5 Transfers That Will Shake Up the English Premier League in 2013-14
The 2012-13 Premier League campaign made for interesting viewing in the middle of the season, but by the very end of the campaign, it was all a little bit flat.
Relegation spots for all three teams were all but decided, the title stayed in Manchester but changed stadiums some weeks before the end and most of the middle group of teams were too far away to even challenge for a rare Europa League spot.
The only real outstanding issue moving into the last day was the fight for a top-four spot between the two North London sides, Arsenal and Tottenham.
What the English top flight needs this summer, then, is a host of quality additions in the transfer market, star imports to boost the quality of teams fighting near the top of the table. Managerial changes at four of the top seven clubs, allied to the usual clutch of transfer activity, mean it could well be all-change as teams battle for supremacy.
Getting the big signing of the summer right could well mean the difference between more than one or two places in the final standings next May. Here are five rumoured deals that could shake the league up in a big way.
Cesc Fabregas to Manchester United
Arsenal fans have had to watch captain after captain depart over recent years, and one of the hardest of all was last summer's transfer of Robin van Persie to Manchester United. He, of course, went on to win the league title this season and was the EPL's top scorer in the process.
So the Gunners would loathe to see a second former skipper end up playing at OId Trafford—but that's the rumoured story coming out of the Daily Mail, which reports that David Moyes wants Cesc Fabregas to join him at Manchester United for around £25 million.
Manchester City are also said to be highly interested, with the Spaniard available for transfer this summer.
Cesc to United would be a massive boost in quality to their midfield, and it would certainly fuel the fires that burn between United and Arsenal supporters.
Hulk to Chelsea
Jose Mourinho is widely expected to take charge at Chelsea for a second time this summer, and Metro reports that one of his first moves will be to bring Hulk to Stamford Bridge for around £40 million.
Hulk is now at Zenit St. Petersburg in Russia, where he has scored seven times in 18 league outings this term.
Allowing Mourinho the funds and transfer licence to re-shape the Chelsea team into exactly his own image could well be the ploy from the London club, as Chelsea bid to make themselves into title contenders once more.
Hulk, Juan Mata and Eden Hazard in the same attacking line is something very few defences would be happy about facing.
Stevan Jovetic to Arsenal
Arsenal have been linked with Stevan Jovetic for almost as long as Arsene Wenger takes to zip up his coat jacket on match days, and ESPN report that the Montenegro forward will certainly be leaving Fiorentina this summer.
A £28 million bid might be needed to finally get his man, but Wenger is a big admirer of the forward, and Arsenal certainly seem in need of additions to their front line. Jovetic might not be the out-and-out striker who would go down well, but he is a skillful and creative attacker who can still score goals himself—he managed 13 in Serie A this season.
If Arsenal are finally ready to spend serious funds on two or three big-impact players this summer, they could propel themselves back from being top-four constants to actually having a stand-out chance of claiming a piece of silverware during 2013-14.
David Villa to Tottenham
Had Tottenham managed to secure a more reliable striker in the summer of 2012 rather than just making Emmanuel Adebayor's loan permanent, there's a good chance that they would have sealed a top-four spot rather than suffering final match St. Totteringham's day heartache again.
Mirror Football report that Andre Villas-Boas is planning to rectify that error by signing Barcelona striker David Villa to bring more goals and glamour to White Hart Lane.
Usually utilised as a left-sided wide forward, cutting infield at every opportunity without the ball, Villa would likely get a central striking role at Spurs. This would limit his involvement in the build-up play and let him focus instead on his true talent: putting the ball in the back of the net.
Who knows how much money Spurs will have to spend this summer, and some may depend on a certain transfer saga...but they will almost surely be adding to their front line in a big way. Villa would get them the goals they need.
Kyriakos Papadopoulos to Liverpool
Liverpool are expected to make moves in the transfer market this summer as they bid to mount a top-four challenge in the new season. A top-drawer centre-back is highest on their agenda.
Mirror Football report that Kyriakos Papadopoulos is their No. 1 priority in that position, with a £15 million bid imminent.
Liverpool added plenty of attacking talent to their ranks in the January transfer window, which led to a much-improved second half of the season. But the departure of Jamie Carragher from a club that conceded more goals than every other team in the top seven (except for Spurs) makes Papadopoulos' signature a great way to push themselves further up the table.
The Greek defender has been chased by other Premier League clubs in the past, so it would be a great coup for the Reds were they to seal his signature.