Premier League 2019/20 season preview: Club-by-club guide

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Aug 06, 2019, 12:06

By Ben Grounds / Eurosport


Can Liverpool catch Manchester City? Who will be this season's surprise package? Eurosport provides a club-by-club guide to the forthcoming Premier League campaign.


ARSENAL


Last season’s position: 5th

Players signed: Gabriel Martinelli (Ituano, undisclosed), Dani Ceballos (Real Madrid, loan), William Saliba (Saint-Etienne, £27m).

Players departed: David Ospina (Napoli, £3.1m), Aaron Ramsey (Juventus, free), Petr Cech (retired), Danny Welbeck (released), Stephan Lichtsteiner (released), Charlie Gilmour (Norwich, free), Julio Pleguezuelo (FC Twente, free), Jordi Osei-Tutu (Bochum, loan), Daniel Ballard (Swindon, loan), Vontae Daley-Campbell (Leicester, undisclosed), Ben Sheaf (Doncaster, loan), Cohen Bramall (released), Xavier Amaechi (Hamburg, £2.25m).

Pre-season friendly results

July 6: Boreham Wood 3-3 Arsenal XI

July 16: Colorado Rapids 0-3 Arsenal

July 18: Bayern Munich 1-2 Arsenal

July 20: Arsenal 3-0 Fiorentina

July 24: Real Madrid 2-2 Arsenal (3-2 pens)

July 28: Arsenal 1-2 Lyon (Emirates Cup)

July 31: Angers 1-1 Arsenal (3-4 pens)

August 4: Barcelona (Joan Gamper Trophy) - Nou Camp




It has been another eventful summer for Arsenal, who smashed their transfer record to bring in much-needed pace out wide in the form of Nicolas Pepe.

Gunners fans will hope the Ivorian's arrival doesn't prove a precursor to the sale of either Alexandre Lacazette or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. But after another protest against billionaire owner Sam Kroenke's ownership from supporter groups, Unai Emery will hope for a fast start to the season.

An early North London derby - on September 1 - provides the perfect opportunity to build some momentum, by which point Arsenal fans hope Emery will have worked out his best defence, with captain Laurent Koscielny still angling for a return to France.

Grounds for optimism: A great home and away kit, so whatever the outcome, the players and fans are already winners.

Grounds for concern: Dani Ceballos may a) find Aaron Ramsey's boots too big to fill b) turn into Denis Suarez II.



ASTON VILLA


Last season’s position: 5th in the Championship (promoted via the play-offs)

Players signed: Wesley (Club Bruges, £22m), Tyrone Mings (Bournemouth, £20m), Matt Targett (Southampton, £15m), Ezri Konsa (Brentford, £12m), Bjorn Engels (Stade Reims, £9m), Trezeguet (Kasimpasa, £8.75m), Tom Heaton (Burnley, £8m), Anwar El Ghazi (Lille, £8m), Jota (Birmingham City, £4m), Kortney Hause (Wolves, £3m), Douglas Luiz (Manchester City, £15m), Marvelous Nakamba (Club Bruges, undisclosed).

Players departed: Gary Gardner (Birmingham, undisclosed), Tommy Elphick (Huddersfield, free), Matija Sarkic (Livingston, loan), Albert Adomah (Nottingham Forest, released), Mark Bunn (released), Ritchie de Laet (released), Alan Hutton (released), Mile Jedinak (released), Ross McCormack (released), Micah Richards (released), Glenn Whelan (released).

Pre-season friendly results

July 17: Minnesota United 0-3 Aston Villa

July 21: Shrewsbury 0-1 Aston Villa

July 24: Walsall 1-5 Aston Villa

July 27: Charlton 1-4 Aston Villa

August 3: RB Leipzig



It has been some 12 months for Aston Villa. After missing out on promotion via the play-offs, the Midlands club were facing the prospect of a points deduction after an unpaid £4m tax bill led to a winding-up petition by HM Revenue & Customs.

But after averting that threat and changing manager, Villa are back in the big time under Dean Smith and going shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus - at least in terms of cash spent in the close season.

Key to Villa's successful promotion campaign was retaining Jack Grealish, and the Birmingham-born star will be delighted with the ambition shown by billionaire owners Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris as no fewer than 12 new faces have arrived at Villa Park for a combined £135.5m.

