Club-by-club guide: The prospects, the players to watch, the arrivals and departures

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The Independent Online

IN bringing Dennis Bergkamp and David Platt to Highbury, Bruce Rioch has done what George Graham failed to: spend money on interesting players to enliven the team and fans. Now Rioch must also achieve what Graham did: accumulate silverware. Without Alan Smith, a change of style to the more ground-based looks probable, Bergkamp playing just off Ian Wright. Doubts remain about the right flank, and the increasingly vulnerable Steve Bould. Should Rioch also succeed in signing Stubbs and McAteer from Bolton, could be title contenders.

Squad 1 David Seaman 2 Lee Dixon 3 Nigel Winterburn 5 Steve Bould 6 Tony Adams 7 David Platt 8 Ian Wright 9 Paul Merson 10 Dennis Bergkamp 11 Glenn Helder 12 Andy Linighan 13 Vince Bartram 14 Martin Keown 15 Ray Parlour 16 John Hartson 17 David Hillier 18 Stephen Morrow 20 Chris Kiwomya 21 Eddie McGoldrick 22 Ian Selley 23 Paul Dickov 24 Mark Flatts 25 Scott Marshall 26 Lee Harper 27 Paul Shaw 28 Stephen Hughes 29 Adrian Clarke 30 John Jensen. Manager Bruce Rioch.

Transfers: In Dennis Bergkamp (Internazionale) pounds 7.5m; David Platt (Sampdoria) pounds 4.75m. Out Stefan Schwarz (Fiorentina) pounds 2.5m; Kevin Campbell (Nottingham Forest) pounds 2.5m; Jimmy Carter (Portsmouth) free.

Forecast 3rd.

Aston Villa

THE expectations are high among Villa Park fans after the close- season news that John Fashanu will no longer be with them. Mark Draper should provide the drive the midfield has been missing, with the slowing of Andy Townsend, and Gareth Southgate should lend willing support in that department. Caveats are the sale of Dean Saunders, to be replaced by the unknown quantity Savo Milosevic, and the worsening of Paul McGrath's knees. The absence for six weeks of Steve Staunton will be felt, but Villa should avoid the relegation struggle of last season.

Squad 1 Mark Bosnich 2 Gary Charles 3 Steve Staunton 4 Gareth Southgate 5 Paul McGrath 7 Ian Taylor 8 Mark Draper 9 Savo Milosevic 10 Tommy Johnson 11 Andy Townsend 12 Phil King 13 Nigel Spink 14 Alan Wright 15 Graham Fenton 16 Ugo Ehiogu 17 Franz Carr 18 Dwight Yorke 19 Gareth Farrelly 20 Riccardo Scimeca 21 Paul Browne 22 David Farrell 30 Michael Oakes. Manager Brian Little.

Transfers: In Savo Milosevic (Partizan Belgrade) pounds 3.5m; Gareth Southgate (Crystal Palace) pounds 2.5m; Mark Draper (Leicester) pounds 3.25m. Out Dean Saunders (Galatasaray) pounds 1.5m; Dalian Atkinson (Fennerbahce) pounds 1.7m; Shaun Teale (Tranmere Rovers) pounds 500,000.

Forecast: 7th.

Blackburn Rovers

IF it ain't broke, don't fix it seems to be the maxim of the new manager Ray Harford. The Bank of England club has been among the least active in the transfer market so far, confirming a faith in their Championship team. Indeed they do look settled and deeper, with Kevin Gallacher and David Batty now fully fit and Jason Wilcox not far away after his cruciate ligament injury. One change could see Henning Berg move in to centre-back with Jeff Kenna at right-back. Domestically they should still be powerful - assuming their ambition has not been blunted - with Alan Shearer ever the outlet. But the Champions' League campaign may expose more obviously their lack of creativity in midfield.

