John Newsome looks at the prospects of 5 more clubs, including one West-London team that will be looking to challenge for top honours again under new boss Maurizio Sarri.
All change at Stamford Bridge with the departure of Antonio Conte and the arrival of his fellow Italian compatriot Maurizio Sarri. Maurizio hasn’t wasted much time and has already brought Jorginho with him from Napoli for a fee close to £50m. Jorginho was a target for Pep at Man City but chose to follow Sarri to Chelsea as apparently he prefers London to Manchester. New Blues boss Sarri, may have to contend with other departures. After an excellent World Cup, Belgium star Eden Hazard may look to fill Cristiano Ronaldo’s shoes at Real Madrid. Willian is reportedly on the radar of Barcelona and his old boss at Chelsea and could look to join Jose at Manchester United. French World Cup winner N’Golo Kante, is quite literally one of the best midfielders in the World and is wanted by everyone, with Barcelona reportedly chasing the 2 time Premier League winner. A signing which wouldn’t cost Roman Abramovich anything would be Ruben Loftus-Cheek. The England ace played his part in The Three Lions revival in Russia and was loaned out to Crystal Palace last term. Sarri wouldn’t go far wrong in giving RLC a run in his side. Ruben is an excellent young player with all the athletic attributes to make him a top midfielder. CSKA midfielder Alexsandr Golovin, who also had a great World Cup in his homeland could replace the players who are set to leave, however, Monaco are chasing Golovin too. Safari could go for Juventus ace Gonzalo Higuaín. After CR7 joined the Italian Notts County, the Old Lady have to sell some players and Maurizio knows Higuaín well from his time at Napoli. Belgium’s other Chelsea star, Thibaut Courtois looks set to leave too, with Real Madrid again wanting to spend some of the Cristiano Ronaldo Transfer money on another Belgium/Chelsea star. This will be a season of transition at Stamford Bridge and the Chelsea faithful shouldn’t expect too much. The Blues travel up to Yorkshire to take on Huddersfield on the opening weekend and Bet 365 are offering 12/1 for Maurizio Sarri to win the Premier League in his debut season. A cup may be the best the Chelsea faithful can hope for and Bet 365 are offering 7/1 for Chelsea to win either the Europa League or FA Cup and 8/1 to win the League Cup. Before the start of the Premier League, as current FA Cup holders, they have the annual season opener at Wembley against 2017/18 Premier League Title winners Man City for the Community Shield. This is always a nice pre-cursor to the new season.
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Palace have been pretty quiet in the Transfer window. Vincente Guaita has been recruited in from Spanish La Liga side Getafe. However, Vincente hasn’t cost the Palace board anything as he has come on a free. Palace are in talks with West Ham to sign the Senegalese midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate and the Hammers value the tough tackling player at £10 Million. Which in today’s market is a snip. There’s rumours Roy Hodgson is looking at re-signing Ruben Loftus-Cheek and is set to hijack the proposed Cardiff loan move for Liverpool midfielder Marko Grujic and are also keeping an eye on Roma’s French midfielder Maxime Gonalons.
Roy Hodgson’s main challenge ahead of the new season will surely be to keep hold of key man Wilfried Zaha. The Eagles didn’t win a point last season when Wilfried wasn’t playing. Andros Townsend a target for Newcastle having played up on Tyneside in the 2016 season when Newcastle were relegated to the Championship. Despite signing a 5 and a half year deal at Newcastle, Andros left in the summer of the same year to join Crystal Palace, but the Toon Army are interested in getting the winger back and would be a good signing for the Magpies.
A few players have left Selhurst Park, notably Yohan Cabaye, Bakary Sako, Lee Chung-Yong and Diego Cavalieri. If Roy can hold on to Wilfried they will have a good season, however, without the Ivory Coast star, Palace will be in for a relegation struggle again this term. They have a short trip to start with and just nip across London to Fulham on the opening weekend. With Bet 365 they are 750/1 to win the title, 40/1 to win the League Cup and 50/1 to claim the FA Cup. Without Zaha, the 11/2 Bet 365 are offering for Crystal Palace to be relegated may be too big.
