Few things about the upcoming campaign are likely to be traditional as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to impact football.
The Premier League term starts on September 12, much later than usual due to the delayed finish to 2019-20, while fans won’t be allowed in stadiums until October 3 at the earliest.
The ‘summer’ transfer window will also take on a different shape, staying open until October 5 to give clubs adequate time to do their business.
Premier League sides have been free to reinforce since the window opened officially on July 27. We take a look at the best five deals done so far!
5. Aaron Ramsdale
Ramsdale was one of the few shining lights for Bournemouth last season as they suffered relegation and he will deservedly be playing top-flight football again in 2020-21.
The stopper started out his career in Sheffield United’s academy but he departed for the Cherries in January 2017 for just £1million after failing to break into the senior side.
He was handed the number one role at the Vitality Stadium last term and clearly did enough to convince the Blades to part with £18.5million this summer.
Chris Wilder was always likely to move for a goalkeeper during the off-season after loanee Dean Henderson returned to parent club Manchester United.
Back in familiar surroundings, Ramsdale shouldn’t take too long to settle in and, at the age of just 22, his best years are ahead.
The Blades overachieved in 2019-20, finishing ninth, and they could struggle to match those high standards again in the upcoming season.
Punters may want to back the South Yorkshire outfit to be relegated at
4. Matheus Pereira
West Brom, who are priced at
1/1 to be relegated, signed Pereira on-loan from Sporting Lisbon last term and he played a key role in helping the club to automatic promotion, scoring eight goals and laying on a league-high 16 assists.
After making his 30th start in the Championship in June, West Brom were obliged to buy Pereira due to a clause in his loan deal.
The Baggies had no qualms meeting those obligations, handing over a reported £9million, and securing the Brazilian’s services on a four-year deal.
The playmaker’s ability to pull the strings could prove to be the difference for West Brom in 2020-21 as they look to avoid an immediate return to the second-tier.
Arsenal have earned a reputation for picking up ageing players from London rivals Chelsea and they have continued that trend with the acquisition of Willian this summer.
Olivier Giroud, Petr Cech and David Luiz have all had an impact over recent years after opting to switch west for north London.
Willian, who has joined on a free, seemingly makes Arsenal a stronger outfit and certainly helps to add depth to Mikel Arteta’s squad.
It could be argued that he is the wrong side of 32 but his nine goals and seven assists for the Blues in the league last term suggest otherwise.
Arteta will be looking to get Arsenal back into the Champions League next season and the Gunners are priced at
3/1 to secure a top-four finish.
2. Timo Werner
Chelsea moved early for Werner, securing his services after activating his £47.5million release clause in June, to further strengthen their forward line.
Werner has been RB Leipzig’s leading man since 2016 and he joins the Blues after enjoying his best-ever scoring campaign – netting 34 times in 45 games across all competitions.
This could well prove to be the best deal of the current transfer window, but Werner will need to hit the ground running to retain a starting role with Tammy Abraham and Olivier Giroud for competition.
Frank Lampard led Chelsea to a fourth-place finish in 2019-20 and they can be backed at
10/19 to claim another Champions League berth in 2020-21.
1. Nathan Ake
Manchester City, who are
20/27 to win the title, desperately required a central defender last summer after long-serving captain Vincent Kompany departed.
Pep Guardiola’s failure to replace the Belgian ultimately proved costly as City were hit by a string of injuries and had to rely on midfielder Fernandinho to fill in.
It may be 12 months too late but Guardiola has finally reinforced in the heart of defence after paying £41million for Ake.
The Dutchman, who started out life in Chelsea’s ranks, has earned his stripes in the top-flight with Bournemouth and shouldn’t require any time to settle in.
Ake is comfortable on the ball and looks to fit the brief as far as Guardiola’s philosophy is concerned.
*All odds correct at time of writing