Deadbats Premier League Predictions 19-20 | Vital Football

Deadbats Premier League Predictions 19-20


Vital Reserves Team
Premier League Predictions 19-20

It’s time to have a complete punt at where everyone will finish this season. You can quite easily split the league in three….the top 6 – then the middle teams hoping to push on…Wolves, Leicester, Everton and maybe West Ham/Watford….then the rest which is half the division.

I will predict where I see each team finishing, discuss their key player, manager and best case/worst case scenario and look at the transfer business (*correct as of August 4th, 2019)


Went so close last year. Any other year they would be champions. Klopp will be determined to go one better and take the holy grail. They have Joe Gomez back to partner Van Dijk. I was a bit surprised they did not add anyone in the summer though but they have a strong starting line up and I expect more from Keita and Fabinho in their second season. Up top they have a range of options and Origi will play more this season. I also think we will see quite a bit of young Rhian Brewster from the bench and possible even Harry Wilson who impressed at Derby. Will always score goals due to the pace and way they can break through but if they can get more from the midfield area; then they could do it this year.

Key Player: Sadio Mane

Salah is the main man up top and Van Dijk might be the best defender in the World but take Mane out and I think they are not the same team. He gives them assists, goal threat and the ability to run through the last third at such pace.

Manager: Jurgen Klopp

I like Klopp. He is crackers but in a good way. He is like a good, more likeable Warnock. Has banked on them taking the next step without any further investment. He has got them back amongst the elite and the spine is young enough to keep getting better.

Best Case Scenario: Win the League. The front three continue to be prolific. Van Dijk improves his game even more being able to come out of defence and use it even better. They have another chance of European glory too.

Worst Case Scenario: Miss the top 3. The goals dry up. Van Dijk or Allison get injured and the lack of real squad depth in quality comes back to haunt them.


Sepp van den Berg (PEC Zwolle) Undisclosed
Harvey Elliott (Fulham) Undisclosed


Alberto Moreno (Villarreal) Free
Daniel Sturridge (Released)
Connor Randall (Released)
Adam Bogdan (Released)
Sheyi Ojo (Rangers) Loan
Rafael Camacho (Sporting)
Marko Grujic (Hertha BSC) Loan
Danny Ings (Southampton) £20m
Allan Rodrigues de Souza (Fluminense) Loan
Kamil Grabara (Huddersfield Town) Loan
Ben Woodburn (Oxford) Loan

2.Man City

Almost had the perfect season last time out but a few VAR decisions against Spurs and they narrowly missed out on the possibility of all 5 trophies. They kept their nerve to run the table in the final weeks and regain the title. Like Liverpool, the changes are minimal. They have lost Kompany and he will be a loss in leadership and defensive calmness but Laporta had an excellent season. The big addition was Rodri who can come in and provide the same shield that Fernandinho offers in midfield. Still uncertainty over Leroy Sane but he remains for now and with the two Silvas and De Bruyne they have the best midfield trio of players in the league by a distance. The two full backs are erratic at times and not sure Zinchenko has been properly tested yet over a period of time. Just feel to win three in a row and keep to the same level of excellent might be tough. They will really zero in on the Champions League knowing it is the one trophy that had alluded them.

Key Player: Bernardo Silva.

A lovely footballer that will at 24 still has his best years ahead of him. With David Silva in his last year at the club look for the touch to be well and truly passed.

Manager: Pep Guardiola

The main concern is how long he has stayed at clubs. He did four years at Barca and three at Bayern. This is his fourth season at City. Will he hang around after this season? He continues to get high standards out of the group gradually bringing the age down of the squad but keeping the talent level up. Look for Foden and Garcia to be brought through even more keeping with that trend. The only concern is how bored he may get and whether he will want another challenge. It might be the best and worst thing thus, if City win the Champions League.

Best Case Scenario:
Win the three peat and win the Champions League. They avoid a transfer ban and add a top quality centre back and another striker. The domination continues and Pep signs a long term contract to stay.

Worst Case Scenario: Dip out on the League and fail to reach the final stages of the Champions League. Aguero gets an injury and they are given a transfer ban so they cannot sign replacements. Pep then resigns going to PSG.


Angelino (PSV Eindhoven) £5.3m
Rodri (Atletico Madrid) £62.8m
Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew) £7m


Vincent Kompany (Anderlecht) Free
Patrick Roberts (Norwich City) Loan
Pablo Mari (Flamengo) £1.5m
Tom Dele-Bashiru (Released)
Aaron Nemane (Released)
Matt Smith (QPR) Loan
Jack Harrison (Leeds United) Loan
Yangel Herrera (Granada) Loan
Aro Muric (Nottingham Forest) Loan
Zack Steffen (Fortuna Dusseldorf) Loan
Philippe Sandler (Anderlecht) Loan
Fabian Delph (Everton) £8.5m
Douglas Luiz (Aston Villa) £16.8m
Yangel Herrera (Granada) Loan
Tosin Adarabioyo (Manchester City – Blackburn) Loan


With a number of injuries and the stadium saga they still reached the Champions League final and finished in the Champions League players. They are now settled in their new home, have for now kept Eriksen and Kane is back fully fit. New midfielder Ndombole is a defensive midfielder that can hopefully allow the likes of Alli, Eriksen and Son to really attack at will. They have some good young players led by the excellent Harry Winks and some really underrated performers in the likes of Son Heung Min and the two centre backs who continue to quietly excel. Maybe lack the squad depth once again and also the two full back positions are still a bit of a concern. Also not sure they have enough cover at the top of the pitch as Son and Moura play more off the front two and Llorente was allowed to leave.

Key Player: Harry Kane

Seems a predicable thing to say but he is their talisman and focal point for everything they do. Will score goals, hold up play and link with others. If the goals dry up or the injuries return then Spurs will drop off considerably.

Manager: Mauricio Pochettino

A great manager who can set his team to play up in a variety of ways as the Champions League run evidenced. Tactically he is outstanding, he is also a great motivator of players and has recruited well too. You worry that he may depart for Real Madrid or a club of similar standing if Spurs do not push on – it is hard to see them keeping up with Liverpool and City above them and then you wonder what might happen next summer.

Best Case Scenario: Make a really strong challenge for the league and the young players continue to develop. They make more signings (Sessegnon) to gradually improve the depth and have another good run in Europe. The home stadium becomes a real fortress too.

Worst Case Scenario: Do not make the top 4, Arsenal overtake them and they crash out in the group stages of the Champions League. Kane gets another injury and then at the end of the season Pochettino decides he cannot take them any further and walks.


