The league title favourites in Russia, Netherlands, Portugal, Turkey, and Belgium for the 2020/2021 season

The league title favourites in Russia, Netherlands, Portugal, Turkey, and Belgium for the 2020/2021 season

With the international break making a pause in the season just after the transfer window has closed in most places it's as good a time as any to see what's coming. After looking at the top five European leagues, we are examining the front-runners for the next divisions in line. The league title favourites in Russia, Netherlands, Portugal, Turkey, and Belgium.

Favourites to win the Russian Premier League

Zenit St. Petersburg - 1.44

The Russian Premier League is 10 match days in and the bookies have Zenit as the clear favourites for winning the whole thing despite sharing the same point tally Spartak. CSKA is just two points below and Sochi and Lokomotiv aren't far away either.

Zenit is held above by the power of Artem Dzyuba, who has six goals already as much as his teammate Sardar Azmoun. Manager Sergey Semak is chasing the club’s third consecutive title!

The reigning champions secured a purchase of Dejan Loveren from Liverpool from €12,000,000 after their captain Branislav Ivanovic left on a free. The biggest purchase of the window was that of a Sporting Lisbon's central midfielder Wendel for over €20,000,000.

Several prominent names left the side besides Ivanovic: Oleg Shatov, Aleksandr Kokorin, Aleksandr Anyukov, Emiliano Rigoni, Igor Smolnikov, and Hernani. Yet the club is still a clear favourite. 

Spartak Moscow - 6.00

The red and white team from the capital has made significantly smaller investments yet they are holding up the level to Zenit after 10 games with their young manager Domenico Tedesco (35).

Spartak’s biggest signing was that of Kokorin for free, but the most money has been spent on a 23-year-old namesake Sobolev. The club hasn't had notable departures at that and boasts a very young squad with several veteran leaders.

CSKA Moscow - 7.00

The capital club has made a similar investment as the Gazprom backed Zenit with the singings of Chidera Ejuke for €11,500,000, Adolfo Gaich for €8,500,000, Bruno Fuchs from Internacional for half a million fewer, and Baktiyar Zaynutdinov from Rostov for two million. All of them younger than 23.

The 43-year-old manager Viktor Goncharenko also has the help of experienced veterans like Igor Akinfeev and Alan Dzagoev. While the side truly hasn't had important departures, they possibly could be rated a bit higher by the oddsmakers.

Lokomotiv Moscow 21.0

The side who was second two years in a row is now only the fourth despite buying several foreigners. The sale of Aleksey Miranchuk to Atalanta seems like too big of a hole left to be filled for the bookies.

Favourites to win the Eredivisie

Ajax - 1.72

Despite having a total sale of their top talents in the past three transfer windows, Ajax are still considered strong favourites in the Dutch league. The championship will have an odd feeling as the previous one wasn't sorted and was cut short prematurely.

Ajax has invested €40,000,000 - pretty much the whole fee received for Hakim Ziyech - but no strong names arrived. Davy Klaasen returned aged 27, right-winger Anthony (20) was bought for €15,750,000, AM Mohammed Kudus (19) came from Nordsjaelland for nine million, and Sean Klaiber was paid €4,250,000 to be a substitute at right back. The Amsterdam side also brought in Maarten Stekelenburg to serve as a backup goalkeeper.

While several notable players left -Ziyech, Donny van de Beek, Sergino Dest, and Joel Veltman for a total of €101,000,000 in incomes.

Nicolas Tagliafico, Daley Blind, Dusan Tadic, Andre Onana, Quincy Promes, and others are known to the wider footballing public and ought to be enough for another title. Especially as they are led by the proven Erik ten Hag since he didn’t move to Bayern as expected a year ago before Hansi Flick won the treble.

PSV - 3.25

While their rivals had 10 times bigger income from sales this summer, PSV still managed to get a bigger signing for the club - World Cup winner Mario Gotze. The German arrived on a free, same as the Israel international Eran Zahavi. PSV bought Ibrahim Sangare from Toulouse and paid the defensive midfielder €9,000,000.

Left-back Phillip Max arrived from Augsburg for one million fewer, and the next notable arrival is the now traditional loan of Marco van Ginkel from Chelsea. The side's most prominent arrival is that of Roger Schmidt, the former manager of Bayer Leverkusen, widely regarded as a top prospect in the dugout.

Striker Sam Lammers is the notable departure as the 23-year-old moved to Atalanta for nine million after just six goals in 29 games for the Eindhoven side. Looking at the side, with Donyell Malen and Jorrit Hendrix being the standouts already at the club, the title truly is Ajax's to lose.

Feyenoord - 7.00

Leading the table after four games on goal difference, the Rotterdam side has the most red-hot player in the league with Steven Berghuis scoring six goals already. Getting on the score sheet in every match Feyenoord has played in the new season.

Side's most notable signing is the 21-year-old Francesco Antonucci from Monaco's B team for over €2,000,000 but he was sent out on a loan immediately. Dick Advocaat will lean on Berghuis, Luciano Narsingh, Leroy Fer, and newcomer Mark Diemers the most.

AZ Alkmaar had a rough start to the season with just three points in four matches and the odds of 21.00 almost flatter them at this point.

Favourites to win the Primeira

Benfica - 1.57

The Eagles have waited a year to invest the crazy money they received for Joao Felix last summer but the club has never had an issue with making sales. Even this season they've made €68,000,000 by the sale of Ruben Dias to Man City, while the loan of Carlos Vinicius to Tottenham with an option to buy could bring Benfica €45,000,000 next summer.

