The rush of cash and player recruitment in recent years has been another reason why it may be increasingly hard to pick favourites ahead of a “re-emergence” of some form. Even if their average age of 25.1, which is one of the highest in the league, can be couched as a creditable progress, the performances of Liverpool are convincing the pundits of a resurgence. Red-hot Roberto Firmino, Roberto Firmino, Roberto Firmino. Let’s hope the team’s rapid rise doesn’t affect Klopp’s gift for management.
For the second time this month, Raheem Sterling has been offered a new contract but Manchester City have failed to secure a breakthrough. His representatives are still hopeful that an agreement can be reached. Despite the nagging question of whether a player who might have cost £50m at the age of 18 can play for such a big club for £50,000-a-week, Sterling has enjoyed a very impressive pre-season; his display on Saturday, which saw him set up goals for Kelechi Iheanacho and Bernardo Silva, was a confident, attacking performance. In an era of reduced budgets and a smaller audience, this is important for City; and they will not give up without a fight. The manner in which Sterling scored his second goal against Spurs, with a jaw-dropping run from midfield, suggests it might not be such a bad deal for him after all.
Gareth Southgate is reported to be interested in bringing Luke Shaw to England, who are in need of a right-back after Gary Cahill was ruled out with a back injury. Shaw’s stock hasn’t fallen since his bust-up with José Mourinho last season and is understood to be wanted by a number of Premier League clubs. If Southgate is looking for a talented youngster to shore up the second-best back line in the world, though, then Shaw would be an unattractive option. “I’m good at training,” the 23-year-old admitted last month. “I’m very passionate about it. It’s a privilege to play for my country, so I’m looking forward to getting that opportunity.”
Stamford Bridge set for £43m sale of John Terry to a Chinese club Read more
Yet if Tottenham do want to attract a bold and imaginative figure to take advantage of the global demand for players, they will surely consider John Terry’s chances of returning to the Premier League this summer. A Chinese club is reportedly ready to sign the 38-year-old, who has a year left on his contract at Aston Villa. The Italian football journalist Gianluca Di Marzio claims JT’s fee will be £43m, but the switch would appeal for all sorts of reasons.
Charlton have failed in their bid to sign Gylfi Sigurdsson from Swansea, who will demand £15m or more for the playmaker. The Swans are in town next week for a pre-season match against Tottenham, so the chance to seal a deal and sign a hugely creative player might still be there. With a big-name signing potentially coming into the club, Mike Phelan’s side should make the play-offs if things go well.
Now a majority shareholder at Aston Villa, Wes Edens has already made one statement of intent. His various clubs have reportedly splashed out £18m on Tom Cleverley, Alex Geller and Jordan Roberts, who appear an excellent acquisition. These acquisitions, plus Samir Carruthers’ summer switch from Derby County to Charlton, suggest Edens is also prepared to spend heavily to return Aston Villa to the Premier League. Earlier this summer, Edens declared: “My priority is to put Aston Villa back in the Premier League.” That’s good, because the last thing they needed was to follow in Sunderland’s footsteps.