While some of the rival clubs below them have spent the summer fighting to sell players and recruit new ones to date, Manchester City and Liverpool have so far radiated an air of calm when it arrived at their negotiations on the transfer market.
If nothing else, the next season of the Premier League looks like it can trace a path similar to the season just ended. Once again Manchester City and Liverpool seem to be the main challengers, while the group of pursuers below them does exactly that – pursuit.
While both Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola are deep in their "project" in their respective clubs, teams like Manchester United and Chelsea have to press the restart button, and a rebuilding season awaits them. This gives the impression that we are in a two-horse race once again this season.
This has been reflected so far in the way both City and Liverpool have approached the current transfer window. Both Guardiola and Klopp have only minor adjustments to make when it comes to recruiting players, as both teams are much stronger than the teams below them and will remain for the foreseeable future.
Heavy lifting has been done in recent seasons when it came to putting together a team strong enough not only to be the challenge for the Premier League, but to challenge each other on all fronts, especially in Europe. This summer gave them the chance to breathe because they are not trying desperately to fill the essential positions in the field.
In the case of Manchester City, Guardiola has never been one to do his business late to the window and usually has his favorite goals through the nice and early door. Yes, the city has a huge advantage over most clubs when it comes to spending power, but does due diligence when it comes to recruitment and this puts them even further ahead than their rivals.
This summer their main priority was to find a successor to Fernandinho at the base of the midfield. Last season, Guardiola had identified Jorghino as the man to bridge the gap, but eventually lost after the Italian international chose to connect with its old boss Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea.
The goal this summer was Rodri of Atletico Madrid, and joined at the beginning of July for a sizable tax of £ 62 million. The only other notable signature so far for the Champions League has been the resignation of left-back Angelino from PSV Eindhoven.
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Kevin De Bruyne, who lost a big portion of last season due to an injury, will also be a sort of new purchase for them, and if he played more last season, the title might not have fallen to the last day. We should also see more of Phil Foden in the first team after he performed well when he was called at the end of last year's record campaign.
The situation is the same down the road from Merseyside, as Jurgen Klopp is just trying to add a couple of new faces to his European cup-winning team. Losing the league by one point and winning a Champions League trophy means that Klopp does not have to do any serious reconstruction as his team is in good health when it comes to strength and depth.
The priorities are coverage for Andy Robertson at the left-back and perhaps another readiness to take a weight off Roberto Firmino. Nicolas Pepe is the name that continues to appear on the gossip pages, but there has been no reliable information from Liverpool or the current Lille strikers clubs.
Klopp seems destined to turn to Rhian Brewster, who in the end seems destined to make an impression on the first team, as Firmino's main backup. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will also be at the height of a new signature, as he lost a handful of games due to an injury last season.
This summer you get the sense of both City and Liverpool that they realize that the streets are in front of everything else when it comes to the strength a team has. Last season ended with a huge 25 point gap between Liverpool of the second and Chelsea in third place, and it seems a real possibility that the first two will continue to widen the gap between them and their rivals, since everyone has problems that take time to resolve.
Manchester United needs to move some players to continue rebuilding their team, and the sale of Paul Pogba seems to be the key to this.
For Chelsea, they have to adapt to a new manager and probably a completely new style of playing with "Sarri-ball" kicked to the sidewalk, all above tackling the ban on transfer.
From the other side of London, Arsenal is struggling financially after a couple of seasons without the Champions League prize pool. If their paltry offer for Wilf Zaha is something to do, then they might be in another season to look up at the top four best places.
Tottenham, on the other hand, seems to be once again the team most likely to come close to turning it into a three-way race, but a lot will depend on whether they can keep the midfielder, Christian Eriksen.
When up to now the summers of Liverpool and Manchester City are contrasted with those of their direct rivals, one cannot help but think that they are more than a few steps ahead and the advantage of a team more or less stable and already superior in the season it will only help strengthen the gap between them and the pack of pursuers.
Also read: Kaka, Ronaldinho and Zidane – The craziest attempt at transfers in the history of the Premier League