Premier League: Predicting the ‘Big Six’ Starting XIs for the Opening Day

​It’s safe to say that the summer transfer window hasn’t truly sparked into life yet, particularly for the big six Premier League sides.

Fortunately for us fans and those sides still looking to make a number of major signings, there’s still someway to go before the season gets underway on the 9 August.

With potential transfers, injuries and all other factors considered, here’s how the Premier League’s elite sides could lineup for their first outing of the 2019/20 campaign.


Manchester City

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Ederson, Kyle Walker, Aymeric Laporte, Harry Maguire, Benjamin Mendy, Rodri, Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Bernardo Silva, Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero.

Given their dominance last season – accumulating a total of 98 points – it’s unlikely that City’s squad will look vastly different at the beginning of next season.

They’ve been heavily linked with a couple of big money signings. Leicester City’s powerful centre back Harry Maguire is a key target to become a consistent partner for Aymeric Laporte following Vincent Kompany’s exit, while Atletico Madrid’s Rodri is likely to replace the ageing Fernandinho.

A couple of months off and some pre-season fitness work should allow Benjamin Mendy the time to return to full fitness following an injury stricken beginning to life at the Etihad in time for their first match.

Further up the pitch, Bernardo Silva, Sterling and Aguero have established themselves as the preferred front three, meaning the likes of Leroy Sane will have to settle for a spot on the bench or even depart the club before the window closes.

Liverpool

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Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Andy Robertson, Georginio Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino.


The first noticeable aspect of this lineup will likely be the exclusion of any potential transfers. Liverpool largely impressed last season, finishing a point behind City and ​winning the Champions League, thus limiting the number of deals they’ve been linked with.

The greatest difference can be seen in the heart of the defence. Joel Matip has performed well alongside Van Dijk but it’s likely that Gomez will establish himself as the Dutchman’s first choice partner after returning from a long-term injury.

Given Milner’s workman-like attitude and the possibility that squad fitness won’t be at it’s peak, he may well feature in centre midfield for the opening match, likely seeing Fabinho drop to the bench.


Chelsea

Christian Pulisic


Kepa Arrizabalaga​, Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger, David Luiz, Emerson Palmieri, Jorginho, N’Golo Kante, Ross Barkley, Christian Pulisic, Willian, Tammy Abraham.


Chelsea too can’t expect too much change given their ban from buying players, with the greatest change being Eden Hazard’s absence following his move to Real Madrid.

Oliver Ntcham,Tammy Abraham

Christian Pulisic will almost certainly replace him in the starting lineup and he could be joined by youngster Tammy Abraham following Maurizio Sarri’s departure to Juventus, whilst Willian is also bound to start given Callum Hudson-Odoi’s serious injury.

Potential managerial target Frank Lampard would likely offer more opportunities to Chelsea’s other upcoming stars like Mason Mount – who he coached at Derby – but given the fact that nothing is set in stone, we can assume Chelsea will have a similar team to which ended last season; at least for their opening match.


Tottenham Hotspur

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Hugo Lloris, Kieran Trippier, Jan Vertonghen, Davinson Sanchez, Danny Rose, Moussa Sissoko, Dele Alli, Giovani Lo Celso, Heung-min Son, Lucas Moura, Harry Kane.


Mauricio Pochettino regularly alters his formation, but it’s looking increasingly likely that he will choose four at the back next season, with Alderweireld ageing and constantly being linked with moves away, whilst Kieran Trippier is also rumoured to be leaving.

Nonetheless, most of their potential purchases can be seen in midfield. With Victor Wanyama increasingly growing out of favour and Christian Eriksen likely to join Hazard at Madrid, it’s no surprise that Spurs are chasing Giovani Lo Celso.

A new-look midfield could play behind an established attack as Son and Lucas Moura both proved their worth at times last season.


Arsenal

Kieran Tierney


Bernd Leno, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Eder Balanta, Nacho Monreal, Kieran Tierney, Granit Xhaka, Lucas Torreira, Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.


