Manchester United still hope to make a big signing as statement of intent to neighbours who pipped them for the title last season
Last season: 3rd Title odds: 14-1 Going down: 750-1
Summer update Vieira, Henry, Fábregas, Nasri, now Van Persie. Where would an Arsenal close-season be without a will-he-won’t-he-please-make-it-stop transfer saga? The club, though, have learned the lessons of last summer and they have got their retaliation in first. The signings of Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla, in particular, have given rise to optimism. And they may be joined by others: Ajax right-back Gregory van der Wiel and midfielders Nuri Sahin of Real Madrid and Yann M’Vila of Rennes are targets. It is unclear when Jack Wilshere will return to full fitness or whether Alex Song will stay.
Key player Van Persie if he stays, although much will depend on the speed with which Cazorla adapts. Wenger also has high hopes for the 17-year-old winger Serge Gnabry.
Achilles heel Injuries: Arsenal’s trademark.
Headline generator Wojciech Szczesny: not shy.
Ins Santi Cazorla (Málaga, £12m), Olivier Giroud (Montpellier, £13m), Lukas Podolski (Köln, £10.9m).
Outs Manuel Almunia (released), Tom Cruise (Torquay, free), Gavin Hoyte (released), Carlos Vela (Real Sociedad, undisc).
Last season: 16th Title odds: 2,500-1 Going down: 8-1
Summer update Alex McLeish has gone, Paul Lambert has replaced him and Aston Villa’s supporters have rediscovered the will to live after a truly miserable season. Nobody knows quite what to expect this time round – how Stephen Ireland and Charles N’Zogbia perform depends on what side they get out of bed and the four new signings are not exactly stellar names. It does, though, seem safe to work on the assumption that it will be a whole lot better than 2011-12.
Key player Darren Bent. Unlucky to miss Euro 2012 through injury, the England striker will be crucial to Villa’s hopes. Has averaged close to a goal every other league game for Villa.
Achilles heel Take Bent out of the equation and Villa are desperately short of firepower.
Headline generator Lambert says he’ll get the best out of Ireland. “I’ve got a fair idea of what I want to do with him.” One to watch.
Ins Ron Vlaar (Feyenoord, undisc), Matthew Lowton (Sheffield United, £3m), Karim El Ahmadi (Feyenoord, undisc), Brett Holman (Alkmaar, free)
Outs Carlos Cuéllar (Sunderland, free), Emile Heskey (released), James Collins (West Ham, undisc)
Last season: 6th Title odds: 11-2 Going down: 1500-1
Summer update Roberto Di Matteo has been appointed on what could optimistically amount to a two-year contract, the talismanic Didier Drogba has moved on and Roman Abramovich has opened his cheque book as if it was the summer of 2004 all over again. Eden Hazard, Marko Marin and Oscar have arrived for around £60m combined, with the promise of more to come.
Key player With Drogba gone and a fine supply line assembled, this has to be Fernando Torres’s time. No more excuses. Oscar looks a precocious talent but may need time to adjust.
Achilles heel A lack of depth if Torres misfires and potentially width in midfield.
Headline generator Apart from Torres, JT and the usual suspects, expect Hazard to keep reporters happy. “People see similarities between me and Messi. That makes me happy.”
Ins Marko Marin (W Bremen, £7m), Eden Hazard (Lille, £32m), Thorgan Hazard (£1m, Lens), Oscar (Internacional, £20m)
Outs Didier Drogba (Shanghai Shenhua, free), Salomon Kalou (Lille, free), Rhys Taylor (Southend, free), Jacob Mellis (Barnsley, free), José Bosingwa, Marko Mitrovic (released).
Last season: 7th Title odds: 250-1 Going down: 33-1
Summer update Serene by recent standards, so far, with two permanent signings and no major losses to compensate. Crucially, David Moyes remains in charge, though has not signed a new contract, and hopes to add a few more faces on loan or on a free before the window closes as he seeks that rarest thing at Goodison: a good start.
