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The ink is only just dry on the final Premier League table -- Manchester City top of the tree; Leicester City, Leeds United and Southampton headed for the Championship -- but it is never too early to start looking ahead to the 2023-24 campaign. Here's how we rank the clubs heading into the transfer window:

Tier one: Overwhelming title favorites

1. Manchester City
There are a few scintillas of issues that might give you cause to doubt the Pep Guardiola project next season. They may have thrived for much of the 2022-23 season without a left back but that does not mean they will in 2023-24. Of their leading midfield quartet of Ilkay Gundogan, Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva and Rodri, only the latter will definitively be in what would naturally be considered his absolute prime years next season, by which time Bernardo will be 29. And of course, if they win the treble that the footballing universe expects of them, there may yet be motivational issues for a team that has summited the mountain.

Set against that is a team with the greatest goalscorer on the planet, depth of quality in almost every position bar left back and a head coach who year in, year out has found new ways to engage and challenge this supremely talented squad. Then there is the small matter of the wealth of Abu Dhabi in a supporting role. As we stand there is a chasm between City and the rest. No one should expect it to be bridged.

Tier two: In the top four mix

2. Arsenal
The setbacks of the final months of the season served as a reminder of the fine margins on which Arsenal's greatness lay. They might have had a first XI that could have cleared the 90-point mark and competed with City but they lacked the depth. The reason they sit second, however, is that their task for the new season is the most achievable and one they already appear to have positioned themselves well on. Adding two midfielders, Declan Rice being their leading target and they his favored club, will give versatility and variability for a club whose plan ran out of juice somewhat. They are also looking for more versatile defenders with Mohamed Simakan, Ivan Fresneda, Marc Guehi and Josip Sutalo among their targets.

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Arsenal observers seem to believe the Gunners need a direct threat at center forward -- perhaps a Tammy Abraham or cheaper version of Randall Kolo Muani -- more than the club itself appears to right now but the early indications of the summer are that they are going to position themselves to be able to keep their game flowing through injury issues. If that works they might still be a fair way off Manchester City but the best of the rest could still pounce if the holders struggle (or indeed make a deep run in Europe).

3. Liverpool
From April 14 until the end of the season, no team scored more goals per game (2.8 to 2.2 of second-placed Newcastle) nor did any side have a higher difference between the expected goals (xG) they registered and those they allowed to their opponents. Liverpool, in short, looked like Liverpool again. Whether that is really sustainable over the course of a 38-game season may well depend on how well they recruit in midfield, so often the bulwark for their defense, and new sporting director Jorg Schmadtke is expected to make multiple additions in that position. If they make a profound impact, if Mohamed Salah continues to excel at 31 and if Virgil van Dijk arrests what looks like decline, then Liverpool could be the team that pushes City closest. That's quite a few ifs though.

4. Newcastle United
If it is a little hard to get swept away with the tale of a plucky band of also-rans who, through the charisma of Eddie Howe and the sportswashing of Saudi Arabia, stunned England this season in reaching the Champions League, it might be in some part due to the fact that by the end of the campaign, Newcastle were a very, very good team. In fact their non-penalty xG difference ended up better than that of Arsenal, thanks in no small part to a lockdown defense that looks Champions League-ready. Ahead of them, you could say the same in patches. Bruno Guimaraes and Alexander Isak have excelled this season, so have players such as Callum Wilson and Joe Willock, for whom many might have viewed the ceiling as England's upper midtable. Howe has taken them far higher in a 38-game Premier League season. Can he repeat the trick next year and make a mark on Europe?

5. Manchester United
All of the three teams above have fairly profound questions hanging over them this summer. The difference between them and Manchester United is that they are capable of addressing them in the environment in which they currently operate. For United the issue is rather more profound, what environment will we be operating in and when? At the time of writing, there has been no indication that the Glazer family have made their mind up on Sheikh Jassim or Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the prospective bidders for a club that lies in stasis until it has some clarity on ownership. That is less than ideal when, for all Erik ten Hag's fine work in year one, this squad needs pretty profound changes in goal, in attack and midfield.

