As soon as Mauricio Pochettino issued an apparent ultimatum to chairman Daniel Levy at the end of last season there was always a sense that this would be a defining summer for Tottenham.
Pochettino went off script after delivering a third successive top-three finish and told Levy to “be brave and take risks” in order for Spurs to take the next step and challenge for trophies both in England and Europe.
Levy appeared to listen and quickly tied the Argentinian down to a new five-year deal, rebuffing interest from Real Madrid, and followed it up with a bumper salary cap-breaking new contract for Harry Kane, with Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen also expected to sign on soon.
But as the summer went on, it was events 1,500 miles away at the World Cup in Russia that could yet have the biggest impact on how Spurs fare this season.
As a marker to the quality of the squad that Pochettino has assembled in north London, there were nine Spurs players involved in the entirety of the World Cup, with five England players, three Belgians and Hugh Lloris of France in Russia until the end.
And what sort of effect that will have is an intriguing prospect.
Initially, it will throw Pochettino’s pre-season plans into disarray as the nine players are unlikely to return to the club much before their last friendly with Girona on August 4 and how refreshed they will be when the new season kicks off a week later remains to be seen.
But the possible benefits of a successful summer for those players are a more appealing prospect, particularly for the five England players that caught the imagination of the country.
Kane, Kieran Trippier, Alli, Eric Dier and Danny Rose returned from Russia heroes and that experience of a successful tournament could help them kick on domestically.
Not that Kane has much improving to do, having hit 25, 29 and 30 goals in his last three Premier League seasons and he will again be the favourite for the Golden Boot.
In terms of those risks Pochettino asked Levy to take, they have yet to materialise in the transfer market at least.
With the window shutting 48 hours before the campaign starts, Spurs, as has become tradition, look set to have to do their business late on.
They will need some additional firepower to supplement Kane, another centre-back, if, as expected, Toby Alderweireld leaves, while Rose and midfielder Mousa Dembele have also been told they can move on, so replacements might need to be found for them.
Another factor for Spurs to contend with is their move into their new stadium, which will happen in September after a one-off Wembley return and a run of away games.
How they adapt to their new surroundings, and whether they can avoid a bumpy settling in period, will be one of the key factors in how their season pans out.
Liverpool have completed the world-record signing of goalkeeper Alisson – and with it their summer transfer business.
Press Association Sport understands the Reds have agreed to pay a guaranteed £56million up front, with £53.8m going to Roma and £2.2m to the Brazil international’s former club Internacional.
They will pay a further £9m in add-ons, dependant on Champions League qualification and also wins in that competition, Europa League or Premier League.
Alisson, 25, has signed a six-year contract.
Although they have smashed the existing fee for a goalkeeper, which was the £35million Manchester City paid for Ederson, the fee is well below the £90million Liverpool were quoted by the Serie A club in May.
It is understood Roma dropped the price to £75million last month but a deal was able to be struck for a total of £65million, including bonuses.
A swift conclusion to the transfer was necessary as Chelsea were interested, but the Blues had to finalise the future of Real Madrid target Thibaut Courtois before they could act and that allowed Liverpool to steal a march on their Premier League rivals.
Alisson told Liverpoolfc.com: “I’m really happy, it’s a dream come true to wear such a prestigious shirt for a club of this size that is used to always winning.
“In terms of my life and my career, it’s a huge step for me being part of this club and this family.
“You can be certain that I’ll give my all.”
Alisson started all five of Brazil’s matches and kept three clean sheets at the recently-completed World Cup, where the South American superpowers were knocked out by Belgium in the quarter-finals.
He was also a virtual ever-present for Roma last season as they finished third in Serie A and reached the Champions League semi-finals – knocked out 7-6 on aggregate by Liverpool.
Reds boss Jurgen Klopp believes he has secured the services of one of the game’s top keepers.
The German said: “At one point in the last few weeks it came up, the opportunity to sign one of the world’s best goalkeepers – then it’s not a long thought, to be honest, it’s only that you need to have a little talk with the owners! They were quite excited, so we did it.
“The full package is just good.
“How we all do, he needs to adapt to the English Premier League, that’s how it is. The league is different, the refs are different, the goalkeeper life is different in the Premier League.
“Age-wise he can improve, the best years are coming in the goalkeeper life, so it’s all good.”
It is the second major transfer between Liverpool and Roma in 12 months, the Reds having bought Mohamed Salah for what turned out to be a cut-price £38million after the Egypt international scored 44 goals last season.
Alisson revealed that Salah had sent him a text urging him to hurry up and make the move to Anfield.
He said: “Yesterday, he sent me a message to say ‘Hey, what are you waiting for?’
“As the negotiations were at an advanced stage, I replied to him straight away saying ‘Calm down, I’m on my way!’
“I’m really happy to have the opportunity to play alongside him again.”
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) July 19, 2018
The world-record fee can be partly offset by the sale of Wales international goalkeeper Danny Ward to Leicester.
Liverpool have agreed a £12.5m deal with the former Premier League champions plus a 20 per cent sell on clause.
Alisson’s arrival, following on from that of midfielders Naby Keita and Fabinho, and winger Xherdan Shaqiri, is understood to have completed Klopp’s business for the summer.
They have no intention of going back in for Lyon’s France playmaker Nabil Fekir after a move fell through just before the World Cup despite a fee initially being agreed.
Italian tactician Sarri and his squad, along with new assistant first-team coach Gianfranco Zola, touched down in Australia on Thursday ahead of Chelsea’s pre-season match against Perth Glory.
The signing of midfielder Jorginho on a five-year contract from Napoli, for a fee of around £50million, sees the Brazil-born Italian swiftly reunite with Sarri.
Jorginho is confident both he and Sarri – appointed on a three-year deal to replace compatriot Antonio Conte in the Stamford Bridge hotseat – can make an impact in their first campaigns in English football.
“Today everyone watches the Premier League so I have watched plenty of it in my time. It is a fantastic league, the best in the world I think,” Jorginho said on the Chelsea website.
“Perhaps my style of play is not something that is seen in England, I really hope that it is a good fit for the game over here and I will certainly be doing everything I can to make sure it works out.
“I like playing just outside of my own penalty box, the player who receives the ball and organises the game.”
Jorginho added: “Since I was little I was someone who always enjoyed challenges and for me this is just a huge challenge, professionally and personally.
“It really inspires me, this opportunity to really have an experience and I am really excited about that opportunity.”
During a press conference at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, Sarri spoke of his desire to tackle a “difficult challenge, but a fascinating one”.
Jorginho has no doubts about what qualities the former Napoli boss can bring.
“He is someone who does wonderful work, he is right on top of everything that is going on on the pitch,” said the Italy midfielder, who was also on Manchester City’s radar.
“When the weekend comes around and you have a game, you start that game knowing how every situation is going to pan out on the field offensively and defensively, and that is something that really helps you in your work.
“He is a very straightforward person, he is easy to communicate with, he is very approachable and that is something that also helps the players.”
Neither midfielder Eden Hazard nor goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois made the trip to Australia, as both have been given extra time off after helping Belgium finish third at the World Cup in Russia.
At his unveiling on Wednesday, Sarri said he wanted to meet the players “face to face” for talks, with speculation surrounding both men and possible big-money transfers to Real Madrid.