Promoted Team Preview

Last season, all three promoted sides to the Premier League avoided the drop zone for only the third time in 25 years. We look at this season's promoted teams, all of whom have played in the Premier League since the turn of the decade.

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Fulham helped to kick off the summer transfer activity with what is best described as a £25m "swoop" for Nice's Jean-Michael Seri, with Chelsea reportedly also interested in the Ivorian midfielder. Aleksander Mitrovic has signed permanently after impressing on loan, having helped to push the promotion campaign since his arrival in London last January with 12 goals in 17 appearances. Former Chelsea winger Andre Schurrle adds some Premier League experience - and let's not forget the 27 year old is a World Cup winner.

Manager Slavisa Jokanovic joined Fulham in 2015 - having previously masterminded Watford's promotion - with this being his longest tenure to date at a club. Their attacking brand of football drew plaudits in last year's Championship, while their route to promotion - a loss on the final day consigned them to the dreaded play-offs - shows a resilience in the side. Jokanovic compared the agony of missing out on automatic promotion to losing a match point in tennis, saying after play-off victory that "we smashed the second match point."

The man expected to grab the headlines however is 18 year old Ryan Sessegnon, the 18 year old who scored 15 league goals last season. Already touted as a future England international, he can play at left-back or in a more advanced role on the left flank. Sessegnon and Shurrle linking up could prove devastating for opposition defences. Defensively the signings of Maxine le Marchand (also from Nice) and Alfie Mawson provide reinforcements for a side that conceded 46 goals in as many games last season. Given the narrowing gap between Premier League strugglers and Championship contenders, the astute signings to date should provide sufficient quality to push Fulham to safety come next May.

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From missing the ultimate yin and yang of managerial match-ups between Tony Pulis and Pep Guardiola following the former's move to Middlesbrough last season, the return of Neil Warnock to the Premier League will be fascinating to say the least. Never one to shy away from a tussle, Warnock had it all to do when he took charge of the struggling Welsh side in October 2016. In his first full season at the club, he guided the un-fancied team to automatic promotion when their odds of finishing in the play-offs stood at 33-1 going into the 2017/18 campaign. His record eighth promotion brings Warnock back to the big-time, and the manager has a point to prove, saying last May that in previous Premier League spells "I don't think I had much of a chance at any of them, for different reasons." Warnock values the collective, as well as improving players at his disposal, but the squad at the moment looks light on Premier League quality.

New players have come from other Championship sides, with Greg Cunningham signing from Preston and Bobby Reid, who impressed against Manchester United last season, leaving Bristol City to join the Bluebirds. With opening games against Bournemouth, Newcastle United and Huddersfield Town, Warnock will hope to hit the ground running. If top flight safety is achieved, expect it to follow a similar path to Huddersfield Town who augmented a couple of big results with plenty of battling performances. We should expect nothing less from a Neil Warnock side. Justifiably among the favourites to be relegated given the dearth of proven Premier League operators in the squad, Cardiff will need to upset the odds once more to retain Premier League status.
 

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The Portuguese revolution continues at Wolves, where last season the relationship between club and super-agent Jorge Mendes drew complaints from other Championship sides. While question marks remain over the links between the Wolves ownership and Mendes' Gestifute company, the FA and EFL are satisfied that there are no breaches to current rules and regulations. Following the acquisitions of Ruben Neves (Porto's youngest goalscorer at 17), Diogo Jota (signed permanently this summer from Atletico Madrid) and Helder Costa last year, the Portuguese contingent has been bolstered by Joao Moutinho and goalkeeper Rui Patricio. The former is Portugal's third most-capped player and joins in a £5m deal from Monaco, while Patricio may end up costing as much as £40m following his departure from troubled Sporting CF. Both played in Portugal's World Cup campaign.

Nuno Espirito Santo, a former goalkeeper himself, has impressed in his first year in English football, joining Wolves in May of last year following an underwhelming season at Porto. Aided by significant investment and making the most of the close association with Mendes, the side lost only seven games from 46 last year, racking up 99 points in the famously competitive second tier. The club has again relied heavily on Mendes this summer, with Santo confident of making an impression on the Premier League. Their dominance in the Championship last season suggests Wolves are here to stay, in a boost to fans of "Guess the Agent" everywhere.

So, Wolves to remain comfortably in the Premier League until people start looking into Jorge Mendes' filing cabinets, Fulham have the backing to further strengthen in January should they need to, while Cardiff look likely to go down fighting.