Tier three: European contenders

6. Brighton and Hove Albion
The Seagulls might well be the most fascinating club of the months ahead. Roberto De Zerbi has acknowledged that perhaps his two best players -- Moises Caicedo and Alexis Mac Allister, the foundations of the best non-Manchester City midfield in England -- are off. If any club could be trusted to find an upgrade it would be Brighton, particularly now that they will be flush with a little extra cash from the Europa League. Can even a team with their track record keep rustling up £80 million talents in South America though? At the moment it feels like they will never stop getting it right but it only takes a few missteps in the market for a team to slip back. Theirs might not be a Leicester-level drop off but intrigue abounds.

7. Chelsea
At least they have a manager. In considering the plight at Stamford Bridge one is reminded of Ralf Rangnick's brutal takedown of his then employers Manchester United as a club that needs "open heart surgery." Chelsea are in much the same position but they could also do with a brain transplant please and thank you. Mauricio Pochettino must hack back a squad of 32 assembled by an ownership group that seemed to have just uncovered UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules and yet to achieve anything of note next year he will surely need a better goalkeeper, younger legs in midfield and, above all else, an honest to good striker. Never have so many needed so many more. 

8. Tottenham
You can transpose a fair few of Chelsea's woes onto Tottenham but they don't even have a manager, Arne Slot the latest in a long line of coaches to leverage Spurs speculation into a better contract elsewhere. Nor do they have a technical director. It is eminently plausible they won't have their best-ever player, Harry Kane, next season either. If any club needs the pick-me-up that comes with a visit from Beyonce, it's Tottenham.

9. West Ham United
Like so many outside the big six, West Ham go into this summer knowing that they face an almighty fight to keep their best player. Unlike the rest, however, there is an argument to be made that they can weather the storm of losing a player who belongs among the Premier League's elite. Such was Declan Rice's quality in this West Ham side that he simply had to do more than a player at the base of the midfield might otherwise. If Joao Palhinha, for instance, replaces him then Rice's absence can be offset by the exceptional Lucas Paqueta while a player such as Tomas Soucek might be freed to get back to his best box-to-box form.

10. Aston Villa
Unai Emery's appointment at the start of November might have seen Aston Villa rise from the relegation zone to the Europa Conference League but there was more than a little of the hot hand to them, a team whose non-penalty xG for and against was almost exactly level shouldn't really be picking up more points than Newcastle or Brighton. With Europe to balance next season, this might be a campaign where the underlying metrics come back to bite Emery, just as they did in the second year at Arsenal. The difference this time is that a team that is about par among the Premier League will be nothing to be sniffed at inside of Villa Park.

Tier four: Mid-table safety

11. Crystal Palace
On paper, this Crystal Palace season ended as so many others have, not knowing whether now was the time to stick with Roy Hodgson or to begin another refresh that might bring greater rewards but certainly offers more risk. And yet their recruitment over recent years has given them a squad that might just grow organically or could equally be refreshed if Steve Parish opts to cash in on a Guehi, wanted by Arsenal and Tottenham, or Eberechi Eze. As ever, there needs to be a greater goal threat at the top of the pitch (only Eze reached double figures for the season) but the rest of the squad looks well set.

12. Brentford
Thomas Frank's side would undoubtedly be higher in this ranking if they weren't looking at a season in which they will be without Ivan Toney for the majority of it. Brentford are hardly a one-man team, they beat Liverpool and Manchester City in games that Toney played no part in, but replacing 20 Premier League goals across the course of five months is a challenge for anyone. That they are also expected to lose David Raya at the other end of the pitch adds to the challenges ahead for Brentford.

13. Burnley
Few sides have made their way to the top flight with the grace and glamor of Vincent Kompany's Burnley, perhaps none have done so when they were faced with the great financial questions that hovered over the club post-takeover. The Belgian has not only recruited shrewdly (keeping impressive loanee Jordan Beyer could be a huge coup for next year) but has brought new qualities out of the likes of Jay Rodriguez and Josh Brownhill. There is a propulsive force behind Burnley, enough to push them high up the Premier League table on their return.

