Big movements in the Premier League

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Monday, August 11, 2014


THE English Premier League will kick off this weekend, with big clubs such as defending champions Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and the resurgent Manchester United promising thrilling matches all season long. The league has seen some big movements this summer transfer window, based on the league’s official website. Let’s check out key developments so far:

CHELSEA FC. The club, one of the consistent big four in the EPL, has logged the most number of transfers so far, particularly on the number of players leaving. On the way out are 14 players, including some legendary names such as Samuel Eto’o (released as a free agent), Frank Lampard (New York City), and Ashley Cole (Roma), as well as Romeo Lukaku (Everton for $47 million).

Joining the team this season are names just as big: midfielder Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona), strikerDiego Costa (Atletico Madrid), left back Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid), and the returning striker Didier Drogba (Galatasaray). Another addition is 19-year-old midfielder Mario Pasalic (Hajduk Split).

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With a fortified lineup, manager Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea can stake a serious claim to this season’s title.

MANCHESTER CITY. Legendary Lampard won’t be going to the United States just yet as he will be joining the defending champions on a six-month loan until January 2015. He will join new signings Bacary Sagna (Arsenal), Fernando (Porto), Willy Caballero (Malaga), and Bruno Zuculini (Racing Club).

While letting go of six players, Manager Manuel Pellegrini seems to have forged a cohesive team that doesn’t crack under pressure. It’s not unlikely that Manchester City will pull off another surprise, not to mention a real shot at the bigger prize, the UEFA Champions League title.

MANCHESTER UNITED. The Red Devil’s most important hiring won’t be wearing the ManU jersey, but Louis van Gaal might just be the right man that could bring the club back to its glory days, following the disastrous stint of David Moyes. A shrewd tactician Van Gaal, who steered the Dutch to a third-place finish in the recent World Cup, might just prove the worthy successor to Sir Alex Ferguson, who stepped down last year after 27 years of success.

Van Gaal will have three fresh recruits at his disposal: Ander Herrera (Athletic Bilbao), Luke Shaw (Southampton), Vanja Milinkovic (Vojovdina). He won’t be having the services of veterans Rio Ferdinand (QPR), Ryan Giggs, and Patrice Evra (Juventus), who are leaving the club alongside four others.

ARSENAL. The only big name that manager Arsene Wenger has signed is forward Alexis Sanchez (Barcelona), who will join new Gunners Mathieu Debuchy (Newcastle United), David Ospina (Nice), and Calum Chambers (Southampton).

Despite having let go of eight players, Wenger still has a formidable force at his command. Signed for an estimated for $50 million, Alexis will certainly boost the Gunner’s attacking options alongside forwards Oliver Giroud, Lukas Podolski, and Theo Walcott, plus Mesut Ozil, Thomas Rosicky, Jack Wilshere and captain Michael Arteta in midfield.

Wenger, though, needs to find that creative spark that can sustain Arsenal’s campaign throughout the season to have a realistic chance at lifting the domestic league trophy.

LIVERPOOL. Runners-up Reds were last season’s other surprise, apart from champions City. However, they are now awash with cash after selling controversial serial biter Luis Suarez to FC Barcelona for a whopping $125 million, in addition to the seven other players it released, including veteran goalkeeper Pepe Reina (Bayern Munich) for $3 million.

The club, though, welcomes into its fold seven new players: Rickie Lambert (Southampton), Adam Lallana (Southampton), Emre Can (Bayer Leverkusen), Lazar Markovic (Benfica), Dejan Lovren (Southampton), Divock Origi (Lille), and Javier Manquillo (Atletico Madrid).

Will Liverpool under manager Brendan Rogers finally win its first English Premier League title that has eluded them for a quarter of a century? That would be surprising, but why not?

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 12, 2014.

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