Squad 1 Tim Flowers 3 Jeff Kenna 4 Tim Sherwood 5 Colin Hendry 6 Graeme Le Saux 7 Stuart Ripley 8 Kevin Gallacher 9 Alan Shearer 10 Mike Newell 11 Jason Wilcox 12 Nicky Marker 13 Bobby Mimms 14 Lee Makel 16 Chris Sutton 17 Robbie Slater 20 Henning Berg 21 Paul Harford 22 Mark Atkins 23 David Batty 24 Paul Warhurst 25 Ian Pearce. Manager Ray Harford.

Transfers: In Adam Reed (Darlington) pounds 200,000. Forecast: 4th.

Bolton Wanderers

LIKE Swindon Town and Leicester City before them, both relegated straight after being promoted, Bolton will find the gap between Premiership and First Division a wide one. It will become a chasm if they lose Alan Stubbs and Jason McAteer, as seems likely later if not sooner. The signing of Chris Fairclough scarcely spells ambition and up front they will need some subtlety. But in David Lee and Alan Thompson they possess the odd player of top-level promise. As temporary, though, as a venture of those other Trotters in Only Fools and Horses.

Squad 1 Keith Branagan 2 Scott Green 3 Jimmy Phillips 4 Jason McAteer 5 Gudni Bergsson 6 Alan Stubbs 7 David Lee 8 Richard Sneekes 9 M. Paatelainen 10 John McGinlay 11 Alan Thompson 12 Neil McDonald 14 Fabian De Freitas 15 Mark Patterson 16 Aidan Davidson 17 Simon Coleman 18 Nicky Spooner 19 Stuart Whittaker 20 Owen Coyle 21 Chris Fairclough 22 Gerry Taggart 23 Andy Todd. Manager Roy McFarland.

Transfers: In Gerry Taggart (Barnsley) pounds 1.5m; Andy Todd (Middlesbrough); Chris Fairclough (Leeds) pounds 500,000. Out Peter Shilton (Coventry City) non- contract; Mark Seagraves (Swindon Town); Neil Fisher (Chester City).

Forecast: 20th.


MUCH hoop-la over Mark Hughes, misfiring in the latter days of his Manchester United career, and Ruud Gullit, latterly at Sampdoria a listless impression of his Milan self. But how long will their knees and legs last? Though no Snow White, Hughes will at least have some presence amid Stamford Bridge's seven dwarves, one of whom, Dennis Wise, is likely again to be the man they look to for carving out openings. But they still look lightweight, although Gullit's role as a forward-looking sweeper does illustrate the manager Glenn Hoddle's thoughtful approach. Possibly more of a cup team than a league team.

Squad Dmitri Kharin, Steve Clarke, Frank Sinclair, Jakob Kjeldbjerg, Erland Johnsen, Ruud Gullit, Nigel Spackman, Paul Furlong, Gavin Peacock, Dennis Wise, Eddie Newton, John Spencer, Mark Hughes, Anthony Barness, Gareth Hall, Andy Myers, Kevin Hitchcock, David Lee, Craig Burley, Scott Minto, Mark Stein, Robert Fleck. Manager Glenn Hoddle.

Transfers: In Mark Hughes (Manchester United) pounds 1.5m; Ruud Gullit (Sampdoria) free. Out David Hopkin (Crystal Palace) pounds 850,000.

Forecast: 11th.

Coventry City

RON Atkinson should keep them up after a close season of the activity he most enjoys, wheeling and dealing. Gone are Mike Marsh, Steve Pressley and Roy Wegerle but the Brazilian striker Isaias looks an interesting buy and Paul Telfer could prove a player of quality. In addition, Paul Williams looks a sound defender and John Salako on the left promises some of the panache that characterises Atkinson's teams. Expect a cup run.

Squad 1 Steve Ogrizovic 2 Brian Borrows 3 David Burrows 4 Paul Williams 5 David Rennie 6 Kevin Richardson 7 Paul Telfer 8 Isaias Marques Soares 9 Peter Ndlovu 10 Dion Dublin 11 John Salako 12 David Busst 13 John Filan 14 Leigh Jenkinson 15 Paul Cook 16 Julian Darby 17 Ally Pickering 18 Marcus Hall 19 Iyseden Christie 20 Steve Morgan 21 Carlita (Carlos Alberto Batista) 22 Willie Boland 23 Jonathan Gould 24 John Williams 25 Gary Gillespie 26 Gordon Strachan 30 Peter Shilton. Manager Ron Atkinson.