It’s looking like it’s going to be a difficult transfer window for Unai Emery, who is only reportedly being give around £45m to spend on any potential deals.

The defence could look somewhat different. Shkodran Mustafi has suffered his fair share of criticism so it would be a surprise if he were to start the first game next season, with the club being linked with a number of alternatives like Eder Balanta, who could be available for as little as £4m.

Aaron Ramsey

Arsenal have already had a bid rejected for Celtic’s Kieran Tierney but it also seems like he would also be available for a relatively low fee, and would be a perfect replacement for Nacho Monreal. 

And while the Gunners have been linked with a series of attackers, including ​Crystal Palace’s ​Wilfried Zaha, almost all of which are far too expensive making it difficult to see how any deal could be completed. This may mean others like ​Mesut Ozil feature more regularly in a narrower formation which utilises wing backs.


Manchester United

Aaron Wan-Bissaka


David De Gea, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Ruben Dias, Luke Shaw, Nemanja Matic, Scott McTominay, Bruno Fernandes, Daniel James, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford.


In truth, it’s difficult to predict how ​Manchester United might lineup for their opening game, because they seem to be linked with every player under the sun.

A deal for Aaron Wan-Bissaka does seem to be nearing completion though, while it’s largely accepted that the heart of defence also needs improving.

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Links to Benfica’s 22-year-old Ruben Dias have arisen with a deal potentially happening before his current club are able to increase his release clause.

​Paul Pogba’s likely return to ​Juventus could leave space for a new creative midfielder like Bruno Fernandes to play behind a pacey front three which will likely include Welshman Daniel James.

​Marcus Rashford looks set truly establish himself as the first choice central striker as ​Romelu Lukaku’s potential move to Inter edges ever nearer.


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Romelu Lukau’s Agent Confirms He Wants to Leave Manchester United This Summer

​Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku has confirmed to Inter that he wants to leave Old Trafford ahead of the 2019/20 season.

There has been plenty of speculation surrounding Lukaku’s short-term future in the north-west as Manchester United prepare to undergo a major summer makeover, with the Belgium international admitting over and over again that he would be interested in moving to Italy.

The 26-year-old quickly caught the attention of Inter, and following talks with the Nerazzurri’s decision-makers on Tuesday, Lukaku’s agent confirmed that the forward was looking to leave Manchester United this summer.

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Lukaku is a dream and is not easy to realize it…but yes, Inter are trying to get Rom,” agent Federico Pastorello said, quoted by Fabrizio Romano.

“Romelu has expressed his wishes [to leave Manchester United].”

It’s been widely speculated that Lukaku will replace Inter’s Mauro Icardi at San Siro next season, although so far the Italian giants have struggled to find suitors for the Argentina international.

Although the former Chelsea and Everton striker is still widely regarded as one of the best strikers in Europe, it became clear throughout the second half of the season that manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was putting his eggs in other baskets.

The likes of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial were preferred to Lukaku since Solskjaer took over around Christmas, while youngster Mason Greenwood has also been fast-tracked into the first-team over the last few months.

It’s previously been claimed that Lukaku could fetch Manchester United upwards of £70m to spend on their targets this summer, including Crystal Palace right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

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Transfer Rumours: Man Utd Back in for Sancho, Spurs Eye £15m-Rated Winger, Zaniolo to Juve & More

​In a week where Luis Suárez appealed for a penalty after the goalkeeper handled the ball inside his own penalty area, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that some of the transfer rumours floating around are just as bizarre as the Uruguayan’s antics against Chile.

Here’s a handful of some of the best (and weirdest) transfer stories that are currently doing the rounds.


James Rodriguez Forced to Wait on Napoli Switch by Florentino Pérez

James Rodriguez

S.S.C. Napoli’s move for Colombia international James Rodriguez has been temporarily halted by Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez.