Kion Etete (Notts County) Undisclosed
Jack Clarke (Leeds) £10m
Tanguy Ndombele (Lyon) £55m


Michel Vorm (Released)
Dylan Duncan (Released)
Charlie Freeman (Released)
Tom Glover (Released)
Connor Ogilvie (Released)
Jamie Reynolds (Released)
Luke Amos (QPR) Loan
Jack Clarke (Leeds) Loan
Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid) £20m
Vincent Janssen (Monterrey) £5.6m


Vital Reserves Team

4. Arsenal

Emery came in and they finished with 7 more points and one place higher in 5th than the last campaign under Arsene Wenger. They got the final of the Europa League (although well beaten by Chelsea) and gradually they started to move out more of the deadwood. The side will soon look unrecognisable from the one from a few years ago. The front two Aubameyang and Lacazette will score goals again and they have brought in Pepe, an exciting wing threat. Saliba will go back to St Etienne on loan and Martinelli is more of a player for the future. Ceballos played 23 games for Real Madrid last season so can give them a steadying presence in midfield an area that lacks a top-level performer still. They still worry me at the back and Koscielny seems set to depart. The keeper Leno was up and down last season. They will excite going forward but continue to struggle defensively and do not look a side that can go on 6 or 7 game winning runs due to the youth and lack of experience. The new kit is great though!

Key Player: Aubemeyang/Lacazette

You cannot split them. Both of these are so key. They need to score goals and hopefully together in a pair. If one or both struggle, Arsenal finish out of the top four placings.

Manager: Unai Emery

Not quite sure what his style is and whilst they at times have shown more attacking threat, the same defensive vulnerabilities remain. They are a bit more direct perhaps now than the tippy tappy stuff from a few years ago as they look to utilise the pace, they have up top. He seems an affable sort of bloke but without further additions finishing 4th is about as good as it will get next season.

Best Case Scenario: The front two both score a hatful. The new lads come in and gel and the defence finally stop conceding silly goals. They surprise and may a run for the title staying right in touch with the top teams all season long giving them a platform for years to come.

Worst Case Scenario: A poor start and the inexperienced backline is a mess shipping goals all over the place. Emery rotates the two strikers rarely playing them as a duo and the crowd turns on him as they finish in 6th-8th place. He is sacked and they have to start again.


Nicolas Pepe (Lille) £72m
Gabriel Martinelli (Ituano) £6m
William Saliba (Saint-Etienne) £27m
Dani Ceballos (Real Madrid) Loan


Aaron Ramsey (Juventus) Free
Petr Cech (Retired)
Danny Welbeck (Released)
Cohen Bramall (Released)
Charlie Gilmour (Released)
Stephan Lichtsteiner (Released)
Julio Pleguezuelo (Released)
Jordi Osei-Tutu (VfL Bochum) Loan
Daniel Ballard (Swindon Town) Loan
David Ospina (Napoli) £3.1m
Vontae Daley-Campbell (Leicester) Undisclosed
Ben Sheaf (Doncaster Rovers) Loan
William Saliba (Saint-Etienne) Loan
Xavier Amaechi (Hamburg) £2.25m
Krystian Bielik [Arsenal - Derby] Undisclosed

5. Man Utd

Not sure Ole is the man for the job and they have an unbalanced squad that lacks quality and leadership in all departments. There is talent there but no real cohesive plan on playing style or solid consistency in terms of who plays where. They will hope De Gea get back to form now he had a new contract. The Pogba row carries on and it would be best for all concerned if he moves on. Incoming are the talented young defensive pair Maguire and Wan Bissaka, but it still a big step up in terms of what will be needed week in, week out at a much bigger club with greater expectations. The size of the fees may not help these two. As it stands the Dybala – Lukaku swap has not happened. They will hope it does to give much needed creativity in the middle of the field. The rest of the team is a bit confused. They have talented front players such as Rashford and Martial. Look out for youngster Mason Greenwood who could really push on this season. This team still has enough quality to be in the top 6 but don’t feel they will go any higher and will need further investment and managerial ideas to push nearer to the top sides.

Key Player: Marcus Rashford

With Lukaku moving on, Sanchez a total flop and Martial in and out, he now will be expected to be the main man up top. Still only 21, but he will be expected to show more consistency this season. He only scored 10 goals last season and for someone who will play more down the middle needs to be looking to almost double that figure.

Manager: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

I was very surprised they gave Solskjaer the full time job. They reacted too early to his great start giving him the job. If they had waited till the end of the season, I am fairly certain he would have been relieved of his temporary duties and they would have gone elsewhere. I am unsure he is the answer long term and he may not see the season out. If they get a bad start, he could be gone early. There is still talent there though but it is still a bit of a mess.

Best Case Scenario:
The new young signings hit the ground running and fit in. Rashford becomes the main man up top. Pogba is sold and they quickly reinvest the money in a couple more first teamers that can come in straight away. They are right amongst the top sides and win a domestic cup. They begin to find an identity. I actually think the best cased scenario is they start badly, Ole is sacked they bring in someone who can galvanise the team (Simeone/Pochettino) and then build from there.

Worst Case Scenario: The Pogba situation carries on and continues to cause unrest. They have a mixed start but not bad enough to change the manager but not good enough to contend for the top 4. However the crowd begin to turn on Ole and the new defensive signings begin with erroneous showings that sees many question the huge transfer fees.


Daniel James (Swansea) £15m
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Crystal Palace) £50m
Harry Maguire (Leicester) £80m


Ander Herrera (PSG) Free
Antonio Valencia (LDU Quito) Free
Matthew Olosunde (Released)
James Wilson (Aberdeen) Free
Regan Poole (Released)
Kieran O'Hara (Burton Albion) Loan
Dean Henderson (Sheffield United) Loan

6. Chelsea

Lampard clearly believes in the youth and Hudson Odoi and Loftus Cheek are clearly a big part of his plans moving forward. Pulisic is the only newcomer and the American is a dynamic attacking player but he is no Hazard and there is no doubt they will massively miss him. Like Man Utd and Arsenal above, there is lots of talent but they don’t have the same top drawer talent like Man City and Liverpool and even Spurs (at least in the attacking areas). They have some solid and reliable defenders such as Azpilicueta, Alondo and Kante They also have some flair players in Willan and Pedro. Rudiger, Jorginho and Kovacic all need to improve from their so so starts at Chelsea and they lack goals at the top of the field for me. Batshuayi, Abraham and Giroud were all a long way down the pecking order in the past but now are the players counted on for goals.

Key Player: N’Golo Kante

Played in a more attacking role last season which was odd. Surely Lampard puts him back into a more defensive role where his strengths lie? The best of his type maybe in world football.

Manager: Frank Lampard

I personally feel it was too soon for him to be given the job and it could be a case of right club but wrong time. He needed a few more seasons at a lower level before getting his ‘dream job.’ He now has to learn on the fly. He will have more talent at Stamford Bridge than Pride Park but with Hazard gone and a transfer ban – he will have to get the best out of what he has – although still has 15 players out on loan!

Best Case Scenario:
Lampard comes in and they get off to a great start getting the crowd even more behind him. The young players push on and he gets goals shared around. The players with question marks last year improve and Pulisic comes in and at least does a fair impression of replacing Hazard. They compete for all honours and offer a more attacking brand of football than they saw last season.

Worst Case Scenario: Lampard has a disastrous start and looks way out his depth. Players do not respond to his instructions; tactically he looks clueless and Chelsea get some beatings to the bigger clubs. The team end up mid table and the Lampard experiment is aborted and he is sacked mid season. They bring in John Terry as his replacement who fares no better and he too leaves before the end of the season.


