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Premier League season preview: Predicting where all 20 clubs will finish

The Premier League returns this weekend and, ahead of the new season, we’re predicting where all 20 clubs will finish, offering pre-season betting tips.

1st – Manchester City

In: Mateo Kovačić (£25 million; Chelsea), Joško Gvardiol (€90 million; RB Leipzig).

Out: Riyāḍ Maḥrez (£30 million; Al Ahli), İlkay Gündoğan (free; Barcelona), Benjamin Mendy (free; Lorient), Carlos Borges (£12 million; Ajax), James Trafford (£15 million; Burnley), Yangel Herrera (undislosed; Girona), Shea Charles (£10 million; Southampton), Yan Couto (loan; Girona), Callum Doyle (loan; Leicester) & Liam Delap (loan; Hull).

In the 135-year history of the English top-flight, no team has ever won four successive league titles, a feat Manchester City are chasing.

Back in May, the Citizens completed the treble as they were crowned champions of Europe for the very first time, with Rodri’s long-range strike downing Internazionale in İstanbul.

A week earlier, Pep Guardiola’s team had beaten Manchester United in the FA Cup Final, having picked up a third successive Premier League title, courtesy of 13 successive wins between 25 February and 21 May.

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This summer, Man City have lost İlkay Gündoğan and Riyāḍ Maḥrez, with over £110 million spent on a pair of Croatians, namely Mateo Kovačić from Chelsea and Joško Gvardiol from RB Leipzig.

In short, not a lot has changed in East Manchester, meaning most are expecting those sky blue and white ribbons to remain draped on the Premier League trophy come May.

Tip of the season

2nd – Liverpool

In: Dominik Szoboszlai (£60 million; RB Leipzig) & Alexis Mac Allister (£35 million; Brighton).

Out: Jordan Henderson (free; Al-Ettifaq), Fabinho (free; Al-Ittihad), Roberto Firmino (free; Al Ahli), James Milner (free; Brighton), Naby Keïta (free; Werder Bremen), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (free; released), Leighton Clarkson (undisclosed; Aberdeen), Fábio Carvalho (loan; RB Leipzig), Sepp van den Berg (loan; Mainz), Rhys Williams (loan; Aberdeen) & Calvin Ramsay (loan; Preston).

It’s been all change at Liverpool this summer, particularly in midfield, so will the Reds enjoy a better campaign?

Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Roberto Firmino, James Milner, Naby Keïta and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have all departed having, between them, made 1,680 appearances for the club.

Almost £100 million have been spent to rebuild the Reds’ midfield, with both Dominik Szoboszlai and Alexis Mac Allister arriving.

This though is two players replacing five, so could 18-year-old Stefan Bajčetić be the new first-choice defensive midfielder, or will we see more of Trent Alexander-Arnold in midfield?

Having finished fifth last season, their lowest for seven years, Jürgen Klopp’s team will have Europa League football to contend with, so could they go all in to win domestic honours?

With so much attacking talent in this squad, Liverpool are certainly going to be exciting this season and, given that they face Chelsea on the opening weekend, this’ll be a fantastic early litmus test.

Tip of the season

3rd – Arsenal

In: Declan Rice (£105 million; West Ham), Kai Havertz (£65 million; Chelsea) & Jurriën Timber (£38 million; Ajax).

Out: Granit Xhaka (£21 million; Leverkusen), Pablo Marí (€6 million; Monza), Auston Trusty (£5 million; Sheffield United) & Ainsley Maitland-Niles (free; released).

Having mounted a very unlikely and unexpected title challenge last season, can Arsenal continue to fight towards the very top of the table?

Last season, the Gunners led the league for 248 days, a new record for a side not going on to be champions, but Mikel Arteta’s team faltered in the final month, eventually finishing five points adrift Man City.

This though still represented a successful season, with Arsenal accumulating 15 more points than the previous campaign, and qualifying for the Champions League for the first time since 2016.

Balancing Premier League and Champions League will be a new challenge for Arteta, so his priority has been adding quality all across the squad.

Over £100 million has been spent on Declan Rice, smashing the club-record fee, while Jurriën Timber and Kai Havertz have also joined, all officially confirmed before mid-July.

The only notable departure, to date, is Granit Xhaka, which means Arsenal’s midfield will look very different, with Havertz being repurposed as a ‘free eight’, having not shone as a false nine during his time at Chelsea.