Predicted Finish 16th
Everton have a new man at the helm with the departure of fans favourite Sam Allardyce and the arrival of ex-Hull and Watford boss Marco Silva. He has wasted no time in raiding his old club and has purchased Brazillian star Richarlison from the Hornets for a staggering £40Million. Maybe this is part of the compensation package Everton have had to pay Watford for Marco. That is ”ok we will take your old manager, but if you want compensation, we want a player” maybe, maybe not. What is certain is Richarlison will be plying his trade up on Merseyside for the foreseeable future. Marco has let star man Wayne Rooney leave and join the MLS side DC United based in the Unisted States
capital Washington. Youngster Ademola Lookman was on loan at German side RB Leipsig whilst Big Sam was in charge and although the German Bundesliga side wanted Ademola for £12 Million, The Toffees are reluctant to sell and Marco will class this as a new signing for Everton. The powers that be at Goodison are in talks with Celtic for young Left Back Kieran Tierney and are also monitoring Bordeaux’ s Brazillian forward Malcolm to partner his fellow countryman Richarlison up front. However, Barcelona look favourite to sign Malcolm. Cause they can. Colombian giant and current Barcelona player Yerry Mina is another target for Marco’s Blues but French side Lyon might hijack that particular deal as they have Champions League football to offer Big Yerry. Everton are away at newcomers Wolverhampton Wanderers on the opening weekend of the season and Bet 365 have the Toffees at 250/1 to lift the Premier League Trophy. Perhaps are decent bet for the Goodison faithful is to collect one of the cups at 20/1. New boy Richarlison is 80/1 to be the leading scorer. That means if you put £1 on for Richarlison to score more Premier League goals then anyone else, you lose £1.
Newly promoted Fulham have made their intentions clear by signing 2014 German World Cup Winner Andre Schurrle on a Season-Long loan deal from Borussia Dortmund. The 27 year old has struggled for form over recent years but has played in the Premier League before for Chelsea so is no stranger to England. Boss Slavisa Jokanovic has also brought in 3 other players, signing Defender Maxime le Marchand and Midfielder Jean Michael Seri both from French club Nice, capturing the pair for a combined £30 Million and Goalkeeper Fabricio Agosto Ramirez, ‘Fabri’ to his mates. Leaving the Cottagers is Goalkeeper David Button who has gone to fellow Premier League club Brighton and Ryan Fredericks who has gone over the other side of the capital and joined West Ham. Maybe the most significant signing for Slavisa is tying down Tom Cairney or a new Five year deal. Tom scored the winning goal in the Championship Play-Off Final to secure promotion to the Premier League for the Cottagers. Mr Jokanovic is keen to sign a couple more and has targeted Southampton Left-Back Matt Targett and a Right-Back from Swiss side Young Boys, Kevin Mbabu. Aleksander Mitrovic has gone back to his parent club Newcastle after his successful loan stint at Craven Cottage and Fulham are interested in re-signing the big Serb after he returns from holiday following his exploits at the World Cup in Russia. He seems surplus to requirements at St James Park but it’s whether Rafa Benitez will sanction the deal. Fulham kick-off their new season at home to Crystal Palace and Bet 365 have the West London club at 1000/1 to win the league (Remember Leicester). They are 3/1 to finish higher then fellow newcomers Wolves and Cardiff and 66/1 to win either the FA Cup or League Cup. Perhaps the most valuable bet to get some dollar back is the 15/8 that Bet 365 are offering for Fulham to be relegated. Whatever the outcome of the ins and outs at Fulham, the fans will just relish being back in the top flight and will saviour every moment.
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For a long time it was touch and go as to whether Huddersfield would hang on to their coveted Premier League place and after a momentous win against Manchester United and draws against Man City and Chelsea they managed to stave off relegation and now prepare for their 2nd season in the top flight. The Terriers have been busy in the Transfer market bringing in Goalkeeper Ben Hamer, Winger Ramadan Sobhi, Defender Erik Durm, Midfielder Juninho Bacuna, Striker Adama Diakhaby and the permanent signing of Terence Kongolo who had been on loan at Huddersfield from Monaco. Huddersfield have decided to part company with Tom Ince and the youngster has dropped down a division to play for Stoke. Old Timers Dean Whitehead and Rob Green have left the John Smiths Stadium, the former joining Huddersfield’s coaching staff and the latter, surprisingly looking set to join Chelsea. That must have been a surprise phone call,
Agent ” Hello Robert, Chelsea want to sign you “…….Rob Green ” Is it April 1st ? ”
Goals were hard to come by for Huddersfield in the top-flight so boss David Wagner is after his 2nd Adama, that of Adama Traore from Middlesborough. The tricky forward will cost Huddersfield in the region of £18 Million. The John Smith Stadium welcome Chelsea on the opening weekend of the new campaign and Bet 365 have the Terriers at 1500/1 (Remember Leicester) to win the title. To win a cup, Bet 365 are offering 80/1 for the Terriers to win either the FA Cup or the League Cup. Bet 365 have Huddersfield as one of the favourite’s to be relegated, at 6/5 this might be the best way to get a return on an outlay of money.
Contact John Newsome, with your own predictions, requests and feedback, at this address: email@example.com