When you consider fellow newboys Sheffield United have so far spent £23.5m and Norwich just £1.1m, it is understandable why Villa are the hardest club to predict over the coming nine months.

Grounds for optimism: Villa have been free-scoring in pre-season, and fans will feel they are back where they belong.

Grounds for concern: The last team to experience such a robust turnover of players were relegated Fulham last season, while QPR were fortunate to survive after doing the same in 2011.



BOURNEMOUTH


Last season’s position: 14th

Players signed: Lloyd Kelly (Bristol City, £13m), Jack Stacey (Luton Town, £4m), Philip Billing (Huddersfield, £15m)

Players departed: Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa, £20m), Lys Mousset (Sheffield United, £10m), Connor Mahoney (Millwall, undisclosed), Marc Pugh (released), Mikael Ndjoli (Gillingham, loan), Emerson Hyndman (Atlanta United, loan).

Pre-season friendly results

July 16: AFC Wimbledon 2-3 Bournemouth

July 20: Girona 2-1 Bournemouth

July 26: West Brom 0-0 Bournemouth

July 27: Brentford 1-3 Bournemouth

August 2: Lazio

August 3: Lyon



Bournemouth are well on their way to becoming an established Premier League club as they embark on a fifth season in the top flight. Dean Court is now the Vitality Stadium, but it is not the smashing of transfer records that has continued to breath life into the south coast club.

The hallmark of the Cherries' stay has been continuity in the dug-out, with Eddie Howe identifying the right characters to help with the natural phasing out of those who took Bournemouth up in 2014.

Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser have not only excelled at a higher level, but both have been retained this summer. Howe has perhaps been at his most vulnerable when given money to spend, as seen by the modest returns from Jordon Ibe, Dominic Solanke and Diego Rico.

Nathan Ake and Jefferson Lerma have both proven to be astute pieces of business, however, and there is plenty of promise in the shape of David Brooks, Lewis Cook and Philip Billing.

Grounds for optimism: No side outside of the top six scored more goals than Bournemouth’s 56 last term.

Grounds for concern: It is at the back where Howe has struggled to strike upon a winning formula; 70 goals conceded last season was only a fraction fewer than Fulham and Huddersfield.



BRIGHTON


Last season’s position: 17th

Players signed: Leandro Trossard (Genk, £18m), Matt Clarke (Portsmouth, £5m), Taylor Richards (Man City, £2.5m), Lewis Freestone (unattached, free).

Players departed: Bruno (retired), Ales Mateju (Brescia, undisclosed), Will Collar (Hamilton, undisclosed), Anthony Knockaert (Fulham, loan), Alexis MacAllister (Boca Juniors, loan), Ben White (Leeds United, loan), Leo Ostigard (St Pauli, loan), Christian Walton (Blackburn, loan), Jayson Molumby (Millwall, loan), Robert Sanchez (Rochdale, loan), Jan Mlakar (QPR, loan), Viktor Gyokeres (St Pauli, loan), Percy Tau (Club Brugge, loan).

Pre-season friendly results

July 13: FC Liefering 2-5 Brighton

July 19: Crawley 0-1 Brighton

July 20: Fulham 2-1 Brighton

July 27: Birmingham City 0-4 Brighton

August 2: Valencia



Brighton didn't waste any time in seeking to address the wrongs of the 2018/19 season. Chris Hughton was ruthlessly sacked at the end of a disappointing campaign, in which Premier League safety was only secured in the final week.

Hughton has been replaced by perhaps the most intriguing appointment of the close season, with Graham Potter leaving Swansea after just a year. This is a different looking Brighton, with the well-travelled Potter allowing Anthony Knockaert to depart along with the retired Bruno, a piece of furniture that came with the Amex Stadium.

Having slept-walked to the brink of relegation, the Seagulls must perform far better as an attacking unit to ensure that their suffering from second-season syndrome doesn't linger.

Glenn Murray top-scored with 13 goals last season, but he turns 36 in September. The early signs from new £18m signing Leandro Trossard are good: The Belgian bought from Genk has one goal and four assists during pre-season.