14. Everton
It is best to acknowledge that this position is nothing more than an almighty argument in favor of Sean Dyche. Everton's squad is not particularly worthy of 14th place, especially if Dominic Calvert-Lewin does not find a lasting solution to his fitness issues, but their manager seems to appreciate that the most profound issue he must address is the sense of malaise around the club. "The underlying bigger news of Everton since I've been here has been more or less negative about everything so that I've had to try to change and that's been difficult," Dyche said after his side snuck to the win over Bournemouth that secured their survival. At least there is someone at the club who is publicly willing to acknowledge the big picture. That shouldn't be a big step forward but it is.

Tier five: Fighting for their lives

15. Fulham
For the first two-thirds of the season, Fulham simply refused to get the results of a team that was giving up more xG to their opponents than Southampton and Leicester. From March onwards, they rather fell back towards earth, winning four but losing nine and drawing one. Marco Silva's job in west London has won him much praise but in year three with the Cottagers he will need to kick his side's offensive reliance on Aleksandar Mitrovic, who scored 14 Premier League goals for a team where no one else got more than five. 

16. Sheffield United
Sheffield United arrive in the Premier League with plenty of questions over a great many of the most important players that got them there. Will Tommy Doyle and James McAtee come back to the Blades, strengthening a midfield that excelled in the Championship? Only three players had more goals and assists combined in the second tier than Iliman Ndiaye, whose contract is due to expire at the end of 2023-24/ Will he and Sander Berge stay put? Bigger than all those issues might be the ownership status with Prince Abdullah bin Musa'ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud keen to cash out. All these issues become less pronounced with Premier League broadcasting revenue but they are problems to be addressed.

17. Nottingham Forest
Can Forest just be normal for a few months? If so there is the outline of a really strong XI for Steve Cooper to work with, particularly the front three of Morgan Gibbs-White, Danilo and Taiwo Awoniyi that would be supported by Brennan Johnson. Bring back standout loanee Keylor Navas and then just stop and think for a moment. The value of some degree of continuity for this squad would now surely outweigh all but the best signings and yet Evangelos Marinakis' approach to ownership suggests that is not something they will get.

18. Luton Town
Magnificent stories such as Luton's rise for the brink of non-League to the Premier League tend not to end with a damp squib and it seems unlikely that the Hatters, whose underlying metrics pointed to a real top six Championship club despite their limited wage bill, will fall apart in the top flight. It helps that they have a particular brand of football, playing with a ferocity that will doubtless unsettle any opponents who arrive at Kenilworth Road with an iota of complacency. However, this squad has very, very little experience of the top tier within it; unless their impressive recruitment department really excels, that may well cost them.

19. Bournemouth
One fears that the crowing at pundits and fans who predicted they would go down this season will come back to bite Bournemouth, who failed to grasp that if everyone thinks you aren't good enough for the Premier League, there might be a reason why. Gary O'Neill picked up enough 1-0 wins to get the points tally required and it has to be said that a squad that now includes Hamed Traore, Dango Ouattara and Ilia Zarbanyi is much better equipped to survive than that which Scott Parker brought up. However, the third worst defense, the fourth-worst attack and the worst xG difference does not scream team who are likely to stay up in year two.

20. Wolverhampton Wanderers
Only two players in Wolves colors last season scored more than three Premier League goals and one of those, Ruben Neves, only did so because he scored three penalties. No one at the club registered more than four non-penalty xG, Daniel Podence's team-leading 3.9 was good for 81st across the top flight, a tally bettered by Fabian Schar, among others. If Wolves did not have Julen Lopetegui, their dice with relegation could well have been much more dramatic. We may well find out just how dramatic with the Spaniard's future in doubt, as is that of Neves and fellow Portuguese midfielder Matheus Nunes. Difficult times are on the horizon at Molineux.