But the club has had it's the most lavish transfer window. Firstly, Jorge Jesus has been brought back after stellar results in Brazil with Flamengo.

Then, the club bought the young Uruguayan striker Darwin Nunez from Almeria for €24,000,000. Sought-after left-winger Everton was bought from Gremio for €20,000,000, right-winger Pedrinho was just two million cheaper, while the centre-forward Luca Waldschmidt came in for 15 million. Same as Nicolas Otamendi, who will form a Premier league CB tandem with Jan Vertonghen who joined the side on a free.

It was an amazing shopping but the side was eliminated in the Champions League qualifications. At least they can now focus on regaining the title back.

Porto - 1.57

While their main rivals spent nearly 100 million euros, Porto bought players for only much less. Striker Evanlison was bought for €7,500,000 and the left-back Ziadu Sanus was paid four million. Right-back Carraca arrived on a free transfer as well as the goalkeeper Claudio Ramos, while Porto kept the numbers behind other transfer from the public.

Porto did most of its transfer work after the window has closed in most countries - not in Portugal where it lasts until later in October - by bringing in three loans. Three Premier League loans, midfielder Marko Grujic from Liverpool, winger Felipe Anderson from West Ham, and centre-back Malang Sarr from Chelsea.

While the side sold its teenager with almost no pro experience, Fabio Silva, to Wolves for €40,000,000. Alex Telles famously joined Man United, while other sales amount to €75,000,000. Manager Sergio Conceicao has been with the side from 2017 and is gunning for his third title in what will again be a strong race.

Long gone are the days of Sporting Lisbon's title contention and the green-and-whites are on the same level as Braga in the eyes of the bookies with both having 34.00 odds of triumphing. Despite both of them having big sales in recent past, that of Bruno Fernandes for Sporting and Trincao for Braga.

Favourites to win the Belgian Jupiler Pro League

Club Brugge - 1.50

For a club whose only signing was a loan of Noa Lang (21) with an obligation to buy from Ajax, Club Brugge is the clear favourite in the Belgium league. Manager Philippe Clement didn't lose key players though and have won the last championship.

Simon Mignolet and Federico Ricca are the most recognizable names in the squad alongside the captain Ruud Vormer.

Charleroi - 6.00

Charleroi is leading the race after eight games despite the club having two big sales in the summer as the right-back Maxime Busi joined Parma for €7,500,000 and the left-back Nurio Fortuna switched over to Gent for €6,000,000.

The manager Karim Belhocine got heavy reinforcements with loans of Saido Berahino and Lukasz Teodorczyk.

Anderlecht - 10.00

Anderlecht is continuing with its experiment and Vincent Kompany is still the manager of the club. Although he completely retired from playing and is now just leading the team from the sidelines. Once again, the side is struggling and Anderlecht is seventh with six points of the league leaders.

The side made €4,430,000 investment in the transfer window while selling players for €39,000,000 total. Jeremy Doku left for Rennes in a deal worth 26 million, centre-forward Kemar Roofe joined Rangers, Alexis Saelemaekers was deemed worthy of AC Milan. Kompany signed a long-term contract but he needs to drastically improve as the RSCA always aims for the top.

Standard Liege - 11.00

Philippe Montanier lost Mergim Vojvoda this transfer window as the right-back went to Torino for €5,500,000 but the side is holding up strong, occupying the third place in October. The incomings are a mixture of young and old but the 2020/2021 season doesn't look like the one to see Standard remerge at the top of Belgian football.

Gent with the 13.0 and Antwerp with the 15.0 odds aren't too far away but the Belgian league was always tricky to bet on when it comes to eventual winners.

Favourites to win the Super Lig

Fenerbahce - 2.87

Chasing its first title since 2014, Fenerbahce reverted to its well-established tactic of chasing players who didn't quite make it in western Europe. Centre-back Marcel Tisserand arrived from Wolfsburg, talented Mauricio Lemos also features in the central part of the defence now.

But Fener truly jumped into the transfer window bringing so many players for free Pappis Cisse, Enner Valencia, Diego Perotti, Gokhan Gonul, Jose Sosa, Filip Novak, Caner Erkin, and others...

While the manager Erol Bulut won't be counting on the €17,500,000 departure Vedat Muriqi who joined Lazio as a partner for Ciro Immobile. While the defensive midfielder Jailson went to China for four and a half million.

Galatasaray - 2.87

Galata also leaned on bringing in free players as Arda Turan, Fatih Ozturk, and Omar Elabdellaoui all joined without a fee. Central midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo joined on loan from Stoke City.

The side led by most well-known Turkish manager Fatih Terim didn't have notable departures but will struggle in the beginning as their first goalkeeper Fernando Muslera is injured. Sofiane Feghouli, Ryan Babel, and most of all Radamel Falcao should be enough to contest the title though.

Besiktas - 6.00

Still rated high by the bookies despite the heavily disappointing start to the season, with only one win in four games. The side did reinforce quite well with former Porto prospect Vincent Aboubakar arriving for free, same as left-back Fabrice N'Sakala, and Turkish right-winger Goghak Tore.

Tactician's Sergen Yalcin's key players are Adem Ljajic, Jermain Lens, and Bernard Mensah.

Istanbul Basaksehir is the fifth favourite with the oddsmakers marking their chances of a triumph with an 11.00 even though they are the last champions. But the departure of key marksman Alexander Sorloth can’t be replaced that easily.

Even Trabzonspor is rated higher than them with 8.00 odds.

Tell us who do you think will win the leagues in Russia, Turkey, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Portugal across social media. 


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