xavi hybrid Declan Rice? Do it – please God, help him recover from the Moyes scarring he’s been forced to endure.
The thing about Liverpool is, their approach is so, so focus-based that the way they’re coached means the effort required could be carried out by almost anyone willing, once you’re not in the front three.
They press, they harry and then they get the ball into Firmino. Liverpool don’t really have a technically-gifted player in behind, nor do they have world-class full backs. What they need is depth in their front three and a centre half.
You might think this is a joke, but Memphis Depay suits Liverpool perfectly here. If you don’t believe me, go look at what he’s achieved in a side that give him agency. It’d really irk United, too.
Roberto Firmino is the cog that makes Liverpool tick and honestly, he’s irreplaceable, but you need something better than Ings and Solanke to back him up in busy periods. Liverpool need a cheap and cheerful link-up 9 and that’s Montpellier’s, Giovanni Sio.
But the elephant in the room remains a centre half. They probably also need a captain going forward. Matthijs de Ligt is going to be the best centre half in the world in a couple of years.
Well, they’d probably want to sort out their managerial issues at present, but the best signing they can make is Eden Hazard.
While uncertainty over his future rings around the world, the Belgian is one of the few true superstars in English football and he’s single-handedly won them a trophy again.
However, Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud (you handsome little bugger) are still not the ideal solution to play at nine. They’ll have to break the bank, but a front three of Eden Hazard, Willian and Mauro Icardi from Inter propels them right back into the title picture.
While Kante remains on the pitch, ground will be covered. They’re not utilising this. Oscar would have adored playing next to the Frenchman, if he wasn’t the biggest waste of footballing talent the league’s ever seen. But someone who could take advantage of the wide-open spaces between midfield and the back four is Lyon’s Houssem Aouar – the best player on the planet you’ve never heard of.
Here lads, we’re odds-compilers, not f**king wizards.