Only a few weeks to go until August 14th, and the return of the English league. Germany will start the following week, and the Italian and Spanish leagues, bastions of administrative competence that they are, will see fit to release this season's fixture lists at some point soon.
The big talk right now is transfers, and that will only get bigger as we approach August 31st, and the closure of the transfer window. This is significant, but I can't be bothered with the speculation, talk to me when the players actually sign a contract.
Anyway, I think a lot of people are missing the big story in England. That is the new rules about team's squad lists. The publicity that has been given to the new rules has focused on the homegrown player rule, but I think the effects of that rule are over-rated. There is only one club, maybe two, that will have any trouble meeting that requirement, and they have plenty of time to sign an English player or two before squad lists are due on September 1st.
That is not the real story though. The real story is the 25 man squad limits. This won't affect a team like Arsenal, because they have a lot of under-21 players who don't count against the 25 man limit. This affects clubs like Chelsea, Manchester United, and Manchester City, because they have huge squads of older, veteran players. And these players aren't going to sit around and twiddle their thumbs for 4 months. But the clubs don't want to lose them in many cases. So I think we are going to see quite a few older, big name players go on half season loans to mid-level premier league clubs.
I just hope Bolton is a beneficiary.