Grounds for optimism: Potter showed at Swansea a knack of developing young talent, and Brighton will hope he can do the same, with Solly March the last academy player to make the grade.

Grounds for concern: Jurgen Locadia, Florin Andone and Alireza Jahanbakhsh have thus far shown very few signs of being capable to take the load off Murray.



BURNLEY


Last season's position: 15th

Players signed: Jay Rodriguez (West Brom, £10m), Erik Pieters (Stoke City, £3m), Joel Senior (Curzon Ashton, undisclosed), Ryan Cooney (Bury, undisclosed).

Players departed: Peter Crouch (retired), Jon Walters (retired), Stephen Ward (Stoke, free), Anders Lindegaard (Helsingborg, free), Mark Howarth (released).

Pre-season friendly results

July 20: Crewe Alexandra 1-0 Burnley

July 20: Port Vale 1-3 Burnley

July 23: Fleetwood Town 0-2 Burnley

July 27: Wigan Athletic 2-2 Burnley

July 30: Burnley 6-1 Nice

August 3: Parma



Jay Rodriguez is back at Turf Moor, and after the Europa League distractions led to Burnley making a pig's ear of the opening half of last season, Sean Dyche will feel quietly confident that this time around will be less stressful.

The departure of Tom Heaton to Aston Villa on one level makes the battle for the No 1 jersey less of an issue, with Nick Pope given the opportunity to replicate his brilliant form that took the Clarets into Europe.

Dyche will hope to keep hold of James Tarkowski in the final week of the transfer window, with Gary Cahill lined up should their England centre-back join Leicester as a possible replacement for Harry Maguire.

Grounds for optimism: Dwight McNeil - in his breakthrough season, the winger made a mockery of being rejected by Manchester United's academy at the age of 14, and more is expected.

Grounds for concern: Burnley tried to be expansive last term before reverting to a tried and tested 4-4-2 formula, but were that to break down, what will Dyche turn to? There's no more Peter Crouch for a Plan B.



CHELSEA


Last season’s position: 3rd

Players signed: Mateo Kovacic (Real Madrid, £40m).

Players departed: Eden Hazard (Real Madrid, £88m), Alvaro Morata (Atletico Madrid, £58m), Ola Aina (Torino, £8.9m), Tomas Kalas (Bristol City, £8m), Jay Dasilva (Bristol City, £2m), Gary Cahill (released), Fankaty Dabo (Coventry City, free), Rob Green (retired), Todd Kane (released), Nathan Baxter (Ross County, loan), Richard Nartey (Burton Albion, loan), Eduardo (released), Kyle Scott (released), Mario Pasalic (Atalanta, loan), Charly Musonda (Vitesse Arnhem, loan), Nathan (Atletico Mineiro, loan), Daishawn Redan (Hertha Berlin, loan), Ethan Ampadu (RB Leipzig, loan), Jake Clarke-Salter (Birmingham, loan), Matt Miazga (Reading, loan), Lewis Baker (Fortuna Dusseldorf, loan).

Pre-season friendly results

May 16: New England Revolution 3-0 Chelsea

July 10: Bohemians 1-1 Chelsea

July 13: St Patrick's Athletic 0-4 Chelsea

July 19: Kawasaki Frontale 1-0 Chelsea

July 23: Barcelona 1-2 Chelsea

July 28: Reading 3-4 Chelsea

July 31: RB Salzburg 3-5 Chelsea

August 3: Borussia Monchengladbach - Borussia Park, Germany



Chelsea ended the 2018/19 season with silverware, but it is the return of a fans' favourite - not that Europa League success - that has breathed new life into Stamford Bridge.

Maurizio Sarri can hold his head up high after delivering his first trophy in management, but his predicatable substitutions and style of play ultimately left supporters feeling disillusioned.

Not even a transfer ban - which Chelsea have taken to the Court of Arbitration for Sport - and the inevitable sale of Eden Hazard has seemed to diminish hopes for an encouraging season.

Grounds for optimism: The inability to make signings, and Lampard's man-management qualities, should bring about a greater sense of unity in what became a tense dressing-room. Ross Barkley has shown signs he is ready to fulfil his potential, and the stage is all his for the start of the season.

