Rarely has a Premier League season commenced against a background of so much uncertainty and speculation, with so continual attention being devoted to the transfer possibilities of Wayne Rooney, Gareth Bale and Luis Suarez in particular. With the welcome return of the football action, maybe it is now time to concentrate on which team might actually clinch the league title.
With David Moyes now at the helm at Manchester United, there will be pressure to prove that he can build upon the dynasty bestowed upon him by Sir Alex Ferguson. The Rooney saga cannot have helped in his first few months and neither can his evident frustration in the transfer market as he has attempted to add further quality signings to an already impressive squad.
Rooney has been targeted by returning boss Jose Mourinho at Chelsea and the mere presence of the ex-Real Madrid manager in the dug-out at Stamford Bridge could be worth an extra point or two. With Andre Schurrle having been purchased from Bayer Leverkusen and the reliable Michael Essien donning the Blues colours once again, Chelsea will be serious challengers for the title once again.
Their London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham have become embroiled in seemingly unending transfer stories concerning Bale and Suarez. Arsene Wenger has still to complete a noteworthy signing for Arsenal, especially for a rather suspect defence, and he will be hoping that Suarez will complete a move to the Emirates and so adding extra firepower to a rather inconsistent attack.
To his credit, Andre Villa-Boas has planned for the possible departure of Bale by clinching the signature of the prolific Roberto Soldado from Valencia, with Belgian international winger Nacer Chadli also eager to prove his quality in the Premier League.
Tottenham may not win the title but will mount another serious challenge for Champions League qualification as could Liverpool. Brendan Rodgers has completed some astute signings as he waits the results of the Suarez saga. The arrival of goalkeeper Simon Mignolet could be the most important as he was a key play in Sunderland’s successful battle to avoid relegation during 2012-13.
However, there is one team which appears to have virtually completed its main transfer business and with the minimum of fuss. Manuel Pellegrini has replaced Roberto Mancini at Manchester City and used his knowledge of Spanish football to secure the services of striker Alvaro Negredo and winger Jesus Navas from Sevilla. Add Stevan Jovetic from Fiorentina and Brazilian midfielder Fernandino into the mix and City boast a formidable squad which has been afforded the opportunity to mix and settle at an early stage.
Maybe the wily Pellegrini has managed to slip under the radar with such quality signings and this may be proving crucial in the quest for the title.