Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughThe Battle For The Best Of The Rest In The Premier League– As Competitive As Ever? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough The Battle For The Best Of The Rest In The Premier League– As Competitive As Ever? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

The Battle For The Best Of The Rest In The Premier League– As Competitive As Ever?

In the upper reaches of the Premier League we have heard constant bemoaning of a lack of talent being available during this window – whilst the quality players who have been on the market have joined the mega bucks elsewhere.

The situation though in the second tier of England’s top division has been significantly different with several clubs investing heavily on some astute deals – most notably Norwich, Southampton and Swansea. The increased TV revenue was expected to be most beneficial to the big boys, however with a lack of talent being available and as a result prices hiking higher than ever, they have seen little impact. Those clubs outside the top quarter of the division have been the real benefactors of this added wealth, which should make for one of the most competitive Premier League campaign’s in recent memory – but coming out on top of the chasing group looks as difficult as ever.

The top five should certainly be filled as they were last season, whilst the debate over whether Liverpool will claim the final top six birth is likely to hinge on Luis Suarez’s future. Everton have of course been amongst that group in recent times, however with the departure of David Moyes, keeping up that trend looks a real challenge. That said, this summer’s activity indicates that the gap between the elite and those just behind might not be what it has been in the past. One of the main reasons for this being that whilst the extra revenue is not a huge amount for those in the elite group, this income is a significant amount for the majority of those outside this group – which has allowed them to strengthen so effectively.

Such has been the improvement made by these clubs it’s difficult to identify who will come out on top in the best of the rest battle, further to that unlike in recent years its challenge to highlight sides who are likely to get sucked into a relegation battle – meaning life looks incredibly tough the three promoted sides.

Swansea continue to go from strength to strength – with the signing of Wilfred Bony set to address the problems they had with regards to an over reliance on Michu for goals last term. Several other signings such as Jonjo Shelvey from Liverpool have also added a greater depth to a squad that was a little thin last term. Norwich who were promoted in the same season as Swansea are another side who have made big moves in the window. Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper have been brought in to address the sole problem experienced last year – a lack of goals.

Along with that, Leroy Fer after a superb Under 21 European Championship has joined the club, whilst Martin Olsson and Nathan Redmond should both add depth to the squad. Southampton will also be looking to improve on last year, with their spending has had a more defensive focus – Victor Wanyama looks likely to prove a real coup, whilst Croatian Dejan Lovren has joined in a big money deal from Lyon.

Outside of the three clubs mentioned who have made the most notable moves, there are several others who have improved. Everton, tipped by many to see a dismantling of their squad, have not only retained all of their key personnel – but have added a much needed goalscorer in Arouna Kone and goalkeeper competition in the form of Joel Robles.

Sunderland are a side who have been busy as Paolo Di Canio looks to build a squad adapt to his methods – this approach is without question a risk but if it pays off then the Black Cats could well be the surprise package. Jozy Altidore and Emanuele Giaccherini are the most notable of these – the former struggled previously during a loan spell at Hull, however a return of 31 goals for AZ Alkmaar last season highlights he is a much improved player.

West Ham have joined in the shopping spree breaking their record by snapping up Andy Carroll on a permanent deal, whilst further deals are expected.

There has been quieter clubs – for example Aston Villa who have barely spent, and West Brom who have (besides free transfers of Nicolas Anelka and Diego Lugano) have failed to significantly add to a squad that punched above its weight for so long last term. A squad that has also lost the goals of Romelu Lukaku.

Fulham have added players, but again without vast investment, although that could change in the closing weeks of the window.

A few years back it would have come as a real shock to see the clubs mentioned here making such impressive signings. The likes of Wanyama, Bony and van Wolfswinkel are top quality – they may not be deemed quiet good enough to improve the top sides but they are not far off that standard. Thankfully the majority of these deals are not just spending because the cash is there – with almost all of the signings mentioned in this articles improving clubs in the areas that they were most in need.

The extra TV revenue has undoubtedly had a positive impact on those outside of the leading pack and as that group continue to struggle for marquee signings – the gap between the best and the rest right now looks like it could be closing.