Grounds for concern: There is no guarantee that Lampard has the capabilties to excel at this level, the absence of Hazard leaves behind a creative void, while Tammy Abraham, Michy Batshuayi and Olivier Giroud doesn't scream 'firepower'.



CRYSTAL PALACE


Last season’s position: 12th

Players signed: Stephen Henderson (free), Jordan Ayew (Swansea, £2.5m).

Players departed: Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Manchester United, £50m), Jason Puncheon (released), Julian Speroni (released), Bakary Sako (released), Levi Lumeka (Varzim, undisclosed), Ollie O'Dwyer (Aldershot, free), Joseph Hungbo (released), Tyler Brown (released).

July 9: Luzern 1-1 Crystal Palace (Palace win 6-5 on pens)

July 13: Young Boys 2-0 Crystal Palace

July 16: Barnet 6-2 Crystal Palace

July 19: Nottingham Forest 1-0 Crystal Palace

July 20: Bromley 1-0 Crystal Palace XI

July 27: Bristol City 0-5 Crystal Palace

July 30: AFC Wimbledon 2-2 Crystal Palace

August 3: Hertha Berlin



With just over a week until the start of the new season, Roy Hodgson has hardly given his squad a vote of confidence as Crystal Palace continue to fight desperately to keep hold of Wilfried Zaha.

Hodgson said after Palace's 5-0 win over Bristol City: “I thought we were all pretty much on the same page: we definitely need players, we definitely need bodies because our squad is very small.

"But I’m afraid at the moment we are still there with the ones that started pre-season training."

Despite the natural allure of playing in London, the Eagles have struggled to entice a striker to Selhurst Park, meaning Christian Benteke will be given yet more chances to score from five yards, while the Belgian's ability to keep fit-again Connor Wickham out of the side shows just how desperate the search for a No 9 has become.

It's clear to see why only a ridiculous offer for Zaha would convince owner Steve Parish and sporting director Doug Freedman to do business, while the ease with which Aaron Wan-Bissaka was allowed to depart without an able replacement lined up has added to a disruptive summer.

Grounds for optimism: The introduction of VAR must surely mean that penalty specialist Luka Milivojevic is a dead cert for the Golden Boot award.

Grounds for concern: Zaha may no longer be at the club to win the penalties from which Milivojevic will have the chance to score any goals.



EVERTON


Last season’s position: 8th

Players signed: Andre Gomes (Barcelona, £22m), Fabian Delph (Man City, £8.5m), Jonas Lossl (Huddersfield Town, free).

Players departed: Nikola Vlasic (CSKA Moscow, £14m), Ademola Lookman (RB Leipzig, £22.5m), Idrissa Gueye (Paris Saint-Germain, £30m), Phil Jagielka (Sheffield Utd, free), Brendan Galloway (Luton Town, free), Antonee Robinson (Wigan, undisclosed), Jonjoe Kenny (Schalke, loan), Sandro Ramirez (Real Valladolid, loan), Korede Adedoyin (Hamilton, loan), Kieran Dowell (Derby, loan), Joao Virginia (Reading, loan), Luke Garbutt (Ipswich, loan), Josh Bowler (Hull, loan), Ashley Williams (released), Harry Charsley (released), Boris Mathis (released), Mateusz Hewelt (released), Shayne Lavery (released), Jack Kiersey (released), Danny Bramall (released), Joe Hilton (released), Chris Renshaw (released).

Pre-season friendly results

July 7: Kariobangi Sharks 1-1 Everton (Kariobangi win 4-3 on pens)

July 14: Sion 0-0 Everton

July 19: Monaco 0-1 Everton

July 24: Wigan 0-0 Everton

July 27: Sevilla 1-0 Everton / Mainz 05 3-1 Crystal Palace (60-minute games)

August 3: Werder Bremen - Weser Stadion



Off the field, it has been a significant summer for the blue half of Merseyside. New designs have revealed a steeply pitched 13,000-capacity home end as the centrepiece of Everton's new £500m stadium. The club hope to move into their new home by 2023, while fans were also boosted by the permanent arrival of Andre Gomes.

The expected departure of Idrissa Gueye to Paris Saint-Germain was confirmed, but Fabian Delph's arrival for a little over £8m is a shrewd piece of business and more signings are expected in a hectic final week for Marco Silva.

