The 2013 Premier League season ended last weekend and there is no World Cup for fans to look forward to – that’s next Summer. No European Championships – that was last Summer. Domestic football in the top flight doesn’t return until August 17. For supporters used to seeing their team in action twice a week for most of 10 months there are cold-turkey days ahead.
Not to despair though because this Summer promises some off-field transaction to rival the on-field action. Of the top 6 Premier League clubs, 4 will change their manager. Manchester City dismissed Roberto Mancini, Rafael Benitez’ often turbulent tenure at Chelsea has expired as agreed, Sir Alex Ferguson has abdicated the throne of Champions Manchester United and David Moyes has left Everton to take over from Ferguson.
Jose Mourhino is hotly tipped to return to Chelsea having left Real Madrid and Manuel Pellegrini is expected to be in charge at Manchester City before too long. Vacancies and uncertainty at power-houses old and new like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Monaco, Malaga and Paris St.Germain all add to the intrigue of who might go where. Managers and players alike.
It’s easy then to forget that Pep Guardiola will resume his spectacular managerial career after a year off. He takes over at Bayern Munich next season, the same Bayern Munich that will contest the Champions League Final with their compatriots Borussia Dortmund on Saturday. Guardiola then could join Bayern exactly as he left his beloved Barcelona; as Champions of Europe.
Most new managers particularly at the top will be given money to spend. In the case of Manchester City and Chelsea it is likely to be a lot of money. United might want to signal their own intent with another headline signing and if rumours are correct, and they sometimes are, Arsenal are ready to spend £70million this Summer. Competition for the best players will be fiercer than ever. Let’s not forget that not one English team made it to the semi-finals of the Champions League this season. The time is now for the top clubs in England to strike back decisively and they know it. There is also a feeling that they need to.
The same feeling exists at home too. Change and upheaval at the top clubs can bring new pressures to each. Only one thing is certain – it can’t turn out well for all of them. Tottenham, Everton and an improving Liverpool will also sense a better opportunity to return to the Top 4. Their first priority is to hang on to star players before adding to their own squads. They are sure to approach the new season with a renewed determination borne of the uncertainties above them.
All that to come but first the small matter of the Champions League Final at Wembley this Saturday evening. If you are lucky enough to have tickets, last minute or otherwise you can make a Capital weekend of it by staying at Sanctum Apartments, a J&K Apartments favourite.