Socceroos ready to step into EPL limelight
SOCCEROOS stars Aaron Mooy and Mat Ryan will crack Australia's English Premier League half-century when the world's richest league kicks off.
Four Australians featured in the top tier last season but it was the first time since the EPL era started in 1992, when Mark Bosnich had his breakthrough season with Aston Villa, that not one was a bona fide regular.
Burnley midfielder Aiden O'Neill (18 years, one month) became our second youngest Premier League debutant, after Harry Kewell, and 49th Australian to play in the league.
But O'Neill - who will spend this season on loan with third-tier Fleetwood Town - Brad Smith, Adam Federici (Bournemouth) and Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace) combined for just 11 games and six starts.
Brighton and Huddersfield both broke their club transfer records at the time of securing Ryan ($9 million from Valencia) and Mooy ($17 million from Manchester City), suggesting they will feature prominently in 2017-18.
Ryan will start at home to Manchester City this weekend after he was signed to replace Championship keeper of the season David Stockdale.
Mooy has again been given the No.10 shirt by manager David Wagner after his crucial role in the Terriers' unlikely promotion heroics, where he was named player of the season.
"Playing for Huddersfield has been a fantastic experience this year and, thanks to the fans, David, the owner Dean (Hoyle) and all the team, I've grown to feel part of the Terriers family," Mooy said when signing.
"Now we're in the Premier League, not only do I get to play at the highest level of football, but I continue to be part of a team that achieved something special and we will continue on that journey together to try and achieve much more.
"I'd like to thank my former club, Manchester City, for the support throughout my time in the Championship and during my transition to Huddersfield."
Smith and Federici, who has recovered from a knee reconstruction, both hope to break into the Bournemouth side that will aim to repeat its mid-table placing, which is realistically Huddersfield and Brighton's best hopes.
Manchester United and Manchester City are best placed to knock Chelsea and its savvy manager Antonio Conte off the title perch, boasting genuine depth.
City manager Pep Guardiola has raided the continent, signing Monaco duo Bernardo Silva and Benjamin Mendy, Real Madrid's Danilo and Benfica's Ederson, with Tottenham's Kyle Walker bringing the spending spree to $335 million.
Manchester rival Jose Mourinho has opted for EPL experience, paying Everton $148 million for striker Romelu Lukaku and Chelsea $65.78 million for midfielder Nemanja Matic.
Runner-up Tottenham is yet to make an off-season signing though it almost certainly will as it prepares to play at Wembley Stadium.
Liverpool's hopes hinge on hanging on to attacking ace Philippe Coutinho, with Barcelona desperate to sign him after selling fellow Brazilian Neymar to Paris St-Germain for a world record $326 million.
Star Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah ($56.4 million from Roma) is the Reds' star capture.
Though Arsenal may be aided by missing out on the Champions League for first time on Arsene Wenger's watch, the Gunners must retain Chilean star Alexis Sanchez.
Their star signing is French striker Alexandre Lacazette, who cost the Gunners a club record $76.46 million.
Everton will be buoyed by the return of Wayne Rooney, West Ham United will be pushing for Europe after signing Javier Hernandez and Marko Arnautovic, while intrigue surrounds the return of Rafa Benitez-led Newcastle United.