Transfers: In Isaias (Benfica) pounds 500,000; John Salako (Crystal Palace); Paul Telfer (Luton) pounds 1m; Paul Williams (Derby) pounds 750,000; Peter Shilton (Bolton Wanderers) non-contract. Out Mike Marsh (Galatasaray) pounds 500,000; Steven Pressley (Dundee United) pounds 750,000; Sandy Robertson (Dundee United) pounds 250,000; Sean Flynn (Derby) pounds 250,000; Roy Wegerle (out of contract).

Forecast: 13th.


JOE Royle says he is just looking for improvement on three years of relegation struggles and the manager who has given edge to Everton should certainly see that. They will again be hard to beat and when Andrei Kanchelskis is available will have pace and a new source of goals. They could need it. Duncan Ferguson may be unavailable for many months, and Everton, who could play three at the back on occasions to accommodate the new defender Craig Short, alongside Watson and Unsworth, might have to spend again.

Squad 1 Neville Southall 2 Earl Barrett 3 Andy Hinchcliffe 4 David Unsworth 5 Dave Watson 6 Gary Ablett 7 Graham Stuart 8 Paul Rideout 9 Duncan Ferguson 10 Barry Horne 11 Anders Limpar 12 Daniel Amokachi 13 Jason Kearton 14 John Ebbrell 15 Matthew Jackson 16 Vinny Samways 18 Joe Parkinson 19 Stuart Barlow 20 Tony Grant 21 Craig Short 22 Peter Holcroft 23 Alex Smith 24 Jonathan O'Connor 25 Neil Moore 26 Graham Allen 27 Mark Grugel 28 Chris Price 30 Jed Hennigan 32 Matthew Woods 33 James Speare 34 Paul Holmes. Manager Joe Royle.

Transfers: In Craig Short (Derby County) pounds 2.4m plus player exchange. Out Gary Rowett (Derby County) pounds 250,000 plus player exchange.

Forecast: 8th.

Leeds United

A FULL season of the excellent Tony Yeboah is a prospect to savour and he lends Leeds a top-six look. But it might take a couple of new players for them to become Championship contenders. David Wetherall is developing into a top-class defender and one to emerge could be the 20-year-old midfield player Andrew Couzens. It is in that area that Leeds could be found wanting; Gary McAllister shoulders too much of the burden. The support, too, for Yeboah will be crucial with Brian Deane and Rodney Wallace so often disappointments.

Squad 1 John Lukic 2 Gary Kelly 3 Tony Dorigo 4 Carlton Palmer 5 Lucas Radebe 6 David Wetherall 7 Philemon Masinga 8 Rodney Wallace 9 Brian Deane 10 Gary McAllister 11 Gary Speed 12 John Pemberton 13 Mark Beeney 14 David White 15 Nigel Worthington 16 David O'Leary 17 Mark Tinkler 18 Jamie Forrester 19 Noel Whelan 20 Kevin Sharp 21 Anthony Yeboah 22 Mark Ford 23 Andrew Couzens 30 Paul Pettinger. Jason Blunt; Robert Bowman; Andy Brown; Richard Fidler; Anthony Grant; Ian Harte; Nathan Lowndes; Jamie Marks; Alan O'Shea; Matthew Smithard; Paul Wharton. Manager Howard Wilkinson.

Transfers: In Paul Beesley (Sheffield United) pounds 500,000. Out Chris Fairclough (Bolton Wanderers) pounds 500,000.

Forecast: 6th.


ROY EVANS looks finally to have repaired the damage of the Graeme Souness era and Liverpool, five seasons on since their last title, appear equipped again for a Championship challenge. Stan Collymore and Robbie Fowler - whose partnership could signal a move for Ian Rush soon - are an exciting prospect to rival Shearer and Sutton and should give the team enough goals. Defensively they look solid - in numbers if nothing else. Plenty of youthful verve, with the England winger Steve McManaman developing prodigiously, but the concern is how well their nerve might hold if they were to find themselves at the top - what would be an unusual position for them.

