Be honest, you weren’t sure if we’d ever get to this point.
However, we’ve made it, and now it’s time to celebrate in the only way we at 90min‘s DEPPR headquarters know how – an end-of-season power rankings.
We need something big to mark the occasion. It’s time for The Sopranos.
“There’s an old Italian saying: you f**k up once, you lose two teeth.”
Serge Gnabry might have lost a few teeth during his disastrous time with West Brom, but now he’s one of the world’s best wingers.
Tony Pulis, you watching?
“I want to direct my power and anger against the people that deserve it.”
On top of being a really good footballer, Marcus Rashford proved this year that he’s an even better person.
22 goals, ten assists and millions of disadvantaged children fed during lockdown. A solid year.
“You’re a little too worried about what I give you. Worry a little more about what you give me.”
Being greedy is an accusation often levelled at Mohamed Salah, who has forged a reputation as a player who might ‘not see’ a teammate before lining up a speculative shot.
He fired Liverpool to the Premier League title though, so does anyone care?
“Talk about a jolt to the system. Try getting shot at. It’ll give you a nice kick start.”
Did Christian Pulisic expect to be the undisputed star when he arrived at Chelsea last summer?
Having to carry his teammates at times must have come as a real surprise, although Eden Hazard had been doing it for years before then anyway.
“This isn’t painful. Getting shot is painful. Getting stabbed in the ribs is painful. This…isn’t painful. It’s empty.”
Sure, Raheem Sterling has won Premier League titles of his own, but it will have hurt to see Liverpool raising the trophy this season.
“When you’re married, you’ll understand the importance of fresh produce.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has freshened things up at Manchester United, and his decision to play Anthony Martial as a central striker was a stroke of brilliance.
His 23 goals were scary enough, but his new-found partnership with Bruno Fernandes looks set to cause defenders nightmares for years to come.
“In my thoughts, I use the technique of positive visualisation.”
Once perilously close to the exit door at Juventus, Paulo Dybala stayed positive and proved himself as one of the team’s finest players.
If Maurizio Sarri hadn’t figured out Dybala was worth keeping, Inter might have been the ones lifting the Serie A trophy.
“Even a broken clock is right twice a day.”
Well, well, well…who saw this coming?
A Crystal Palace flop just one year ago, Alexander Sørloth was one of Europe’s most prolific strikers this season.
He fired home 33 goals for Trabzonspor in all competitions – Palace only managed 31 in the Premier League all season!
“You got any idea what my life would be worth if certain people found out I checked into a laughing academy?”
He might not laugh (or show any form of emotion) during his interviews, but what Erling Haaland does do is score goal after goal after goal.
He ended the season with 44 goals in just 40 games for Red Bull Salzburg and Borussia Dortmund, and he’s just 20 years old. 20.
“More is lost by indecision than by wrong decision.”
Was Ángel Di María’s move to Manchester United the wrong decision? Definitely.
However, it did lead him to Paris Saint-Germain, where he managed 11 goals and 21 assists this season, so it all worked itself out.
“You steer the ship the best way you know. Sometimes it’s smooth. Sometimes you hit the rocks. In the meantime, you find your pleasures where you can.”
It’s been a bumpy year for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Arsenal went from being awful to winning the FA Cup, but he’s just been firing in goals for fun all year.
Now, will he sign da ting?
“‘Remember when’ is the lowest form of conversation.”
All Liverpool fans had before this season was ‘remember when’, but that’s not the case anymore.
Sadio Mané was in outstanding form as he fired Liverpool to their first Premier League title in 30 years, bagging 22 goals and 12 assists.
“For every 20 wrongs a child does, ignore 19.”
It’s been a topsy-turvy year for Kylian Mbappé, whose sheer brilliance on the pitch was often masked by the odd tantrum when manager Thomas Tuchel didn’t give him what he wanted.
When you’ve got someone like Mbappé on your team, you learn to live with that.
“This ain’t negotiation time. This is Scarface, final scene, f**king bazookas under each arm, ‘say hello to my little friend!”
