Even when Fulham were celebrating their play-off final victory against Aston Villa thoughts were turning to whether Slavisa Jokanovic’s side could survive in the Premier League.
The omens are good for the Cottagers. The three teams that were promoted in 2016/17 – Huddersfield, Brighton and Newcastle – all stayed up this term and Fulham showed their ability to bounce back from the disappointment of missing out on automatic promotion by defeating Derby and then Villa in the play-offs.
Jokanovic has already admitted that Fulham will need to make several major signings if they are to stay up next season but talented teenager Ryan Sessegnon and captain Tom Cairney could now remain at Craven Cottage following their promotion.
It is concerning that five loanees were in Fulham’s squad at Wembley and right-back Ryan Fredericks is still to sign a new contract so Jokanovic looks set to have a very busy period wheeling and dealing before the new season starts on 11th August.
Fulham will be desperate to secure the permanent signing of Aleksandar Mitrovic who scored 12 goals in the last 17 Championship matches as the Cottagers surged up the table on the back of a 23-game unbeaten run.
However, Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez remains keen to keep the Serbian at St James’ Park as he attempts to build on the Magpies’ top-half finish in the season just finished.
Fulham may not finish above Wolves next term but they will be confident about their chances of being ahead of Cardiff City come next May.
Mitrovic’s goals could be vital and after netting a joint worst tally of 28 last term, Huddersfield will also need to add firepower if they are to avoid the drop.
The Bluebirds appear to be the weakest of the three promoted squads and it will take all of Neil Warnock’s experience to keep them up.
Southampton have enough quality in their ranks to avoid a second relegation battle in a row but Huddersfield could struggle unless their squad is strengthened this summer.
There are signs that Leicester City could be imploding and they may be a good outside bet to be relegated just three years after their title triumph.
The Foxes have an old team that is starting to break up and the continued uncertainty regarding Claude Puel’s future suggests all is not well within the squad.
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