LONDON: Desperate to close the gap on Manchester City and Liverpool at the top of the Premier League, Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United have spent the close season aggressively pursuing new recruits with varying degrees of success. All four have little margin for error if they are to have any hope of rivalling champions City and perennial contenders Liverpool in the title race. But even if the top two pull away once more, another tight race is expected for the final two lucrative places in the Champions League. AFP Sport looks at how the battle for the top four is shaping up. Charged with ensuring Chelsea’s new era gets off to a flying start, Blues boss Thomas Tuchel has showed signs of feeling the heat during his club’s hectic summer. With former owner Roman Abramovich’s lieutenants all swept away as part of the house-cleaning at Stamford Bridge, Tuchel took on more responsibility as the German worked with new co-owner Todd Boehly on overhauling his squad. First impressions have been mixed, with Boehly flirting with a move for Cristiano Ronaldo before Tuchel demurred at the prospect of handling the volatile Manchester United star. Raheem Sterling became Chelsea’s first signing of the Boehly era after a £47.5 million ($57.8 million) move from Manchester City, but the England international has been the only addition to the attack as Tuchel looks set to start the season without a natural striker after Romelu Lukaku was sent back to Inter Milan on loan. Instead, Chelsea’s focus has been on replacing lost centre-backs Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen, who joined Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively on free transfers. The Blues paid £33 million for Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly and are reportedly close to a £50 million deal for Brighton’s Marc Cucurella. Tuchel has also been growing frustrated with unsettled quartet Cesar Azpilicueta, Marcos Alonso, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech, questioning his team’s commitment in a furious tirade after Chelsea’s 4-0 defeat against Arsenal in pre-season. Erik ten Hag’s first pre-season as United manager has been overshadowed by Ronaldo’s demand to leave Old Trafford. The studious Ten Hag is said to have impressed his squad with his attention to detail and intense training sessions since arriving from Ajax in May.