The Gunners do come into this campaign on a high, having defeated Manchester City in Sunday’s FA Community Shield.

Leandro Trossard’s deflected equaliser in the 11th minute of injury time forcing a penalty shootout, which they won 4-1, converting all four spot-kicks.

Arsenal supporters are now hoping this will be just the start of their triumphs this season and, with games against Manchester United and Tottenham to come in their first six, Arteta’s team need to start fast.

4th – Manchester United

In: André Onana (£45 million; Inter), Mason Mount (£55 million; Chelsea), Rasmus Højlund (€80 million; Atalanta) & Jonny Evans (free; Leicester).

Out: Anthony Elanga (£15 million; Nottingham Forest), David de Gea (free; released), Phil Jones (free; released), Alex Telles (£4 million; Al Nassr), Axel Tuanzebe (free; released), Charlie Savage (undisclosed; Reading) & Will Fish (loan; Hibernian).

After a vast improvement last season in Erik ten Hag’s first year in charge, can Manchester United kick on again?

The Red Devils got back into the Champions League, improving by 17 points, winning the Carabao Cup and reaching the FA Cup Final, crushingly beaten by Man City, who then went on to emulate their historic treble.

Nevertheless, given how bad they’d been under Ralf Rangnick, ten Hag’s first season at the helm was an undeniable success, but now they must improve again.

It’s all change in goal, with David de Gea having been released, 12 years after arriving, with André Onana his replacement, which is a serious upgrade, at least in terms of possession, if not shot-stopping.

Outfield, Mason Mount has also arrived to compete with Christian Eriksen for a midfield spot, while Man United finally have a new number nine, as over £80 million has been spent to recruit Rasmus Højlund.

Despite also being tall, fast, blond and Nordic, and the fact his name sounds a lot like Håland, Højlund is not a prolific goal-scorer, but the idea is he’ll help get the best out of Marcus Rashford, Antony and others.

Nevertheless, held back by the ongoing ownership issues, this squad isn’t significantly stronger than last season, with ten Hag himself admitting this team are not yet ready to challenge for the title.

5th – Chelsea

In: Christopher Nkunku (£52 million; RB Leipzig), Nicolas Jackson (£32 million; Villarreal), Axel Disasi (£38.6 million; Monaco), Robert Sánchez (£25 million; Brighton), Lesley Ugochukwu (£23 million; Rennes) & Ângelo Gabriel (£13 million; Santos).

Out: Kai Havertz (£65 million; Arsenal), Mateo Kovačić (£25 million; club), Mason Mount (£55 million; Manchester United), Christian Pulisic (£20 million; AC Milan), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (£15 million; AC Milan), Ethan Ampadu (£7 million; Leeds), N’Golo Kanté (free; Al-Ittihad), Édouard Mendy (£16 million; Al-Ahli), Kalidou Koulibaly (£17 million; Al-Hilal), César Azpilicueta (free; Atlético Madrid), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (free; Marseille), Baba Rahman (free; PAOK), Tiémoué Bakayoko (free; released), Dujon Sterling (free; Rangers), David Datro Fofana (loan; Union Berlin) & Omari Hutchinson (loan; Ipswich).

Following a 12th place finish, picking up their lowest points tally since being relegated in 1988, it’s hard to know what to expect from Chelsea.

The appointment of Mauricio Pochettino is certainly a statement of intent to start, what’s already been, an extremely busy summer in the transfer market.

A full starting XIs worth of first-team players have been sold already, listed above, but Todd Boehly has continued to splash the cash, with almost £200 million spent on new arrivals.

Christopher Nkunku is the pick of the bunch, arriving from RB Leipzig, although Nicolas Jackson has been excellent throughout pre-season, deployed as the central striker.

However, with no European football to contend with, Pochettino will have plenty of time on the training ground, although limited fixtures could make it challenging to keep a still bloated squad happy.

With Champions League expansion to come next season, fifth place could be enough to secure qualification for Europe’s premier club competition, although we won’t know that until towards the end of the campaign.

The Blues take on Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on the opening weekend, which’ll be a fascinating encounter, and we’ll all find out just where this Chelsea team is right now.