Mateo Kovacic (Real Madrid) £40m (had been on loan previously)
Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dormund) £73m


Gary Cahill (Released)
Fankaty Dabo (Coventry City) Free
Rob Green (Retired)
Eden Hazard (Real Madrid) £88.5m
Todd Kane (Released)
Ola Aina (Torino) £8.7m
Nathan Baxter (Ross County) Loan
Richard Nartey (Burton Albion) Loan
Jay Dasilva (Bristol City) £2m
Eduardo (Released)
Kyle Scott (Released)
Tomas Kalas (Bristol City) £8m
Mario Pasalic (Atalanta) Loan
Charly Musonda (Vitesse Arnhem) Loan
Alvaro Morata (Atletico Madrid) £50m
Nathan (Atletico Mineiro) Loan
Lewis Baker (Fortuna Dusseldorf) Loan
Ethan Ampadu (RB Leipzig) Loan
Matt Miazga (Reading) Loan
Jake Clarke-Salter (Birmingham) Loan
Lewis Baker (Fortuna Dusseldorf) Loan
Conor Gallagher (Charlton) Loan
Kasey Palmer (Bristol City) Undisclosed
Dujon Sterling (Wigan) Loan


Vital Reserves Team
7. Wolves

Had a superb season and beat the top 6 all at least once. They ended up qualifying for Europe and played an exciting, attacking brand of football where they played through the thirds utilising good young British players along with a plethora of agent sourced/brokered overseas talent. They have made Jimenez and Dendoncker’s signings permanent and brought in Cutrone from Milan who will supplement Jimenez when Wolves decide to play with two up top. Jota and Neves are still the creative forces in the middle but quietly underrated are the British players Doherty, Bennett and Coady, all who have been very consistent at the back. They do not have a very deep squad and if they get injuries that could be a concern and the surprise factor of a year ago has gone. Add in European games and the energy they had may wane towards the end of the season. However, they have enough talent and creative threats allied to the high demands from Santo to expect a similar finish to last season.

Key Player: Joao Moutinho
Jota and Jimenez get a lot of the headlines but Moutinho was superb last season. Good passer, tackler, organiser and just sat in midfield and helped things tick over, either defensively by breaking things up or making that key pass to propel the attack.

Manager: Nuno Espirito Santo

He is an animated character and has had a great deal of financial help (the wages as much as transfer fees) but he has knitted it all together and got a side playing good football and winning, at the highest level. He is rightly a hero to the Molineux faithful. They need a few years of top half finishes and to keep adding to the talent levels they already possess.

Best Case Scenario:
Decent Europa League run where the fans get to experience some glory nights, another top 10 finish in the league and more exciting attacking football.

Worst Case Scenario:
The lack of depth and extra games catches up with them. Some of the flair players lose form and Jimenez cannot keep up his goalscoring.


Raul Jimenez (Benfica) £34m
Hong Wan (Yeovil Town) Undisclosed
Raphael Nya (PSG) Undisclosed
Leander Dendoncker (Anderlecht) £12m
Tsun Dai (Oxford United) Undisclosed
Jesus Vallejo (Real Madrid) Loan
Patrick Cutrone (AC Milan) £16m
Pedro Neto (Braga) Undisclosed
Bruno Jordao (Braga) Undisclosed


Ethan Ebanks-Landell (Shrewsbury Town) Free
Michal Zyro (Released)
Carlos Heredia (Released)
Ben Goodliffe (Released)
Aaron Hayden (Released)
Diego Lattie (Released)
Enzo Sauvage (Released)
Christian Herc (Viktoria Plzen) Loan
Kortney Hause (Aston Villa) £3m
Ryan Giles (Shrewsbury Town) Loan
Pedro Goncalves (FC Famalicao) Undisclosed
Joao Dias (FC Famalicao) Undisclosed
Helder Costa (Leeds) Loan
Ivan Cavaleiro (Fulham) Loan
Ryan Leak (Burgos) Undisclosed
Rafa Mir (Nottm Forest) Loan
Niall Ennis (Doncaster) Loan
Cameron John (Doncaster) Loan
Rafa Mir (Wolves - Nottingham Forest) Loan
Will Norris (Wolves – Ipswich) Loan

8. Everton

Everton finished 8th last season. Have they improved enough to go above any of those above them? Not sure. Maybe Wolves at a push but they are still some way off the top 6 in terms of quality and consistency. They have slowly changed the side and brought in some talent like Gomes,Digne and now Kean up the top of the pitch. Losing Gueye is a blow and be interesting to see if Gbamin and/or Delph can fill this big hole. The defence is still at times not quite as solid as it should be and needs Pickford and Keane to push on now. Mina also needs to come in and challenge Zouma at the back. They have not had a consistent goal scorer for some time and it maybe a committee type of approach again with Richarlison playing more off the front again. Kean is an intriguing one and he might be a bit of a wildcard. They will need to be strong at home once again as they seem to be set to stay at Goodison with the new stadium at Bramley Moore Dock not set to be ready until 2023-24 at least.

Key Player: Andre Gomes

Getting him back permanently from Barcelona, was so key for the Toffeemen who saw him scheme and create from the middle of the field. He is a real talent and I am surprised more of the clubs above did not take a fancy to him.

Manager: Marco Silva

Gomes drew mixed reviews from fans but will want to keep some stability and continuity. He is slowly evolving the squad and we see the old guard such as Jagielka, Williams, Baines and maybe even Coleman start to be moved out with more athletic and younger players brought in. The striking situation still needs to be sorted as they have not got this right. They do seem to have their strongest squad for some time.

Best Case Scenario:

Worst Case Scenario:
The lack of goals up fronts continues and the defensive issues continue to plague them the other way. Fans start to grumble and turn on Silva. The new ground plans continue to hit the buffers and the team finishes mid-way or lower.


Jonas Lossl (Huddersfield Town) Free
Andre Gomes (Barcelona) £22m
Fabian Delph (Manchester City) £8.5m
Jean-Philippe Gbamin (Mainz) £25m
Moise Kean (Juventus) Undislosed


Phil Jagielka (Sheffield United) Free
Ashley Williams (Released)
Harry Charsley (Released)
Boris Mathis (Released)
Mateusz Hewelt (Miedz Legnica) Free
Shayne Lavery (Released)
Jack Kiersey (Released)
Danny Bramall (Released)
Joe Hilton (Released)
Chris Renshaw (Released)
Jonjoe Kenny (Schalke) Loan
Nikola Vlasic (CSKA Moscow) £14m
Sandro Ramirez (Real Valladolid) Loan
Brendan Galloway (Luton Town) Free
Korede Adedoyin (Hamilton Academical) Loan
Kieran Dowell (Derby) Loan
Joao Virginia (Reading) Loan
Luke Garbutt (Ipswich) Loan
Ademola Lookman (RB Leipzig) £18m
Idrissa Gueye (PSG) (£30m)
Nathan Broadhead (Everton – Burton) Loan
Joe Williams (Wigan) Undisclosed

9. Leicester

Much of the summer saw the Maguire speculation and eventually he moved on and they pocketed a cool 80 million. At the time of writing this they are looking at replacement options with Ake, Tarkowski and Dunk being linked. It is important they get this right as Wes Morgan’s better days are behind him and Johnny Evans was not as convincing as hoped. Young full back Chilwell may be the next to test the resolve of the Foxes board but they still have some real talent in Maddison, Gray, Barnes and now the incoming Justin from Luton. Youri Tielemans coming back for good was a great signing as he did so well in the middle of the field. Perez from Newcastle was an intriguing signing. Not quite sure where he gits in. I felt they needed more of a Vardy compliment (bigger, stronger who can link play) and they have plenty of options already just off him. There is lots of talent and a fair bit of youth to ensure that whilst Maguire will be missed; they still will finish in the top 10.

