Winner: Manchester United
Not wanting to be upstaged this summer by Lionel Messi’s Paris Saint-Germain switch, Cristiano Ronaldo has made a return to Old Trafford after 12 years away.
The Portuguese legend is a significantly different player to the one who departed for Real Madrid, but is still just as much of a goal threat, despite now being 36 years of age.
CR7, who has more Instagram followers than of all the Premier League clubs combined, posted on the platform “Sir Alex, this one is for you” – perhaps an ominous message to those looking to stand in the Red Devils path.
Former Los Blancos teammate Raphael Varane is another new face in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, and will bring with him a title-winning nous that is currently lacking in the Lindelof-Maguire partnership.
The tedious ‘will he, won’t he’ saga of Jadon Sancho was finally put to bed too, while Tom Heaton has added strength in depth in the goalkeeping department.
The Gunners hierarchy have backed Mikel Arteta this summer, with Arsenal topping the spending charts for the division with £149million forked out.
But there are still plenty of question marks surrounding his side going into the 2021-22 campaign.
The failure to lure James Maddison away from Leicester City and Emiliano Buendia choosing Villa Park over the Emirates saw Arteta secure the permanent signing of Martin Odegaard instead.
Ben White is yet to justify his £50million fee after a debut he would rather forget against Brentford, while the decision to sign goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale for £25million has raised a few eyebrows.
Nuno Tavares, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Takehiro Tomiyasu could represent good value additions, but this still seems to be an Arsenal side lacking a certain panache that has been present in years gone by.
Winner: Tottenham Hotspur
Daniel Levy dug his feet in this summer and was not willing to let Harry Kane go for a penny less than his perceived value to the club.
Through doing so, Spurs have kept hold of their star man for at least another 12 months, and who knows where his goals could propel them to this season?
Defenders Emerson Royal and Cristian Romero, as well as goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini have no doubt strengthened Nuno Espirito Santo’s back line, whilst young Spaniard Bryan Gil – who was part of a swap deal with Erik Lamela – caps off a very positive window at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Loser: Newcastle United
Steve Bruce’s squad is arguably in a worse place than it was when the season culminated in May.
Joe Willock signing permanently is a positive step given how prolific during was in his loan stint last term, but he is their only piece of business besides young forward Santiago Munoz.
A side that still looks relatively suspect in both midfield and defence needed greater numbers through the door – and with others around them all strengthening, it could be another long season on Tyneside.
Winner: Aston Villa
Losing Jack Grealish is undoubtedly a blow for the Villans, but they have made good use of the £100million Manchester City paid them for his services.
Leon Bailey and Buendia will replace much of the England winger’s creativity, while Danny Ings’ under-the-radar arrival will relieve the pressure on Ollie Watkins up front.
Axel Tuanzebe and scudetto winner Ashley Young bring in a perfect blend of youth and experience, and will have supporters cautiously optimistic about their chances in 2021-22.
Loser: Manchester City
It could be argued that Manchester City really didn’t need to strengthen too much after they waltzed to the title last term, but invest they did, as Grealish joined for a British record fee.
However, the Citizens missed out on both Kane and Ronaldo, so remain a little light in the striking department.
Sergio Aguero’s emotional departure at the end of the previous campaign heaps the pressure on Gabriel Jesus and Ferran Torres, who will need to score the goals that will fire City to more silverware this season.