Tip of the season

6th – Newcastle United

In: Sandro Tonali (£55 million; AC Milan), Harvey Barnes (£38 million; Leicester) & Yankuba Minteh (£6 million; Odense BK).

Out: Allan Saint-Maximin (£23 million; Al Ahli), Chris Wood (£15 million; Nottingham Forest), Karl Darlow (£400,000; Leeds), Jamal Lewis (loan; Watford), Yankuba Minteh (loan; Feyenoord), Ciaran Clark (free; released), Matty Longstaff (free; released) & Harrison Ashby (loan; Swansea),

Newcastle United are back in the Champions League after 20 years away, so there’s certainly plenty of excitement on Tyneside, and rightly so.

Eddie Howe’s team secured the Magpies first top four finish since 2003, and reached the club’s first cup final since 1999, so the challenge now is to prove this wasn’t a one-off.

Big money has been spent to bring Sandro Tonali and Harvey Barnes to the club, while Allan Saint-Maximin has been sold to Al Ahli in Saudi Arabia.

One of the key’s to Newcastle’s success last season was consistency of selection, with Kieran Trippier, Nick Pope, Fabian Schär, Sven Botman and Dan Burn all clocking up well over 3,000 minutes in the league.

As a pot four team, Newcastle will almost certainly face at least two juggernauts in the Champions League group stages, so juggling domestic and continental commitments will be the new challenge.

7th – Tottenham Hotspur

In: Dejan Kuluševski (€35 million; Juventus), James Maddison (£40 million; Leicester), Pedro Porro (£35 million; Sporting), Guglielmo Vicario (€20 million; Empoli) & Manor Solomon (free; Shakhtar Donetsk).

Out: Harry Winks (£10 million; Leicester) & Lucas Moura (free; São Paulo).

For the first time since 2009, Tottenham Hotspur begin a season not in Europe, with their aim, first and foremost, to get back into UEFA competition this time round.

Following a catastrophic campaign under Antonio Conte, Spurs finished eighth in May, so are in desperate need of a fresh start.

The man tasked with this challenge is Ange Postecoglou, having led Australia to Asia Cup glory in 2015, winning five trophies in two seasons in charge of Celtic, including the treble last season.

Postecoglou’s expansive, attacking style of play will certainly endear him to the Tottenham supporters, who’ve put up with years of dull football played by José Mourinho, briefly Nuno Espírito Santo and then Conte.

But, with the club’s all-time record goal-scorer Harry Kane seemingly on his way to Munich, this’ll surely be a season of transition in N17.

Guglielmo Vicario will be the new number one, succeeding Hugo Lloris, while James Maddison and Manor Solomon will hope to help fill the attacking void vacated by Kane.

Spurs ended last season with just 60 points, losing 14 league games, so will surely improve on that and, with no European commitments, Postecoglou will go all out to win a domestic cup.

8th – Aston Villa

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Aston Villa v Birmingham City - Villa Park. Aston Villa fans in the Holte end with a giant flag - Image ID: GCFE80

In: Youri Tielemans (free; Aston Villa), Pau Torres (£32 million; Villarreal) & Moussa Diaby (£52 million; Leverkusen).

Out: Wesley (undisclosed; Stoke), Marvelous Nakamba (£1.7 million; Luton), Ashley Young (free; Everton), Jed Steer (free; released) & Morgan Sanson (loan; Nice).

The Claret and Blue Army are back in European competition so, having won the Europa League with Sevilla and Villarreal, can Unai Emery lead Villa to Europa Conference League glory.

Later this month, Aston Villa will return to UEFA competition with a two-legged play-off on 24 & 31 August, with their opponents to be confirmed on Monday lunchtime.

Emery really transformed this team after taking over in November, finding Villa 17th when Steven Gerrard was sacked, before they surged all the way up to seventh, securing that spot by beating Brighton on the final day.

Given their manager’s pedigree, Aston Villa are surely the favourites to win the Europa Conference League, so perhaps fans should start booking flight from Birmingham to Athens on 29 May while they’re still affordable.

Knowing they’ll have to juggle Premier League and Europe, they’ve been busy in the transfer window, with Pau Torres, Youri Tielemans and Moussa Diaby all looking like very exciting editions.

This Villa squad looks absolutely jam-packed full of talent, so they’ll be a match for anyone.