Kai Havertz’s form has meant it is negotiation time for Bayer Leverkusen, who are now trying to get as close to £90m as possible from Chelsea.
“You ever feel like nothing good was ever gonna happen to you?”
It may have felt as though Bruno Fernandes’ transfer to Manchester United was never going to happen (despite a summer which featured about 1,000 bogus confirmations).
He finally made it to Old Trafford in January and then proceeded to tear the Premier League apart.
“Teddy Roosevelt once gave an entire speech with a bullet lodged in his chest. Some things are just a matter of duty.”
Thomas Müller probably felt he was in the firing line last summer when many fans were certain he was too old and too rubbish, and he then proceeded to shut them up by setting a Bundesliga assist record.
He ended the season with 21 league assists (25 in all competitions) and even chimed in with 12 goals for good measure.
“If you can quote the rules, then you can obey them.”
Josip Ili?i? is supposed to be old and bad. Atalanta are supposed to be average.
Josip Ili?i? managed 21 goals and nine assists. Atalanta weren’t far off winning Serie A.
They don’t play by the rules.
“Like Popeye says, I yam what I yam.”
Plenty of Real Madrid fans hated Karim Benzema a few years ago because ‘he didn’t score enough goals’, but he kept his head down and kept doing his thing.
Now out of Cristiano Ronaldo’s shadow, Benzema has proven that he truly is one of the best around, and those same critics are now singing his name with delight.
“What use is an unloaded gun?”
Hitman Timo Werner went off on one this past season, firing home 34 goals and 13 assists in all competitions. For the first half of the year, he averaged more than one goal per game.
RB Leipzig looked like potential title winners for a large part of the season, and that was largely down to Werner.
“Those who want respect, give respect.”
Those who want assists, give assists.
After a slow 2018/19, Kevin De Bruyne exploded back to his best this year, matching Thierry Henry’s Premier League assist record and fighting his way towards the front of the now non-existent Ballon d’Or queue.
“They say every day’s a gift, but why does it have to be a pair of socks?”
36 goals in just 37 Serie A games.
That kind of record-equalling form earned Ciro Immobile the European Golden Boot award, but he’d probably have preferred to win the Serie A title instead.
“Next time, there won’t be a next time.”
There will (probably) be no next time for Jadon Sancho in Borussia Dortmund.
The Englishman has spent the last three years tearing it up in the Bundesliga, which is why Manchester United are ready to break records to sign him.
“Sometimes it’s important to give people the illusion of being in control.”
Lionel Messi pretty much single-handedly carried Barcelona this season. On the pitch, he was his magnificent self (as per usual), but all is not well at Camp Nou.
Off-field issues between Messi and certain members of the backroom staff contributed to what was a tumultuous season, but you wouldn’t have guessed he was unhappy by his performances.
“Some people are so far behind in a race that they actually believe they’re leading.”
With 31 goals and six assists to his name, Cristiano Ronaldo continued to dominate in Italy. He led Juventus to the title, but you just know he’ll be angry to miss out on the Capocannoniere.
“All due respect, you got no f**king idea what it’s like to be Number One.”
There’s no debate about this one. Robert Lewandowski has been on a planet of his own this year.
51 goals in 43 games is a mental return from somebody who, at 31 years old, is actually supposed to be slowing down.
If the Ballon d’Or was still running this year, the award would surely have been his.
The Newcastle takeover saga rumbles on, after possible buyer James Pallotta agreed to sell Roma, potentially paving the way for the American to purchase the Magpies.
Newcastle’s proposed takeover came to an abrupt halt at the end of July as Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund ended its bid to buy the club.
The Magpies had been the subject of a £300m takeover fronted by businesswoman Amanda Staveley and backed by Saudi Arabia’s PIF for the best part of four months.
However, the PIF eventually ran out of patience as the deal continued to be scrutinised as part of the Premier League owners’ and directors’ test.
Newcastle fans were left not best pleased, with the buyers promising investment in the club and squad. Instead, another season under the Mike Ashley regime looms.
