After Alan Pardew's last game in charge of Newcastle United, the Magpies were sat comfortably in the top half of the table, 10 points clear of Crystal Palace who were wallowing in the bottom three. Fast forward to the end of the season and the Eagles have finished 10<sup>th, nine points clear of John Carver's side who survived relegation by the skin of their teeth.
Free from the restrictions of Mike Ashley's tight-fisted administration in the north east, Pardew is likely to have a bit more freedom in the transfer market to build on Palace's remarkable progress. There is little doubt the manager will have the ambition to lift the club further; now it is up to the board to match that.
Business so far
Jason Puncheon crowned his terrific second half of the 2014-15 season by signing a new three-year contract at Selhurst Park in May, with Damien Delaney soon following that up by signing a one-year extension. Everything else has been kept firmly behind closed doors for the time being.
Since the end of the season, five have left the south-east London club, with Peter Ramage, Owen Garvan, Lewis Price Stephen Dobbie and Jerome Thomas all on their way.
What they need
The trio of Yannick Bolasie, Jason Puncheon and Wilfried Zaha causing havoc in the final third on the counter was what made Palace such a thrill to watch last term but a clinical focal point to that attack must be added. Glenn Murray struck seven goals after being recalled from his loan in January, but with Frazier Campbell and Maroaune Chamakh an unreliable source and Dwight Gayle out of favour, more firepower is needed.
A long-term replacement for Scott Dann could also be part of Pardew's plans. Delaney's contract extension suggests he will remain part of the manager's thinking, but with Adrian Mariappa and Brede Hangeland unconvincing in providing cover, there is plenty of room for another option.
Who could join
Blackburn Rovers striker Jordan Rhodes and Chelsea starlet Patrick Bamford would appear to be two candidates to fill the goalscoring void up front. With 21 and 17 Championship goals respectively last season, both have been tipped to make the step up this summer.
A transfer rumour that will have Newcastle fans choking back tears concerns Yohan Cabaye returning to these shores to reunite with Pardew. The France international, who left the north east in pursuit of Champions League football in January 2014, is reportedly the subject of a £10m bid for the Eagles.
The relegated duo of Steven Caulker and Curtis Davies – the latter who Tony Pulis wanted to sign for the club in the summer of 2014 – are also linked.
Who could leave
Gayle, who finished the season as the club's top scorer despite not finding the back of the net since January, has been on the fringes of the first team since Pardew rocked up and reports suggest newly promoted Bournemouth could make a move for the 24-year-old.
The sight of Bolasie terrorising Premier League defences has predictably seen him linked with moves to Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur. Pardew has done his best to scare off his suitors with a valuation of £40m, and retaining the winger could perhaps be the biggest statement of intent the club can make this summer.
What the manager has said
"This club has done a great job in the last three to four years to grow and now we need to take the next step. The most important thing is the value. It is not about the figure and a big player. It's about how good is the player.
"I think if it is the right player we have got a good case of going to the board and with finances we have, to say: 'Is this within reach?' And then let them make them that decision."