Man City and Liverpool renew title fight as Premier League clubs show financial muscle

Premier League clubs have spent an estimated £1bn ($1.2bn) on the arms race for new talent ahead of the start of the 2022/23 season on Friday, but champions Manchester City remain the team to beat.

After winning four league titles in five years, Pep Guardiola’s squad has been bolstered by the arrival of the summer’s biggest name in Erling Haaland.

The Norwegian had his pick of Europe’s top clubs after scoring 85 goals in 88 games for Borussia Dortmund and followed in the footsteps of his father Alf Inge – a former City captain – to blue side Manchester.

Haaland may have had a start to forget as he missed a glaring chance towards the end of City’s 3-1 loss to Liverpool on Saturday, but Guardiola warned his side’s pretenders to the throne that “the goals will come”.

“There is no reason not to be confident,” Guardiola added. “What these guys have done, not just in the Premier League but in the cups, the stages we’ve taken in Europe and a lot of things.”

In a window of significant change at the Etihad, Argentina striker Julian Alvarez and England international midfielder Kalvin Phillips have also arrived.

But Guardiola left plenty of experience for Premier League rivals with Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko heading to Arsenal and Raheem Sterling joining Chelsea.

Liverpool are best placed to pounce on any slippage from City’s standards.

Jurgen Klopp’s side were denied a historic quadruple by the slimmest of margins last season as they rocketed to the title by just one point and lost the Champions League final 1-0 to Real Madrid after winning the League and the FA Cup.

The Reds have also refreshed their front line with the commanding presence of Darwin Nunez coming on to make up for the loss of Sadio Mane to Bayern Munich.

Nunez made an immediate impact in the Community Shield, winning a penalty and scoring to turn the game in Liverpool’s favor late on.

– Tottenham title challenge? –

City and Liverpool have dominated English football for the past five years, but if there is to be a challenge from the chasing pack, it could come from Tottenham.

Ahead of Antonio Conte’s first full season in charge, the Italian was heavily backed by Spurs’ normally frugal board with the signings of Richarlison, Yves Bissouma, Ivan Perisic, Djed Spence, Clement Lenglet and Fraser Forster.

Crucially, Tottenham have also retained the star duo of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min as they aim for a first league title in 62 years.

Arsenal have been in blistering pre-season form with Jesus on fire in thrashings from Chelsea and Sevilla.

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel called his side ‘uncompetitive’ after losing 4-0 to the Gunners in Orlando and the Blues are a side in transition following Todd Boehly’s takeover.

There is also plenty of work ahead of new Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag, with Cristiano Ronaldo’s uncertain future hanging in the balance at the start of a new era for the Red Devils.

– New boys Forest spend more than Newcastle –

Amid the scale of big spending by English clubs, Newcastle have been surprisingly calm in their first summer window since taking over the Saudi sovereign wealth fund.

The Magpies have spent just under £60million on Dutch defender Sven Botman, England goalkeeper Nick Pope and a permanent contract for left-back Matt Targett.

The new boys from Nottingham Forest have spent more than £70m on 12 new signings in the two-time European champions’ first season back in the top flight for 23 years

That sum doesn’t even include a one-year deal for Jesse Lingard worth £200,000 a week after joining on a free transfer from Manchester United.

Aston Villa’s transfer activity is arguably the best example of the growing financial gap between the Premier League and the rest of Europe.

France international midfielder Boubacar Kamara and Brazilian centre-back Diego Carlos have turned their backs on Champions League football with Marseille and Sevilla respectively to join Steven Gerrard’s side, who finished 14th in the English top flight the last season.