With only a couple of days left in the transfer window, many things can change before leagues actually start. This weekend we saw the first hardware of the season (albeit, a bit more than just a friendly) being awarded to Manchester United as they won the Community Shield in England. On Tuesday, we'll see the last major trophy of the 2016 season being awarded as Madrid plays Sevilla in Norway.
10. Sevilla - The reigning Europa League winners are once again fighting to stay competitive in La Liga and throughout Europe and their success is on the back of one man... Monchi! Ramon Rodriguez Verdejo is the best General Manager we've seen the last 5 years, with a keen eye for talent and forming great relationships with other clubs, his success is unprecedented. This year, however, will be his toughest. Losing the heart and soul of the team (Coke) was not easy for anyone at the club, least of all him, but making the tough decision are what great GM's have to do. Bringing in fiery Jorge Sampaoli, has already made strides in team dynamics and style of play. They look gritty and willing to do more dirty work especially from the front lines. Look for their new style of play to wreak havoc on Real Madrid this week!
Next Opponent: Real Madrid, UEFA Super Cup 8/9
Key Additions: Ben Yedder (FW), Luciano Vietto (FW), Matias Kranevitter (MF), Pablo Sarabia (MF), Ganso (MF) Gabriel Mercado (DF)
Key Departures: Coke (DF), Kevin Gameiro (FW), Grzgorz Krychowiak (MF), Ever Banega (MF), Luismi (MF), Reyes (MF), Fernando Llorente (FW), Federico Fazio (MF)
Preseason: 6-0, defeated River Plate
9. Borussia Dortmund - The German Cinderella or bridesmaid or second fiddle or... well you catch my drift, needs to do more with less! Good news though, they have improved slightly and might very well be a VERY entertaining team to watch. Can they catch a Gotze, Reus, Aubameyang magic to scrap with the big boys? They have done a great job of replacing players and now it is a matter of bringing things together. If they reach their potential other teams should worry!
Next Opponent: Athletic Bilbao, Friendly 8/9
Key Additions: Mario Gotze (MF), Andre Schurrle (FW), Marc Bartra (DF), Raphael Guerreiro (DF) Sebastian Rode (MF)
Key Departures: Ilkay Gundogan (MF), Henrikh Mkhitaryan (MF), Mats Hummels (DF)
Preseason: 4-1-2, defeated Manchester United
8. Manchester City - On paper, they should surely win the league but are they up to the task? This team has become a microcosm of what the Premier League was last year, really shiny and beautiful from the outside but little substance on the inside. They allowed Leicester City to walk away with the title and put to shame the five monster clubs in England. The influx of new money into the league has created an inflation in player prices throughout Europe and every club has felt it. Pep Guardiola will surely inject them with some new passion but will a new style of play dominate English Football or will it succumb to the fast long ball ways of the Premier? Many more questions than there are answers for this squad.
Next Opponent: Sunderland, First Premier League game 8/13
Key Additions: Nolito (FW), Ilkay Gundogan (MF), Leroy Sane (MF), Gabriel Jesus (FW),
Key Departures: None
Preseason: 1-0-1, defeated Borussia Dortmund in Penalties
7. Arsenal - You might wonder why Arsenal is so high on this list, because at this point in their pre-season they are simply better than the rest of the teams we have to choose from. They have had a longer pre-season which has helped their overall fitness and when given a chance they can certainly challenge any team which is at their level. They have huge injury concerns and have not addressed their forward situation, for what seems like years, but something still has to be said of their consistency... of being poor when it really matters. Will Arsene Wenger finally buy a top of the line front man, if not now then when?
Next Opponent: Liverpool, First Premier League game 8/14
Key Additions: Granit Xhaka (MF)
Key Departures: Mikel Arteta (MF)
Preseason: 5-1-0, defeated Manchester City, Everton
6. Juventus - Torino is truly spoiled as they have a strangle hold over Serie A. With a slow start last year, many doubt that will happen again. They feature an impressive Argentinian front line with the most expensive transfer of Serie A in Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala. Making Mario Mandzukic the best sub of all Europe! They took a huge loss in terms of talent with the departure of Paul Pogba but that sale was the BEST business decision they could have asked for, their dominance will continue in Serie A and Miralem Pjanic isn't a bad cover either. In Champions League, they will look to capitalize on that front line and experience of that back line. The Argentines will come to feast on those Dani Alves crosses!
