Transfer windows help teams get a facelift and we can never be sure which club did the best business until they kick off their new campaigns. We have seen some underdogs upset the odds and go on to win titles over the last 5 years in Europe.
Leicester City's Premier League title-winning 2015-16 season and AS Monaco's Ligue 1 triumph in the 2016/17 season are both examples of gifted sides surprising us with the underappreciated talent that they pack.
We are going through an unprecedented phase with the new season starting sans a prolonged break and clubs having to be a lot more cautious with their summer expenditure in the Covid scenario. So there's reason enough for us to expect the unexpected this time around.
Without further ado, let's take a look at five teams that can mount a surprise title challenge this season.
#5 AC Milan (Serie A)
AC Milan's resurgent form in the second half of the 2019-20 season after being galvanized by the arrival of Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been nothing short of exhilarating. A group of players who were tagged sub-par came a long way and finished sixth on the table after languishing in mid-table for the greater part of the season.
After winning four of their last five games, the Rossoneri will be desperate to kick on in the same vein in the upcoming campaign and this is easily the most promising phase that they have gone through over the past decade or so.
The likes of Ante Rebic, Hakan Calhanoglu, Andrea Conti and Frank Kessie have all shown signs of coming through after failing to impress in their initial days. They have now added young midfielder Sandro Tonali from Brescia to the mix.
If you've followed them closely, you'd see there has been a drastic improvement in almost every aspect over the past few months and AC Milan will further intensify the competition at the top after Inter Milan, Atalanta and Lazio all gave Juventus a run for their money in the Serie A last season.
#4 RB Leipzig (Bundesliga)
Though the way the exited the UEFA Champions League was nothing to write home about, their exciting run to the semi-finals was both admirable and surprising in equal measure.
Julian Nagelsmann has assembled a top quality side that contains no player that cost over £20 million. That is almost inconceivable in today's football landscape. They have consistently roped in young, hungry players and have religiously stuck to their project of developing young stars for the future.
They finished third in the Bundesliga last season behind Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. They have an abundance of exciting talent on their payroll which includes the likes of Dayot Upamecano, Marcel Sabitzer and Emil Forsberg. Though they have now sold Timo Werner, their performances in the final stages of the Champions League in his absence have been encouraging.
Having finished just 3 points behind Borussia Dortmund and having made it to the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League, they will definitely be looking to mount a title challenge on all fronts in the 2020-21 season.