Tip of the season

9th – Brighton & Hove Albion

Soccer - Sky Bet Championship - Brighton and Hove Albion v Birmingham City - AMEX Stadium - Image ID: G6PJ3A

In: João Pedro (£30 million; Watford), James Milner (free; Liverpool), Igor Julio (€17 million; Fiorentina), Bart Verbruggen (£16.3 million; Anderlecht) & Mahmoud Dahoud (free; Dortmund).

Out: Alexis Mac Allister (£35 million; Liverpool), Robert Sánchez (£25; million), Aaron Connolly (undisclosed; Hull), Abdallah Sima (loan; Rangers), Jeremy Sarmiento (loan; West Brom) & Deniz Undav (loan; Stuttgart).

Will Brighton & Hove Albion continue to punch above their weight?

Last season, despite having Graham Potter poached in September, Roberto De Zerbi made this team even stronger, as the Seagulls got into Europe for the first time in their 122-year history.

Brighton enjoyed wins over Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea as they finished all the way up in sixth, thereby qualifying for the Europa League group stages.

They’re projected to be in pot three, with the draw, that is eagerly anticipated in Sussex, coming up on September 1.

Ahead of a significantly more congested fixture list, Brighton have been busy in the transfer window.

Big money has been spent on João Pedro, Igor and Bart Verbruggen, while Mahmoud Dahoud and James Milner, both arriving on frees, will certainly add experience.

Despite a club-record bid from Brighton, Levi Colwill will be remaining at Chelsea, while Robert Sánchez has been sold to the West London club, with Alexis Mac Allister signing for Liverpool.

Moisés Caicedo does still remain on the South Coast, but that speculation simply won’t go away.

Nevertheless, whenever they lose their best players, Brighton always seem to get stronger, but their league results will surely be, at least to some extend, hampered by European commitments.

10th – Brentford

In: Nathan Collins (£23 million; Wolves), Kevin Schade (£22 million; club) & Mark Flekken (£11 million; Freiburg).

Out: Pontus Jansson (free; Malmö), Mads Bidstrup (€6 million; RB Salzburg), Saman Ghoddos (free; released), Halil Dervişoğlu £500,000; Galatasaray) & Joel Valencia (free; Zagłębie Sosnowiec).

Having achieved a first top-half finish in the top division since 1938, will Brentford continue to be very competitive?

Since gaining promotion, Thomas Frank’s team have finished 13th and then ninth, bookending a memorable campaign last time round with wins over Tottenham and then Manchester City.

These were achieved without Ivan Toney, and this is a reality the Bees will have to get used to, given that their talismanic centre-forward is banned until mid-January having broken FA betting rules.

So Kevin Schade, who’s loan has been made permanent, is likely to be the main focal point of attack, for the first half of the season at least.

At the other end of the pitch, Nathan Collins has come in from Wolves, to bolster centre-back options, while Mark Flekken is the new number one, with David Raya set to leave the club later this month.

Losing Toney for half the campaign is obviously a huge blow, but it’s likely to be more of same from Brentford, who look well place to, at the very least, remain well clear of the relegation battle.

Tip of the season

11th – Bournemouth

In: Justin Kluivert (£9.5 million; Roma), Romain Faivre (£13 million; Lyon), Hamed Traorè (£20 million; Sassuolo), Milos Kerkez (£15 million; AZ) & Ionuț Radu (loan; Inter).

Out: Romain Faivre (loan; Lorient), Mark Travers (loan; Stoke), Jefferson Lerma (free; Crystal Palace), Jordan Zemura (free; Udinese), Jack Stacey (free; Norwich), Junior Stanislas (free; released) & Ben Pearson (undisclosed; Stoke).

Bournemouth were everybody’s pre-season favourites for relegation and, following their 9-0 drubbing at Anfield in August, manager Scott Parker concurred.

He was duly sacked, with Gary O’Neil taking over, initially as caretaker, before being given the job permanently during the World Cup break, guiding the Cherries to a more than respectable 15th place finish.

Thus, there was much outcry when, a month after the season had concluded, Bournemouth confirmed that they’d sacked O’Neil, with Andoni Iraola the new man in charge in Dorset.

The 41-year-old has an impressive managerial CV in Spain, first guiding second-tier Mirandés to the Copa del Rey semi-finals.