Key man Nikica Jelavic turned Everton’s usual promise into points in the second half of last season and will need to maintain that form, and stay fit, in the absence of quality back-up. Much is expected of Ross Barkley but it is certainly time for Jack Rodwell to fulfil his promise.
Achilles heel A lack of depth and vulnerability to big money bids.
Headline generator Leighton Baines has been leaving Everton for a richer club for at least the past four seasons. He’s still there – but for how much longer?
Ins Steven Naismith (Rangers, free), Steven Pienaar (Tottenham, £4.5m)
Outs: Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls, £1m), Joseph Yobo (Fenerbahce, £1.5m), James Wallace (Tranmere, undisc), Marcus Hahnemann, James McFadden, Denis Stracqualursi, Jose Baxter (all released), Adam Forshaw (Brentford, undisc)
Last season: 9th Title odds: 2,500-1 Going down: 11-1
Summer update Martin Jol has revamped his front line, though his squad strengthening is on-going with further arrivals anticipated and required ahead of the closure of the transfer window. Clint Dempsey will only be allowed to leave reluctantly, but some stalwarts of the Roy Hodgson era have moved on, adding to the sense that this team continues to evolve.
Key player If Dempsey is sold, given that he is now in the final year of his contract, Belgian Moussa Dembélé will have to thrive.
Achilles heel Goals. Hugo Rodallega has rarely proved prolific, while Mladen Petric is experienced but new to the Premier League.
Headline generator Chairman Mo. Needs to deliver something special to follow up last year’s Michael Jackson statue.
Ins Mladen Petric (Hamburg, free), Hugo Rodallega (Wigan, free), Sascha Riether (Köln, loan), George Williams (MK Dons, undisc)
Outs Danny Murphy (Blackburn, free), Marcel Gecov (Gent, undisc), Bjorn Helge Riise (Lillestrom, free), Dickson Etuhu (Blackburn, undisc), Andy Johnson (QPR, free), Orlando Sá (Limassol, free)
Last season: 8th Title odds: 33-1 Going down: 250-1
Summer update Brendan Rodgers is the club’s fourth manager in four seasons. The new man promises much after a fine debut season in the top flight with Swansea but has so far made few signings to implement his style. The existing crop, however, are buying into his ideas.
Key man Keeping Luis Suárez content on an improved contract was essential as Rodgers looks to improve on last season’s eighth – and improvement is imperative. Whether it is a breakthrough season for the winger Raheem Sterling remains to be seen but Jack Robinson should put pressure on José Enrique at left-back.
Achilles heel The squad is short on numbers and, with Daniel Agger and Andy Carroll potential departures, there are questions over whether Liverpool have the funds to add enough quality
Headline generator Suárez: a one man publicity machine, for better or worse.
Ins Fabio Borini (Roma, £10m), Joe Allen (Swansea, fee tbc)
Outs Dirk Kuyt (Fenerbahce, £1m), Fábio Aurélio (Gremîo, free), Maxi Rodríguez (Newell’s Old Boys, undisc), Alberto Aquilani (Fiorentina, undisc), Toni Silva (Barnsley, free), David Amoo (Preston, free), Stephen Darby (Bradford, free)
Last season: 1st Title odds: 11-8 Going down: 3,000-1
Summer update A summer of inactivity unless you count the Robin van Persie speculation. City don’t actually need Van Persie, they have more than enough quality up front already, but on the other hand they do not particularly want to see him end up at Manchester United. By the time the season starts Daniel Agger could have arrived from Liverpool and Adam Johnson travelled in the opposite direction, though the unhurried nature of the transfer negotiations indicates that City are merely making adjustments to their squad, not going all out for a new central defender.
Key man The form and confidence of Mario Balotelli will be a big influence. Potentially the Premier League’s most potent striker.
Achilles heel Whenever the Kompany-Lescott partnership was broken up last season, quality cover was lacking.
Headline generator Why always him?
