EPL: Predicting the Table with What We Know so Far This Transfer Season
So far this transfer season, there hasn't necessarily been a huge amount of movement from many of the Premier League clubs.
Nonetheless, many top-tier clubs are making their first moves early on, whether they're highly influential transfers, or minimal attempts to fill gaps in their squads.
After the first batch of transfers, this is how each team is predicted to finish the coming season with the changes they've made.
20th: (Relegation) Queens Park Rangers
Dan Istitene/Getty Images
The Queens Park Rangers had a very impressive season last year in the Football Championship, securing the first-place sport on the table and automatic promotion.
But they're not exactly demonstrating a willingness to hold on to their winning formula, with one of their first moves since promotion being the release of eight players, including three regular starters from the squad that earned them another shot in England's top tier.
On the other hand, QPR has extended their contract with goalkeeper Radek Cerny, who has been extremely successful in goal for the club.
Rumor has it that the Rangers might be attempting to sign a new "big-name" manager, which could have a major impact on facilitating future transfer deals. As it stands right now, however, QPR's transfer activities do not exactly look promising, with the prediction being a QPR relegation next spring.
19th (Relegation): Wigan Athletic
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
Wigan Athletic has been almost entirely stagnant this transfer season, which is not a good sign for a club that just narrowly avoided relegation in the last campaign.
You can expect more first-team starts from Scotland International James McArthur next season, but don't expect it to be enough to propel Wigan to another successful season in Premiership.
Wigan's story in the Premier League is one of the most impressive runs from obscurity to Premiership in the league's history, finally culminating in a dramatic promotion in 2005.
Despite all odds, Wigan has remained in the top tier ever since, but this season could be their last. Expect Wigan to fall to 19th in the table, and be relegated for the first time in seven seasons.
18th (Relegation): Blackburn Rovers
Michael Regan/Getty Images
But, with an estimated extra 17 million pounds now in their transfer budget, one would think the Rovers could get something going by the return of the Premier League season in August.
And yet, not much has happened yet for Blackburn in the acquisitions department.
Blackburn renewed their contract with striker Benjani from Zimbabwe for another 12 months, but the Rovers are going to need to bring in some new talent in order to improve on a dismal 15th place finish.
As it stands, expect Blackburn to finish again in the bottom half of the table and face a possible relegation in the next campaign.
17th: Norwich City
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images
Norwich hasn't stopped there, however, landing Belgian Manchester United defender Ritchie De Laet on a one-year loan. Said De Laet: "I'm really pleased to be able to continue my development as a young player with Norwich."
Expect these big signings to be a major player in allowing Norwich City to remain in the top tier for at least another season.
16th: Swansea City
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
The Swans have already demonstrated strong intentions to stick to the formula that won them Premiership in the first place, rejecting a Newcastle United offer for defender Neil Taylor, insisting that "he has an important role to play at this club."
While there are still some questions about whether the Swans can remain successful with such a similar attacking-game as the one that won them promotion in the last campaign, expect the first Welsh club in Premier League history to surprise critics by finishing outside of the relegation zone.
15th: Wolverhampton Wanderers
Michael Regan/Getty Images
The Wolves were certainly one of the most exciting clubs to watch in their 2010-11 campaign, which is particularly odd for a club that spend most of the year in the relegation zone.
Having beaten Chelsea and also handing Manchester United their first loss on the season, the Wolves were last season's "giant killers."
So far this summer, the Wolves have officially signed Tottenham Hotspur's 5m pound midfielder, Jamie O'Hara, who has proven his ability to score goals with the Wolves while joining them on loan through much of last season.
The Wolves also picked up Swansea City goalkeeper Dorus De Vries to ease the loss of Marcus Hahnemann.
Wolves defender Ronald Zubar is also set to return from the back surgery that left him out of the squad for the final three months of the season, presumably with plenty of time to prepare for the next campaign.
Don't expect such quality results against the league's top clubs again, though. As a trade-off, expect the Wolves to compete better against their lower-table rivals to avoid relegation once again.
14th: Stoke City
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
The 2010-11 campaign's 13th-place club is prepared for an expensive transfer season with one goal in mind: improve. But aside from signing a new youth-squad manager from Hereford United, they've remained somewhat quiet thus far.
Aside from losing key defender Sam Allardyce to recently-relegated West Ham, there's not much news coming out of Stoke right now. As of yet, I don't see them improving much on last season's form.