He then took over at Rayo Vallecano, leading them to promotion via the play-offs, with los Franjirrojos finishing 12th and then 11th in back-to-back seasons in La Liga.

So, appointing Iraola is a massive coup for Bournemouth, who come into this campaign with sky-high optimism.

In the transfer window, Hamed Traorè’s loan has been made permanent, while the Cherries have also spent big on winger Justin Kluivert as well as Milos Kerkez, who’ll be the new left-back.

These all seem like shrewd acquisitions and, in Iraola we trust, so Bournemouth could prove plenty wrong once again.

Tip of the season

12th – Fulham

In: Calvin Bassey (£20 million; Fulham) & Raúl Jiménez (£5.5 million; Wolves).

Out: Paulo Gazzaniga (free; Girona), Shane Duffy (free; Norwich), Neeskens Kebano (free; released) & Joe Bryan (free; Millwall).

Fulham ended their yo-yo years by coming tenth last time round, achieving their highest finish since 2012.

But, all is not well in the Cottagers’ camp, with Aleksandar Mitrović currently on strike, as he seeks to force through the move to Saudi Arabia that he’s always dreamed of.

In better news, midfielder João Palhinha, who most would agree is Fulham’s most important player, is still at the club, despite bids from West Ham and others.

Raúl Jiménez has arrived to be Mitrović’s pre-emptive replacement, hoping to rediscover his best form, while Calvin Bassey has joined from Ajax, bolstering defensive options.

So, it’s tough to know what to expect from Fulham, and we won’t really have a clear idea until the transfer window slams shut later this month.

13th – Burnley

In: Dara O’Shea (£7 million; West Brom), Nathan Redmond (free; Beşiktaş), James Trafford (£15 million; Manchester City), Jordan Beyer (£13 million; Mönchengladbach), Michael Obafemi (£3.5 million; Swansea), Zeki Amdouni (£16 million; Basel), Luca Koleosho (£2.6 million; Espanyol), Jacob Bruun Larsen (loan; Hoffenheim) & Lawrence Vigouroux (free; Leyton Orient).

Out: Bailey Peacock-Farrell (loan; AGF), Ashley Barnes (free; Norwich), Matt Lowton (free; released) & Bobby Thomas (£2 million; Coventry).

Burnley are back in the big time, so will they take the Premier League by storm?

Little over 12 months ago, Vincent Kompany took charge of Burnley for the first time, with his team romping to the Championship title, becoming just the sixth team to break the 100 point mark in second-tier history.

Kompany revolutionised the Clarets’ style of play, very quickly transforming them from a direct, 4-4-2 side under Sean Dyche, to an expansive, tiki-taka team who play out from the back and keep possession.

So, if you haven’t seen a Burnley game since they were relegated, prepare to be surprised.

Classic Claret stalwart Ashley Barnes has departed this summer, with big money spent on superstar striker Zeki Amdouni, defender Jordan Beyer and U21 Euros hero James Trafford, who’ll be the new number one.

Meanwhile, Nathan Redmond has arrived on a free from Beşiktaş (bet you didn’t know he was there) while Wout Weghorst is back from his loan at Manchester United, guaranteed to score at Old Trafford isn’t he?

Burnley are involved in the first Premier League fixture of the new season, welcoming Manchester City to Turf Moor on Friday night, so can Kompany spring a massive surprise against the club with whom he is a legend?

14th – Crystal Palace

In: Matheus França(£26 million; Flamengo) & Jefferson Lerma (free; Bournemouth).

Out: Wilfried Zaha (free; Galatasaray), Jack Butland (free; Rangers), Luka Milivojević (free; released) & James McArthur (free; released).

Roy Hodgson began his managerial career in 1976, and he has no intentions of ending it any time soon.

Back in March, the 75 year old came out of retirement for the second time, returning to Crystal Palace after Patrick Vieira had been sacked.

Hodgson won his first three matches back in charge, accumulating 18 points from ten outings overall, doing such a good job that he’s been appointed full time Head Coach once again, given a one-year contract.

This though is not the headline news of the summer, with talisman Wilfried Zaha having departed on a free transfer for Galatasaray, leaving after making 458 appearances across two spells in South London.

A few years ago, Zaha going would’ve been catastrophic for Crystal Palace but now, with Eberechi Eze, Michael Olise and the returning Malcolm Ebiowei in the fold, they should be able to absorb his departure.