Key Player: Jamie Vardy

His front running, tireless running and general ‘pain in the backside’ play continues to be the hallmark of this Leicester side. He embodies much of their play and how they go about things. Still scores goals and still a real threat. If things dry up for him, they look a different team.

Manager: Brendan Rodgers

Have chopped and changed a bit at the top since winning the league and in some ways getting Rodgers from Celtic was a bit of a coup. His last time in England petered out with Liverpool after building an excellent reputation. He made a decent start

Best Case Scenario:
Quickly replace Maguire and the young players continue to progress. They get more goals from others to help Vardy. They push for the Europa league places and make a domestic cup final.

Worst Case Scenario:
Poor start, defensive uncertainty if they cannot land a replacement and they struggle for goals at the top of the field. They lose Maddison/Chilwell to suitors above and end up in the bottom half of the table with calls for another managerial change.


James Justin (Luton Town) £6m
Ayoze Perez (Newcastle United) £30m
Vontae Daley-Campbell (Arsenal) Undisclosed
George Hirst (OH Leuvens) Undisclosed
Ali Reghba (Bohemians) Undisclosed
Youri Tielemans (Monaco) £40m


Harry Maguire (Manchester United) £80m
Shinji Okazaki (Malaga) Free
Danny Simpson (Released)
Davide Lorenzo (Released)
Daniel Iversen (Rotherham United) Loan
Josh Knight (Peterborough) Loan
Ryan Loft (Carlisle) Loan
Elliott Moore (Oxford) Undisclosed


Vital Reserves Team
10. West Ham

They finish 10th last season and should be able to repeat this performance. They have lost Arnautovic but also cleared out some dead wood too. They had a few key men injured for large periods last year and Lanzini, Wilshere and Yarmolenko all are now fit and needed to play larger roles. Fornals and Haller are the two big acquisitions. Haller a striker who hopes to give them the goal scorer they have been lacking and Fornals a diminutive midfielder who will dovetail between Rice and Wilshere/Noble.

Key Player: Felipe Anderson

The Brazilian’s debut season was excellent. He scored 9 goals and had 4 assists but his impact was greater than those stats show as he showed dynamism, pace and gave the Hammers someone in that attacking third who could simply make things happen.

Manager: Manuel Pellegrini

The wily old timer has been around and seen it all and kind of steadied things at the London Stadium last year. They had a lot of injuries and there was an inconsistency of team selection but he pushed them on and they did well despite having a regular goal scorer. This time with more to choose from some fresh wood, the fans will expect a top half finish.

Best Case Scenario:
Key players stay fit. Haller gets some goals, Fornals does his best Iniesta impression and Rice continues to develop. The backline is solid and the away performances and results improve. They finish pushing for Europe.

Worst Case Scenario:
The injury problems continue. Haller does not hit the ground running and the attacking football seen for long periods of last season begins to disappear. The crowd begin to become frustrated and the infighting on the terraces starts up again.


Roberto (Espanyol) Free
David Martin (Millwall) Free
Pablo Fornals (Villarreal) £25m
Sebastian Haller (Eintracht Frankfurt) £36m


Adrian (Released)
Andy Carroll (Released)
Samir Nasri (Released)
Toni Martinez (Released)
Moses Makasi (Released)
Lucas Perez (Alaves) £2m
Noha Sylvestre (Neuchatal Xamax) Free
Vashon Neufville (Released)
Josh Pask (Coventry City) Free
Edimilson Fernandes (Mainz) £6.7m
Nathan Trott (AFC Wimbledon) Loan
Martin Samuelsen (FK Haugesund) Loan
Marko Arnautovic (Shanghai SIPG) £22m
Sam Byram (Norwich) £700,000
Pedro Obiang (Sassuolo) £8m
Marcus Browne (Middlesbrough) Undisclosed
Jordan Hugill (QPR) Loan
Reece Oxford (Augsburg) Undisclosed

11. Bournemouth

The Cherries finished in 14th place which after a 12th and 9th placed finish seems to suggest they are going backwards. However, they are still continuing to punch above their weight. They may spend a fair bit and rely on a wealthy owner but considering the small stadium and the history, they have done remarkably well. They continue to be well run and make sure that they reinvest any funds in up and coming young players. They got good money for reserves in Mings and Mousset with in excess of 30 million for the pair. They brought in young EFL players such as Kelly and Stacey who both give them competition in the full back areas and also signed defensive midfielder Billing from Huddersfield. Wilson and King continue to be counted on for goals. They will want more from former Liverpool pair Ibe and Solanke for the money they invested as well as Jefferson Lerma, their Colombian midfielder. Key players in terms of creativity may be Fraser and Brooks, although the latter is out injured for the first few months and the former is entering the last year of his contract amidst transfer speculation.

Key Player: Callum Wilson

Nathan Ake has been a defensive lynchpin since coming in from Chelsea but Wilson’s pace and goals are really key in ensuring Bournemouth can be a threat not only at home but also away. Wilson is now in and around the England squad and deservedly so.

Manager: Eddie Howe

Best Case Scenario:
To push on and continue to develop the existing players whilst adding talent to compliment what they have. They have not really had a proper cup run in terms of making a final so be nice if they could get further in one of those competitions.

Worst Case Scenario:
Howe is poached by a club higher up – say a West Ham or an Everton. They lose their talented players (Wilson, Ake, Brooks and Fraser) and then end up fighting relegation.


Lloyd Kelly (Bristol City) £13m
Jack Stacey (Luton Town) £4m
Philip Billing (Huddersfield) £15m
Arnaut Danjuma (Club Bruges) £13.7m‏


Marc Pugh (QPR) Free
Mikael Ndjoli (Gillingham) Loan
Emerson Hyndman (Atlanta United) Loan
Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa) £20m
Connor Mahoney (Millwall) £1m
Lys Mousset (Sheffield United) £10m

12. Watford

11th place and 16 points away from the relegation places represented a real success for the Hornets. Add in a run to the FA Cup Final and it was an excellent season. They made minimal changes to the side and it is a case of carry on and sure they will be around the middle of the league again. They have a nice mix of UK players in Foster, Cathcart, Gray and Deeney but some talented foreign players also. You look at the squad and it does not blow you away but they play for each other, are well organised and have bits of flair they need at the right time. They have many players that people do not know much about but they have a lot of pace, athleticism and power. These attributes are all so important at this level.

Key Player: Gerald Delofeu

A supremely talented player but one that lacks consistency. Some of his goals (the semi final v Wolves for instance) were sublime but he drifts in and out of games and needs to do it week, week out. If he does Watford could push even higher than this. He needs to take that next step and show his promise now.

