I didn't see a thread for this last year but I wanted to make one this time around because I think that this will be the most exciting season yet. The new TV deal is worth £5.136bn according to the BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-31379128), which means vast amounts of new wealth will be coming into the league and filtering down into each club. The results of this are obvious, all clubs become wealthier (but particularly the traditionally smaller clubs) and therefore can afford more expensive, higher quality players. This makes the league far more competitive (as if it wasn't already) as every team can strengthen more significantly than before. For example:
West Ham bidding huge amounts for players they couldn't have before: £31m for Lyon's Alexandre Lacazette and £25m for Liverpool's Christian Benteke (who has also gained the interest of Crystal Palace), both of which were rejected.
Watford being in a financial position to reject bids in excess of £35m for Odhion Ighalo, or £30m for their talisman Troy Deeney.
Manchester United having the financial muscle to price out Real Madrid in a potential £105m swoop for Juventus' Paul Pogba.
As if these teams become stronger wasn't reason enough, the top managers from Europe are all flocking to the Premier League, making it all the more interesting. The Premier League now boasts perhaps the greatest managerial lineup ever assembled in one country:
Arsenal: Arsène Wenger (FRA)
Chelsea: Antonio Conte (ITA)
Liverpool: Jürgen Klopp (GER)
Manchester City: Pep Guardiola (SPA)
Manchester United: José Mourinho (POR)
Tottenham Hotspur: Mauricio Pochettino (ARG)
If the Euro 2016 is anything to go by, Conte's Chelsea will be set up to be one of the hardest to beat in the league, with a well-drilled 3-5-2 formation. Guardiola has the reputation of being one of the world's best managers and his possession system may be something the league has not yet seen executed to it's full potential. Klopp's Liverpool appear to be lining up for a counter-attacking system, and this summer's transfer window will be Klopp's first opportunity to make adjustments to the squad and implement his own style of play. Mourinho returns to the league with Manchester United after a nightmare 2015-16 campaign under Chelsea, but is heralded as one of the greatest managers in the world, and with the financial backing of the owners he will be sure to fix up the team. Arsenal are still in search of that elusive striker, with fans not believing Olivier Giroud is capable of leading the line at a world class level. Wenger is under even more pressure than ever before, and it is likely that this will be his last season at the Emirates unless he can deliver a good transfer window and become league champions. Tottenham are also looking to prove themselves after a disappointing end to their campaign, blowing their chance to finish above bitter rivals Arsenal for the first time in over a decade. Mauricio Pochettino will be expected to strengthen the squad and fix the attitude problems within the first XI that caused such a collapse.
Some notable transfers for each club:
Arsenal: Granit Xhaka, Takuma Asano, Rob Holding
Chelsea: Michy Batshuyai, N'Golo Kante
Liverpool: Loris Karius, Sadio Mané, Georgio Wijnaldum
Manchester City: Ïlkay Gündogan, Nolito, Oleksander Zinchenko, Leroy Sané, Gabriel Jesus
Manchester United: Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimović, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Paul Pogba
Tottenham Hotspur: Victor Wanyama, Vincent Janssen
Leicester City will be looking to hold onto their star trio: striker Jamie Vardy, midfield destroyer N'Golo Kante and PFA Player of the Year Riyad Mahrez. While Jamie Vardy has rejected an approach from Arsenal and signed a new contract until 2018 with LCFC, the future's of the other two are up in the air. N'Golo Kante appears to be on the verge of a £29m deal to join Chelsea, while Riyad Mahrez has been reported to have refused a new contract offer from Leicester, putting the other top clubs in the league on red alert. If Kante and Mahrez both leave, a mid-table finish would be expected for LCFC.