Squad 1 David James 2 Rob Jones 5 Mark Wright 6 Phil Babb 7 Nigel Clough 8 Stan Collymore 9 Ian Rush 10 John Barnes 11 Mark Walters 12 John Scales 13 Michael Stensgaard 14 Jan Molby 15 Jamie Redknapp 16 Michael Thomas 17 Steve McManaman 18 Phil Charnock 19 Mark Kennedy 20 Stig-Inge Bjornebye 21 Dominic Matteo 22 Steve Harkness 23 Robbie Fowler 24 Lee Jones 25 Neil Ruddock 26 Tony Warner. Manager Roy Evans.

Transfers: In Stan Collymore (Nottingham Forest) pounds 8.5m.

Forecast: 2nd.

Manchester City

DESPITE the widespread perception, Brian Horton did an excellent job as manager at Maine Road with slim resources. His replacement, Alan Ball - whose own record is patchy even allowing for his inspired handling of Matthew Le Tissier at Southampton - could be in charge of yet another struggling side. It is time for younger players such as Richard Edghill and Garry Flitcroft to fulfil potential and such experienced men as Keith Curle and Terry Phelan to knuckle down. Maurizio Gaudino's return to Germany leaves a huge creative hole in midfield and too much of a burden on Uwe Rosler and Paul Walsh up front.

Squad 1 Tony Coton 2 Richard Edghill 3 Terry Phelan 4 Stephen Lomas 5 Keith Curle 6 Michael Vonk 7 Georgiou Kinkladze 8 Paul Walsh 9 Niall Quinn 10 Garry Flitcroft 11 Peter Beagrie 12 Ian Brightwell 13 Martyn Margetson 14 Carl Griffiths 15 Alan Kernaghan 16 Nicky Summerbee 17 Michael Brown 18 David Brightwell 19 Fitzroy Simpson 23 David Kerr 24 Adie Mike 25 Andy Dibble 26 Scott Thomas 27 Rae Ingram 28 Uwe Rosler 29 John Foster 31 Paul Lake. Manager Alan Ball.

Transfers: In Georgiou Kinkladze (Tblisi) pounds 2m. Out Maurizio Gaudino (Eintracht Frankfurt).

Forecast: 19th.

Manchester United

THOSE who live in England bemoan how much has disappeared; those who visit are surprised by how much remains. It is the same with United. The loss of Paul Ince and Mark Hughes and the probable exit of Andrei Kanchelskis indeed look worrying for them, along with doubts over Eric Cantona's state of mind and Ryan Giggs's fitness. Alex Ferguson deserves indulgence, however. Roy Keane must emerge as the midfield driver and Nicky Butt his navigator while Andy Cole needs to find his feet quickly. Paul Scholes could emerge as a force before Cantona's scheduled return, until which it will be a question of staying in touch.

Squad 1 Peter Schmeichel 2 Paul Parker 3 Denis Irwin 4 Steve Bruce 5 Lee Sharpe 6 Gary Pallister 7 Eric Cantona 9 Brian McClair 11 Ryan Giggs 12 David May 15 Graeme Tomlinson 16 Roy Keane 17 Andy Cole 18 Simon Davies 19 Nicky Butt 20 Gary Neville 21 Patrick McGibbon 22 Paul Scholes 23 Philip Neville 24 David Beckham 25 Kevin Pilkington 26 Chris Casper 30 John O'Kane. Manager Alex Ferguson.

Transfers: Out Paul Ince (Inter Milan) pounds 6m; Mark Hughes (Chelsea) pounds 1.5m; Gary Walsh (Middlesbrough) pounds 250,000.

Forecast: 5th.


THE capture from Tottenham of the gifted Nicky Barmby for pounds 5.25m is a real coup and a sounding of intent by the club that they intend to match Bryan Robson's ambition. Middlesbrough have another player of true promise in Jamie Pollock and his linking with Barmby should give them an interesting dimension going forward. Indeed, attack will be the strength, with the under-rated Jan-Aage Fjortoft leading the line and the skilled Alan Moore on the left wing. Defence is more the concern but they have one important thing in their favour: should relegation threaten, they have money to spend to avoid it.