Manager: Javi Garcia

He has managed 10 clubs already and is not even 50 and has stayed at most clubs 1-2 seasons. He needs to lay down his hat here at Vicarage Road and build on an excellent first season. He may have wanted more money to invest when you look at those teams around him and the outlay is one of the least at this level. If he keeps them around the mid-table, he will be happy again.

Best Case Scenario:
Another solid season around the middle of the league with some surprise wins over the bigger sides, some exciting performances and maybe another cup run.

Worst Case Scenario:
Poor results and Garcia does not hang around leading to more changes. Watford seem to change their manager most seasons but it has strangely worked but not sure they model can yield success forever.


Bayli Spencer-Adams (Free)
Craig Dawson (West Brom) £5.5m
Joao Pedro (Fluminense) £2.25m
Sam Dalby (Leeds United) Free


Obbi Oulare (Standard Liege) £2.7m
Miguel Britos (Released)
Tommie Hoban (Released)
Jerome Sinclair (Venlo) Loan
Michael Folivi (AFC Wimbledon) Loan
Ben Wilmot (Swansea) Loan
Marc Navarro (Leganes) Loan
Ben Wilmot (Swansea City) Loan
Alex Jakubiak (Gillingham) Loan
Dodi Lukebakio (Watford - Hertha Berlin) Undisclosed


Vital Reserves Team
14. Burnley

Having finished 7th in 17-18, they dropped back down to 15th and at times it was a struggle last year. They were firmly sucked into a relegation battle at the start of the season but then pushed away after Xmas. Another team that has spent very little and other than Rodriguez coming back, will rely on what they had. However, they have solid back players in Mee and Tarkowski (if they can keep him), combative midfielders who will run all day in the likes of Cork, Hendrick, Westwood and Gudmundsson. Up front Wood and Barnes may not be the most exotic but they are also hard working and score enough goals. Vydra needs to do more to push on and Rodriguez will give them something different too. It’s not about individuals at Turf Moor though but more the unit. They will start this season better and normally they are very good at home which will be important once again.

Key Player: Dwight McNeil

A home grown player who made 22 appearances last season, scoring 3 goals and making a real impact. He is quick, skilled and can come up with the unexpected. Expect him to take a further step this year. Holding onto him will be Burnley’s big challenge.

Manager: Sean Dyche

Sean Dyche is an excellent manager who has the know how and smarts to ensure his sides will always be well organised, competitive and surprise a few of the better teams. I am shocked that no one has given him a chance at a club higher up the league but he is not the fashionable type of manager I suppose. His job this year will be to get Burnley to midway or just below and he will manager that.

Best Case Scenario:
Much more positive start. The strong home form continues and they also start to pick up more away points. They push on to the top 10 and then invest in January for a Europa League push.

Worst Case Scenario:
They start badly again but fail to pick up last season. The fear is always that Dyche may move on as he is so key to them and what they do. They do rely a lot of journeyman types in all positions so if any of them have poor seasons together you worry they could get drawn into a scrap.


Erik Pieters (Stoke City) £1m
Joel Senior (Curzon Ashton) Undisclosed
Jay Rodriguez (West Bromwich Albion) £5m
Ryan Cooney (Bury) Undisclosed
Bailey Peacock Farrell (Leeds) £2.5m


Jon Walters (Retired)
Stephen Ward (Stoke City) Free
Anders Lindegaard (Helsingborg) Free
Aiden O'Neill (Brisbane Roar) Free
Peter Crouch (Retired)
Mark Howarth (Released)

15. Aston Villa

They somehow came from nowhere to get up via the playoffs. From having no money and being in all sorts of financial problems and facing FFP penalties, they got new owners, dumped Steve Brice, brought Dean Smith in and he galvanised the place. They went on an incredible run and got promoted. This summer you knew they had a lot of loan players or older players released (14 out of the door and then add on Abraham who has gone back to Chelsea) and they had to bring players in. At last count they had signed 12 players for around 125 million – that is 2nd most to Man Utd (and that is only due to the Maguire fee) and have done a Fulham and then some. You do worry if it goes wrong, but I saw a stat that said out of the last 10 teams to spend at least 40 million after going up – that only one had come down (Fulham) so maybe it will work. Mings and Targett are solid but seemed overpriced for Premier League reserve centre backs – 37 million for the pair. Jota was a bargain as Smith knows how to get the best out of him. El Ghazi was on loan last season and did ok. Hause was a young player at Wolves and Heaton an experienced goalkeeper. Konsa seemed promising at Brentford and the right sort of young and up and coming player. Wesley, Trezeguet, Engels, Luiz and Nakamba I know less about. Wesley is the striker expected to get the goals. However, for all the newcomers the main players will be Grealish and McGinn. If they play consistently well and the backline gels, then they can easily stave off any relegation threat and be nearer the middle of the league. If that happens, they have clawed their investment back in one year simply by another year of additional TV money.

Key Player: Jack Grealish

Not liked by many fans for his antics, he actually went up in my estimation for how he handled that moronic Birmingham fan who assaulted him last season. He does go to ground a fair but but does get kicked a fair bit too! He is a talent and when he has the ball, he can glide past people, make those little cute passes and score goals. I expect him to be in the England squad in the next 12-18 months if he stays fit.

Manager: Dean Smith

A Villa fan and he has done everything the board and fans wanted and more. Now the expectations ramp up. Most Villa fans will think they should be a mid-table side at least and quickly and point to Wolves. It may work like that but it may not and they may need some patience as many of the new overseas players adapt to Smith and the English game.

Best Case Scenario:
Grealish pulls the strings and the new boys come in and provide flair and goals. They beat some of the big teams at home and the Holte End is jumping. They easily get to the 38-40 point mark and then push on and up and finish in the top half. They then can spend again in 12 months to improve even further.

Worst Case Scenario:
The expensive centre backs take too long to gel and they ship goals. The new foreign talent is too slow to adapt and they lack and out and out goal scorer. Grealish gets injured again and they are embroiled in a relegation struggle.


Jota (Birmingham) £4m
Anwar El Ghazi (Lille) £8m
Wesley (Club Brugge) £22m
Kortney Hause (Wolves) £3m
Matt Targett (Southampton) £17m
Tyrone Mings (Bournemouth) £20m
Ezri Konsa (Brentford) £12m
Bjorn Engels (Reims) £7.2m
Trezeguet (Kasimpasa) £9m
Douglas Luiz (Manchester City) £16.8m
Tom Heaton (Burnley - Aston Villa) £8m
Marvelous Nakamba (Club Bruges - Aston Villa) Undisclosed


Albert Adomah (Nottingham Forest) Free
Mark Bunn (Released)
Ritchie De Laet (Royal Antwerp) Free
Tommy Elphick (Huddersfield Town) Free
Alan Hutton (Released)
Mile Jedinak (Released)
Ross McCormack (Released)
Micah Richards (Retired)
Glenn Whelan (Released)
Gary Gardner (Birmingham) Undisclosed
Matija Sarkic (Livingston) Loan
Rushian Hepburn-Murphy (Aston Villa – Tranmere) Loan
Andre Green (Aston Villa – Preston) Loan
Jake Doyle-Hales (Aston Villa – Cheltenham) Loan

16. Southampton

Looked set to go down after a sorry start under Mark Hughes but Hasenhuttl came in and gradually pulled them away and they survived. Now his job is to ensure they are not in a relegation fight this season. They have some good players and some solidity in the squad but questions still remain. In goal Angus Gunn now must make the spot his own, the porous defence must improve – they only kept 7 clean sheets and Danny Ings must justify a hefty transfer fee. They have pace at the top of the field in talented, if inconsistent Nathan Redmond and newcomer Che Adams. Djenepo will come in to support Hojbjerg, Romeu in midfield. They need to win at home more and only won their first game at St Mary’s just before Xmas. If they start better here then they give themselves a better foundation. I think with a full pre-season to get them fit and his pressing game going (his sides in Germany were notorious for it), they will have a better season overall.