Gylfi Sigurdsson and Richarlison were joint-top goalscorers in the league last term with 13, so the imminent arrival of Moise Kean from Juventus will spread out the work load, but Chelsea's transfer ban has made it virtually impossible for Kurt Zouma to return for a second spell.

Grounds for optimism: Seven clean sheets in the last 10 Premier League games, alongside big home wins against Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea, suggest that Everton are finally going places again. A strong opening set of fixtures provides them with the ideal platform to build on that strong end to last term.

Grounds for concern: It hasn't been a thrilling pre-season on the pitch, with a shortage of goals and creativity all-too apparent in the absence of Richarlison. Silva will be wary of an over-reliance again on the Brazilian.



LEICESTER


Last season’s position: 9th

Players signed: Youri Tielemans (Monaco, £40m), Ayoze Perez (Newcastle United, £30m), James Justin (Luton Town, undisclosed), Vontae Daley-Campbell (Arsenal, undisclosed), George Hirst (OH Leuvens, undisclosed), Ali Reghba (Bohemians, undisclosed), Mitchell Clark (Aston Villa, free).

Players departed: Shinji Okazaki (Malaga), Danny Simpson (released) Daniel Iversen (Rotherham United, loan).

Pre-season friendly results

July 16: Scunthorpe United 0-1 Leicester

July 20: Cheltenham Town 1-2 Leicester

July 23: Cambridge United 0-3 Leicester

July 27: Rotherham 2-2 Leicester

July 27: Stoke City 1-2 Leicester

August 2: Atalanta



Leicester's summer has almost entirely been about whether Harry Maguire will join Manchester United, and he will leave behind a very talented group that has shown it is going places, with a clear identity under Brendan Rodgers.

After the sale of Riyad Mahrez last season, Leicester turned to their full-backs for width, but both Ben Chilwell and Ricardo Pereira will want more from the likes of Marc Albrighton, Demarai Gray and Ashley Barnes in front of them.

Grounds for optimism: The permanent signing of Youri Tielemans and raid on Newcastle for Ayoze Perez should lay the foundations for another European push.

Grounds for concern: Jamie Vardy's party has now entered its 32nd year. While he has shown no signs of slowing down, there must surely come a time when he does.



LIVERPOOL


Last season’s position: 2nd

Players signed: Sepp van den Berg (PEC Zwolle, £1.3m), Harvey Elliott (Fulham, undisclosed).

Players departed: Danny Ings (Southampton, £20m), Alberto Moreno (Villarreal, free), Rafael Camacho (Sporting Lisbon, £5m), Sheyi Ojo (Rangers, loan), Marko Grujic (Hertha BSC, loan), Allan Rodrigues de Souza (Fluminense, loan), Kamil Grabara (Huddersfield Town loan), Daniel Sturridge (released), Connor Randall (released), Adam Bogdan (released), Rhys Williams (Kidderminster Harriers, loan).

Pre-season friendly results

July 11: Tranmere Rovers 0-6 Liverpool

July 14: Bradford City 1-3 Liverpool

July 19: Liverpool 2-3 Borussia Dortmund

July 21: Liverpool 1-2 Sevilla

July 24: Liverpool 2-2 Sporting Lisbon

July 28: Liverpool 0-3 Napoli

July 31: Liverpool 3-1 Lyon



For Liverpool, the goal is clear: go one better. Jurgen Klopp has already spoken about the need to "find an extra gear" to beat Manchester City, and that was only ahead of the Community Shield.

Having taken Pep Guardiola's side to the final day of last season, collecting 97 points along the way, Liverpool shrugged off the disappointment of missing out on a first domestic title in 29 years by lifting a sixth European Cup.

But having failed to land a marquee signing this summer, Klopp said: “We invested money in this team. Now it looks like we are not. But we are not in this fantasy land where you just get whatever you want. You cannot do it constantly.

Such a defeatist attitude was somewhat bizarre given the money Liverpool have spent on improving the side, but the return of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez from injury will strengten the Reds' pursuit of City's crown.

Grounds for optimism: The likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Alisson and Fabinho are only likely to get better following their first full seasons. Repeat the same consistency of last season, and City will struggle to contain them.

