Fans are back, Liverpool hero Virgil van Dijk returns, amazing transfers like Jadon Sancho and Jack Grealish – why we’re excited about the Premier League on talkSPORT

Premier League football is back and here at talkSPORT we could not be more excited.

It may have been only been 33 days since the end of Euro 2020 but now the main show is back in town – and it’s going to bigger than ever.

Can Leicester get back into the top four this season?
Getty

Thanks to a summer of huge transfers, drama, and controversy, we’ve got a whole host of new storylines, and the old classics, ready to fuel a sensational season of action.

Superstars like Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho joining Manchester United will see their bid to win a 21st title step up another gear.

Britain’s first £100million man, Jack Grealish, will be attempting to prove he was worth the dough, although with such strong calves you’d expect him to be able to carry the weight on his shoulders.

And Harry Kane, wherever he’s playing on September 1, will have all eyes on him after his summer escapades. But what else are we excited about?

Sancho is now a Manchester United player and ready to make an impact in the Premier League
@sanchooo10
Can Tottenham flourish with Heung-Min Son and Dele Alli combining?
Getty

Fans are back!

The roar of the crowd, the hilarious songs, the cutting put-downs, and the moment of silence between ball hitting the back of the net and the cheers for the goal.

Hugging strangers, declarations of love, and a half-time pie and pint – you cannot beat it.

We’ve missed it all so much and this weekend you’re all back where you belong – so make the biggest racket you can, it’ll sound great live on talkSPORT.

And it’s not just supporters who are loving being allowed to return to stadiums, the footballers on the pitch can’t wait too.

Southampton star Theo Walcott told talkSPORT: “I feel like it’s going to be a very exciting season, more so because the fans are back and I just feel that’s what football needed and that’s what I’ve needed as well.

“Football is not the same without them. Honestly, you ask any player, it’s so strange playing with no fans. I’m so pleased we’ve got them back now.”

Arenas around the country will now be at full capacity and it’s going to be a glorious sight
AFP

Amazing new signings

Forget that Lionel Messi fella, we’ve got some HUGE superstars in the Premier League and now more of the world’s best are joining them.

Grealish’s British-record deal is the biggest of the summer but let’s not forget some other brilliant moves.

Sancho and Varane are two top talents and will be great to watch at Old Trafford, while Arsenal, Liverpool, and Tottenham have landed top young centre-backs in Ben White, Ibrahima Konate and Cristian Romero, respectively.

Aston Villa, though, are the ones to watch after landing Leon Bailey, Emi Buendia, Danny Ings, and Axel Tuanzebe on loan.

Grealish is the new main man at Man City – and it’s fair to say he looks good in the new kit
Getty

VAR changes

Look, it’s a necessary evil but it’s getting loads better this season. Trust us.

Most importantly we can expect less goals to be chalked off.

“On marginal offside, we’ve now effectively re-introduced the benefit of the doubt to the attacking player,” PGMOL chief Mike Riley said. “Where we have a really close offside decision, we carry on following the same process that we did last season with the one pixel lines; we’ll then put on the thicker broadcast lines, and where they overlap those situations will now be deemed as onside.

“What we give back to the game is 20 goals that we would have disallowed last season by using quite forensic scrutiny. So it’s the toe nails, the noses of the players who are offside; they might have been offside last season but next season they won’t be.”

Patrick Bamford will be delighted by the changes
BT Sport

Raul Jimenez returns

The Mexican centre-forward has been an incredible addition to the Premier League since his arrival in 2018 and he’s got admirers across the country.

The season-ending fractured skull he suffrered last season against Arsenal in November 2020 saw an outpouring of good wishes.

Now, though, he’s back – with a headband which has a metal plate protecting the fracture site – and it will be great to see him out on the pitch again.

New boss Bruno Lage already knows his quality.

“He can do everything,” he said. “It was a big surprise. It’s been a long process for him; I have just come towards the end of it. I feel he is ready. He is confident.”

There won’t be a more popular goalscorer this season if he nets on his return against Leicester.

Jimenez’s return to Premier League football is a welcome one
Getty

Virgil van Dijk is back

Talking of returns, Liverpool’s defence lynchpin is ready and raring to go for Jurgen Klopp.

A cruel injury last season saw him make just eight appearances in all competitions.

He even missed Euro 2020 as he focused on get fit for the new campaign with the Reds, which starts on Saturday evening against Norwich City, live on talkSPORT.

Van Dijk was named the Premier League’s best player in 2019/20 and Liverpool, and the division, is better for having him back.

Expectations will need to be managed but there is no doubt he will improve the Reds’ defence, while his ability on the ball, and the security he provides will strengthen their attack too.

Van Dijk, like Jimenez, will be welcomed back to action this weekend
Getty

Wonderkids

Liverpool’s Harvey Elliott has been making waves in pre-season and we’re excited to see what he can offer the Reds this campaign.

The right winger was on loan with Blackburn in the Championship last season and had an impressive time of it.

Tottenham’s Oliver Skipp had a similar time of it with second tier title winners Norwich and he might be a regular fixture in their midfield this term.

Meanwhile, after Billy Gilmour’s outstanding show for Scotland against England at Euro 2020, it looks like they have swapped one loan starlet for another this term.

And there are plenty more around the division ready to thrill us, too.

Gilmour bossed the midfield against the Three Lions and will now be a Premier League regular
Getty

The title race

This could be the most exciting battle in years as the main contenders spend big in the transfer market.

Manchester City comfortably won the trophy last time around and strengthened an already formidable squad by bringing in Grealish.

Chelsea could arguably be the team to best challenge City, they beat Pep Guardiola in the Champions League final last season and are about to announce the return of Romelu Lukaku from Inter Milan.

Under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Man United’s rebuild is almost complete after bringing in Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho and Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane.

Liverpool meanwhile have arguably been the quietest in the window so far having only brought in Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig. That being said, Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip’s return in defence will undoubtedly bolster their chances to reclaim the crown.

It’s going to be a wild ride, we’re sure of that.

Can anyone stop Guardiola from retaining the title with Man City?
GETTY

Mike Dean

The top referee has entered the banter stage of his career and we’re here for it.

Having brandished more than a century of red cards, the iconic ref has never looked back since dismissing Nobby Solano in 2001 and he’s back for yet another top-flight campaign.

Never afraid to take centre-stage, we can’t wait for another season of Dean thrusting himself into the spotlight for absolutely no reason.

From massively exaggerated decision gestures to taking no nonsense from anyone, a mixture of laughs and fury are guaranteed with the 53-year-old in charge.

Never change, Mike.

Dean has been officiating in the Premier League for more than two decades
AP:Associated Press

You can hear Manchester United v Leeds, Everton v Southampton, and Norwich v Liverpool, live and exclusively on the talkSPORT Network this Saturday.

PLAY talkSPORT SELECTOR

It’s back and just in time for the new Premier League season, which begins on 13 August with Brentford hosting Arsenal on Friday night

  • Stay in the game and win a share of £25,000 
  • Over £200,000 in cash prizes given away last season
  • Correctly select one Premier League team to win each week
  • Entries cost £10, click here to play
  • 18+, please gamble responsibly, gambleaware.org