Key Player: James Ward Prowse

Nearly made 200 appearances and he is only 24. He is a talented player who can pass, tackle and do a bit of everything. Takes a great dead ball and showed that with some stunning free kicks towards the end of the season. Embodies the club in terms of its production through youth and provides real stability in the middle of the park.

Manager: Ralph Hasenhuttl

Completely turned around the Saints who looked dead and buried. He has come in and shown real enthusiasm coupled with tactical know how. After a few poor appointments, they seem to have struck gold again with a manager who was unknown outside of the Bundesliga.

Best Case Scenario:
The high energy football continues and a fitter, more ruthless side wins often at home but shows it can score goals away with the pace the side possesses. It is a season of comfort in mid table and one that promises much for the future.

Worst Case Scenario:
The love between the fans and manager evaporates quickly and the passionate approach starts to wear when few points are put on the board. Adams and Ings do not score the goals and some of the comedic defending from last year continues and it is once again a season fraught with danger.


Moussa Djenepo (Standard Liege) £14m
Che Adams (Birmingham City) £15m
Danny Ings (Liverpool) £20m


Steven Davis (Rangers) Free
Matt Targett (Aston Villa) £17m
Alfie Jones (Gillingham) Loan
Jack Rose (Walsall) Loan
Kingsley Latham (Havant and Waterlooville) Loan
Alex Cull (Totton) Loan
Jordie Clasie (AZ Alkmaar) Loan



Vital Reserves Team
16. Crystal Palace

In the end they finished 12th last season but they were much lower for portions of the season and it was never comfortable. The lack of transfer activity is a concern. They lost Wan-Bissaka and speculation continues around Wilfried Zaha. If they keep Zaha, they will stay away from the bottom three but if he goes you fear for them. They lack goals at the top of the pitch with the hapless Benteke still here but not much else in terms of options. Dann, Tomkins and Sakho are defenders who will throw their bodies in the way and do a decent job but all are susceptible to pace. Not sure Hennessey in goal is totally reliable also. Luka Milivojevic is an important figure in midfield and is of course a great penalty taker allied to a good engine and all-around game. Van Aanholt is as much a threat going forward as he is defending which could be seen two ways. They lack strength in depth though and a few injuries and they really could be in trouble.

Key Player: Wilfried Zaha

Arsenal and a few others (Napoli) have been linked with him but he remains for now. His pace and ability to run at defences combined with his goals and assists means he remains the main threat and worry for Palace’s opponents.

Manager: Roy Hodgson

71 years of age and managed 22 sides (club and national); his appetite for the game continues. He is a steady presence on the touchline and his sides will have a good shape and tactically be well drilled.

Best Case Scenario:
Zaha stays. He is instrumental in an improved campaign where finally they become hard to beat at home again (last season they were so poor at Selhurst Park) and goals come from all over the team. Benteke is given a final chance and rediscovers his goalscoring form and they finish mid table. They get new owners with fresh investment during the season.

Worst Case Scenario:
Zaha leaves either before the window or in January with the team near the bottom. The fans get frustrated with Hodgson’s cautious approach and he ends up leaving meaning they are in turmoil. They do not sort out the new owners to bring in much needed funds and end up relegated.


Stephen Henderson (Nottingham Forest) Free
Jordan Ayew (Swansea City) Undisclosed


Jason Puncheon (Released)
Julian Speroni (Released)
Bakary Sako (Denizlispor) Free
Ollie O’Dwyer (Aldershot) Free
Joseph Hungbo (Released)
Tyler Brown (Released)
Levi Lumeka (Varzim)
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Man Utd) £50m

17. Sheff Utd

Predicted to be bottom by many, if not most pundits and experts. You cannot argue. Villa are a big club that has been at this level most of its history and Norwich came up as Champions and have a squad full of young talent. With no stand out really bad teams, you cannot argue with the logic. We have/had an ageing frontline and also have brought in mainly Championship players. However, that was the right approach and we keep the ethos that got us here in doing it rather than bringing in lots of expensive foreign players that may struggle to ‘get it’ in terms of our style and team spirit.

At the back-Dean Henderson will have to show his undoubted raw quality and the likes of Egan and O’Connell will be tested like they have not before. The right side causes some concern and will be interesting to see if Basham and Baldock have the ability to deal with the better quality/athletes at this level. Jagielka is a nice option to cover a few positions as is Osborn the other side and can also play midfield. Fleck and Norwood will busy around and both can pass/get a foot in but there is a major concern in my eyes that we lack a midfield protector and teams can go through us too easily as shown even at Championship level. Whether it be Amartey or whoever, if Wilder is set on playing a three at times, the likes of Lundstram is probably not the answer at this level if he could not even excel at a lower level. At the top of the pitch, it is a shame Duffy decided to move on as I still believe he may have played a part – it means a lot of pressure on the likes of Freeman, Morrison and Robinson. Sharp, McGoldrick, Robinson, McBurnie provide the front options with Moussett a bit of an x factor when he gets fit.

The side has improved over the summer and seems to have a nice mix of keeping the key men who got us there sprinkled with some newcomers mostly of the right age. Whether they are Premier League quality remains to be seen – none are proven at this level outside of Jagielka and it is up to them to prove the bookies and the experts wrong – that they are good enough. I feel we may start badly as we have done before with Wilder and don’t be shocked if we only muster say a point from the first 4 or 5 and then as he finds the right formula we may pick up but I do believe it will be a relegation battle but feel with Wilder and the spirit we have showed – we can do enough to stay up. It is key that the new strikers take the few chances they get. At times you may only get 2 or 3 chances a game and you have to take them. At the back we have to cut out silly mistakes and ensure that when we do break with our wing backs, we do not get caught out. The home form has to be so important – we need to make Bramall Lane so intimidating and likes other teams have before (Stoke, Portsmouth, Palace) ensure even if we are behind or struggling the whole ground supports the team. We can’t have some of the moans/groans at this level – we need a completely supportive and passionate fan base. If the team/fans stay together even on the poor spells, then we can do ok and surprise quite a few teams.

Key Player: Ollie Norwood

How he goes, is how United could go. He has been ditched by three promoted clubs previously. Many United fans exclaim disbelief at this but for every manager to do the same does make you think. Great on the ball and technically brilliant but he lacks mobility, pace and the running power to maybe keep up with the high powered and athletic Premier League. United maybe don’t have anyone who can help hide some of his weaknesses and allow his qualities to come out and getting that player in might be key to us staying up.