Squad Alan Miller, Gary Walsh, Ben Roberts, Neil Cox, Nigel Pearson, Steve Vickers, Derek Whyte, Curtis Fleming, Chris Morris, Phil Whelan, Jamie Pollock, Robbie Mustoe, Bryan Robson, Graham Kavanagh, Craig Hignett, Clayton Blackmore, Philip Stamp, Nick Barmby, Jan-Aage Fjortoft, John Hendrie, Jaime Moreno, Alan Moore, Chris Freestone. Manager Bryan Robson.

Transfers: In Gary Walsh (Manchester United) pounds 250,000; Nick Barmby (Tottenham) pounds 5.25m. Out Andy Todd (Bolton).

Forecast: 15th.

Newcastle United

MORE than the new signings Les Ferdinand, David Ginola, Warren Barton and Shaka Hislop, the return of Philippe Albert after a long-term injury will determine if Newcastle are to be Championship material. With him last season they would surely have gone closer. Potentially, they again look the most attractive of teams going forward; further back, where titles are really won, will be more telling and it will depend on whether Albert is the dominant player he was. They also need to develop a greater determination and resilience when the going gets tough.

Squad 1 Pavel Srnicek 2 Warren Barton 3 John Beresford 4 Darren Peacock 5 Ruel Fox 6 Steve Howey 7 Robert Lee 8 Peter Beardsley 9 Les Ferdinand 10 Lee Clark 11 Scott Sellars 12 Marc Hottiger 14 David Ginola 17 James Crawford 18 Keith Gillespie 19 Steve Watson 21 Malcolm Allen 22 Richard Appleby 23 Chris Holland 26 Robert Elliot 27 Philippe Albert 28 Paul Kitson 30 Mike Hooper 32 Stephen Harper. Manager Kevin Keegan.

Transfers: In Les Ferdinand (QPR) pounds 6m; Warren Barton (Wimbledon) pounds 4m; David Ginola (Paris St Germain) pounds 2.5m; Shaka Hislop (Reading) pounds 1.5m. Out Barry Venison (Galatasaray) pounds 750,000; Alan Nielson (Southampton) pounds 750,000.

Forecast: Champions.

Nottingham Forest

IS THERE life post-Collymore? Frank Clark has revealed himself a more than worthy successor to Brian Clough and his purchases of Kevin Campbell, Chris Bart-Williams and Andrea Silenzi represent a bold response. Campbell's touch is uncertain, however, and Bart-Williams needs to find a settled role. Silenzi latterly looked a waning force with Torino. The excellent Bryan Roy remains, however. Steve Stone and Colin Cooper - if he has recovered from the roasting Brazil gave him when he played for England - give them stability. While they may not be the energetic surprise packet of last season, Forest should again entertain and finish in a comfortable position.

Squad Mark Crossley, Des Lyttle, Stuart Pearce, Colin Cooper, Steve Chettle, Steve Stone, Chris Bart-Williams, David Phillips, Scot Gemmill, Jason Lee, Kevin Campbell, Ian Woan, Bryan Roy, Andrea Silenzi, Lars Bohinen, Robert Rosario, Kingsley Black, Alf-Inge Haaland, Carl Tiler, Gary Bull, Vance Warner. Manager Frank Clark.

Transfers: In Kevin Campbell () pounds 2.5m; Chris Bart-Williams (Sheffield Wednesday) pounds 2.5m; Andrea Silenzi (Torino) pounds 1.8m. Out Stan Collymore (Liverpool) pounds 8.5m.

Forecast: 9th.

Queen's Park Rangers

WHETHER QPR will survive the loss of Les Ferdinand depends on the readiness of Kevin Gallen to assume more responsibility. Simon Osborn looks an excellent signing and should enhance Rangers' reputation for being a neat passing team, but they again look lightweight - something Wilkins hopes the signing of the Australian Ned Zelic will improve. David Bardsley is probably the most under-rated right-back in the country and Trevor Sinclair, if they can hold on to him, has the potential to lift them above the ordinary.

