Both Brighton and Newcastle had achieved their main goal of promotion before the last week of the season and only the question of who would go up as champions was left undecided. Newcastle ultimately came out on top but both clubs will now be thinking of next season.
The Premier League is a massive step up from the Championship but both Brighton and Newcastle can be confident of performing in 2017/18. But how can they go about staying up?
South Coast Survival
Although Brighton will undoubtedly have a smaller, less expensive squad than Newcastle, the way the club is run suggests that the Seagulls could stay up, especially if they get a good start to the season.
Keeping hold of Chris Hughton as manager is imperative and although he has already indicated that he will not be making a lot of changes, he will need to bring in some new faces to be able to compete.
They have already made their first signing of the summer in Pascal Gross from German side Ingolstadt. The attacking midfielder is a good addition to the Brighton side after winning his former club’s player of year award three seasons in a row.
A striker should also be on Hughton’s wishlist and they may go for the loan signing of Tammy Abraham who has just had an outstanding season with Bristol City. Chelsea have already indicated that he will be loaned out again and the south coast seems like the likely destination.
If David Stockdale does in fact leave the club then there are a number of keepers with Premier League experience who could replace him. Both Victor Valdes and Willy Caballero are available as they are out of contract now the season is over.
One player Hughton needs to do everything to keep is Anthony Knockaert. The French winger had a standout season considering he also suffered the loss of his father during the campaign. But the bond Knockaert seems to have with the club should ensure that he will be going nowhere.
Brighton, of the two automatically promoted teams, are the hotter tip to go straight back down but it’s all about getting the right squad ahead of the new campaign.
Toon Army Triumph?
The champions will be taking a different course with owner Mike Ashley promising Rafa Benitez all the money earned from promotion to go towards new players. After failing to recruit in January the Spanish manager will have his eyes on a number of players knowing that his squad is more quantity than quality in Premier League terms.
One big name rumoured to be making his way to St James Park is Sporting Lisbon’s defensive midfielder William Carvalho. Linked with a move to the Premier League for the past few years, the Portugal international has seen his star shine less brightly recently but his arrival would be a real statement of intent from Newcastle.
With Benitez likely to let both Gouffran and – more surprisingly –Anita leave the club, there will be a need for a goal scoring midfielder to aid Shelvey. Ghanaian international Christian Atsu has already been signed on a permanent deal after an impressive loan spell but fans can expect more signings to come before August.
A quality striker will also be required if Newcastle are to avoid an immediate return to the Championship. Dwight Gayle may have scored goals this season but the addition of someone like Burnley’s Andre Gray could keep the Geordies in the top flight.
Although Brighton and Newcastle will be among the favourites for relegation, fans will be quietly confident that they can survive next season. With Hughton and Benitez in charge both clubs have a better chance of staying up and will know that they need to recruit wisely over the next couple of months if they want to remain in the Premier League.
Source: 1000 Goals.