Some seasons, in some leagues, there’s no doubt to the identity of the No. 1 attraction.
Take this year: Lionel Messi remains the brightest star in
the world La Liga, and Kylian Mbappe is in France with hopes of joining his orbit. Cristiano Ronaldo is probably still the one in Serie A.
[ MORE: Complete list of PL transfers ]
The Premier League’s had that before, though surely the partisan world might argue with the statuses of Thierry Henry, Cristiano Ronaldo, and even Eden Hazard.
This year, though? Good luck.
A refreshed and healthy Kevin De Bruyne remains a wonder, Raheem Sterling has become one of the most complete attackers in the world, and there’s an argument to be made that Bernardo Silva is the straw that stirs Man City’s drink. And if you have trouble picking between three guys on a single team’s attack, it’s probably unfair to say either is the top dog for the league.
Celebrating Virgil Van Dijk as a potential Ballon d’Or winner is righteous in a year in which Liverpool was able to eliminate the best player in the world from the Champions League, but Mohamed Salah is still rightly the most watched man at Anfield. The Reds don’t get anywhere prominent without either.
A certain tall Englishman from North London would love you to consider his credentials, even if his health has stopped him from producing truly gaudy numbers. Harry Kane missed eight matches and still finished within five goals of a Golden Boot, a season after bagging 30 but being overshadowed by Salah’s 32.
Paul Pogba is still a wizard, and last season saw him finally put up some numbers resembling the player purchased from Juventus on the heels of an eight-goal, 12-assist season.
Which point of Arsenal’s three-pronged attack is its sharpest? Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is one of the most powerful players of his generation, while Alexandre Lacazette‘s intelligence as a creator is next level. And yet new boy Nicolas Pepe may end up being the best of the bunch, an attacker who willed Lille to second in Ligue 1 and had more total goals and assists than any player not named Mbappe.
There are other names people will want to read here. Kante remains a machine at the heart of anything Chelsea wants to achieve in a season. Ederson is Brazil’s answer to Manuel Neuer in his prime, but Liverpool supporters see Alisson Becker as a fabled hero (and we know a goalkeeper isn’t the answer to this question).
SEATTLE (AP) The Seattle Sounders have acquired midfielder Emanuel Cecchini on loan from Spanish side Malaga and signed forward/midfielder Luis Silva ahead of the summer transfer window.
Cecchini’s loan from Malaga will cover the rest of this season and all of the 2020 season.
[ MORE: 50 fearful PL predictions ]
Cecchini, 22, has been under Malaga’s control since 2017 but he spent most of his time on loan. Cecchini first went on loan with Club Leon in Liga MX then went back to his hometown club of Banfield in Argentina.
Silva, 30, returns to MLS after spending this season with FC Honka in the first division in Finland. Silva had three goals in 13 appearances.
Silva has spent eight seasons in MLS with Real Salt Lake, D.C. United and Toronto. Silva has 32 goals and 16 assists in 158 career MLS regular season games.
We’re about to start 250-plus days of frenetic, teeth-grinding, pulsating days of Premier League football, so what do you say we have a little fun with what could happen over the next nine months.
[ MORE: Transfer records for all 20 PL clubs ]
1. Virgil Van Dijk will win the 2019 Ballon d’Or.
2. Arsenal will be better than most expect en route to winning a trophy this year.
3. Man City and Spurs will make the deepest runs in the UEFA Champions League (unless drawn against each other early in the knockouts).
4. Harry Kane will be near the top of the Premier League goal charts in August, bucking his early season trend.
5. He won’t win the Golden Boot, though, as Mohamed Salah earns that honor.
6. Christian Pulisic will register double-digit assists for Chelsea, but finish just shy of double-digit goals.
7. It will be the other way around for Newcastle record signing Joelinton.
8. Aston Villa’s Dean Smith will finish second in PL Manager of the Year voting, and only because not enough voters will select someone outside the Top Four.
