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  • Louis van Gaal must overcome Manchester United’s Chinese Curse

    Louis van Gaal must overcome Manchester United’s Chinese Curse

  • Juventus' problems may run far deeper than Massimiliano Allegri

    Juventus' problems may run far deeper than Massimiliano Allegri

  • Does Chelsea's summer spending pile pressure on José Mourinho?

    Does Chelsea's summer spending pile pressure on José Mourinho?

  • James Rodriguez, Marco Reus and Chelsea FC:  Football Power 101

    James Rodriguez, Marco Reus and Chelsea FC: Football Power 101

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Watch out, City. Take heed, Liverpool. Don’t get too excited just yet, Arsenal and United. Having splashed out almost £80m on Cesc Fàbregas, Diego Costa and Filipe Luis this summer, plus having secured the future services of Croatian teenager Mario Paŝalić for an undisclosed amount, it seems like the "little horses" of last season are ready to gallop. After all the bizarre mind-games and disappointing inconsistency of last term, there is reason for Chelsea fans to be excited again.

Welcome to class. Please take your seats. Today’s lesson will look the notion of footballing power. What is footballing power? What grants a football club true power, and how can powerful clubs wield it? We live in an age where any club can legitimately force their way to the top of the table provided that the right conditions are met; Manchester City have gone from ‘typical City’ and playing Darius Vassell to two-time Premier League champions, while Paris Saint-Germain went from mid-table mediocrity (in Ligue 1, not forgetting) to seemingly permanent Champions League fixtures. It’s a sign of the modern day that a super-rich business person can pick a club - any club - and turn them into a global powerhouse through finances and will alone. Does money, and even more significantly, success, equal power, though? Let’s discuss.

At times last season, it felt as though the infamous Chinese curse "May you live in interesting times" was written for Manchester United. Ironic it would be, as United ever increasingly look to convince China that Manchester United is made for them. Anyhow, when David Moyes took over as Manchester United manager last summer, I remember thinking that whatever happens, at least it will be interesting. And it was.

I'll say this now.

I don't have a lot of time for England. I don't like international games, I don't like the endless collection of St George's flags lashed across advertising hoardings, suspended from rooftops and flown from cars every two years. Furthermore, I hate international breaks, as it means no Liverpool game for a fortnight and my weekly fix of all things Red is put on hold so we can watch a host of rookie England players obtain their only caps before the big lads return for the tournaments. 'What have we learned from this game, Alan?' 'Well, we know that the subs board works.'

Heading into their fourth season under Antonio Conte, Juventus fans had good reason to be optimistic about the twelve months that lay ahead. The bianconeri had reaffirmed themselves as domestic powerhouses yet again and Conte appeared to have turned his attention to finally making an impression in Europe. These high hopes all came crashing down when Conte abruptly resigned from his post, and CEO Giuseppe Marotta promptly named his replacement to be Massimiliano Allegri, infamous for his role in A.C. Milan’s recent downward spiral. Replacing arguably the best manager in Serie A football with one recently sacked from a rival club that finished eighth was enough to spark the furore of Juventini worldwide.

Even as the accolades and titles begin to rack up for Manchester City, a notable anxiety has crept over the blue side of Manchester this summer; the fear of where the next great City academy product will come from. They managed to ignore this for a while, as the thrill of becoming a successful, world-beating club was all consuming. But a couple of things this summer have brought the issue to light. Firstly, the much-vaunted Financial Fair Play hammer came down, and amidst the various financial and symbolic punishments, the one that actually had the capacity to hurt City the most wasn’t the £50m fine, or the 21-man Champions League squad; it was the home-grown quota, as City officials and fans awkwardly looked around and realised they would have to give new contracts to professional ringers Dedryck Boyata and Richard Wright in order to make the grade.

  • Scouting Report: Divock Origi

    Scouting Report: Divock Origi

  • Scouting Report: Ciro Immobile (Torino)

    Scouting Report: Ciro Immobile (Torino)

  • Scouting Report: Memphis Depay (PSV)

    Scouting Report: Memphis Depay (PSV)

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