Rumors have suggested there has been a fundamental shift in Arsenal's transfer policy. Previously the club looked for value in the market, buying cheap players with talent. But with Wenger and the board under ever-increasing pressure rumors have suggested the club are prepared to spend big in order to improve the first XI, especially with star players Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez potentially looking to move if the club cannot challenge for the league this season. In particular Arsenal appear be targeting a striker after having been rejected by LCFC striker Jamie Vardy. The club appear to be sniffing around Alexandre Lacazette and Gonzalo Higuain in particular, the former costing around €80m to prize away from Napoli, the latter expected to have roughly a €45m release clause. €30m have already been spent on bringing the Swiss defensive midfielder and captain of Borussia Mönchengladbach, Granit Xhaka. A new winger may also be necessary, with Theo Walcott no longer appearing to be up to scratch, although the young Alex Iwobi may be able to fill in, another winger to partner up with Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil may be required too.
Klopp appears to be in the market for a defender after an injury to the promising 19-year-old Joe Gomez may leave Klopp without three of his first choice back four for the start of the season. Additionally, rumors had previously suggested Klopp wished to bring Bayern Munich's Mario Götze to Liverpool appear to have been quashed after reports have come out to suggest Thomas Tuchel's Borussia Dortmund are close to a €28m deal to bring him back to his former club.
Pep Guardiola appears to be taking a long-term success approach by targeting several younger players, such as Everton defender John Stones and Schalke winger Leroy Sané. They have already signed the versatile Ukrainian wonderkid Oleksander Zinchenko, 19, from Russian outfit UFA. However he also needs to fix the defense; with captain Vincent Kompany's injury problems worse than ever before, the need for both new fullbacks and at least one center back could mean an entire new back four will be seen by the end of his reign. Some journalists have suggested City are willing to bid in excess of £50m for Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci, 29. Rumors had previously suggested City were closing in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Borussia Dortmund, however they have since died down. BVB are not expected to sell their star striker, as fans are already becoming frustrated with the departure of captain Mats Hummels to Bayern Munich, midfielder İlkay Gündoğan to Manchester City and right-winger Henrikh Mkhitaryan to Manchester United. Rumors also suggest Guardiola wants to bring German central-midfielder Toni Kroos to Manchester from Real Madrid, but the potential signing of Paul Pogba by Manchester United may strengthen Madrid's resolve to keep the midfielder, especially with a potential one-year transfer ban looming over Real Madrid who are looking to win the Liga BBVA back from Barcelona.
José Mourinho's Manchester United have gotten off to a flyer this transfer window, having already signed three out of four of Mourninho's priority targets. The fourth target is widely believed to be Juventus' Paul Pogba, 23, a former Manchester United youth product. Widely considered to be the possible best central midfielder of the future, Juventus wish to retain Paul Pogba but a bid of around €100-120m is expected to be accepted. Reports have suggested the finishing touches on this deal could be hashed out this weekend, with a medical potentially taking place next week, although the player is still on holiday after his Euro 2016 heartbreak in the final against Portugal. If the deal doesn't work out, Mourinho may turn his attention to PSG midfielder Blaise Matuidi, 29, who wishes to test himself in the Premier League. The future of Manchester United's youth products, particularly the impressive Marcus Rashford and Timothy Fosu-Mensah, will also be under scrutiny, as Mourinho does not have a reputation for moving youth products into the first XI. Additionally the back-four of MUFC may yet be adjusted further, it would be considered a surprise if Mourinho saw Bailly and Smalling as his first choice centre-back pairing, the former being a promising but still inexperienced young defender. The future of right-back Matteo Darmian is also in doubt after a disappointing first season, as is Dutch winger Memphis Depay.
The Premier League is the most viewed and most competitive league in world football right now. The race for the top four will be interesting, as around 6 clubs appear to be challenging for the title, and clubs such as Everton and West Ham strengthening further to challenge for a place in Europe's elite competition. We may see the overall points total for each team decrease this season, and for many to come. As the competition gets stronger, more points are going to be dropped by all teams. We may start to see more and more champions with low-70's points totals for example, whereas just a few years ago Manchester United lost the title to Manchester City on goal-difference, both having finished on 89 points.
My predictions for the league table, mainly based off transfer activity, managers and their potential first XI:
The full fixtures list for all clubs can be found here: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2016/jun/15/premier-league-2016-17-fixtures-week-by-week-list-football
What are your predictions for the title race, and why?