WAS it really only five days ago? The celebrations on the Champs Elysees have barely settled down, but the World Cup already feels like it took place in a different lifetime.

Thankfully, though, there’s no need panic. The new Football League season starts in 15 days’ time, and six days after that, the new Premier League campaign begins with a Friday-night game between Manchester United and Leicester. Football really is coming home.

Amid all the thrills and spills in Russia, it’s been easy to lose track of what’s been going on domestically, but the teams in the top-flight have been gradually loosening the purse strings. Unless, of course, they’re Newcastle United.

The last few days have seen the transfer window really take off, with Liverpool’s £67m offer for Roma goalkeeper Allison understandably hogging the headlines. If, as looks likely, that deal goes through, Jurgen Klopp’s side look capable of pushing Manchester City all the way in the next ten months.

The goalkeeping position was Klopp’s biggest blind spot last season, with Loris Karius’ shambolic display in the Champions League final confirming the folly of the Liverpool manager’s refusal to invest heavily in a new keeper.

For a brief period this summer, it looked as though history was going to repeat itself. Naby Keita arrived from RB Leipzig to strengthen Klopp’s midfield, and Monaco banked an eye-watering £43.7m when Fabinho moved to Anfield.

Xherdan Shaqiri could prove a steal at £13.5m, but those signings would have counted for little had Liverpool started next season with either Karius or Simon Mignolet in goal. Add Allison to the mix, along with Mo Salah, who silenced any talk of a potential exit when he signed a new long-term deal, and you have the makings of a side that should be capable of matching the very best. If nothing else, Liverpool fans can expect their side to finish much closer to Manchester City.

Are they good enough to overtake the champions? Time will tell, but while Pep Guardiola can justifiably claim his side does not need an overhaul given last season’s dominance, the fact Manchester City could well end the summer having made just one signing should furnish their rivals with a degree of hope.

That signing is a good one, with Riyad Mahrez having moved from Leicester, but while the Algerian will provide some increased attacking competition, he is not even guaranteed to feature in City’s first-choice XI. Producing more of the same might well enable Guardiola’s side to retain their crown. An alternative viewpoint is that it is better to reinforce from a position of strength.

Arsenal haven’t been strong for a while, but having finally shuffled Arsene Wenger through the exit door, the board at the Emirates have also suddenly decided that spending is not to be frowned upon.

Unai Emery has been furnished with five new additions – goalkeeper Bernd Leno, defenders Stephan Lichtsteiner and Sokratis Papastathopoulos, and midfielders Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi – and the transfer activity finally addresses some of the chronic failings that have handicapped Arsenal so badly in the last few years.

Lichtsteiner and Papastathopoulos, both in their 30s, add some experience and steel to what has long been a shaky defence, while Torreira’s World Cup performances for Uruguay suggest he could be the defensive-midfield strongman Arsenal have been lacking.

Emery is keen to make at least one more signing in attack, but with Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubamayeng straining at the leash after their lack of World Cup action, Arsenal suddenly look reasonably well balanced. The post-Wenger era was never going to be easy, but so far, the transition has proved surprisingly smooth.

The same cannot be said of events at Chelsea, where chaos and confusion have reigned. A degree of clarity emerged this week when former Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri was finally confirmed as Antonio Conte’s successor, but major question marks remain.

Will Thibaut Courtois, Eden Hazard and Willian still be at Chelsea next season? Who is the next goalkeeping target now Allison looks certain to join Liverpool? Is Roman Abramovich going to start throwing his money around again or can the Blues no longer compete for the biggest names? Sarri worked wonders at Napoli, but it would be an even bigger achievement to rapidly extricate Chelsea from their current mess.

At least the new boss at Stamford Bridge has a smile on his face though. Jose Mourinho has been wearing his now-familiar scowl during Manchester United’s US tour, bemoaning a lack of transfer activity and the involvement of so many of his players in the latter stages of the World Cup.

Fred looks a solid addition, although his £52.5m price tag has raised eyebrows, while Diogo Dalot should give Mourinho an additional option at full-back. Having stuttered for chunks of last season, though, it would be a leap of faith to suggest Manchester United have done enough to close the gap on City.

Tottenham haven’t done anything, which must be a concern given so many of their players could have a World Cup hangover. Mauricio Pochettino remains confident new faces will arrive, but perhaps the cost of redeveloping White Hart Lane is starting to take a toll.

Outside the established big boys, West Ham have been making waves, recruiting Arsenal outcast Jack Wilshere, attacking midfielder Felipe Anderson and Ukraine international Andriy Yarmolenko. Clearly, last season’s fan demonstrations accusing David Gold and David Sullivan of a lack of ambition have had an effect.

Leicester moved early to land Jonny Evans, James Maddison and Ricardo Pereira, and of the newly-promoted teams, Fulham have signed Jean-Michael Sari for £35m while Cardiff have added Josh Murphy and Bobby Reid for £21m.

Then there is Newcastle. Three players have arrived, but two were there last season and the other, Ki Sung-yueng, is a cut-price replacement for Mikel Merino. If last season was a major step forward, the summer so far has witnessed an even bigger one back.