The Eagles have also signed Matheus França from Flamengo, while Jefferson Lerma, who’s come in from Bournemouth on a free, is also likely to debut in midfield against Sheffield United on Saturday.

This is Palace’s 11th consecutive season in the top-flight, their longest-ever streak, and their average position during that time is 12th, with something similar seeming likely.

15th – West Ham United

In: At the time of publishing, West Ham have made no senior editions.

Out: Declan Rice (£105 million; Arsenal), Gianluca Scamacca (£21 million; Atalanta), Manuel Lanzini (free; River Plate) & Arthur Masuaku (£1.8 million; Beşiktaş).

Just 61 days ago, Jarrod Bowen’s late winner in Prague saw West Ham United beat Fiorentina in the Europa Conference League Final, claiming the club’s first major silverware for 43 years.

So, the Hammers should be coming into this campaign full of optimism, with Europa League group stage football to look forward to, but that is certainly not the vibe in East London right now.

Club captain Declan Rice has been sold to Arsenal for a Premier League record £105 million but, as of yet, West Ham are still the only club yet to make a signing.

They’ve had bids for João Palhinha and James Ward-Prowse rejected, with the club really struggling to agree reasonable fees with anyone, given that all potential sellers know West Ham a flush with cash.

Last seasons, David Moyes’ men struggled to balance domestic and European fixtures, with that final win over Prague their 15th Europa Conference League match of the campaign.

Now in the higher-tier Europa competition, and with a weaker squad, there’s little to suggest this won’t be an issue again, meaning the Irons could be apart of the relegation dog-fight once again.

16th – Everton

In: Ashley Young (free; Aston Villa) & Arnaut Danjuma (loan; Villarreal).

Out: Moise Kean (£31 million; Juventus), Yerry Mina (free; Fiorentina), Andros Townsend (free; released), Tom Davies (free; released), Asmir Begović (free; QPR), Ellis Simms (£8 million; Coventry), Niels Nkounkou (€2 million; Saint-Étienne) & Isaac Price (£400,000; Standard Liège).

Everton, just about, survived in the Premier League on the final day, courtesy of Abdoulaye Doucouré’s rocket against Bournemouth.

Sean Dyche managed to win five leagues matches after taking over in February, four of which came at Goodison, so can he make sure that Evertonians aren’t left sweating on the final day yet again?

Well, the arrivals of Ashley Young on a free and Arnaut Danjuma on loan don’t suggest the Blues are going to finish significantly higher up the table do they?

The Toffees need Dominic Calvert-Lewin to stay fit and hope that Dyche can work his magic, or their Premier League status will go down to the wire yet again.

17th – Nottingham Forest

In: Chris Wood (£12 million; Newcastle), Anthony Elanga (£15 million; Manchester United) & Ola Aina (free; Torino).

Out: Jesse Lingard (free; released), André Ayew (free; released), Cafú (free; Rotherham), Sam Surridge ($6.5 million; Nashville), Jack Colback (free; QPR) & Richie Laryea (loan; Vancouver Whitecaps).

Last season, Nottingham Forest couldn’t stop signing players, making 31 editions throughout the campaign overall.

Now though, there is concern by the River Trent that they haven’t made enough editions, with Anthony Elanga and Ola Aina the only new faces through the door so far.

Back in May, Steve Cooper’s side secured Premier League survival by beating Arsenal 1-0, concluding a rollercoaster campaign for the Reds.

Forest won just once on the road all season, this against Nathan Jones’ Southampton, and home form will once again remain key.

It would be a major surprise if Nottingham Forest aren’t scrapping towards the bottom end of the table once more.

18th – Wolverhampton Wanderers

In: Matheus Cunha (£44 million; Atlético Madrid), Matt Doherty (free; Atlético Madrid) & Boubacar Traoré (£9.5 million; Metz).

Out: Rúben Neves (£47 million; Al Hilal), Adama Traoré (free; released), Diego Costa (free; released), João Moutinho (free; released), Raúl Jiménez (£5.5 million; Fulham), Nathan Collins (£23 million; Brentford), Conor Coady (£7.5 million; Leicester), Hayao Kawabe (£1.3 million; Standard Liège), Yerson Mosquera (loan; Cincinnati), Chiquinho (loan; Stoke) & Ki-Jana Hoever (loan; Stoke).