9. Ederson will win the Premier League’s Golden Glove.
10. Norwich City will be the first team to sack its manager.
12. So will Nicolas Pepe.
13. But Aubameyang will finish tied with Harry Kane for second-most goals in the Premier League.
14. Raheem Sterling will win Premier League Players’ Player of the Year.
15. Dele Alli will start less than half of Spurs league matches.
16. A team will be relegated despite reaching the 40 point mark.
17. Watford will lead the league in yellow and red cards.
19. Ruben Loftus-Cheek will return from injury in the winter and become a key piece of some team’s season, whether at Chelsea or on a half-season loan.
20. Arsenal will lead the league in expected goals per game.
21. Everton will be in the Top Four come Nov. 2’s visit from Tottenham.
22. Liverpool will lose the UEFA Super Cup to Chelsea in penalty kicks, and penalty kicks v. Liverpool will become just about the most useless, annoying buzz topic in English football.
23. Man City won’t lose until Dec. 14 at Arsenal.
24. At least one $30 million-plus summer transfer will be sold or loaned in January.
25. Once healthy, Kieran Tierney will have a better first 22 games at Arsenal than fellow Scottish import fullback Andy Robertson had at Liverpool.
26. Sheffield United will be top half of the table at the first international break.
27. Marcus Rashford will score 10 goals and 10 assists for Manchester United, but it will be regarded as not enough due to unrealistic expectations.
28. Burnley will not sit above 10th at any point after Week 1.
29. Brighton’s Alireza Jahanbakhsh will rise from his terribly disappointing debut season in England to score at least one otherworldly goal.
30. Mike Ashley will start a new or renewed takeover rumor right before the January transfer window.
31. Marko Arnautovic‘s brother will link his brother with a return to the Premier League in January.
32. VAR will decide a critical, hairline goal in a Man City-Liverpool match.
33. Liverpool will go unbeaten at home.
34. Everton will win a Merseyside Derby.
36. Josh Sims‘ loan stint with the New York Red Bulls will make him an in-demand transfer target for a PL team in January.
37. Speaking of Southampton, Saints will be in the conversation for a Europa League place before the festive season (Ultimately, the season flames out).
38. At least one non-Top Six team will win a domestic cup.
39. Watford and Crystal Palace see the biggest drop in point total from last season to this.
40. Southampton and Everton make the biggest leap in point total from last season to this.
41. Alexis Sanchez will end up starting matches for Manchester United.
42. Olivier Giroud will match his Premier League best for goals in a season (16, twice).
43. Everton will qualify for Europe.
44. Andy Carroll will score against former clubs West Ham and Liverpool.
45. Ismaila Sarr will score 10 goals as Watford’s record transfer.
46. It will be a breakout season in England for Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka, who will look more like the force he was in the Bundesliga.
47. Gabriel Jesus will return to double-digit goals for Man City.
48. West Ham’s Felipe Anderson will post the most assists of any player not on Liverpool or Man City.
49. Jonas Lossl will start 10 or more matches for Everton.
50. Man City will threepeat, and the title will be decided before the final week of the season.
Deals? Yeah, friends, there were a lot of deals.
The Premier League’s summer transfer window closed on Thursday, but not until a wide array of deals came through the door.
More than half of the Premier League’s teams broke transfer records in 2019. Half! Arsenal, Brighton, Newcastle, Watford, Spurs, West Ham, Wolves, Leicester City, and Aston Villa.
[ MORE: Complete list of PL transfers ]
But what were the best ones, at least in our opinions? Let’s tick some people off.
First off, we’re going to exclude two signings because they were loan deals sorted into permanent moves. Leicester City’s addition of Youri Tielemans would’ve just edged Wolves’ buy of Raul Jimenez.
15. Aaron Mooy, Brighton and Hove Albion (loan) — A workhorse for the center of the park who may just sort out the Seagulls attacking players.