Manager: Chris Wilder

Not a lot you can say about Wilder that has not already been said. He is the heartbeat of the club and the success if 99% down to him. He has brought in his assistant, staff, the players and got everyone buying into what they do. The recent issues with Mark Duffy showed who the boss is and that no one is bigger than the club. He has the side playing attractive football but a team that always gives their all. We now have a new challenge and at times we will probably become disillusioned this year as stacked sides give us a few stark checks of reality. However, Wilder must ensure he keeps the faith with what got him here and that is not just the system but the core of his players. If he tries to change too much it will not work. We have to be true to what got us here and not panic if we do not start well. We will lose a lot of games but in order to pick up points we have to keep with what got us success.

Best Case Scenario:
We get off to a great start – we have never done this under Wilder and end up getting points in our first 3 games, winning both at the Lane. The old ground is rocking as newcomers McBurnie and Robinson get amongst the goals. United shock a few big games and end up beating Arsenal and Man Utd at the Lane and hold Liverpool. They end up in the top 10 the first couple of months before settling down. We add a few more big signings in January and push on again and end up finishing 12th-16th but comfortably away from relegation. The ownership situation is resolved with whoever wins selling to new investors who come in and offer up huge funds for Wilder to tap into for the following summer. We extend the South Stand and have crowds of close to 35,000 week in, week and out and then plan to extend the Kop at the end of the 20-21 season as the team fight for Europa League qualification in this season. They get to the FA Cup Final and beat West Ham 3-2 in the final with a late VAR goal in the 95th minute winning United their first major silverware since 1925.

Worst Case Scenario:
A bad start and the team struggles at both ends and get overrun in midfield. The overlapping centre back approach sees a few early hammerings and United retreat and end up playing a defensive style. This renders everything United have done before to get them their null and void. We end up right at the bottom. The board situation is not resolved and Wilder quits feeling he cannot take us any further. We go down and have to find a new manager as some of our better players like O’Connell and Fleck depart. We end up middle of the Championship under new manager Tony Pulis but the crowds drop to 12,000 due to the ugly style of football. Pulis is sacked and Phil Jagielka takes the helm as new manager with Michael Brown and Rob Kozluk as his assistants as the club fight a relegation battle the following season.


Luke Freeman (QPR) £5m
Phil Jagielka (Everton) Free
Callum Robinson (Preston) £7m
Ravel Morrison (Ostersund) Free
Lys Mousset (Bournemouth) £10m
Dean Henderson (Manchester United) Loan
Ben Osborn (Nottingham Forest) Undisclosed
Oliver McBurnie (Swansaea) £17.5m


Paul Coutts (Fleetwood) Free
Martin Cranie (Luton) Free
Conor Washington (Hearts) Free
Daniel Lafferty (Released)
Caolan Lavery (Released)
Nathan Thomas (Gillingham) Loan
Rhys Norrington-Davies (Rochdale) Loan
Jake Eastwood (Scunthorpe) Loan
Oliver Greaves (Barrow AFC) Loan
Tyler Smith (Bristol Rovers) Loan
Nathan Thomas (Carlisle United) Loan


Vital Reserves Team
18. Norwich

Like United, a lot are tipping them to go down but not as many. Whether that is because they won the league with 94 points, I am not sure. They do have some real young talent in the likes of Aarons, Godfrey and Lewis at the back and then Vrancic, Buendia and Hernandez in the middle of the field. They are a talented team and play lovely, expansive football wit clever players all over the field. They will surprise some teams I am sure but might get turned over a bit also. They have raided the German marker for a few players and also will look to restart Sam Byram’s once talented career, but the core of the group will be the same as the one that went up. They lack any real experience in age or Premier League know how – outside of maybe keeper Tim Krul – arguably one of their weaker players. They will rely on Pukki a lot for goals and if he struggles, then you would be concerned as the defence even at Championship level let in a lot of goals.

Key Player: Teemu Pukki

Pukki was sensational last season, not only scoring 29 goals but being at the heart of everything Norwich did. His intelligent play and clever finishing were a joy to watch. Before that other than a spell at Brondby he had not really ‘done it’ and had played for Helsinki, Schalke, Sevilla and Celtic and is 29 so been around a bit. He has found a home and it will be interesting to see if he can make the step up with the quicker pace of the higher league. If he does then Norwich will have a great chance of staying up.

Manager: Daniel Farke

To get Norwich promoted as Champions was incredible considering the teams the Canaries were up against, the relative budgets and where the bookies had them pegged. They did it in style too. He has had to keep faith with the team that went up and without any significant funds will rely on those. He knows he has some good young talent and even if they do go down, will not bankrupt the club and know they would be well set for the future.

Best Case Scenario:
Start well with the same cavalier approach where they run at teams and the quick and skilled midfielders get in front of Pukki and the wing backs bomb on. They win a lot of games at Carrow Road and also pick up some wins at the teams around them at the bottom. End up pulling away from the pack and comfortably avoiding relegation allowing them to bring in a few more players next summer.

Worst Case Scenario:
The lack of investment or introduction of players in the summers means any loss of form/injuries means they will really struggle. Pukki does not make the step up or gets injured. The defence continues to ship goals and many of the young players freeze as they end up right at the bottom and it becomes a scrap -one they may struggle with as they are more technical than battling type footballers.


Patrick Roberts (Man City) Loan
Josip Drmic (Borussia Monchengladbach) Free
Archie Mair (Aberdeen) Undisclosed
Rob Nizet (Anderlecht) Undisclosed
Rocky Bushiri (K.V. Oostende) Undisclosed
Aidan Fitzpatrick (Partick Thistle) Undisclosed
Ralf Fahrmann (Schalke) Undisclosed
Charlie Gilmour (Arsenal) Free
Sam Byram (West Ham United) £700,000
Daniel Adshead (Rochdale) £300,000
Reece McAlear (Motherwell) Undisclosed


Carlton Morris (Rotherham United) Loan
Ivo Pinto (Dinamo Zagreb) Free
Mason Bloomfield (Crawley Town) Loan
Ciaren Jones (Eastbourne Borough) Loan
Josh Coley (Dunfermline Athletic) Loan
Marcel Franke (Hannover 96) £1.3m
Sean Raggett (Portsmouth) Loan
Yanic Wildschut (Maccabi Haifa) Free
Nelson Oliveira (AEK Athens) Undisclosed
Matt Jarvis (Released)
Steven Naismith (Released)
James Husband (Blackpool) Loan
Rocky Bashiri (Blackpool) Loan
Diallang Jaiyesimi (Norwich – Swindon) Loan

19. Newcastle

It’s all been a bit of a mess. The protests continue and Mike Ashley still wont budge until he gets an offer he sees as fair and he gets his money back. The club have spent a bit this summer but compared to what has gone out and the other clubs of their size around them; it is small change. Steve Bruce came in after they inexplicably allowed Rafa Benitez to leave. Bruce seems a stop gap type appointment. You doubt he will be there in 12 months as either he will do badly and get sacked or they will have new owners who will bring in a younger, more progressive manager. In terms of on the field, they lost Perez and Rondon but brought in Joelinton who is expected to score the goals and Saint-Maximin (he has a very distinctive hairstyle). You expect midfielder Almiron to play an even greater role next season. Sean Longstaff is a talented young midfielder who has a brother who is around the fringes of the first team also. The rest of the team is a bit of a mess with talented players such as Lascelles and Shelvey but a lot of inconsistent and erratic defenders. I am not sure there is much that screams ‘fight and battle’ if this team as expected is near the bottom. The home crowd can be such a lift but if things go badly then it could be an even more toxic atmosphere on Tyneside.

