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How the top six are shaping up ahead of the new Premier League season
Pre-season is well under way.
With pre-season matches in full swing and the transfer merry-go-round under way, the runners and riders for the upcoming Premier League season are starting to show their hands.
Naturally, the top-six clubs will be attracting the most interest as the battle for the title and a place in the top four once again takes centre stage.
Here, the PA news agency looks at the signings and the early form of the Premier League’s established order.
The signing of Gabriel Jesus from champions Manchester City had already excited Gunners fans even before he scored three goals in his first two friendly appearances. Fabio Vieira has also been added to the ranks along with goalkeeper Matt Turner and young forward Marquinhos with the trio aiming for minutes in the upcoming matches against Orlando City, Chelsea and Sevilla. A move for another City player, Ukraine’s Oleksandr Zinchenko, would give boss Mikel Arteta further clout in the top-four race.
Like Arsenal, the Blues headed to the United States for the bulk of their pre-season where they were joined by the eye-catching signing of Raheem Sterling from City. Having lost Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen, the addition of centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly could prove vital to their trophy ambitions which began with a narrow friendly win over Club America on Sunday.
So close to a quadruple last season, Liverpool did the bulk of their summer business early as highly-rated youngster Fabio Carvalho joined from Fulham, Calvin Ramsay moved from Aberdeen, striker Darwin Nunez came in from Benfica and talisman Mohamed Salah signed a new deal. However, they did lose talisman Sadio Mane to Bayern Munich. A youthful Reds side lost 4-0 to rivals Manchester United in their first pre-season friendly in Thailand before beating Crystal Palace on Sunday, with Jurgen Klopp’s men now facing RB Leipzig and Red Bull Salzburg before the Community Shield clash against City.
Most clubs would panic when losing the goal threat of Jesus and Sterling in one summer but the reigning champions won the race to sign Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund to remedy any issues. Pep Guardiola also raided Leeds to bring in England midfielder Kalvin Phillips with back-up goalkeeper Stefan Ortega added to the squad, too. They face Club America on Thursday before matches against Bayern Munich and Liverpool in the Community Shield.
It may only be pre-season but starting your tenure with a 4-0 win over Liverpool is a good introduction for any new Red Devils boss. Erik ten Hag has already signed left-back Tyrell Malacia from Feyenoord and Christian Eriksen on a free, with Lisandro Martinez expected to join from his former club Ajax in the coming days. Whether United’s summer has been a success or not is likely to be judged on if they can convince Frenkie de Jong to sign from Barcelona.
Antonio Conte may have guided Tottenham to fourth last season but the Italian is clearly aiming higher after a summer in which Ivan Perisic, Yves Bissouma and Richarlison were the stand-out arrivals, with Clement Lenglet signing on loan and Djed Spence also expected to join from Middlesbrough. A win over a K-League XI and a 1-1 draw with Sevilla marks a good start to a pre-season campaign which continues with fixtures against beaten Europa League finalists Rangers and former boss Jose Mourinho’s Roma in the coming days.