Will Arsène Wenger sign a player who can make a difference for Arsenal?: Five questions for the new Premier League season...
1. Can Wayne Rooney readjust to life at Manchester United?
His club are determined not to sell to Chelsea, and are now prepared even to let him run down his contract if he will not sign a new deal. What no one can predict is how Rooney will react. Times heals, United hope. Especially in a World Cup season.
2. Will Jose Mourinho get the time he says he needs?
The narrative that the Chelsea manager has established during this pre-season is clear: he is taking on a young, raw group of players as opposed to the experienced bunch he inherited when he first arrived in 2004. He says he is here for the long term. But will frustrations boil over on both sides if he feels under-clubbed?
3. Will Arsène Wenger make a telling signing?
There is evident frustration at the club that no deal – other than for the free agent Yaya Sanogo – has been done but the suspicion is that Wenger was never keen on lavishing £40m plus £1 on Luis Suarez. Whether it is an established star or a relatively unknown gem, can Wenger land a player who can make a difference?
4. Can Mark Hughes change Tony Pulis’s dogs of war?
Stoke City are one of the season’s most intriguing stories. They have abandoned the attritional style that got them into the division and kept them there but it is not as if they have signed a whole new tranche of players to implement it. Hughes will not want another relegation battle.
5. Can Swansea challenge the teams just outside the elite?
They finished ninth last season and have kept key players like Michu while trading astutely. The divisions with Michael Laudrup appear to have healed. Last season they finished one place behind West Bromwich Albion, the league’s greatest overachievers. Can Swansea make the top seven?
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