With the Premier League wrapped up and no English representation in either European cup final, the Barclays Premier League has undoubtedly endured a torrid European campaign this season. With all the big sides falling to defeats earlier on in the competition than expected, there has been a lot of speculation over the ability of English sides to thrive on their travels. As we brace for a hectic summer and a very busy transfer window filled with rumours and hear-say, we took a look at the FIVE reasons English football can take to both the Champions League and Europa League next season and cause a real stir, akin to most prolific European seasons for our sides.
Players like Eden Hazard & Alexis Sanchez
Eden Hazard’s 2015/15 season cannot be underplayed, undoubtedly one of the best players in Europe and unequivocally the best player in the Premier League, Hazard is a lethal weapon for the Blues. The Belgian scooped the Barclays Premier League Player Of The Year Award and his mastery of statistical dominance across the board underlines his status as the standout performer in the Barclays Premier League this season. With the most recorded dribbles (179), chances created (101) and even won duels (335) across the season, Hazard was dominant and is certainly a player that will and does strike fear into any and all elite clubs across Europe. Second to the enigmatic Belgian in the Premier League was Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez whose debut season in the Premier League has more than definitely set him up as one of the most dangerous players in the division whilst one that still has wiggle room to improve considering his upcoming sophomore season. Players of the quality of Hazard and Sanchez have made the Premier League stronger and more feared across Europe, making Premier League sides fairly high on the list of teams you won’t want to draw next season.
Tunnel Vision can lead to success
With Champions League and Europa League success in recent seasons, this Chelsea side alone has shown that when they dedicate themselves to the cause, European success isn’t out of reach. Chelsea’s 2011/12 Champions League success was the most notable example of Chelsea’s tunnel vision paying dividends in the hunt for the up until then, elusive European success. In what was essentially the sacrifice of domestic glory, with the West London side finishing 6th and obtaining qualification to the next season’s elite European competition purely via their Champions League success, Chelsea showed that they know what needs to be done to earn the silverware that launched the side into the European Elite. To show that Chelsea’s surprise 2011/2012 European success wasn’t an isolated incident, Liverpool have shown time and time again that European focus can lead to unprecedented success and if the approach is taken, Premier League clubs can reign supreme in Europe.
Huge Summer Activity
This summer will see the Premier League big boys take to the transfer window like never before. With the recent activity from the more reserved Arsenal resulting in over £70mil spent on two players, in Ozil and Sanchez, as well as Man Utd’s willingness to spend on the big boys to recover their lost ground since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson, most notably the £57mil spent on Angel Di Maria, money doesn’t seem to be a real concern for the flush Premier League sides. With the addition of the incredibly substantial television deal signed ahead of this season, money will flow like water and there is essentially, not a player in the world that can’t be persuaded to ply their trade on English soil next season. With the obvious exception of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and to a lesser extent Cristiano Ronaldo, there really isn’t a player out of the top-four’s reach. Huge players such as Paul Pogba, Gareth Bale, Pedro, Kerim Benzema, Sammy Khediera and Marco Ruess are only a few of the world-class players available to the top English sides this summer and are just a selection of the myriad of played who can earn Premier League side’s European success.
Europa League Will Be Taken More Seriously
With Sevilla claiming their second consecutive and fourth overall Europa League trophy last night, shockwaves may have been sent through the European second tier as the fear of competition dominance from the La Liga side looms it’s head. English sides have been reluctant to fully embrace the Europa League in recent years but with this recent stronghold from Sevilla, clubs such as Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham will be more concerned with a good European run, if not only to sneak their way into the Champions League. With Manchester United securing their spot back amongst the top four, those just outside the Champions League spots will be worried that their, albeit slim, window to enter the European elite has been closed for the foreseeable future, meaning that success in the Europa League could well be their only chance to chop it up with the big boys.
The stars of the Premier League will stay
As much as we expect huge summer transfer activity from English clubs looking to recruit the best available talent, there is unlikely to be much standout activity going the other way. With superstars such as Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas, Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, Sergio Aguero, Wayne Rooney and a handful more not looking like leaving their English clubs as the domestic league enters what promises to be it’s most interesting and open season in recent years. The financial power lauded by the top six in England will leave the European qualified clubs in the position of power that means that if they don’t want a player gone, he stays. There will of course be interest in the sterling players but outside of La Liga’s big-boys Real Madrid and Barcelona, there isn’t much draw outside the Premier League, for football and the superficial element of wages. Teams in the top 6-7 will strengthen but it seems unlikely that the lions share of them will be forced to sacrifice stars for stars as they rack up the talent for an intense 2015/2016campaign both domestically and abroad.