Brighton and Hove Albion secured promotion to the Premier League with relative ease last season but must strengthen their squad accordingly and substantially if they are truly serious about establishing themselves in England's top-flight.
Chris Hughton's well-drilled outfit clinched promotion with three games to spare but were pipped to the Championship title by Newcastle United on the last day of the season. Blowing top spot was nothing but a minor blot on the Seagulls' copybook, with the focus for Hughton and the club hierarchy now on assembling a squad that can cope with the demands of the Premier League.
What they need
There is not a lot of top-flight experience within Hughton's ranks. Key players Glenn Murray, Shane Duffy and Anthony Knockaert have had a brief taste of Premier League life, while veteran trio Steve Sidwell, Liam Rosenior and David Stockdale are the only Brighton players to have regularly plied their trade for a club in England's top tier. Added experience and knowledge of how to survive in the Premier League would certainly prove beneficial.
Some young blood wouldn't go amiss, too. Captain Bruno is 36, midfield lynchpin Sidwell, who signed a new one-year deal with the club earlier this month, is 34 while top scorer Murray is 33. The old guard performed admirably last season but cannot be relied upon so heavily in the top flight. Fresh legs and youthful exuberance will be just as important as experience.
Who could join
The agent of Leicester City misfit Ahmed Musa recently revealed that Brighton are interested in offering the Nigerian a way out of his nightmare at The King Power Stadium. Musa joined the former Premier League champions for around £18m last summer but could only manage four goals in 32 appearances in all competitions.
Despite his troubles, Brighton are still willing to bring him to the AMEX Stadium but could face competition for his signature from West Bromwich Albion, according to the player's agent.
"Musa won't leave England even if he leaves Leicester City. The interest from Turkey is very strong but he wants to remain in England, and he could get his wish because some clubs have contacted us about him", Musa's agent told Owngoalnigeria.
"West Brom and Brighton are among the clubs to have sounded him out over a potential move, in the coming days maybe when he resumes pre-season with Leicester, a decision will be made over his next destination but leaving England is out of it".
Brighton are also interested in Chelsea starlet Tammy Abraham with Hughton keen to add more firepower to his squad. The 19-year-old excelled on loan at Bristol City last season, scoring 23 times to help Lee Johnson's men secure Championship survival, and is also attracting interest from Newcastle.
Who could leave
There does not seem to be serious interest in any of Brighton's stars at this stage. Everton were briefly linked with a move for Knockaert last month, while first-choice goalkeeper David Stockdale is stalling over signing a new deal. The former Fulham star stated his desire to stay with Brighton and fight for Premier League survival last month but he and the club are yet to strike an agreement.
What the manager has said
"Burnley and Bournemouth are very good examples for us," Hughton told The Guardian in April. "I hope our squad does well but I'm very conscious of how tough the Premier League is – so we need to keep our strong work ethic. But it would also be nice to tweak the squad and make some improvements."