It’s been a familiar story for Newcastle United this summer, with manager Rafa Benitez and the club’s fans bemoaning a lack of investment in new players.
The Magpies have brought in the likes of Ki Sung-yueng, Fabian Schar and Yoshinori Muto, but they are not the sort of box office names who could take the club onto the next level.
However, owner Mike Ashley clearly has no intention of changing his transfer policy and Newcastle could suffer for that this season.
Benitez did well to lead the club to a tenth place finish last season, but it would be no surprise to see them struggle this term.
A row over player bonuses can’t have helped the mood around the club, although captain Jamaal Lascelles insisted that it had no impact on morale.
With Benitez’s contract set to run out at the end of this season, Newcastle fans could be set for a difficult winter.
Key player – Jamaal Lascelles
The centre-half does appear committed to Newcastle’s cause and his influence both on and off the pitch is hugely important to the club.
Lascelles’ future could hinge on what happens with Benitez and fans will be desperate to see both remain at Newcastle.
Benitez’s ability to organise a defence should just about keep the Magpies safe, assuming he decides to stay at the club.
Newcastle fans deserve far better than Ashley is prepared to give them and a season of struggle is on the cards.
Title odds: 750/1
First fixture: Tottenham Hotspur (H)