The 2015/16 Premier League season produced the mother of all footballing shocks. Leicester City, who saved themselves from relegation from the jaws of defeat the season prior, miraculously romped to top flight success.
The Foxes made a bold move by sacking Nigel Pearson in the summer of 2015 after he kept them up and appointed veteran Claudio Ranieri. Some were sceptical about the Italian taking the reins at the King Power – how wrong they were.
Leicester deservedly were triumphed champions of the Premier League by 10 points and, unsurprisingly, their three main protagonists are all linked with a move away.
Jamie Vardy was in playing in the Conference no less than five years ago but his rise up the football ladder has been like something that only usually occurs in fairy tales. The Sheffield-born striker racked up a total of 24 goals last campaign in the top flight and was a menace for every defence in the league.
Vardy, who’ll likely play a prominent part in England’s bid for Euro glory in the upcoming weeks, has the chance of advancing his career even further when he returns from France.
Arsenal have missed a cut-throat striker since Robin van Persie departed for Manchester United in 2012. Olivier Giroud falls short of world class status and Theo Walcott also hasn’t developed into the player many thought he could become.
The Gunners have reportedly triggered Vardy’s release clause of £20 million and offered him £120,000-per-week. At 29-years-old, it could be his last chance to move to a football heavyweight and has a serious dilemma on his hands. He has to choose between carrying on the dream that has already taken him so far and compete against the world’s best in the Champions League for Leicester or move to Arsenal, where he could cause the Foxes agony when they meet.
He’s currently 13/8 with Coral to depart for North London, whilst he’s 4/9 to remain at the King Power with the same firm when the transfer window closes.
Vardy got the goals for Leicester but Riyad Mahrez was too such a key player in their title glory. The Algerian too has risen through the ranks incredibly since signing for the Foxes after playing in the second division of the French League for Le Havre three years ago and was a deserving winner of the PFA Players’ Player of the Year.
Mahrez could join Vardy at the Emirates as he is reportedly the subject of a £25 million bid and Paddy Power 7/4 that he moves to the Capital. However, there’s also previously been speculation from Barcelona and he’s 3/1 to go from the English to the Spanish champions.
Manchester United fans will be hoping they can recapture their past glory of the Sir Alex Ferguson era with Jose Mourinho taking over at Old Trafford following the sacking of Louis van Gaal. Mourinho arrives in Manchester with a stellar reputation having claimed league success at every team he’s managed and there’ll likely be a heavy overhaul at Old Trafford during the summer.
Mahrez, who scored in Leicester's victory over Chelsea in what proved to be Mourinho's final game.
A strong backbone is needed to make United the giants they once were again. The Red Devils scored just 49 goals in the top flight last season and relied on youngster Marcus Rashford in the second half of the season.
Rashford will play a big part under Mourinho next season, but he looks likely to be second string to Zlatan Ibrahimović. The Sweden international is one of the best strikers in the history of the game and netted 38 goals from 31 appearances to help PGS to Ligue 1 glory and would be an asset leading the line at the Theatre Of Dreams.
Mourinho will also want a strong central midfield to strengthen the spine of his team. Paul Pogba was once a youngster at Manchester United but was deemed surplus to requirements by Ferguson in 2012 and signed for Juventus on a free. The Frenchman proved one of the bargains of the century and has become a sensation at the Old Lady, inspiring them to four straight Serie A titles. more Man Utd news, here.
Mourinho’s presence could tempt Pogba to make the switch back to Old Trafford in a reported £78 million deal, with Paddy Power going as short as 2/1 for them to be his next club. However, BetVictor are more sceptical he’ll go back to United and are 4/1 and instead feel if he is leaving Juventus, he’ll instead join their rivals Manchester City and can be backed at 6/4.
Pep Guardiola has been at hard work already since taking the hotseat at the Etihad and made Ilkay Gundogan his first signing from Borussia Dortmund.
With just one world-class striker at City in Sergio Aguero, Guardiola will no doubt want to add another man who knows how to find the back of the net. He could raid BVB again, this time for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The Gabon international scored 25 goals from 29 appearances last term in the Bundesliga, only Robert Lewandowski bettering his tally, and would be a force to be reckoned with alongside Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne and co.
The multiple-winning Champions League boss will also want to strengthen his rearguard given the frailties City showed in defence last campaign. Guardiola likes centre-backs who play football from the back and John Stones is one of the best in the Premier League at doing so. Stones is 6/4 to leave Everton and be a City man come the end of the transfer window.
Chelsea will be hoping to bounce back from their dismal season and Antonio Conte resigns from his post as Italy national coach after the Euros to take over as manager at Stamford Bridge.
Radja Nainggolan is currently on Euros duty with Chelsea duo Edin Hazard and Thibaut Courtois and the duo have apparently tried to persuade him to switch AS Roma for West London.
However, Hazard could well be on his way this summer after a lacklustre 2016/16 campaign. There’s no doubt the winger has talent but he may want a fresh challenge and could be open to joining a host of superstars at Real Madrid. Skybet price him at 7/2 to move to the Santiago Bernabeu by the end of the summer transfer window.
Jurgen Klopp made a huge impact at Liverpool after taking the reins from Brendan Rodgers in October. The German led the Reds to two cup finals having to make-do with the resources he inherited and Kopites are excited at who he could sign this summer.
Mario Gotze has been heavily linked with a move to Anfield. Klopp nurtured Gotze into the player he is today when they were both at Dortmund, with the pair winning the back-to-back Bundesliga titles together in 2011 and 2012. Skybet have him at 6/4 to move to Liverpool come September but the German has reportedly on Arsenal’s radar and is 16/1 with the same firm.
One of the rare players who did not benefit from Klopp’s enthusiasm at Liverpool was Christian Benteke. Having signed for the Reds for £32.5 million just 12 months ago from Aston Villa, the Belgium international struggled to adapt to Klopp’s intense pressing style.