The EPL top 6 title contenders

Every football team is looking to improve and can partly achieve that by buying players and the English Premier League is never devoid of doing just that. The 2013 summer transfer market in England has probably been the best in years. Year in, year out, the EPL has always had the highest total net spend on player transfers from the major 5 European football leagues and each year seems to be a record. This year’s summer transfer market spending stands at £630 million as against £490 million pounds last year. The Italian and Spanish league both spent £335 million, while the French league spent £395 million, about half of that sum coming from the mega rich AS Monaco and Paris St. Germain and the German league spent £230 million. The huge amounts spent by the EPL has already set a trend of allowing an influx of both young and old experienced players as well as young promising players from all over the globe into England. That’s one reason why the EPL is the most valuable and watched league in the world. All the major national teams from Argentina, Brazil, France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal and so on all have players plying their trade in the EPL. Taking a look at Spain, you could create a Spanish XI playing in the EPL as against the major Spanish national team. So we could say there’s a Spanish invasion in England and not forgetting the French revolution in Newcastle United.

 Now that the transfer is closed, all the EPL teams have new exciting faces especially the top teams which will make this season very interesting. Recent years have seen the popular term ‘top four’ coined out. This is talking about the four teams battling for the title. It used to be Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool. Liverpool’s demise from top four finishers in the last couple of seasons have now seen mega rich Manchester City enter that list and their addition has been justified. Manchester United and Chelsea have been the more steady winners of the title. Arsenal never really looked in serious contention for the title with 8 trophyless already. Now I’d say it’s a top 6 for the title and not 4 or 3 if you delete Arsenal. The additional 2 sees Liverpool back in the fold and one might not believe it but the other is Tottenham Hotspur. The basic reason for having a top 6 is because of how the clubs have spent on the transfers. With the crop of players these 6 teams have, it’s hard to see why none of them can’t win the EPL.

Chelsea are one of the big favorites for the title partly due to the fact that the ‘only one’ Jose Mourinho is back and you can expect Chelsea to hit the heights once again after failing to win the league since 2010. Now they got a wealth of experience in their transfers. Andre Schurrle who came from Bayer Leverkusen in Germany was one of the finest attacking midfielders in the German league and his few performances for Chelsea have been impressive. The biggest transfer was that of Willian and world-class striker, Samuel Eto’o both from the once mega rich and now misfortuned Anzhi Makhachkala of Russia. Samuel Eto’o isn’t an unknown figure, one of the finest strikers in the world in the last decade. It’s no doubt that he will add more firepower to the Chelsea attack with his experience. Chelsea therefore probably have a good replacement for the ever misfiring Fernando Torres. Willian is a very exciting player. Anyone who plays the football manager game will agree how good he is and he has justified it reality with Shakhtar Donetsk of Ukraine. Chelsea also have experienced veteran goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, though he’s just going to be a backup to the stable Petr Cech. Chelsea also added young prospects Christian Atsu and Marco van Ginkel to the team. These new signings that cost about £62 million with the likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar, Juan Mata, Evergreen Frank Lampard, Ramires and the return of Mourinho gives you a clear sign that Chelsea are one of the favorites for the title.


Manchester City have a new look squad and a new manager in experienced coach Manuel Pellegrini. Most people know Pellegrini as someone who does the unexpected. He led Villarreal of Spain to the Champions League of 2005/2006 for the 1st time in its history and the team went all the way to the semi-final which they lost to Arsenal. He also took Malaga of Spain for the 1st time in its history too in the 2012/2013 season and he led them up to the quarter-final losing in an epic showdown against eventual runners-up Borussia Dortmund on away goals. It’s worth noting that Man City’s record in the Champions League has been disappointing. They did not qualify out of the group stage in the last two seasons, finishing third in 2011/2012 and rock bottom in 2012/2013. One therefore thinks Pellegrini will break the jinx and take Man City forward in the Champions League this season and he can handle a club with huge financial resources. He managed Real Madrid in the 2009/2010 season under which he signed Kareem Benzema, Xabi Alonso, Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo, all costing £205million. He led Real to 2nd in the league that season and made them achieve a record number of 96 points scored in the league and also becoming the 1st team in Spainsh football to score over 100 league goals. Malaga also had a good financial base when he arrived and he was able to gather a fantastic team made up of experienced players such as Martin Demichelis, Julio Baptista, Joaquin, Santi Carzola among others and this team was able to make it to the Champions League and did well in a debut attempt, though financial worries have now hit the club, it can’t be denied that Pellegrini is the clubs best manager. Pellegrini  has been able to bluster his new team with the signings of Fernandinho from Shakhtar Donetsk, Jesus Navas and Alfaro Negredo both from Sevilla, Stefan Jovetic from Fiorentina and Martin Demichelis from Atletico Madrid. All these players cost a total of  £95million. City would always attract players with huge amounts so this was expected. All these players will look to excel with Pellegrini in charge so there’s no writing off City as to not having retaining the EPL title they won in dramatic fashion in 2011/2012 come end of the season.


Manchester United did not really have much activity in the transfer market. David Moyes spent too much time thinking he could sign Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona but it wasn’t that realistic. Moyes further went on to believe he could sign 3 key players on transfer deadline day. Well that’s possible but it won’t be easy. He eventually succeeded in signing his ex-player Marouane Fellaini from Everton making him the only major signing. The inclusion of Fellaini brings some depth to the United midfield that hasn’t been strong for some seasons. Man United are the EPL defending champions and it’s pretty much the same team around only that Paul Scholes has finally called it a day for good. United are therefore very much in the hunt to retain the title. The only factor stopping United is the inexperience of David Moyes at the top level and how he will approach the game is yet to be seen but that isn’t enough to write off the 20 time champions.


Kunle Fayiga

Writer & Blogger

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