Grounds for concern: An indifferent pre-season has shown that if for whatever reason Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane aren't around, a lack of depth remains at the sharp end - but the deadly trio are seldom injured.



MAN CITY


Last season’s position: 1st

Players signed: Rodri (Atletico Madrid, £62.8m), Angelino (PSV Eindhoven, £5.3m), Zack Steffan (Columbus Crew, £7.2m).

Players departed: Fabian Delph (Everton, £8.5m), Taylor Richards (Brighton, £2.5m), Vincent Kompany (Anderlecht, free), Patrick Roberts (Norwich City, loan), Jack Harrison (Leeds United, loan), Aro Muric (Nottingham Forest, loan), Zack Steffen (Fortuna Dusseldorf, loan), Philippe Sandler (Anderlecht, loan), Tom Dele-Bashiru (released), Aaron Nemane (released), Douglas Luiz (Aston Villa, £15m), Yangel Herrera (Granada, loan), Tosin Adrbioyo (Blackburn, loan).

Pre-season friendly results

July 17: Man City 4-1 West Ham

July 20: Wolves 0-0 Man City - Wolves won 3-2 on penalties

July 24: Kitchee FC 0-6 Man City

July 27: Yokohama FM 1-3 Man City



The unstoppable force, Manchester City cleaned up last season with a domestic treble that was both marginally depressing but highly impressive. Guardiola's side set the standards, and he has lifted the bar with the signing of Rodri, earmarked as Fernandinho's successor.

City were at their most vulnerable over Christmas last season in the Brazilian's absence as back-to-back defeats handed the initiative to Liverpool.

With the influential Kevin De Bruyne now fully back up to speed following injury, and Phil Foden buzzing from Guardiola describing him as "the most talented player" he has seen, City remain the team to catch.

Grounds for optimism: Such is City's wealth of talent, not even the potential sale of Leroy Sane to Bayern Munich would significantly diminish their chances of a third straight league title.

Grounds for concern: The departure of Vincent Kompany, the leader who dragged City to that vital win over Leicester, leaves question marks over who will galvanise the side during similarly tight spots. It also places huge pressure on John Stones to raise his game.



MAN UTD


Last season’s position: 6th

Players signed: Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Crystal Palace, £50m), Daniel James (Swansea City, £15m).

Players departed: Ander Herrera (Paris St-Germain, free), Kieran O'Hara (Burton Albion, loan), Antonio Valencia (released), Matthew Olosunde (released), James Wilson (released), Regan Poole (released), Dean Henderson (Sheffield United, loan).

Pre-season friendly results

July 13: Perth Glory 0-2 Manchester United

July 17: Manchester United 4-0 Leeds

July 20: Manchester United 1-0 Inter Milan

July 25: Tottenham 1-2 Manchester United

July 30: Kristiansund 0-1 Manchester United

August 3: AC Milan - Principality Stadium, Cardiff



Freed from the shackles of the oppressive Jose Mourinho regime, United demonstrated their full potential to such an extent that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's honeymoon period led to his full-time appointment, but a poor Spring underlined the size of the rebuild now facing the Norwegian.

While the signing of Wan-Bissaka and James can only be seen as a good thing, question marks still remain everywhere you look at Old Trafford.

David de Gea's performances last season hardly warranted him becoming the world’s highest paid goalkeeper - but even that is yet to be confirmed, while United appear not to have any alternatives should Leicester refuse to sell Maguire.

Bruno Fernandes had been heavily linked with a move, but the expected exchange of Romelu Lukaku for Juventus' Paulo Dybala could prove a masterstroke, not least because it will mean the Argentine is reunited with Paul Pogba. And we don't need to read any more about what he and his agent have been up to this summer.

Grounds for optimism: Mason Greenwood has shown very promising signs during pre-season, and Solskjaer believes the 17-year-old is ready to compete at first-team level.

Grounds for concern: Alexis Sanchez showed signs of recovery for Chile at the Copa America, which means his form is about to dip when he returns to club football. A £60 parking ticket on his £160,000 Bentley earlier this week - which he can pay off in just 71 seconds - suggests he hasn't come back too sharp.



NEWCASTLE


Last season’s position: 13th

Players signed: Joelinton (Hoffenheim, £40m), Kyle Scott (unattached, free), Jake Turner (Bolton Wanderers, undisclosed).

