The new season of the Premier League kicks off on the weekend with an action-packed line-up of matches. Last season was perhaps the most unique and memorable one in the history of the league.
While there are slim chances of Leicester replicating their success, it remains to be seen what new tricks Claudio Ranieri has up his sleeves this time around.
Most of the media attention however will be focused around the two new and high profile managers in Manchester. Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola will rekindle their rivalry from the La Liga days.
Clubs made some big money acquisitions and there is exciting talent to look forward to this term in the world’s most popular league.
Chelsea too have a new manager in the form of Antonio Conte and the Blues will be aiming to mount a strong challenge after meekly surrendering their crown last season.
Liverpool played some brilliant football last season. Now ahead of the new one, they are the team to watch out for under mercurial Jurgen Klopp.
Likewise, Tottehnham Hotspur too surprised fans with a terrific campaign last time around. Under Mauricio Pochettino, the north Londoners played a supreme brand of football.
Arsene Wenger’s new season commences with a tough game against Liverpool. This is the biggest clash of the weekend. Also keep an eye out on Chelsea’s exploits against West Ham in the London derby. These two fixtures could set the tone for the long season ahead.
Premier League Saturday fixtures
Hull City vs Leicester City
Crystal Palace vs West Brom
Burnley vs Swansea
Everton vs Spurs
Middlesbrough vs Stoke City
Southampton vs Watford
Manchester City vs Stoke City
Premier League Sunday fixtures
Bournemouth vs Manchester United
Arsenal vs Liverpool
Chelsea vs West Ham
Pep Guardiola is wasting no time in stamping his mark on the Manchester City squad. The Citizens are closing in on Schalke’s Leroy Sane.
The highly rated midfielder is expected to cost City £37m plus add-ons.
The German was in Manchester and did not join the Bundesliga side’s pre-season training camp, revealed the Schalke officials.
Pep, in June, had informed the media that he wanted to sign the youngster.
The 20-year-old played a key role in his country’s march to the semi-final of Euro 2016. He made his national team debut in November last year.
According to reports in the German media, Sane had clearly told Schalke sporting director Christian Heidel that he intended to exit the club this summer.
He first played for Schalke in April 2014 after emerging from the club’s youth academy.
Sane has 8 goals to his credit in 33 Bundesliga outings. Schalke registered a fifth-place finish in the 2015-16 season and won’t be part of the Champions League for a second successive year.
While Manchester United are building a formidable squad under Jose Mourinho, it remains to be seen whom City sign next after completing the formalities of Sane’s transfer.
In major transfer news, Sky Italy on Tuesday reported that Juventus had completed the high-profile acquisition of Gonzalo Higuain.
The Argentina striker moved from Napoli on a £6.3m per season up to 2020.
Interestingly, the 28-year-old completed his medical last week with the Turin club now paying his full release clause.
This is the biggest deal in the history of Serie A.
Earlier, Premier League giants Arsenal were linked with the striker.
Arsenal had been heavily linked with a move for Higuain this summer.
The Gunner failed to lure Higuain to north London after the club failed to meet his £75.3m release clause.
Last season, he scored 36 goals in 35 games for Napoli.
Higuain is one of the main reasons behind the solid showing of the club in the Serie A in recent years.
Considering the amount paid by Juventus, many believe that the club is now ready to offload Paul Pogba.
Manchester United are in advanced talks with the midfielder and Higuain's move could pave way for this deal.
Arsenal's attempt to snap up France forward Alexandre Lacazette on Tuesday suffered a setback.
The Gunners were informed by Lyon that the 35m euros (£29.3m) on the table was not enough to sign the star striker.
Lacazette, who has been on the radar of top European team, found the back of the net on 21 occasions in 34 league matches last season.
The 25-year-old is under contract at Lyon until 2019.
"Lacazette is irreplaceable and one of the main leaders," said the French club in a statement on social micro-blogging site Twitter.
Lyon however denied a newspaper report, claiming it had rejected a 48m euros (£42.2m) from the North London club.
It is a well-known fact that Arsene Wenger is in the market for a striker this summer.
Arsenal first-choice Jamie Vardy decided to stay put in Leicester.
The club in the past has relied on Olivier Giroud who has failed to inspire.
Many believe the reason behind the club's failed bid to win the title last season was due to the absence of a clinical striker.
As Manchester United continue to chase Paul Pogba, archrivals Liverpool completed their seventh signing of the summer in the form of Georginio Wijnaldum.
The Dutch strike moved from Newcastle United to Anfield for £25m as part of a five-year deal.
Wijnaldum joined the Magpies for £14.5m from Dutch side PSV in last season. He managed to find the back of the net on 11 occasions in 38 outings.
The 25-year-old will join Jurgen Klopp’s on the pre-season tour of America, where they will play Chelsea (27 July), AC Milan (30 July) and Roma (1 August).
Wijnaldum has 30 appearances for the national team under his belt.
The Reds ended their last campaign in 8th position. Since they lost in the Europa League final, Liverpool will not be part of European football this term.
Liverpool will begin their 2016-17 Premier League on August 14 against Arsenal.