Key Player: Joelinton

Over 30 years ago Newcastle had a team that was struggling on the pitch but signed an expensive Brazilian called Mirandinha. He was hit and miss and the team eventually went down. Fans will hope that is not to be repeated. £40 million seems a lot of money for someone who only scored 10 goals in the Bundesliga and Serie A over 3 seasons – he scored most of his goals on loan in Austria but the Newcastle scouting network must have seen something they liked. He has to do well from the start for a team that needs goals and cannot take a long time to settle in.

Manager: Steve Bruce

A decent manager who steadies the ship when he goes to place to be fair but one that will not want to build anything anywhere and moves on quickly when he is given a new lucrative offer. He says he went there as it was his club but he has now managed both Newcastle and Sunderland, Villa and Birmingham, both Sheffield clubs and many more. He seems to chase the cash wherever it is and loyalty seems sadly lacking. It seems the fans don’t want him at all and his appointment has not helped an already angry mood in the North East.

Best Case Scenario:

Bruce gets a good start; the new striker is amongst the goals and Ashley finds a taker to buy the club and departs. They end up top half and win a cup.

Worst Case Scenario:

Bruce gets a bad start; the new striker cannot hit a barn door and Ashley cannot find a taker to buy the club. Bruce is sacked by Xmas and they end up relegated. The scenes off the pitch become ugly with several protests that spill onto the pitch.


Joelinton (Hoffenheim) £40m
Allan Saint-Maximin (Nice) £16.5m
Jetro Willems (Eintracht Frankfurt) Loan


Mohamed Diame (Al Ahli) Free
Joselu (Alaves) £2m
Cal Roberts (Released)
Josef Yarney (Released)
Tyrique Bartlett (Released)
Dan Barlaser (Rotherham United) Loan
Ayoze Perez (Leicester City) £30m
Joselu (Alaves) Undisclosed
Liam Gibson (Grimsby Town) Loan
Freddie Woodman (Swansea) Loan



Vital Reserves Team
20. Brighton

They stayed up just by 2 points last year and moved Chris Hughton on. In came Graham Potter who did ok at Swansea under difficult circumstances building on his reputation from overseas. Knockaert and Bruno depart having been a big part of the success down at the Falmer Stadium. Glenn Murray remains as does Shane Duffy but the rest of the side lacks quality and you worry that this could be the season they might struggle to stay up as the quality of the rest of the division has improved Even if one of the two promoted teams stays up that still leaves one place and you could make an argument for them above maybe any of the other remaining teams especially with a new manager. They need more out of January buy Jurgen Locadia and will hope new midfielder Leandro Trossard can give some goals and creativity in the middle. The big buy on the eve of the season was Adam Webster for 20 million which seems a lot of money but they may fear they struggle to keep hold of Lewis Dunk with Leicester circling.

Key Player: Shane Duffy

With uncertainty over Dunk and Webster coming in, Duffy will be key man to keep the defence knitted together. A steady defender who does the ugly stuff, he also can get the odd goal going the other way.

Manager: Graham Potter

The Swansea fans liked him despite an inconsistent campaign where he had to sell players and suffered with several injuries. He got the team playing the right way and the way he had operated here and, on the continent, saw Brighton take him to replace Hughton. He will be expected to introduce a decent brand of football whilst keeping the Seagulls up. It might be difficult to find both these components coming into a confident hit squad that lacks goals and quality.

Best Case Scenario:
The team play attractive football, some of the players who underachieved last season start to perform and Murray continues to get amongst the goals. They end up just below mid table and then invest in January to ensure they maintain a solid season.

Worst Case Scenario:
Potter does not get the players to buy into what he wants. they languish at the bottom most of the season and cannot get out of the mire and end up relegated and considering a change of manager again.


Matt Clarke (Portsmouth) Undisclosed
Leandro Trossard (Genk) £18m
Taylor Richards (Man City) £2.5m
Adam Webster (Bristol City) £20m


Bruno (Retired)
Will Collar (Hamilton Academical) Undisclosed
Alexis MacAllister (Boca Juniors) Loan
Ben White (Leeds United) Loan
Ales Mateju (Brescia Calcio) Undisclosed
Richie Towell (Salford City) Free
Billy Arce (Emelec) Loan
Anthony Knockaert (Fulham) Loan
Christian Walton (Blackburn Rovers) Loan
Bill Arce (Barcelona SC [Guayaquil]) Loan
Jan Mlakar (QPR) Loan
Viktor Gyokeres (St Pauli) Loan
Percy Tau (Club Brugge) Loan
Matt Clarke (Derby) Loan
Markus Suttner (Brighton - Fortuna Dusseldorf) Undisclosed


Vital Reserves Team

1. Fulham

2. Leeds


3. Cardiff

4. Brentford

5. West Brom

6. Bristol City


7. Stoke

8. Derby

9. Huddersfield

10. Middlesbrough

11. Nottm Forest

12. Sheff Wed

13. Swansea

14. Preston

15. Blackburn

16. Barnsley

17. Wigan

18. Luton

19. Reading

20. Hull

21. Birmingham


22. QPR

23. Millwall

24. Charlton

League One

1. Portsmouth

2. Sunderland


3. Rotherham

4. Lincoln

5. Ipswich

6. Peterborough


7. Fleetwood

8. Burton

9. Shrewsbury

10. Doncaster

11. Blackpool

12. Coventry

13. Oxford

14. MK Dons

15. Bristol Rovers

16. Southend

17. Tranmere

18. Wycombe

19. Bolton

20. Rochdale


21. Gillingham

22. Wimbledon

23. Accrington

24. Bury

League Two

1. Plymouth

2. Scunthorpe

3. Mansfield


4. Walsall

5. Northampton

6. Bradford

7. Swindon


8. Crewe

9. Newport County

10. Carlisle

11. Forest Green

12. Salford

13. Exeter

14. Stevenage

15. Oldham

16. Colchester

17. Leyton Orient

18. Grimsby

19. Crawley

20. Cheltenham

21. Crawley

22. Port Vale


23. Morecambe

24. Macclesfield


Vital Football Hero
Staff member
Hope you’re right pal if so my season bets would bearing fruit as well as us surviving
As in depth as I’ve seen from any paper and I get the racing post pull out good stuff dB ?


Vital Reserves Team
Great effort DB and very informative.
Of course, there are still 4 transfer days to go. That might not change much at the top of the PL, but it could alter a lot everywhere else.

Also, you are obviously wrong in the Championship, where the team you have to finish 12th., are going to easily win the league - so I’ve heard. :lol:
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Vital Squad Member
It looks like Brighton will be signing Maupay for the best part of 25 million, I can see that giving them an edge in surving. Another bit of business brewing is Tarkovski to Leicester, that'll be a big setback to a relegation rival so close to the season starting.