Outs Vladimir Weiss (Pescara, undisc), Wayne Bridge (Brighton, loan), Greg Cunningham (Bristol City, undisc), Gai Assulin (R Santander, free) Owen Hargreaves (released).
Last season: 2nd Title odds: 11-4 Going down: 3,000-1
Summer update Still no Robin van Persie, and though Shinji Kagawa and Nick Powell appear astute enough signings, Old Trafford still awaits a grand-gesture response to being pipped to the title by the noisy neighbours. City can afford to stick rather than twist, but United keeping the chequebook closed not only appears uncharacteristically defeatist, it raises suspicions that the owners are being tight with funds.
Key man Van Persie would be a perfect statement of intent, but otherwise the focus will remain on Wayne Rooney.
Achilles heel Nemanja Vidic’s return is a lift, but there are questions over just about everyone else in defence, with Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra showing their age and David de Gea still to mature.
Headline generator A frustrated Rooney questioned United’s ambition two years ago. A slow start and the questions could begin again.
Ins Shinji Kagawa (Borussia Dortmund, undisc), Nick Powell (Crewe, undisc)
Outs Park Ji-sung (QPR, undisc), Ritchie De Laet, Matty James (Leicester, undisc), Tomasz Kuszczak (Brighton, free), Oliver Norwood (Huddersfield, undisc), Michael Owen (released)
Last season: 5th Title odds: 200-1 Going down: 50-1
Summer update An unusually serene summer on Tyneside. By the time his £7m release clause expired on 31 July Demba Ba was still a Newcastle player and Alan Pardew says he is not expecting any key departures. In terms of new faces, progress has been slow, with Lille playing hardball over the right-back Mathieu Debuchy’s mooted sale and Twente, Ajax and Liverpool doing likewise regarding Douglas, Vurnon Anita and Andy Carroll.
Key man Pardew reports that Cheik Tioté is “10 times better” than he was this time last year. If so he will be some enforcer. Sammy Ameobi (right) has also been in fine form pre-season.
Achilles heel The Europa League. No one knows if Pardew’s squad is deep enough to cope with the relentless routine.
Headline generator Owner Mike Ashley – reportedly eyeing a stake in Rangers.
Ins Gael Bigirimana (Coventry, undisc), Romain Amalfitano (Reims, undisc) Curtis Good (Melbourne Heart, undisc).
Outs Danny Guthrie (Reading, free), Leon Best (Blackburn, free), Peter Lovenkrands (Birmingham, free), Fraser Forster (Celtic, £2m).
Last season: 12th Title odds: 5,500-1 Going down: 13-8
Summer update Paul Lambert’s decision to swap Carrow Road for Villa Park in June represented a sizeable blow for Norwich given the Scot’s success as manager. Two successive promotions were followed by a 12th-place finish in the Premier League last season and his departure raised fears that this would be a tough campaign. Chris Hughton’s arrival has lifted spirits, though.
Key man Grant Holt. Last season’s top scorer remains the team’s focal point, while the England Under-21 defender Ryan Bennett also impressed at the end of last season.
Achilles heel Defence. They conceded 66 goals last season, the joint fourth-highest in the division. Without real improvement at the back, this season will be a slog.
Headline generator Holt made a transfer request in May, and signed a new deal in July.
Ins Michael Turner (Sunderland, £1.7m), Robert Snodgrass (Leeds, £2.8m), Jacob Butterfield (Barnsley, free), Steven Whittaker (Rangers, free).
Outs Andrew Croft (Brighton, undisc), Daniel Ayala (Nottm Forest, free), Zak Whitbread (Leicester, free), Josh Dawkin (Braintree Town, free), Aaron Wilbraham (Crystal Palace, free), Adam Drury (Leeds, free).
