It’s all gone a bit quiet around the executive offices of top Premier League clubs. It is, of course, not unusual to have a quiet part of the transfer window when the World Cup is on, but the lack of activity is somewhat pronounced given the gluttonous spending over the last few years.
There has most certainly been some spending. Liverpool and Manchester United have landed Fabinho and Fred respectively, both of whom look like shrewd acquisitions.
Liverpool can also boast the signing of Naby Keita, although the ink had dried on that deal last summer. However, things have been noticeably quiet at the Emirates, Etihad and elsewhere.
In saying that, it will be something of a shock if there is not a huge scramble for signings once the World Cup has wrapped up next week. But the fact that it gives limited time for assembling squads leads to a very unclear picture for the start of the new season.
Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea have averaged over £100 million in transfer spending in each of the last five seasons, you would expect their squads to look markedly different by the time the EPL gets underway on 11th August.
Man City’s odds seem short coming before end of transfer window
Indeed, an argument can be made that the bookmakers, who are often so keen to get ahead of the game, have gone out on a limb with the odds for the new season. They have made Manchester City odds-on favourites for the title.
While most cannot argue with City being favourites after their stunning run to the title last season, it is unusual for an EPL team to be given such a low price at the start of the season. After all, no team has retained the Premier League trophy since Manchester United in 2008.
While serious punters will be backing City, It is the other members of the ‘Big 6’ with whom the bookmakers are taking a risk. Liverpool are given odds of 5/1, United 6/1, Chelsea 10/1, Spurs 11/1 and Arsenal 20/1.
It is not inconceivable that any of that quintet will make a ‘game-changing’ move over the next few weeks. United’s hierarchy, in particular, seem to have no qualms about spending huge amounts of money in pursuit of their cross-city rivals.
It might be worth backing them now though before the inevitable big-money signings arrive and slash the odds. Moreover, you now can grab some free bets for Premier League outright markets to do so.
Smaller clubs can capitalise on World Cup fatigue
The point, however, is that the World Cup and lack of transfer activity that has been caused as a result could have a big impact on the start of the season.
Will players be tired after Russia? City, for example, sent a record number of 16 players to the World Cup. Will they have enough of a preseason? Will new signings have enough time to bed in, with just 27 days separating the end of the World Cup and the start of the Premier League season?
A combination of these factors could upend the form guide in August and September, with the ‘smaller’ clubs possibly capitalising on a slow start by the Big 6.
Regardless, it should add to the sense of intrigue and unpredictability, those two elements which make up the Premier League’s biggest selling point.