You have to worry slightly for Swansea. Garry Monk did just enough to earn himself the managerial job permanently, but the style and swagger which won over so many neutrals seemed to disappear somewhat as the club flirted with being pulled into the relegation fight last season.
The summer has seen a player exodus, with first teamers Ben Davies, Michel Vorm, Michu, Chico Flores and Pablo Hernandez all departing. While some transfers can be easily absorbed – for however talented Ben Davies was, they have a ready made replacement in Neil Taylor – there still seem to be major holes developing in the squad. They have so far held onto star striker Wilfried Bony, which will give fans hope they can replicate recent cup success.
The signing of Lukasz Fabianski from Arsenal may help to bridge the gap that Vorm has left, while Garry Monk has also managed to significantly strengthen his striker department with the signing of Bafetimbi Gomis and the permanent signing of Marvin Emnes from Middlesbrough.
For Swansea, certainly after the departure of Michu, it is important that Monk not only finds support for Wilfried Bony but also finds goals from other areas of the team.
Lukasz Fabianski (free, Arsenal), Bafetimbi Gomis (free, Lyon), Marvin Emnes (Undisclosed, Middlesbrough), Gylfi Sigurðsson (Undisclosed, Tottenham), Jefferson Montero (Undisclosed, Monarcas Morelia)
Ben Davies, Michel Vorm (Undisclosed, Tottenham), David N’Gog (Released, Michu (loan, Napoli), Chico Flores (Undisclosed, Lekhwiya), Pablo Hernandez (undisclosed, Al-Arabi)
It’s safe to assume that Tottenham underachieved last season, especially considering the money they had spent in the summer of 2013. A total of £105m was spent on seven players where Christian Eriksen was the only true success story.
For 2014/15, Spurs have yet another new boss in the form of ex-Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino and for the time being they have been relatively quiet on the transfer front bringing in Ben Davies and Michel Vorm from Swansea and England U-21 international Eric Dier from Sporting Lisbon.
Pochettino has also overseen a clear out of the squad, consisting mostly of first-team fringe players such as Jake Livermore, Iago Falque and Heurelho Gomes. Pochettino will be confident that he can get all of Tottenham’s talented parts functioning as one with the aim of a serious assault on the top 4.
If Pochettino can get as much from Spurs’ attacking players as he did Southampton’s, the North London club could be one of the most exciting teams to watch this season. Eriksen will surely be a delight to watch, embracing the attacking freedom much as Adam Lallana did, but it will be how Lamela and Soldado settle which could decide whether a Champions League place is possible.
Ben Davies (P/Ex, Swansea City), Michel Vorm (£3.5m, Swansea City), Eric Dier (£4m, Sporting Lisbon)
Gylfi Sigurðsson (P/Ex, Swansea City), Jake Livermore (£8m, Hull City), Heurelho Gomes (free, Watford)
Judging by the transfer activity of new West Brom manager Alan Irvine during the summer transfer window, it is clear where his priority lies. Of the eight players that have been signed by Albion this summer six have been defenders.
The recruitment of proven Premier League experience in Chris Baird and Joleon Lescott may prove to be inspired moves by Irvine as he looks to consolidate West Brom’s position within the Premier League.
Irvine has also plumped for youthful and vibrant options in the fullback areas with the signings of Australian Jason Davidson, Andre Wisdom on loan from Liverpool and Costa Rican World Cup star Cristian Gamboa.
While Irvine is an experienced coach, he is not so experienced with the rigours of Premier League management, which may count against the club if West Brom find themselves in the midst of a relegation battle. A change to 3-5-2 has mooted, which could be advisable considering the lack of real attacking talent in the wide areas.
Craig Gardner (free, Sunderland), Joleon Lescott (free, Manchester City), Chris Baird (free, Burnley), Brown Ideye (Undisclosed, Dynamo Kiev), Andre Wisdom (loan, Liverpool), Jason Davidson (Undisclosed, Heracles), Cristian Gamboa (Undisclosed, Rosenborg)
Steven Reid (free, Burnley), Liam Ridgewell (free, Portland Timbers), Diego Lugano (Released), Zoltan Gera (free, Ferencvaros), Billy Jones (free, Sunderland), Scott Sinclair (loan return, Manchester City), Morgan Amalfitano (loan return, Marseille)
The mission for Sam Allardyce at the beginning of the summer transfer window was to inject some much needed vibrancy and creative flair into his West Ham squad for 2014/15.
West Ham fans have been fairly critical of Allardyce’s reign and the way he sets his teams up to play football. To be fair to Allardyce, West Ham must have known who and what they were hiring when they approached the former Bolton manager.
However, his summer signings so far show some marked improvement. Diego Poyet from Charlton Athletic is a signing that signifies a little shift in the mentality for neat and tidy footballers at West Ham, whereas Cheikhou Kouyate is a big powerhouse standing at 6ft 4in.
Ecuadorian World Cup striker Enner Valencia should provide pace and power up front for the Hammers while Argentinian Mauro Zarate is more of a poacher and should provide Allardyce with something a little different.
Allardyce has never been anything less than ambitious in the transfer market, as his time at Bolton will attest. Moves to bring Alvaro Negredo and Mathieu Valbuena to the Boleyn Ground may have come to nothing, but it does at least demonstrate ambition.
For 2014/15, Allardyce will be hoping he can inspire his team to produce better football as well as better results. If he cannot produce more enjoyable football with these new signings, we could be seeing a new face at West Ham sooner rather than later.
Mauro Zarate (Undisclosed, Velez Sarsfield), Cheikhou Kouyate (Undisclosed, Anderlecht), Aaron Cresswell (Undisclosed, Ipswich Town), Diego Poyet (Min. Fee, Charlton Athletic), Enner Valencia (Undisclosed, Pachuca), Carl Jenkinson (loan, Arsenal)
Joe Cole (free, Aston Villa), Jack Collison, George McCartney, Alou Diarra (Released), Matthew Taylor (free, Burnley)
Categories: Premier League