13th: Bolton Wanderers
Michael Steele/Getty Images
Bolton Wanderers are already feeling the pinch of a transfer loss that hasn't even occurred yet, with top defender Gary Cahill being linked to Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester City, and Manchester United.
While Bolton manager Owen Coyle has had many good things to say about the defender, he's publicly stated that he's accepted that Cahill is probably on his way out.
Bolton midfielder Ricardo Gardner, however, will not be leaving, rejecting an offer from West Ham on the grounds of his pure love for playing with the Wanderers.
The Wanderers are also hoping to orchestrate a deal to keep Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge on loan in the coming campaign.
Most recently, Bolton has been linked to a potential deal with Tottenham to bring in legendary striker Robbie Keane.
12th: West Bromwich Albion
Hamish Blair/Getty Images
Carson was essential to WBA's 11th-place finish in 2011. The current keeper situation is not one that WBA has yet to really deal with.
Still, WBA are adding at least one new face to their defensive lineup, signing Billy Jones from Preston.
On the way out: center back Abdoulaye Meite, and midfielder Borja Valero, who signed with Spanish side Villareal earlier this month.
11th: Newcastle United
Stu Forster/Getty Images
Newcastle United have been relatively busy this summer, much to the delight of their fans.
Expect the Magpies to have a slightly better attacking game in the coming campaign, given the signing of midfielder Sylvain Marveaux from the French club, Rennes.
Newcastle United were happy to give Marveaux a five-year contract to pull him away from Liverpool, who was also reportedly interested.
More recently, the club handed another five-year contract to another French midfielder, this time from Lens. Eighteen-year-old French International Mehdi Abeid should be another positive influence on the Magpies next season.
10th: Aston Villa
Bryn Lennon/Getty Images
Aston Villa have a new top man at the helm, having signed former Birmingham City manager Alex McLeish in mid-June.
The move has upset many long-time fans of the club, prompting even Alex Ferguson to come out in support of McLeish, saying "I've known him for a long time and I know his abilities. I know how conscientious he is. I know the determination and work ethic he's always had to make sure he does the job right."
Said McLeish: "I know that some of our fans have voiced concerns and I can understand why. It will be up to me to convince you that I am the right man to drive the club forward, and I intend to give absolutely everything to prove that I can be a success at the club."
Since his signing, however, the biggest impact this transfer season has had on the club is the loss of star winger Ashley Young to Manchester United for a reported 17 million pounds.
Also gone: American Goalkeeper Brad Friedel, who will start next season with the Tottenham Hotspur.
Warren Little/Getty Images
Still, Fulham fans will be happy to see the return of goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, after questions arose about whether he would remain with club early in the transfer season.
Expect more moves to Craven Cottage in the coming weeks, but as of yet, there's not much improvement to speak of.
Chris Brunskill/Getty Images
The best news coming out of Everton at the moment is the announcement that team captain Phil Neville intends to remain with the club for at least another two seasons. Neville was rumored to be considering retirement, but has seemingly changed his mind.
Norwich City captured Everton striker James Vaughan early on in the transfer season, netting the club a little extra cash to play with for the rest of the summer.
What they can do with that money has yet to be seen, but don't expect Everton to improve on an impressive seventh-place finish. It will take a lot more than this to break into the top six.
David Cannon/Getty Images
Sunderland finished their 2010-11 campaign strong, in the top half of the table. But don't think they can't do better.
The club is putting a lot of effort into beefing up their attacking game early on in this transfer season, signing South Korean star forward Ji Dong-won, and securing Ipswich striker Connor Wickham. Dong-won has scored six international goals in eleven appearances.
On the way out: center-back Jean Yves Mvoto, who Sunderland released at the end of the last season; and midfielder Jordan Henderson, who was purchased by Liverpool for 20 million pounds.
However, Sunderland landed another big signing in the form of a three-year contract for former Birmingham City midfielder Craig Gardner.
Expect Sunderland, with their transfer prowess, to improve on last season's form, finishing seventh.
Sixth: Tottenham Hotspur
Julian Finney/Getty Images
The Tottenham Hotspur are a team full of question marks this transfer season. Can Spurs Manager Harry Redknapp keep his promise to avoid selling any key elements of last season's squad?
Will Brad Friedel be the Spurs' answer to their goalkeeping headaches? There's a lot left to be seen, and said, for the North London outfit this summer.
