The Premier League’s Newest Faces

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It’s already been a busy transfer window for the Premier League despite it only being a week old. The English top flight’s new record-setting television contract has infused even the smallest clubs with enough cash to compete in international transfer markets. This runs the risk of inadvertently inflating the value of some potentially pedestrian players, but for the most part Premier League clubs have thus far done some good business.

Along with this new spending power have come new ambitions. Clubs that might have been previously mired in styles of play that more or less mirrored the types of players they could afford are suddenly free to broaden their horizons.

Really, it’s a trend that began before the new television contract was signed. Last summer, Stoke City and West Ham both took the first steps toward dramatically reformulating the way they play. They signed players and implemented new philosophies in a bid to play more aesthetically pleasing styles, and it was only the beginning. Both clubs’ saw enough progress to justify doubling down this transfer window.

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On the other end of the spectrum are the Premier League’s top clubs. UEFA’s Financial Fair Play laws have limited spending splurges from two of the clubs that have historically most effectively utilized them: Manchester City and Chelsea. These clubs, and others throughout Europe, are slowly being forced to find new ways of competing at the highest level. This means increasing revenue streams, but also finding ways to develop talent internally rather than paying excessively for it from elsewhere.

This mini-revolution, in all its facets, will be ongoing. For now, though, what can these early signings tell us about what these clubs are planning in the near future? Let’s take a look how five clubs will be looking to transition given this radically new environment.

Next: Xherdan Shaqiri at Stoke