Every hour, every minute, every second, the brand new Premier League season edges closer and closer. Clubs are announcing details of incomings and outgoings all of the time and media outlets and twitter users try to guess what’s happening, where there’s truth, where’s there’s literally a generator of a player name and a club.
The major change to the preparations is the actual buying side of things will come to an end on Thursday August 9th at 5pm, meaning that unlike in previous campaigns, players won’t be starting on the opening day at one club and be at a Premier League rival by Matchday 2. Other leagues are aligned to Fifa’s deadline of the end of August with the exception of Italy who close their window on the 17th August, just before the opening of the Serie A campaign.
What is definitely going to be interesting is who Liverpool allow to leave between now and the deadline or even by the end of August when players won’t be able to cross to another European league. The will he, won’t he saga of Nabil Fekir, will probably still be debated right up until the window slams shut as will rumours about potential centre back signings such as Vida, Lascelles or Tarkowski. Danny Ings, Divock Origi, Lazar Markovic are 3 of the long list of potential exits, either permanently or on loan.
The first game of the Premier League season sees Manchester United welcome Leicester City although thanks to the television arrangements, Liverpool fans have to wait until the Sunday to see the new look side take to the field against West Ham United who will have a new manager in former Manchester City managed Manuel Pellegrini who beat Liverpool to the Premier League title in 2014 and Capital One cup in 2016. West Ham have also been recruiting and have signed Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere who has more than a point to prove to his doubters and critics as he tries to put his injury spell behind him and we can’t discuss injuries without debating whether Daniel Sturridge will finally beat the jink and start on the opening day. With the absence of Oxlade-Chamberlain, there are possibilities that would see Adam Lallana start there or Daniel Sturridge could come in to a front 4 which would be flexible and inter-changeable from the start, making it a nightmare for defenders and hopefully leading to a fantastic start to the season for Liverpool.
Wolverhampton Wanderers return to the Premier League as do Fulham and Cardiff City. Wolves return will see them face our Merseyside Rivals Everton in the Saturday teatime game and here’s hoping former red Conor Coady is on the winning side in that one. Fulham face their London rivals Crystal Palace who started last season in appalling form and Cardiff City are the sole promoted side to start on their travels facing Bournemouth. Last year’s runaway champions will hope for a lightning start despite being picked to be the first side to travel to an Arsene Wenger-less Arsenal in more than 20 years. Here’s to the Premier League although a small sidenote that the Football league kicks off next week so will be interesting to see how Frank Lampard gets on in his first managerial job at Derby County and whether West Brom, Stoke City and Swansea City can return to the Premier League at the first attempt.