Manchester City have wasted little time bolstering the squad that finished fourth in the Premier League last season ahead of Pep Guardiola’s first campaign in charge, for which they have been installed as 2/1 title favourites.
Ilkay Gundogan has already arrived from Borussia Dortmund, while Celta Vigo’s Nolito has also decided to join the club according to TV3 in Spain and The Sun say City are hoping to conclude a deal for Schalke’s Leroy Sane in the near future.
The new arrivals are sure to signify enforced departures and curtailed involvement among the current expensively assembled playing staff.
Who’s most at risk from the arrival of the three likely new boys? And which Premier League clubs should be fluttering eyelashes in their direction?
The vast majority of Sterling’s starts last term came on the left side of attacking midfield, where he struck three goals in 23 outings and assisted as many more, according to whoscored.com.
Nolito plays a very similar role for Celta, with the main difference being that he has been far more decisive, bagging 12 times and setting up another eight in La Liga last term.
A small, skillful attacking midfielder/forward with a lack of killer instinct in front of goal, Arsenal seem like an ideal new home for Sterling and have been rumoured to be getting rid of Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain this summer.
Playmaking duties at the Etihad were shared more or less evenly between David Silva, Yaya Toure and the Brazilian last term, but that should all change with the arrival of Gundogan, who averaged a sky-high 80 passes per game in 2015/16.
While Silva was the side’s leading assister and Toure chipped in with six league goals from midfield, Fernandinho’s all-round contribution was less beguiling.
He remains a prolific tackler and an uncommonly dextrous all-action presence that might rate an ideal replacement for Victor Wanyama at Southampton.
Few players to consistently craft chances in the Premier League can have been so maligned as the Spaniard, who, despite regular relegations to the bench, has ranked City’s third-highest assister or better in each of the last three seasons.
Nonetheless, a notorious lack of goals (two in his last 95 outings across all competitions for City), mean he is likely to sidelined should the more prolific Sane, who notched eight times in the Bundesliga in 2015/16, arrive.
Navas’ creativity could prove a godsend for Watford, whose none-more-predatory strikers Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo were starved of service for much of their first campaign after sealing promotion from the Championship.