Consolidating a spot in the top-flight is a commonly shared ambition amongst football’s legion of lesser-celebrated sides.
In 2016/17, 11 newly-promoted outfits will grace the highest levels England, Spain, Italy and Germany have to offer, with relegation avoidance their sole objective for the campaign ahead.
Perhaps nowhere on the planet is this sentiment stronger than in the Premier League, where the exorbitant fiscal rewards doled out for simply being one of the division’s 20 members makes the prospect of annual 17th-place finishes tantalising even for supporters, not just those in line to profit from the capital gains.
Pre-season transfer activity (or lack thereof) will have huge ramifications for these freshly-inducted top-tier teams and their drop-defying aspirations for next season, but what’s the right way to spend this freshly-begotten fortune?
The results from a continent-spanning, five-year study into where the promoted teams who remained afloat invested their cash offers an inkling.
Looking specifically at the Premier League, 12 signings is the average made by the ten second-tier graduates who survived their first season in the top flight, while eight players were shown the door.
Excluding outgoing loans, QPR severed ties with 15 upon gaining promotion for the 2011/12 edition, making them the most extravagant exporters.
By contrast, their cross-capital counterparts Crystal Palace were the most enthusiastic shoppers over the period, drafting in 17 new faces (including loans) for the 2013/14 campaign, with Ian Holloway overseeing the spending spree, but not the entire season.
Abandoning a desire to remain loyal to those who helped win promotion is imperative too. On average, the ten teams to dodge demotion had 13 players who made 20 second-tier starts or more en route to going up. From this core, just five are typically afforded the same access to the first team in the season to follow.
Hull City – 83/100 favourites to be relegated from the Premier League next term – demonstrated the most ruthless culling of promotion heroes, affording just three of their 14 Championship mainstays 20 or more starts in the 2013/14 edition of the top flight.
Palace and Swansea City share the laurels for highest-finishing promoted club, bagging 11th in 2013/14 and 2011/12 respectively. Should Burnley, Middlesbrough and Hull follow their leads and survive, they can expect to finish in and around 14th next term.