Players departed: Ayoze Perez (Leicester City, £30m), Joselu (Alaves, undisclosed), Dan Barlaser (Rotherham United, loan), Liam Gibson (Grimsby Town, loan), Mohamed Diame (released), Cal Roberts (released), Josef Yarney (released), Tyrique Bartlett (released).

Pre-season friendly results

July 17: Wolves 4-0 Newcastle

July 20: Newcastle 1-0 West Ham

July 27: Preston 2-1 Newcastle

July 30: Hibernian 1-3 Newcastle

August 3: Saint-Etienne



There's never a dull moment on Tyneside, and while the battle for domestic honours may once again concern the established top six, one suspects that Newcastle will continue to battle for a share of the column inches.

Mike Ashley has been under immense scrutiny for the vast majority of his 12 years at the club, and fans protested against his ownership following the departure of Rafa Benitez.

Steve Bruce's appointment was met by even greater frustration, with a lack of ambition cited, but Ashley has opened his chequebook for new £40m Brazilian striker Joelinton.

He and Miguel Almiron, following his first full pre-season, will be tasked with replacing Salomon Rondon and Ayoze Perez in attack. But Bruce - with a win ratio of just 28.1 per cent in the Premier League - is behind the eight ball from the start.

Grounds for optimism: Bruce - rejected by Newcastle as a kid - has thick skin and he showed at Sheffield Wednesday that he still has an appetite for the game despite a rollercoaster career that has seen him manage three sets of rival clubs.

Grounds for concern: The love and affection from the supporters towards Benitez means his departure leaves behind a permanent cloud that not even a run of positive results is likely to shake.



NORWICH


Last season’s position: 1st in the Championship

Players signed: Sam Byram (West Ham, £750,000), Aidan Fitzpatrick (Partick Thistle, £350,000), Daniel Adshead (Rochdale, £300,000), Rocky Bushiri (KV Oostende, £100,000), Archie Mair (Aberdeen, undisclosed), Rob Nizet (Anderlecht, undisclosed), Josip Drmic (Borussia Monchengladbach, free), Charlie Gilmour (Arsenal, free), Patrick Roberts (Man City, loan), Ralf Fahrmann (Schalke, loan), Reece McAlear (Motherwell, undisclosed).

Players departed: Marcel Franke (Hannover 96, undisclosed), Nelson Oliveira (AEK Athens, free), Carlton Morris (Rotherham United, loan), Mason Bloomfield (Crawley Town, loan), Ciaren Jones (Eastbourne Borough, loan), Josh Coley (Dunfermline Athletic, loan), Sean Raggett (Portsmouth, loan), Savvas Mourgos (Dordrecht, loan), James Husband (Blackpool, loan), Ben Marshall (released).

Pre-season friendly results

July 14: Arminia Bielefeld 2-2 Norwich

July 19: FC Schalke 1-2 Norwich

July 24: Norwich 1-3 Brentford

July 27: Luton Town 1-5 Norwich

July 30: Norwich 4-1 Atalanta

August 3: Toulouse



When it comes to Norwich and the Premier League, only West Brom between 2001 and 2010 can lay claim to being such a 'Yo-yo club'. The Canaries have often proved to be too strong for the second tier, and that was the case last term as Daniel Farke's side won the Championship title with 94 points.

But four out of the Norwich's six seasons in the Premier League have ended in relegation, and the club have opted this time against ripping up the formula that brought 27 league wins albeit at a lower standard.

It will take around 10 excruciating 'let's be havin' you' victories to consolidate their position back in the top division, and Farke may just be waiting to see what is left behind in the final week of the transfer window, with Norwich very much down the bottom of the food chain.

A couple of inspired loan deals for players similarly too good for the Championship but unproven at a higher level could spring an surprise.

Huddersfield upset the odds when surviving in their first Premier League season under David Wagner, and the Norwich players have similarly bought into Farke's philosophy.

Grounds for optimism: Norwich will fight until the end having recovered from losing positions on countless occasions last season, with late goals earning 24 points across the season.

Grounds for concern: Sam Byram is hardly the statement signing of the summer and check out those early fixtures: Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City in the opening month of the season.


 
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