Friday 27 December 2013
As a new era began at Manchester United, Barclays Premier League clubs continued their recruitment for the 2013/14 campaign with an influx of new arrivals, while Fulham were taken under new ownership.
Manchester United began life without Sir Alex Ferguson on the first day of July, as new manager David Moyes took his first official day in charge. The former Everton manager immediately put his stamp on the club by appointing former Goodison Park colleagues Chris Woods and Jimmy Lumsden to the backroom staff and Steve Round as his right-hand man.
Old Trafford legends Ryan Giggs and Phil Neville were also appointed in coaching roles at Old Trafford, however the Moyes era started in defeat as Manchester United were beaten 1-0 by a Singha All-Star XI in Bangkok.
July also marked the end of Mohamed Al Fayed’s 16-year tenure at the helm of Fulham, in which the club rose from the third tier of English football to the Barclays Premier League, as NFL franchise owner Shahid Khan assumed 100% control of the west London club.
Arsenal meanwhile hit seven goals in back-to-back friendly matches against Indonesia All Stars and a Vietnam XI, while Manchester City won the Premier League's biannual Barclays Asia Trophy with a narrow win over Sunderland in Hong Kong.
Alongside the competition, the Premier League worked hard off the pitch to promote football in the region with its "Creating Chances" programme, which encouraged activities, coaching initiatives, refereeing schemes and community schemes to coincide with the Barclays Asia Trophy.
Under the guidance of new manager Manuel Pellegrini, Manchester City continued adding to their squad with two high-profile new arrivals. Spanish striker Alvaro Negredo and Montenegro forward Stevan Jovetic both signed at the Etihad Stadium on the same day.
Paolo Di Canio's Sunderland were the busiest team in the transfer market as they welcomed seven new players to the Stadium of Light, including USA forward Jozy Altidore and Juventus midfielder Emanuele Giaccherini.
With transfer activitybeginning to pick up pace, Tottenham Hotspur made a standout signing with the capture of Brazil midfielder Paulinho from Corinthians and he was followed to White Hart Lane by Belgium star Nacer Chadli. Swansea City broke their club record transfer fee with the signing of Ivory Coast striker Wilfried Bony from Vitesse Arnhem while Southampton won the race to buy Celtic and Ghana midfielder Victor Wanyama.
New Everton manager Roberto Martinez was reunited with former Wigan Athletic players Arouna Kone, Joel Robles and Antolin Alcaraz, while Barcelona prospect Gerard Deulofeu moved to Goodison Park on a season-long loan.
On the Red half of Merseyside, England and Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard signalled his intention to end his career at Anfield by signing a new two-year deal to keep him playing for the club until after his 35th birthday.
"I'm incredibly privileged I was given the opportunity and grateful to Sir Alex and the board for making it happen. My job is to continue the success at this club. This club is about wining trophies. I'm hungry to do it, I'm driven to succeed. It won't change me, though. I'm determined to get the first one [trophy] on the board." – David Moyes at his first press conference as Manchester United manager
"My time of serving as the custodian of Fulham Football Club would one day come to an end, and I feel that time has now arrived. The time is right because I have found a very good man in Shahid Khan to accept the responsibility and privilege that I have enjoyed at Fulham since 1997. Fulham will be in very good hands with Shahid, whose success in business and passion for sport is very evident." – Mohamed Al Fayed after the sale of Fulham to Shahid Khan
"I've been here that long and so to extend, it's a big day for me and I'm really happy for myself and my family. It's great news. It lets me know the club thinks an awful lot of me and want me here. I'm glad it's all done and it's happened at the right time before the season, so I can just focus on playing as well as I can." – Steven Gerrard after signing a contract extension at Liverpool