Last season: 17th Title odds: 3,000-1 Going down: 11-2
Summer update Rangers might have stopped playing before the final whistle blew on last season but they cannot wait for the first one this time out. In Park Ji-sung, who was unveiled at a glamour press conference on the 29th floor of London’s Millbank Tower, they feel they have signed a “global superstar”. Mark Hughes completed a lot of encouraging business early on and his ambitions are high. After promotion in May last year under Neil Warnock, a 17th-placed finish was the target and was achieved, just. Hughes has said that Rangers will no longer be involved in relegation scraps on his watch.
Key player Park will be pivotal.
Achilles heel Rangers had the worst away record in the division last season.
Headline generator Joey Barton’s debut after his 12 game ban. What odds on a straight red?
Ins Park Ji-sung (Man United, £2m); Ryan Nelsen (Spurs, free); Fábio da Silva (Man United, loan); Samba Diakité (Nancy, £3.5m); Junior Hoilett (Blackburn, tribunal); Andrew Johnson (Fulham, free); Robert Green (W Ham, free).
Outs Ten players released.
Last season: 1st, Championship Title odds: 10,000-1 Going down: 6-5
Summer update Reading’s struggle to interest neutrals is over: this season under their wealthy new Russian ownership should provide plenty of headlines. Spending has been relatively modest so far – quantity over stellar quality – though Pavel Pogrebnyak’s rumoured £60,000 a week is a sign of things to come. If they are struggling by Christmas, expect a lavish January.
Key man Pogrebnyak excelled for Fulham and needs to do the same here if his new side is to avoid a long, drawn-out struggle.
Achilles heel Midfield options are solid but unspectacular: adding some creative, scoring talent would seriously change the outlook.
Headline generator Katsia Zingarevich – wife of the owner and tabloid dream. Won “Supermodel of the World” as a teenager.
Ins Chris Gunter (Nottingham Forest, £2.3m), Adrian Mariappa (Watford, undisc), Danny Guthrie, Nicky Shorey, Pavel Pogrebnyak, Garath McCleary (all free)
Outs Michail Antonio (Sheffield Wednesday, undisc), Mathieu Manset (Sion, undisc), Karl Sheppard (Accrington Stanley, loan), Joseph Mills (Burnley, loan), Brian Howard, Tomasz Cywka, Andy Griffin, Cedric Baseya (all released)
Last season: 2nd, Championship Title odds: 7,500-1 Going down: 11-8
Summer update The honeymoon could be short – it’s Manchester City away on the opening day – but this is a solid side, albeit at Championship level. Nigel Adkins says stability, strength and willpower will hold them together. “You can’t underestimate team spirit.”
Key man Championship Player of the Year and all-round big unit Rickie Lambert. The 30-year-old scored 27 last season and hit four hat-tricks. Big money Jay Rodriguez should relieve some of the scoring burden, though.
Achilles heel Relative top-level inexperience. The influence of the former Rangers captain Steven Davis will be crucial.
Headline generator Matt Le Tissier in the Soccer Saturday studio – needs to prove himself as a cool, calm model of impartiality.
Ins Jay Rodriguez (Burnley, £6m); Steven Davis (Rangers, £800k); Paulo Gazzaniga (Gillingham, undisc); Nathaniel Clyne (Palace, £2.5m).
Outs Dan Harding (Nottingham Forest, £500k), Aaron Martin (Crystal Palace, loan); Tommy Forecast (Gillingham, loan); Ryan Doble, Bartosz Bialkowski, Lee Holmes, Harlee Dean, David Connolly (released)
Last season: 14th Title odds: 3,500-1 Going down: 8-1
Summer update Stoke’s buildup to the new campaign has been a mix of the good, the indifferent and the unfortunate, with potentially shrewd signings in Jamie Ness, Geoff Cameron and Michael Kightly, winning just two out of their first six pre-season friendlies and losing influential defender Robert Huth to viral meningitis. But there is a sense of collective purpose at the Britannia Stadium. Another lively mid‑table finish beckons.
Key man Peter Crouch. Goes into his first full campaign at the club buoyed by last season’s 14 goals following his arrival from Tottenham.