In recent seasons, there’s always been one team who go down somewhat out of nowhere, and all the signs suggest that this could be Wolverhampton Wanderers.

So far this summer, stalwarts of the Nuno-era Rúben Neves, Adama Traoré , Conor Coady, João Moutinho and Raúl Jiménez have all departed, with the £47 million received for Neves needed to balance the books.

Nathan Collins has also been sold to Brentford with, to date, Wolves’ only edition being the return of Matt Doherty, who back at Molineux, rejoining on a free from Atlético Madrid.

Julen Lopetegui worked wonders in the Black Country last season, with Wolves bottom when he first took charge on Boxing Day, comfortably finishing 13th by the end.

However, the Spaniard hasn’t been shy voicing his displeasure at the financial constraints holding the club back so, right now, it seems unlikely that Lopetegui will still be in charge in a few months time.

If alarm bells aren’t ringing in Wolverhampton, they certainly should be!

Wolves start the campaign on Monday night at Old Trafford, before also facing Brighton, Liverpool and Manchester City before the end of September, so back them to get relegated now, before that price drops.

Tip of the season

19th – Sheffield United

In: Auston Trusty (£5 million; Arsenal), Bénie Traoré (£4 million; BK Häcken), Anis Ben Slimane (£1 million; Brøndby) & Yasser Larouci (loan; Troyes).

Out: Iliman Ndiaye (£15 million; Marseille), Billy Sharp (free; released), Jack O’Connell (free; released) & Enda Stevens (free; Stoke).

The last time Sheffield United were promotion to the Premier League in 2019, they took the division by storm in 2019, finishing ninth under Chris Wilder.

The Blades were relegated in the behind-closed-doors season, but a repeat top half finish seems unlikely for Paul Heckingbottom’s team.

The Blades gained automatic promotion from the Championship, finishing a whopping 11 points clear of Luton, thanks largely to an amazing run either side of the World Cup, winning 11 of 14 matches during the winter.

So, can Sheffield United stay up?

Well, their hopes of achieving this did suffer a serious blow when star winger Iliman Ndiaye joined Olympique de Marseille for £15 million.

In have come left-back Yasser Larouci on loan, while Auston Trusty, Bénie Traoré and Anis Ben Slimane have arrived from combined £10 million.

Given that their owned by Prince Abdullah, most would expect the Blades to have been busy in the transfer window but, as of yet, this has not been the case, meaning they face an uphill battle to survive.

Tip of the season

20th – Luton Town

In: Chiedozie Ogbene (free; Rotherham), Mads Andersen (£3 million; Barnsley), Tahith Chong (£4 million; Birmingham), Marvelous Nakamba (undisclosed; Aston Villa), Ryan Giles (£5 million; Wolves), Thomas Kaminski (£2.5 million; Blackburn) & Issa Kaboré (loan; Manchester City).

Out: Henri Lansbury (free; released), Fred Onyedinma (loan, Rotherham) & Sonny Bradley (free; Derby County).

Everyone is going to have Luton Town bottom of their pre-season predictions, and we’re no different; sorry Hatters!

Back in May, Luton were promoted back to the top-flight for the first time in 31 years, this, remarkably, coming just nine seasons after they were a non-league club, a true footballing fairytale.

To make matters more funny for the Hatters, this was achieved under Rob Edwards, who only took over in November, having been sacked after just 11 games in charge of fierce rivals Watford two months earlier.

Edwards worked miracles to get Luton into the Premier League, but it would be even more miraculous if they are able to stay here.

Safe to say, the new-comers are not going to splash the cash; Chiedozie Ogbene, Thomas Kaminski, Tahith Chong and Mads Andersen have arrived from EFL clubs, with Marvelous Nakamba’s loan made permanent.

Carlton Morris was the top-scorer last season, bagging 20 league goals, so whether or not he can score at Premier League level will be a key factor behind their success.

Kenilworth Road will have to wait until September 1 to host Premier League football, following wholesale renovations, and Luton will take points off big boys there, but it would be some achievement if they stayed up.

Tip of the season

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Ben Gray

Arsenal fan – follow them over land and sea (and Leicester); sofa Celtic supporter; a bit of a football '"encyclopedia".

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