The biggest hit the Spurs could take this transfer season could be the loss of star midfielder Luka Modric, who is rumored to have requested a transfer and is being closely eyed by Manchester United (among others).
PFA Player of the year Gareth Bale has also been linked to moves, but he seems much more keen to stick around than his teammate.
After a strong performance at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, Mexican International Giovani dos Santos seems destined to make a move from the club, as well.
But having spent so much time out on loan and off the Spurs' first team, this would only mean more money in Redknapp's pocket to work with.
In the coming weeks, expect the Spurs to make some headline-worthy moves in the striker position and improve on the goal-scoring woes they faced in the second half of the season.
Until then, the prediction is that the Spurs will finish in a spot much weaker than they expect or want.
Clive Mason/Getty Images
Some are already calling this transfer season the "dark days" of Arsenal, and with very good reason.
Today, the club completed the sale of left-back Gael Clichy to Manchester City, in direct conflict with Arsene Wenger's insistence that he would not be involved in improving the roster of any Premier League rivals.
Could the floodgates now be open? Gunners fans certainly hope not, with star midfielder Samir Nasri also expressing interest in a move to another Premier League side, which is a move Wenger could be forced to make to avoid losing Nasri to a free transfer when his contract expires at the end of next season.
Arsenal could be losing another superstar this transfer season, with Cesc Fabregas reportedly strongly interested in a move to Barcelona.
While Barcelona have yet to submit an offer anywhere near what the Gunners would likely wish to sell him for, expect a recent offer from Real Madrid to drive up the price and potentially secure a move for Fabregas to Spain in the near future.
Fourth (Champions League Playoff Round): Chelsea
Clive Rose/Getty Images
There hasn't been much movement so far within the offices of Stamford Bridge, aside from the signing of new manager Andre Villas-Boas. But don't expect the club, who has yet to spend anything in the current transfer season, to remain quiet forever.
Rumors continue to circulate regarding the potential departures of Didier Drogba, Michael Essien, and Nicolas Anelka, but nothing is set in stone.
The Blues failed in attempts to buy new stars Luka Modric (Tottenham), and Romelu Lukaku (Anderlecht) for 22 million pounds each, but Villas-Boas has expressed interest in bringing in striker Radamel Falcao from his former club Porto.
Third (Champions League): Liverpool
Michael Steele/Getty Images
Given the form that Liverpool showed at the end of their last campaign, many were already speculating that they would be an easy favorite for a top four spot in 2011-12. And the Reds are taking steps this transfer season to make it so.
Under new ownership, Liverpool has been injected with a rather impressive transfer budget to improve on everything that was already going right for them in the second half of last season.
With that money, the Reds have already added England International Jordan Henderson to their roster, after buying him from Sunderland for 20 million pounds.
Second (Champions League): Manchester City
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images
Gunners fullback Gael Clichy may have been the best thing going for the North London outfit's back line.
Expect him to have a similar impact on Manchester City, after completing a four-year deal today. Also joining City's defensive lineup will be Stefan Savic from FK Partisan.
Also in the works, a permanent move for striker Emmanuel Adebayor to Real Madrid, which will not make much of a difference on the pitch for City, as they've had him out on loan with the Spanish behemoths for quite some time.
The move, however, would certainly add some much-needed cash to City's transfer budget.
While it seems likely at this point that Carlos Tevez will remain with the club (for now), he is still linked to several transfer rumors throughout Europe.
First (Champions): Manchester United
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Out of every Premier League club this transfer season, League Champion Manchester United has been far and away the most active.
Said Alex Ferguson: "We were looking for the same type of qualities as Edwin, because the one great quality Edwin always had was his composure and organisational ability."
The Red Devils also dropped 17 million pounds on star Aston Villa winger Ashley Young.
On the defensive side of the pitch, Manchester United have added Phil Jones from Blackburn, for an estimated 16 million pounds. United star Wayne Rooney had nothing but good things to say about Jones, tweeting ""He's one of the toughest defenders I played against last season."
With two months left in the transfer season, you can bet that none of these clubs are finished yet, but Manchester United in particular seem set to make even more big signings in the coming weeks, with their eyes still on the likes of Tottenham's Luka Modric, Arsenal's Samir Nasri, and many more.
At least one big question still remains, however: who will United pick up to replace Paul Scholes in central midfield? Still, Manchester United are looking very strong at the moment, and should be more than capable of landing another English title in the coming campaign.