Achilles heel Tony Pulis may not consider it a weakness but Stoke’s reliance on a direct attacking approach makes them a limited and predictable: a dangerous combination.
Headline generator Discipline issues. Case in point: some pre-season argy bargy with Orlando City, including a red card for Glenn Whelan.
Ins Michael Kightly (Wolves, £3.1m), Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo, £1.9m), Jamie Ness (Rangers, free).
Outs Danny Collins (Nottm Forest, £563,000), Ryan Brunt (Leyton Orient, free), Florent Cuvelier (Walsall, free), Jonathan Woodgate (Middlesbrough, free), Andrew Davies (Bradford, free), Salif Diao (released), Ricardo Fuller (released), Tom Soares (released).
Last season: 13th Title odds: 1,250-1 Going down: 12-1
Summer update A long trek to South Korea for a Peace tournament has proved the most notable event of a low-key preamble to Martin O’Neill’s first full season in charge. After the frantic buying and selling of the Steve Bruce era, transfer activity has been minimal and principally involved long-term haggling for Steven Fletcher with Wolves. Even so, with European qualification the aim, O’Neill is seeking increased creativity and goals and a couple more additions seem likely. Meanwhile Wes Brown has injured his knee again.
Key man Stéphane Sessègnon was the brightest imaginative force last season, while young Ryan Noble is one to watch.
Achilles heel Titus Bramble. Talented, but prone to lapses.
Headline generator The outside chance of a move for Liverpool’s ex-Newcastle man Andy Carroll. “He’s a really good player,” says O’Neill.
Ins Carlos Cuéllar (Aston Villa, free).
Outs Michael Turner (Norwich, undisc), Craig Gordon (released, free agent), George McCartney (West Ham, undisc), Asamoah Gyan (Al Ain, undisc), Marcos Angeleri (Estudiantes, undisc).
Last season: 11th Title odds: 4,500-1 Going down: 9-4
Summer update All quiet with the exception of the departure of Brendan Rodgers to Liverpool, appointment of one of the greatest players of all time in his place, Joe Allen’s imminent Welsh record £15m move to Anfield and the arrival of two Spaniards and a Dutchman from La Liga. Who knows what to expect at the Liberty Stadium this season – but with Michael Laudrup in charge at least it should be fun.
Key player Michu. The Spaniard’s 15 goals last season made him the highest scoring midfielder in La Liga, he should be in his prime at 26 years old and yet Swansea paid only £2m for him.
Achilles heel Scoring enough. Goals were hard to come by at times last season and it would be a worry if Danny Graham, who notched 12 in his first season in the Premier League, got injured.
Headline generator All eyes on Laudrup. He is among the favourites to be the first manager to go.
Ins Michu (Rayo Vallecano, £2m), José Manuel Flores (Genoa, £2m), Jonathan de Guzmán (Villarreal, loan), Itay Shechter (Kaiserslautern, loan, subject to work permit)
Outs Joe Allen (Liverpool, fee to be confirmed), Ferrie Bodde, Casey Thomas, Joe Walsh, Scott Donnelly (all released)
Last season: 4th Title odds: 40-1 Going down: 250-1
Summer update When André Villas-Boas was presented to the media on 11 July he talked of the need to “complete” the squad. With less than a week before the season starts, the Portuguese has not yet added to the positive early summer signings of Gylfi Sigurdsson and Jan Vertonghen. Jermain Defoe is his only established striker, Luka Modric wants to leave, Scott Parker is a long-term injury casualty and Sandro has not yet trained under him. The new boss could be forgiven for feeling edgy. Emmanuel Adebayor and Leandro Damião are the main targets up front while a top keeper is also being sought.
Key player Gareth Bale, while Jake Livermore and Steven Caulker are developing well.
Achilles heel The dangerous policy of leaving transfers late.
Headline generator Modric’s state of mind.
