sport news United haven't learned, Arteta is making Arsenal the real deal and Serie A ...

It feels strange to already be reflecting on pre-season given that the Champions League final happened just over one week ago, but here we are ready to jump head first into a fresh campaign.

The skewed football calendar, due to the coronavirus postponement, means the game all across Europe finds itself in unprecedented waters but must surge ahead in order to return to a semblance of normality.

So far we have already seen certain sides splashing the cash like never before, while rivals around them are standing still. 

Over in Spain the Barcelona empire is crumbling to its storied foundations, while the race for Serie A to finally be competitive again is increasing.

As fans make the first small steps on their return to the stands and footballers touch back down from some rather questionable holiday destinations, Sportsmail digests the key things we have learned so far from pre-season... 

Chelsea mean serious business

Frank Lampard was told he could unleash the chequebook following a successful debut season with a youthful Chelsea side, and the club legend certainly hasn't wasted any time.

Following the expiration of a transfer ban, we are seeing the Roman Abramovich Chelsea of old - dominating the market and acquiring the best talent.

Chelsea have splashed serious cash and already Timo Werner is in amongst the goals

Chelsea have splashed serious cash and already Timo Werner is in amongst the goals

The Blues have showed they mean business after splashing out £90million on Kai Havertz

The Blues have showed they mean business after splashing out £90million on Kai Havertz

While many clubs have been cautious regarding their mid-pandemic budgets, Russian owner Abramovich has bankrolled an aggressive spree which has bolstered the side in most areas.

Chelsea have acquired one of the world's most exciting strikers in Timo Werner, while finally solving their full-back conundrum with the £50m signing of Ben Chilwell.

Hakim Ziyech, Thiago Silva and Malang Sarr have followed, as has £90m playmaker Kai Havertz from Bayer Leverkusen. 

Arteta making Arsenal a real deal again

It appears that ending the season with the FA Cup is just the start for Arteta.

The Spaniard has looked fearless since taking to the dugout, despite the daunting task that is the Emirates Stadium top job.

Whereas his predecessor Unai Emery struggled after ultimately trying to do too much too soon to turn fortunes around, Arteta has gone back to basics and concentrated purely on shaping a style and identity.

Mikel Arteta is making steady progress after going back to basics and reshaping Arsenal

Mikel Arteta is making steady progress after going back to basics and reshaping Arsenal

The former club captain has worked with the raw materials he has, turning the Gunners into a possession-conscious side once more with an instinct to play on the counter and supply talisman .

This bore fruit in the run up to and victory in the FA Cup, before playing out efficiently once more as a resolute side squeezed out the win against Liverpool in the Community Shield.

Arteta has already made the shrewd move of bringing Willian on board, and is set to raise funds in order to make more signings before the October 6 deadline. 

's deja-vu

Just 12 months ago Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side found themselves treading water in the transfer market; linked with some top names but not really signing anybody.

It was only in the dying stages of the 2019 summer window that United closed a record deal to sign Harry Maguire, before having to wait until January to clinch a move for Bruno Fernandes.

The club have managed to appease fans by signing Ajax star Donny van de Beek, but there is still a strong sensation of de-ja vu.

Just like last summer, United are stalling on transfers and failing to seize the early initiative

Just like last summer, United are stalling on transfers and failing to seize the early initiative

The Red Devils appeased fans by signing Donny van de Beek, but many expected more deals

The Red Devils appeased fans by signing Donny van de Beek, but many expected more deals

Following a promising end to the season, albeit marred by Europa League exit, United are constantly linked with some of the most exciting names on the continent... but only one name has come through the door. 

The club have already angered by missing their specifically set deadline to sign Jadon Sancho, and will not meet the £108m price tag... yet.

United could well have another Maguire situation, whereby they do indeed meet the fee at the 11th hour, though fans will most certainly be left questioning the play-out of this same situation once more.

There is no time like the present, as the old adage goes. Maybe it's time somebody reminded United of that.

Forgotten names set to shine

A new season means new opportunities, and those stars who took time to bed in during the last campaign have a chance now to really come to the fore.

We're talking the likes of Takumi Minamino and Naby Keita at Liverpool, who both made electric contributions after coming on as substitutes during the Community Shield, with the former grabbing the equaliser.

Takumi Minamino looked promising at Wembley and could be set for a breakthrough season

Takumi Minamino looked promising at Wembley and could be set for a breakthrough season

Kieran Tierney likewise has a huge 12 months ahead after shaking off his injury concerns and starting a campaign from the off in Arteta's new-look Arsenal.

A short walk away in north London, Tottenham are quietly holding out huge hopes for Ryan Sessegnon this season, after the youngster completely dropped off the radar following a big switch from Fulham.

But it is not all a case of emerging names hoping to shine; the forgotten man of the Premier League old guard also want to step back into the ring.

At Newcastle veteran target-man Andy Carroll has made a real go of pre-season, scoring a wonder goal as the Magpie brushed aside Crewe Alexandra. 

Set to turn 32 in January, Carroll is bidding for one more attempt to be the main man for his boyhood club while his injury-ridden body permits him to do so. 

Andy Carroll scored a wondergoal in pre-season and is desperate for a year of redemption

Andy Carroll scored a wondergoal in pre-season and is desperate for a year of redemption 

Leeds ready to make a splash

Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds captured the imagination of many in recent months, after the Yorkshire club finally surged back to the promised land.

In Bielsa the Premier League will be soon blessed with one of the most curious and enigmatic managers, but Leeds have already shown clear intent that they do not want to simply be a flash in the pan.

The signings have already started to roll in, with the £35m purchase of striker Rodrigo from Valencia smashing the club's transfer record.

Questions have been asked already about the fee, though Bielsa was determined to get his man. Leeds have since added the £11.5m signing of Robin Koch and completed a £16m deal to permanently acquire Helder Costa.

Leeds showed serious intent by smashing their transfer record, in testing times, for Rodrigo

Leeds showed serious intent by smashing their transfer record, in testing times, for Rodrigo 

Covid financial crisis?... What crisis?

A host of clubs were quick to issue official statements in the aftermath of the

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