The two stars of the market in England are still, always them. Manchester City and Liverpool have once again done early business by securing their market priorities in June, demonstrating how strategy and planning make a difference in modern football.
But who is really ahead in this race for first place in next year's Premier League with their moves on the transfer market? What are the secrets of these strategies?
Liverpool managed to complete an authentic masterpiece in... four days. When Sadio Mané communicated to the club his idea of starting right after the Champions League final loss in Paris with Real Madrid, the Liverpool board and Jurgen Klopp wasted no time in taking immediate action to replace the Senegalese star.
The strategy was excellent: as negotiations continued with FC Bayern to receive the best offer, Liverpool worked with Darwin Nunez's agents to reach agreement on personal terms with a contract until 30 June 2028 for the Uruguayan forward.
That move was crucial because Manchester United and Newcastle also wanted Darwin Nunez, they tried to jump in the deal until the end but Darwin had decided to sign for Liverpool.
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With a meeting in Lisbon on a Saturday morning, the Reds board completed the agreement with Benfica and the Nunez agent for € 70m guaranteed fee, € 5m easy add ons and other potential € 20m in add-ons for a total package of € 100m.
But he was an excellent signing because Liverpool anticipated competition from other clubs and pleased Jurgen Klopp.
The Reds market is completed so far with two high-level talents: Klopp is convinced that Fabio Carvalho can be immediately ready to have an impact with Liverpool, the manager has strongly wanted him and for this an agreement has been reached with Fulham already three months ago.
Liverpool won't loan Fabio Carvalho out next season. He's gonna be part of the first team as Jurgen Klopp is convinced he could become an important player very soon. 🔴⭐️ #LFC— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) May 24, 2022
Fulham wanted him to stay on loan but it's never been an option, and Klopp is waiting for Carvalho. pic.twitter.com/rHgdCHaFlN
Calvin Ramsey is a talented fullback who will grow up behind Alexander-Arnold to become the future of Liverpool, a cheap investment from Aberdeen but which demonstrates the intelligence of the club.
In reality, the Reds also wanted Aurelien Tchouameni this summer but Jurgen Klopp's phone calls were not enough: Real Madrid won the race for the Monaco midfielder.
Now Liverpool will have to decide whether to complete their summer transfer market in this way or take advantage of possible opportunities in the coming weeks for a new winger or a new midfielder, two positions where the club's board is always attentive.
If Liverpool have been excellent in the transfer market so far, Manchester City seem to be even further ahead if possible.
Man City have been working since October in the shadows for Erling Haaland as a summer market priority: Pep Guardiola has been an excellent support element for the board in the rush to sign Haaland, direct contact with the player and effective messages that have brought the Man City to outperform the competition from other top clubs.
But that's not all, because City also completed midfield with Kalvin Phillips who refused contacts with other clubs including Paris Saint-Germain because he wanted to work under Guardiola.
A top signing to replace Fernandinho who wanted to return to Brazil: Man City have raised the level in midfield and also want to complete the deal for Marc Cucurella so as to also offer Pep a new left back of quality, fast and excellent skills for the present and future after an excellent first season in the Premier League with Brighton.
Not only that, because the Man City upgrade proceeds with a new second goalkeeper: Zack Steffen did not convince last year, so Stefan Ortega will be the new backup goalkeeper behind Ederson.
But we must not forget that Julian Alvarez arrives in attack, the best talent in Argentine football in recent years signed since last January with a clever move by the club.
Guardiola believes in Julian, City have turned down proposals from five clubs in the Premier League and abroad for possible loans - Alvarez will replace Gabriel Jesus who joined Arsenal this summer.
That's why Manchester City at the moment seems to be at a very high level, at the peak of their project since Pep Guardiola joined the club.
Liverpool can be happy with a top striker like Darwin Nunez, Mo Salah's new contract, Carvalho and Ramsey's talent; but Manchester City do not want to stop and have already completed many departments for present and future.
Who will be able to stop these two giants?