Ins Gylfi Sigurdsson (Hoffenheim, £8m); Jan Vertonghen (Ajax, £8m)
Outs Nico Kranjcar (Dynamo Kyiv, £5.5m); Vedran Corluka (L Moscow, undisc); Steven Pienaar (Everton, £4.5m); Ryan Nelsen (QPR, free), seven players released, including Louis Saha and Ledley King.
West Bromwich Albion
Last season: 10th Title odds: 3,500-1 Going down: 4-1
Summer update The FA’s surprise decision to appoint Roy Hodgson led, eventually, to Albion making the surprise decision to appoint Steve Clarke. After years of being a No2, Clarke at last has the chance to call the shots. The Scot has decent squad at his disposal, aided by three new faces and Ben Foster’s permanent transfer, although he will do well to reprise last season’s top-10 finish.
Key player Shane Long. Started last season on fire, scoring against Manchester United and Chelsea in his first two games before injuries knocked him off course. And George Thorne, a highly rated academy graduate, is one to watch.
Achilles heel Lack of cover at left back after NickyShorey’s departure and doubts over Jonas Olsson’s future raise questions about defence.
Headline generator Clarke’s debut in the spotlight.
Ins Markus Rosenberg (Werder Bremen, free), Ben Foster (Birmingham City, undisc), Yassine El Ghanassy (Gent, loan), Claudio Yacob (Racing Club de Avellaneda, free)
Outs Keith Andrews (Bolton, free), Joe Mattock (Sheff Wed, free), Nicky Shorey (Reading, free), Marton Fulop (Astera Tripolis, free), Somen Tchoyi (released), Paul Scharner (released)
West Ham United
Last season: 3rd, Championship Title odds: 5,500-1 Going down: 9-4
Summer update Having made it up through the play-offs, squad-building was important, so missing out on a few useful targets has left fans frustrated. Modibo Maïga, a striker signed from Sochaux, may take time to settle. Mohamed Diamé and Alou Diarra are shrewd signings, James Collins less so, but the loss of goalkeeper Robert Green to QPR could be crucial.
Key players Kevin Nolan’s leadership unites the side, but Ricardo Vaz Tê often makes the difference.
Achilles heel Carlton Cole is not good enough to play every week in the Premier League. Slow full-backs are a feature too.
Headline generator Big Sam. Knows how to play mind games, if not to win them, and relishes inter-gaffer verbal conflict. Will be under pressure, too, if his side make a slow start.
Ins James Collins (Villa, £2.5m); Mohamed Diamé (Wigan, free); Alou Diarra (Marseille, undisc); Stephen Henderson (Portsmouth, undisc); Jussi Jaaskelainen (Bolton, free); Modibo Maïga (Sochaux, £4.5m); George McCartney (Sunderland, free).
Outs Pablo Barrera (Cruz Azul, free), Robert Green (QPR, free), 13 players released.
Last season: 15th Title odds: 6,000-1 Going down: 7-4
Summer update If Roberto Martínez’s side begin the new season like they finished the last they will end up in Europe – but no one in Lancashire seriously expects anything close. Wigan have lost good players in Mohamed Diamé and Hugo Rodallega, and made just a couple of low-key purchases in Fraser Fyvie from Aberdeen and Ivan Ramis from Real Mallorca. And Martínez, who passionately believes the transfer window should shut as soon as the season starts, is still worried about losing Victor Moses to Chelsea.
Key man Moses was consistently excellent in the second half of last season. If he moves to Chelsea’s bench it will not be easy for Martínez to replace his quality.
Achilles heel A lack of goals. Fyvie has been billed as the new Paul Scholes, but mostly for his tenacity, not for his knack of scoring.
Headline generator Dave Whelan: always ready to weigh in, often feet first, on any given issue.
Ins Fraser Fyvie (Aberdeen, undisc), Ivan Ramis (Real Mallorca, undisc)
Out Mohamed Diamé (West Ham, free), Hugo Rodallega (Fulham, free), Chris Kirkland, Steve Gohouri (released)
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