However, Magpies supporters have been offered a boost after AS Roma confirmed on the club’s official website that chairman and co-owner Pallotta had agreed to sell the club to the Friedkin Group for £530m.
Dan Friedkin, Chairman and CEO of The Friedkin Group, said: “All of us at The Friedkin Group are so happy to have taken the steps to become a part of this iconic city and club. We look forward to closing the purchase as soon as possible and immersing ourselves in the AS Roma family.”
The Northern Echo reported on Wednesday that Pallotta could reinvest a percentage of the Roma sale into Newcastle. Having traditionally dismissed talk of him purchasing an English football club, the American billionaire declined to comment on speculation linking him with buying the Premier League side.
A Pallotta takeover would not be dogged by the controversies and length owners’ and directors’ test that Staveley and the PIF were the subject of. The 62-year-old already the co-owner of NBA side Boston Celtics, in addition to having co-owned Roma since 2011.
Pep Guardiola has admitted that Eric Garcia does not want to pen new terms at Manchester City, as the young defender edges closer to a return to Barcelona.
The 19-year-old broke into the first team at the Etihad Stadium this season, making 24 appearances in all competitions. This included a run of four consecutive Premier League games at the end of the season.
Garcia is highly rated at City and the club have recently been attempting to extend his contract – which currently expires next summer.
However, speaking before the Citizens’ Champions League round of 16 second leg meeting with Real Madrid on Friday, Guardiola admitted that the Spaniard has no intention of signing a longer deal.
“Eric Garcia doesn’t want to extend his contract with Manchester City. I think he wants to join another club,” he said (via Fabrizio Romano).
City offered Garcia the chance to quadruple his wages but the player appears to have had his head turn by the prospect of returning to boyhood club Barcelona. He came through the revered La Masia academy as a youngster, before opting for a move to Manchester in 2017.
Barça are on the lookout for a new centre-back in the upcoming transfer window and they have earmarked Garcia as one of their top targets.
Although City would prefer he stayed, they do not want the defender to depart on a free transfer so are likely to sanction his departure in the near future. A fee of between €15m and €20m has been reported in the past which would represent good value from a Barcelona perspective.
Garcia’s imminent departure continues a recent trend of young players opting to depart City. Most notably, Manchester United target Jadon Sancho left for Borussia Dortmund in 2017 while Brahim Diaz was also poached by Real Madrid last season.
West Ham are considering a swap deal in order to secure the services of QPR’s 22-year-old attacking midfielder Eberechi Eze.
The Millwall academy product was one of the most exciting young prospects to emerge from the Championship during the 2019/20 campaign, having hit 14 goals in just his second full season in the second tier.
His form understandably attracted the attention of a selection of Premier League sides, with Crystal Palace, West Ham and West Brom all reportedly interested.
Any move the Hammers make for Eze had been thought to be determined by whether they can find a buyer for Felipe Anderson and Manuel Lanzini due to QPR wanting a substantial transfer fee for the England Under-21 international.
However, according to the Sun journalist Alan Nixon, West Ham would be prepared to do a swap deal in order to bring Meze to the London Stadium.
Palace had a £12m plus add ons bid rejected by QPR on Monday, and the Hoops are said to be holding out for a fee of at least £16m. They had originally set an asking price of £20m for the midfielder.
Nixon pointed to Jordan Hugill as a player West Ham could potentially swap with QPR in order to land Eze. Hugill has only played 22 minutes of Premier League football since joining the Hammers in January 2018, and spent the 2019/20 season on loan at Loftus Road.
He enjoyed a successful loan spell with QPR, scoring 15 goals in 41 appearances.
Fresh from sealing their return to the Premier League, West Brom are another side eyeing up Eze. The Baggies reportedly held informal talks with QPR last week.
Palace are also not to be deterred despite having their initial bid rejected. The Eagles are expected to return with an improved offer, but their transfer activity this summer is expected to be determined by whether they can find a buyer for Wilfried Zaha.