Next Opponent: Koln, Friendly 8/14
Key Additions: Gonzalo Higuain (FW), Mehdi Benatia (DF), Dani Alves (DF), Miralem Pjanic (MF), Mauricio Isla (DF)
Key Departures: Paul Pogba (MF), Alvaro Morata (FW), Juan Cuadrado (MF)
Preseason: 3-1-0, defeated Tottenham
5. PSG - They are actually the first thus far to win some real hardware with a 4-1 win over Olympique Lyon in their Super Cup. The domination in Lique 1 is unmatched and the display under Unai Emery was evident this weekend. Like Bayern their best addition was in the form of a Manager with tangible talent and a resume of a champion, Unai will surely make this team better but anything less than a Champions League Final appearance will be disappointing. On a player level addition by subtraction was the best for all parties as Zlatan has departed and took with him his 50 goals and entitlement issues.
Next Opponent: Bastia, first Ligue 1 game 8/12
Key Additions: Hatem Ben Arfa (MF), Grzegorz Krychowiak (MF), Jese Rodriguez (FW), Unai Emery (Manager)
Key Departures: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (FW), Lucas Digne (DF)
Preseason: 4-0, defeated Real Madrid, Leicester City, Inter Milan
4. FC Barcelona - Defending La Liga and Copa Del Rey Champions, the Blaugrana have signed well thus far but still find themselves in search of maybe one to two more pieces. Their recent drubbing at the hands of a much more conditioned Liverpool squad this weekend, showed the work they still need to put in. The rumblings from Spain are getting louder in the goal keeper situation and with Neymar struggling with his Brazil squad, it'll be very interesting to know see how this transfer season ends. Can Luis Enrique further strengthen his squad and bench by selling one of his goal keepers at a premium? The inability to sell players makes it hard to justify investing even more money later this month.
Next Opponent: Sampdoria, Trofeo Joan Gamper 8/10
Key Additions: Samuel Umtiti (DF), Lucas Digne (DF), Denis Suarez (MF), Andre Gomez (MF)
Key Departures: Alen Halilovic (MF), Marc Bartra (DF), Dani Alves (DF), Sandro (FW)
Preseason: 2-1, defeated Leicester City, Celtic
3. Atletico Madrid - This squad is built for long term success with an amazing combination of youth and veteran leadership and it all starts with the culture that Diego Simeone has established. They have been able stay so consistent and disciplined for the last four years and this team might be their best! The French pairing of Kevin Gameiro and nominated Player of the Year Antoine Griezmann, this team looks to have shored their biggest deficiency this off-season.
Next Opponent: Cadiz, Friendly 8/12
Key Additions: Kevin Gameiro (FW), Nicolas Gaitan (MF)
Key Departures: Luciano Vietto (FW), Matias Kranevitter (MF)
Preseason: 3-1, defeated Tottenham
2. Bayern Munich - The Bavarian giants are poised to win another Bundesliga with little resistance. If health is on their side, they are an imposing threat going into Champions League. Their biggest improvement might be Carlo Ancelotti, as news from Germany has pointed to a strained relationship under Pep and a couple of the older statesmen on the team. Ancelotti has been praised as a players' manager with an ease about him, with a full pre-season and a solid team there is no question anything but a Champions League Final will be seen as a failure at home. Very promising young talent!
Next Opponent: Borussia Dortmund, German Super Cup 8/14
Key Additions: Mats Hummels (DF), Carlo Ancelotti (Manager)
Key Departures: Mario Gotze (MF), Medhi Benatia (DF)
Preseason: 4-2, defeated Inter Milan, Manchester City
1. Real Madrid - Winners of the last season's Champions League they look to be the first to repeat the feat this year. With no major departures, this team seems to have found cohesion when it counted the most last year. Regardless of draw, they overcame the best defense last year in a winner take all game. If Cristiano Ronaldo can defy an undefeated father time he showed he can still be a difference maker. Zidane has a full pre-season under his belt to further implement his game plan and lead this group to more titles!
Next Opponent: Sevilla, UEFA Super Cup 8/9
Key Additions: Alvaro Morata (FW), Marco Asensio (MF)
Key Departures: Jese Rodriquez (FW), Borja Mayoral (FW)
Preseason: 3-1, defeated Bayern, Chelsea