Which club will be the pride of the north west next term?
In preparation for the start of the new Premier League season, Coral have opened an exciting new market for top north west club. Featuring are bitter local rivals Burnley, Everton, Liverpool, Man City and Man United.
Premier League newcomers Burnley have returned to the top flight after four years in the wilderness, with an ace card up their sleeve in the form of boss Sean Dyche, labelled ‘The Ginger Mourinho’.
Outsiders at 2500/1 to finish the season as the top north west club, Burnley may just relish the opportunity to be the David among four heavyweight Goliaths.
The Clarets certainly hold the advantages that arrive with underdog status, and could be next season’s surprise packages.
Dyche has already been busy recruiting to supplement his squad, with seven new signings and more rumoured to be on the way. Burnley’s strength lies in their close-knit bond, though, and fans will be hoping exciting new arrivals Chris Baird, Matthew Gilks, Lukas Jutkiewicz, Michael Kightly, Steven Reid, Marvin Sordell and Matthew Taylor can enhance their never-say-die spirit.
The Toffees have certainly been the top north west club for stealing the headlines recently. After securing the sensational signing of striker Romelu Lukaku from Premier League rich kids Chelsea, fans of the club have much to look forward to this season.
Blues boss Roberto Martinez, speaking after smashing Everton’s transfer record for the Belgian starlet, seems to believe his side can challenge for honours in the upcoming season. He revealed: “I always said money shouldn’t be the difference between being able to challenge or not… I don’t look at it that way.”
With new deals for much coveted talents Ross Barkley and Seamus Coleman, and the signings of Gareth Barry, Muhamed Besic, Brendan Galloway and Lukaku, Martinez has done smart summer business.
The Merseyside outfit are now 50/1 to outshine their north west rivals, and are looking to build on the foundations of an exciting young team that thrilled fans with electrifying football, and claimed wins against Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United last term.
Reds boss Brendan Rodgers surprised Premier League spectators last season by keeping his side competing for the title until the end.
After snatching the individual award of LMA Manager of the season, Rodgers will be looking to land trophies for his team, with Liverpool 9/2 to finish above their regional rivals.
Despite losing Luis Suarez to Barcelona, the Anfield giants have invested heavily, luring both potential and proven quality to the club with transfers like Adam Lallana, Lazar Markovic, and Rickie Lambert.
Having already reinforced more than any of their north west peers, Liverpool should be able to keep up the momentum gained from last season’s brush with silverware.
Crucially, Rodgers already appears to have plugged the gaps in defence, with the additions of former Southampton centre back Dejan Lovren and Spanish star Javier Manquillo.
Odds-on at 4/6 to finish above their local competitors, City have probably undergone the least changes of any of their fellow north west clubs this transfer window.
This could be beneficial though, as the Sky Blues lifted the Premier League trophy last campaign, and may be wise not to tinker with a winning formula.
Sensible signings have been preferred to blockbuster deals, and the stability and sense of calm provided by boss Manuel Pellegrini may prove key for a side who have won two of the last three Premier League titles.
New additions Willy Caballero, Fernando, Frank Lampard and Bacary Sagna will all provide depth and competition, with an expected deal for a centre back believed to be the last of their summer spending.
United seem to have already blown away the cobwebs from last term, and have been in exhilarating form during pre-season, adapting well to new boss Louis van Gaal’s impressive tactical system.
They remain unbeaten so far in the International Champions Cup, with several stars looking revived under the Dutchman, and expensive new acquisitions Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw settling well.
Further signings are expected, but the Old Trafford club are in a bullish mood, with Van Gaal’s new formation promising to allow the talented trio of Juan Mata, Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney to play in their favoured positions.
The Red Devils are currently the most decorated English club, with 20 league titles to Liverpool’s 18, and are 9/4 to get back to business and rank as the top north west club once more.