Not even Jose Mourinho has managed to stir the collective enthusiasm, the Portuguese’s return to Stamford Bridge quickly ushered off the back pages a couple of weeks after his official appointment, while the transfer window has painted a picture of discontent.
Discontent, it seems, hasn’t spared anybody, tangling players and clubs together in a rather complicated, and incredibly tedious, cobweb. From Gareth Bale to Wayne Rooney, from Brendan Rodgers to Luis Suarez and Papiss Cisse, smiling faces have been a rather rare sight in the English top flight this summer.
The red corner of North London and the red half of Manchester in particular have experienced more gloom than others, hope and excitement quickly dissipating into anxiety, which has then turned into frustration and will, bar massive changes over the next four weeks, lead to widespread anger among both sets of fans.
This summer was billed as one of the most crucial in United’s history, as the club began the undoubtedly lengthy process to leave the Sir Alex Ferguson’s era behind to make a huge leap into uncharted territory.
So far, United have achieved nothing, apart from striking lucrative deals with companies producing tomato juice in the Far East, something the club seems to consider infinitely more important than signing players these days.
The signings David Moyes was promised by new chief executive Ed Woodward have so far failed to materialise, as United have stumbled through the summer without any evident strategy, despite Woodward’s bullish claims.
Less than two weeks before the start of the season, United find themselves with a hole of epic proportions in midfield, unlikely to be addressed in the foreseeable future, while David Moyes is yet to sort out Wayne Rooney’s future.
The striker is clearly looking at leaving Old Trafford after eight years, but United have repeatedly stated their intention to keep the 27-year-old at the club and refused two offers from Chelsea, as they do not intend to strengthen a direct rival.
Rooney’s mysterious shoulder injury has ruled him out from yesterday’s friendly against AIK in Stockholm, where he was scheduled to make his first pre-season appearance for the club, leading to increase speculations that his days at Old Trafford might be numbered.
Were United to accept an offer for their striker without landing the sort of world class signing their fans have been craving for, David Moyes’ first season in charge could turn into an uphill struggle before a ball has been kicked.
Down in the capital, things aren’t looking much better for Arsenal who have, rather customarily, found themselves slowly sinking into the transfer window’s quicksand.
Arsenal’s failure to secure a world class signing this season has been even more infuriating for their fans considering that Arsene Wenger and Ivan Gazidis both boasted about a £70m “war chest”, ready to be invested on world class players.
Instead, Arsenal have gone about their business in the usual fashion. Having been seemingly poised to secure Gonzalo Higuain from Real Madrid, the Gunners baulked when they had to produce the cheque book and lost out on the Argentina international, who was rather bizarrely booed by the Emirates crowd over the weekend.
Arsene Wenger remains convinced that his team are competitive enough, but not even the most optimistic – or lunatic, delete as approriate – of Arsenal fans will believe Arteta & Co. have a realistic chance of silverware this season, if they don’t strengthen between now and September.
Wenger’s clumsy attempts to lure Luis Suarez away from Merseyside have only managed to infuriate Liverpool, whose stubbornness has consequently prompted the Uruguayan to reiterate his desire to join Arsenal or any club that could provide him with an escape route from Anfield.
If Arsenal do indeed have a budget of around £70m, then refusing to spend could prove to be the most damaging of the many wounds the club has more or less voluntarily self-inflicted upon itself in recent years.
There is still time, for both United and Arsenal, to present themselves at the starting blocks with improved squads and confidence boosted by some quality signings but, at the moment, two of the Premier League big rivals can only share their discontent.
Will the Premier League be a two horse-race between City and Chelsea or will Arsenal and United challenge until the end too? Will a sign for either side be enough to turn them from challengers into favourites?Let us know below or get in touch via our Facebook or Twitter.