The 27-year-old has reportedly already agreed to link up with his former manager Carlo Ancelotti in Naples, but TuttoNapoli report that decision-makers in the Spanish capital want to delay the move whilst Colombia continue their journey in the Copa América.

It’s claimed that Real Madrid’s head honcho Pérez is looking to use the tournament in Brazil as a way of driving Rodriguez’s price up, similar to how Los Blancos were forced to pay a premium for his signature following the 2014 World Cup.


Tottenham Consider Cut-Price Deal for Danish Winger Andreas Skov Olsen


Nordsjælland starlet Andreas Skov Olsen has emerged as a transfer target for Tottenham this summer, with the Denmark Under-21 international set to enter the final 12 months of his contract in Farum.

The 19-year-old was involved in 32 goals across all competitions for the club last season, announcing himself as one of Denmark’s brightest talents alongside his namesake Robert Skov at Copenhagen, who has also popped on Tottenham’s radar.

Although the wheels aren’t in motion to bring Olsen to north London, The Mirror claim that Mauricio Pochettino’s side are keeping tabs on the teenager as he’s expected to be available at a cut-price £15m due to his contract situation with Nordsjælland.


Coach Claims Arsenal Target Can Become ‘Best Midfielder in the World’

RB Salzburg v SKN St. Poelten  - Tipico Bundesliga

Arsenal transfer target Dominik Szoboszlai can become the ‘best centre-midfielder in the world’, according to RB Salzburg’s assistant coach Rene Maric.

The Hungarian teenager recently emerged as a potential signing for Unai Emery, although Arsenal remain short of matching Szoboszlai’s £15m asking price.

Salzburg’s Rene Maric played down links with a move to north London, but he also added fuel to the fire by claiming that the 18-year-old has the potential to become one of the best players on the planet.


Everton & Arsenal Target ‘Not on the Market’ Despite €25m Offers

Armando Izzo

Italian outlet Gianluca Di Marzio claims that Torino defender Armando Izzo could be rewarded with a new contract with the Serie A club, despite being the subject of interest from Arsenal and Everton.

According to Di Marzio, offers of €25m were being readied by the two Premier League sides ahead of a meeting between Torino’s chairman Urbano Cairo and Izzo’s agent on Tuesday.

But they add that Izzo is not being put up for sale after his stand-out season with the club, with Cairo instead looking to offer the 27-year-old centre-back an improved contract ahead of the 2019/20 season.


Manchester United ‘Relaunch Interest’ in Jadon Sancho Ahead of Double Exit

Jadon Sancho

Manchester United have apparently reignited their interest in Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho, as they prepare to cash in on both Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba.

It’s a story which is being peddled by The Sun, who have cited an article from Forbes as where the rumour originally came from.

But nowhere in Forbes’ piece does it come close to suggesting that Manchester United will come back in for Sancho after Lukaku and Pogba’s futures are sorted.

In fact, the article which The Sun have cited is claiming the exact opposite, leading with the title: “Manchester United Accept Signing Jadon Sancho Not Possible This Summer.”


Juventus’ €35m Bid for Nicolò Zaniolo Rejected by Roma

Nicolo' Zaniolo

Serie A champions Juventus have seen their €35m offer to sign Italian wonderkid Nicolò Zaniolo rejected by AS Roma, according to Gazzetta dello Sport’s Nicolo Schira (via Football Italia).

The 19-year-old only arrived in the Italian capital last summer following a move from Inter, but Zaniolo is already widely regarded as one of the most exciting prospects across Europe.

Eager to lure the teenager to Turin, Juventus are claimed to have submitted a €35m bid which has quickly been rejected, but the club’s sporting director Fabio Paratici is remaining in contact with Zaniolo’s representatives.


Paris Saint-Germain Shortlist Nélson Semedo as Need for Reinforcements Increases

Nelson Semedo

Barcelona defender Nélson Semedo has emerged as a transfer target for Paris Saint-Germain ahead of an exodus of right-backs in the French capital.

