After the recent season all three of the Premier League’s common challengers just recorded, the magnitude of their summer moves was to be expected.
Elite managers have arrived at Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City with the aim of re-housing their new side at the head of the table.
Already, Jose Mourinho, Antonio Conte and Pep Guardiola have been adventurous in the transfer market and all three appear unwilling to call time on their spending sprees just yet.
It all adds up to a fascinating top-flight campaign for 2016/17, but one where picking the winner is perhaps as tough a task as it has ever been.
Our outright market puts Guardiola’s City as the 12/5 favourites, followed by Mourinho’s 7/2 Red Devils and Conte’s Chelsea, who are 11/2. Those prices put the trio on the podium places of the betting, but there is an emerging case that the latter stand as the best option.
The Blues arguably have the biggest motivation for an improved season, having whimpered to a 10th-place finish as defending champions last term.
Despite arriving at Chelsea having over-performed at Euro 2016, where his condemned Italy side reached the quarter-finals and knocked out Spain, Conte stands to be underrated in England.
The star power of Guardiola, the media’s fascination with Mourinho and their obvious history as bitter rivals in Spain will hog a fair chunk of the limelight. That will allow the former Juventus man to operate relatively pressure-free, at least from a press point of view, in the early days of the season.
His exploits with an Azzurri squad dubbed the nation’s worse for 50 years show his strategic nous, while Chelsea appear hell-bent on providing him with an upgraded squad.
Michy Batshuayi is the only major purchase thus far, but the Blues are reportedly also speeding towards a deal for Leicester lynchpin N’Golo Kante. Both are good moves.
The former adds youth, pace and dynamism to a forward line that relies too much on the brutality of Diego Costa, while Kante is a clear superstar in defensive midfield and marked improvement on Nemanja Matic and John Obi Mikel.
Throw in the four-year contract extension that Willian, the club’s clear diamond in the rough last season, has just received and things are looking particularly rosy for the Londoners.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.