The 2016/17 Premier League campaign is entering the final stages, with plenty still to play for at both the top and bottom of the table. The fight for survival continues, with Sunderland, Middlesbrough, Hull City and Swansea City among the teams in danger of relegation. At the top of the table, meanwhile, there are still a number of clubs fighting for a top-four finish.
Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur are well on course for a place in next season’s Champions League, while Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal appear to be fighting for the remaining two places in the coming weeks.
A number of clubs at the top of the table made significant changes last summer, with new and old managers, bringing in players to strengthen their respective sides. Here is a look at three signings made last summer that have made the difference at the top of the Premier League.
Sadio Mane – Liverpool
Mane arrived at Liverpool from Southampton almost 12 months ago for £34m, which could rise to £36m in the coming years, surpassing the massive transfer fee the club paid for Andy Carroll back in 2012.
The Senegalese forward has scored 14 goals across all competitions for the Reds this season, and is the club’s top goalscorer.
The 25-year old has brought a different dimension to the Liverpool attack, with his willingness to run beyond defenders invaluable to Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Mane is out for the remainder of the season after suffering a serious knee injury, which required surgery. However, Liverpool remain on course for a top-four finish without their talisman.
Klopp’s side are currently third in the Premier League, with a three-point lead over fifth-placed Manchester United- although the Red Devils have two games in hand.
The bookmakers are also confident that Liverpool will secure their first top-four finish since 2014, with the best odds available for Klopp’s side to finish in the Champions League places 8/13. Punters looking to place a bet may want to check out the best new offers from the top bookies, which are available on betting odds comparison sites.
Victor Wanyama – Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham went close to securing the Premier League title last season, with Mauricio Pochettino’s side failing to overhaul Leicester City and ending up finishing third, behind the Foxes and Arsenal.
Pochettino set about strengthening his squad during the summer, with his most acute signing coming for a mere £11m, with Wanyama arriving at White Hart Lane from Southampton.
The midfielder has brought strength and depth to the Spurs midfield, alongside some incredible energy. Wanyama has made 42 appearances across all competitions this season, also scoring three goals, a fine return for a defensive player.
Spurs are still in the title race this season, trailing leaders Chelsea by just four points with six fixtures of the campaign remaining. With Wanyama’s solid displays impressing many in North London.
Whilst Chelsea are still red-hot favourites for the Premier League title, you can get odds of 5/1 for Spurs to clinch the title and avenge last season’s disappointment.
N’Golo Kante – Chelsea
The best transfer in the Premier League last summer. That is the view of nearly every English football fan.
Twelve months ago, Kante had played a vital part in Leicester City’s surprise title win, and during the summer, the Frenchman’s signature was hot property.
Chelsea won the race to sign Kante from Leicester, securing his services for just £30m, a snippet in comparison to the £89m that Man United paid for Paul Pogba.
The midfielder is looking for back-to-back Premier League medals but also a first FA Cup triumph after he helped Conte’s side to a 4-2 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in Saturday’s semi-final. Chelsea will face Arsenal in the Wembley showpiece on May 27th, with the best odds available for Kante’s side to lift the trophy at 5/7.