The bwin.com Premier League handicap table is out and, as always, all 20 teams attract a 16/1 quote, with champions Chelsea going off scratch and new boys Watford given a 48-point headstart.
Naturally in a market like this, cases can be made for a number of runners, although it’s tough to see newly-promoted clubs Bournemouth, Norwich or Watford making the requisite impact, despite being handed the biggest handicaps.
West Ham (+37) are of interest under former Boleyn Ground centre-back Slaven Bilic, who has overseen some £25m worth of purchases since taking over in east London at the start of June, with more expected to follow.
The Irons’ season started early with Europa League qualifying, and while their performances in continental action have been somewhat lacking, new signings Dimitri Payet, Angelo Ogbonna and Pedro Obiang are yet to make their senior debuts for the club.
Swansea (+35) can’t be ignored after Garry Monk’s first full season in charge at the Liberty Stadium resulted in the club’s best ever English top-flight finish, and the 36-year-old has added exciting forward pair Andre Ayew and Eder, among others, since the campaign’s close.
However, a chance is taken on Newcastle at +39, as former England gaffer Steve McClaren seems to be doing a decent job in the transfer market, with owner Mike Ashley turning on the money taps over the past few weeks.
Attacking-midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum’s £14.5m capture from PSV was the Geordies’ biggest signing of the Ashley era, and the most they’ve blown on a single player since snatching Michael Owen from Real Madrid a decade ago.
Newcastle followed up Dutch international Wijnaldum’s signing by striking a £21.5m double deal with Anderlecht for forward Aleksandar Mitrovic and full-back Chancel Mbemba, which suggests they mean business ahead of the new term.
They may have only secured their Premier League status on the last day of the 2014/15 campaign, but Alan Pardew left St James’ Park in January with Newcastle in tenth, and they finished fifth just two seasons before.
Unpredictable they may be, but McClaren’s boys just about look the value in this market.