Dani Alves has already confirmed that he will not renew his contract, while Thomas Meunier is also expected to be sold as he prepares to enter the final year of his contract.

Looking to bolster that position back up, AS (via Sport) claim that PSG want to bring Barcelona’s Semedo to the Parc des Princes this summer, but the Catalan side are unlikely to budge from the defender’s €100m release clause.

One thing that has been suggested is that Semedo could be used as a makeweight to help bring Neymar back to the Camp Nou.


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Manchester United Plotting Two Major Signings

​Manchester United are believed to be keen to follow up on the signature of Daniel James and the anticipated arrivals of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Bruno Fernandes, as a report claims they are keen to add two more signings to their squad after that business is concluded. 

United wrapped up a £17m deal for the Swansea winger last month, and while it is generally seen as a good signing that goes some way towards addressing the lack of natural width in the squad, many would argue that it isn’t the calibre of signing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs in order to turn his side’s fortunes around, given his lack of top-flight experience. 


According to the ​Express, however, that could change in the foreseeable future, as the newspaper claims that a deal for Wan-Bissaka could be completed ‘shortly.’ 

News on that one comes days after ​90min exclusively reported that a deal that could rise to £60m had been agreed between the clubs for the 21-year-old, and it seems as if talks over personal terms have been progressing well since, with the deal nearing its conclusion if reports are to be taken at face value.


Meanwhile, the Express also touch on Bruno Fernandes, sourcing a story from Portuguese outlet Correio da Manha (via ​Metro), which claims that ​United and ​Tottenham have tabled identical contract offers to the player, but that he is ‘drawn’ to the prospect of playing at Old Trafford, and would likely choose Manchester if it was left up to him.

Correio da Manha go on to say that United have two more incomings in the pipeline, without naming the targets in question – which you could say is pretty convenient. 

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It effectively means it could be anyone, and doesn’t really provide us with any substantial information, but it does mean United are working towards at least four further signings this summer, with Fernandes and Wan-Bissaka included.

Declan Rice of West Ham United has been linked, while the club are also rumoured to be looking at a new centre-back, with Kalidou Koulibaly frequently talked about in connection to a mega-money move to Old Trafford.

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adidas Pressuring Manchester United Not to Sell Paul Pogba This Summer Amid Exit Speculation

Manchester Unite​d’s kit sponsor Adidas are putting the screws on the club to hold onto Paul Pogba this summer, due to concerns over the damage his departure could do to their worldwide brand. 

The Frenchman has endured a difficult season at club level despite something of a renaissance under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the beginning of his tenure, but remains one of the most recognisable stars in the world. As one of adidas’ elite athletes, he is the promotional face of the club as far as the sponsors are concerned. 

According to the ​Mirror, the kit manufacturer are doing all they can to dissuade the Old Trafford side from selling up, feeling that if Pogba leaves, it would be a marketing disaster due to the lack of other ‘worldwide stars’ within the ranks. 

Paul Pogba,Juan Mata

David de Gea would be an option, but his ongoing contract dispute means he may leave in the foreseeable future, so adidas – who are four years into a 10-year-deal worth £750m with ​United – would likely seek assurances over a high-profile Pogba replacement if he was to leave. 

it’s easy to see where their concerns over his departure come from, as it was at their promotional event in Tokyo last week that he admitted it could be time for a ‘new challenge.’ 

“For me I have been for three years in Manchester and have been doing great; some good moments and some bad moments, like everybody. Like everywhere else,” ​he said. 

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“After this season and everything that happened this season, with my season being my best season as well. I think for me it could be a good time to have a new challenge somewhere else. I am thinking of this: to have a new challenge somewhere else.”

At present, a Juventus return looks most likely if he is to leave the Premier League, with further reports stating that he has ​personally endeavoured to return to the Serie A champions. 

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