14. Phil Jagielka, Sheffield United — Coming home with a wealth of Premier League knowledge is a nice nod.
13. Tom Heaton, Aston Villa — As good as the Villans may be for a promoted team, they’ll need a veteran boss between the sticks and Heaton fits the bill.
11. Moise Kean, Everton — The chance that Kean is Everton’s striker for the next 3-5 years just moves him ahead of the Alex Iwobi purchase.
10. Giovani Lo Celso, Tottenham Hotspur (loan) — Lo Celso isn’t just a potential star; He gives Spurs valuable depth in all competitions.
9. Sebastien Haller, West Ham United — Possibly the answer to West Ham’s long search for a center piece center forward.
8. Joelinton, Newcastle United — A major statement from the beleaguered owner of a downtrodden former power.
7. Ismaila Sarr, Watford — The sort of attacker who can take a team from midtable to a Top Six discussion.
6. Rodri, Man City — A monumental need met on the hopeful path to a 3-peat.
5. Nicolas Pepe, Arsenal — The number of players involved in more Ligue 1 goals last season? Just one. Kylian Mbappe.
4. Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Manchester United — Not just the answer for a short-term question, but possibly the club’s next anchor right back.
3. Tanguy Ndombele, Tottenham Hotspur — Should give Spurs a reliable answer to its center of the park question.
2. Harry Maguire, Manchester United — The cost was outrageous, but United needed to make this move a full year earlier (though perhaps that would’ve saved Jose Mourinho).
- Joao Cancelo, Man City — This may seem nuts. But you’ll see.
More than of the Premier League’s teams broke transfer records in 2019. Half!
Arsenal, Brighton, Newcastle, Watford, Spurs, West Ham, Man City, Wolves, Leicester City, and Aston Villa all have new top record holders, but where do those (reported) fees line up in comparison to other clubs’ records?
[ MORE: PL transfer grades ]
Wait no further, friends. Here are all the club transfer records for all 20 teams, with all transfers over $70 million included in the interest of perspective.
Fees are rounded to the nearest American million, using the current exchange rate. Values for Top 100 all-time transfers come from Transfermarkt, the rest via reports:
Manchester United – Paul Pogba (2016) – $108M
Manchester United – Harry Maguire (2019) – $99M
Manchester United – Romelu Lukaku (2017) – $97M
Liverpool – Virgil Van Dijk (2018) – $91M
Chelsea – Kepa Arrizabalaga (2018) – $91M
Arsenal – Nicolas Pepe (2019) – $88M
Man City – Rodri (2019) – $80M
Man City – Riyad Mahrez (2018) – $77M
Man City – Kevin De Bruyne (2015) – $75M
Chelsea – Alvaro Morata (2017) – $75M
Man City – Joao Cancelo (2019) – $74M
Man City – Aymeric Laporte (2017) – $74M
Chelsea – Christian Pulisic (2019) – $73M
Arsenal – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (2017) – $73M
Man City – Raheem Sterling (2015) – $73M
Liverpool – Alisson Becker (2018) – $71M
Spurs – Tanguy Ndombele (2019) – $68M
Everton – Gylfi Sigurdsson (2017) – $56M
Leicester City – Youri Tielemans (2019) – $51M
Newcastle United – Joelinton (2019) – $50M
Watford- Ismaila Sarr (2019) – $49M
West Ham – Sebastien Haller (2019) – $46M
Wolves – Raul Jimenez (2019) – $43M
Crystal Palace – Christian Benteke (2016) – $33M
Bournemouth – Jefferson Lerma (2017) – $30M
Southampton – Jannik Vestergaard (2018) – $29M
Aston Villa – Wesley (2019) – $27M
Brighton – Neil Maupay and Adam Webster (2019) – $24M each
Sheffield United – Oli McBurnie (2019) – $24M
Norwich City – Steven Naismith (2016) and Tim Klose (2016) – $12M each