Squad Bradley Allen, Dennis Bailey, David Bardsley, Simon Barker, Matthew Brazier, Rufus Brevett, Trevor Challis, Lee Charles, John Cross, Daniele Dichio, Sieb Dykstra, Kevin Gallen, Gregory Goodridge, Mark Graham, Steve Hodge, Ian Holloway, Richard Hurst, Andrew Impey, Matthew Lockwood, Alan McCarthy, Andrew McDermott, Alan Mcdonald, Danny Maddix, Michael Mahoney- Johnson, Simon Osborn, Steven Parmenter, Gary Penrice, Chris Plummer, Graeme Power, Nigel Quashie, Karl Ready, Tony Roberts, Trevor Sinclair, Steve Yates, Ned Zelic. Manager Ray Wilkins.

Transfers: In Ned Zelic (Borussia Dortmund) pounds 1.25m; Simon Osborn (Reading) pounds 1.1m; Geoffrey Goodridge (Torquay) pounds 250,000. Out Les Ferdinand (Newcastle) pounds 6m.

Forecast: 14th.

Sheffield Wednesday

A MOST deserving season for two no-longer boy Davids. Pleat deserves to bring his wit and invention to the Premiership - to see if he can be a winner given some resources - and Hirst deserves a season free of injury. Encouragingly, Pleat liberated the delightful passing touch of Dan Petrescu from full-back duties pre- season and with Mark Degryse, John Sheridan and Chris Waddle also in harness, they carry echoes of the manager's outstanding Tottenham side of 1987. Some steel in midfield and defence, where they are likely to play with a sweeper, are requirements, however.

Squad 1 Chris Woods 2 Peter Atherton 3 Ian Nolan 4 Mark Pembridge 5 Dan Petrescu 6 Brian Linighan 7 Adem Poric 8 Chris Waddle 9 David Hirst 10 Mark Bright 11 John Sheridan 12 Andy Pearce 13 Kevin Pressman 14 Marc Degryse 15 Andy Sinton 16 Graham Hyde 17 Des Walker 18 Klas Ingesson 19 Guy Whittingham 21 Ryan Jones 22 Simon Stewart 23 Lance Key 24 Julian Watts 25 Michael Williams 26 Richard Barker 27 O'Neill Donaldson 29 Lee Briscoe. Manager David Pleat.

Transfers: In Marc Degryse (Anderlecht) pounds 1.5m; Mark Pembridge (Derby) pounds 900,000. Out Chris Bart-Williams (Nottingham Forest) pounds 2.5m.

Forecast: 10th.


SIMPLE enough really. If Matthew Le Tissier should go, so too would Southampton, even if Richard Hall, Jim Magilton and Neil Heaney have enough talent to play well in the Premiership. It may explain why the worthy Dave Merrington, Le Tissier's mentor as a young player, was promoted from within to succeed Alan Ball as manager when he went north to manage Manchester City. How long Le Tissier can take, or wants to take, all the responsibility is the pounds 10m question, especially if Terry Venables continues to ignore his claims for an England place. The Bruce Grobbelaar affair is also likely to have an undermining effect.

Squad 1 Bruce Grobbelaar 2 Jason Dodd 3 Francis Benali 4 Jim Magilton 5 Richard Hall 6 Ken Monkou 7 Matthew Le Tissier 8 Gordon Watson 9 Neil Shipperley 10 Neil Maddison 11 Neil Heaney 12 Tommy Widdrington 13 Dave Beasant 14 Simon Charlton 15 Alan Neilson 16 David Hughes 17 Paul Tisdale 18 Craig Maskell 19 Paul Allen 20 Paul Macdonald 21 Frankie Bennett 22 Peter Whiston 23 Darryl Flahavan. Manager Dave Merrington.

Transfers: In Alan Neilson (Newcastle United) pounds 750,000.

Forecast: 18th.

Tottenham Hotspur

SPURS wouldn't be Spurs if there weren't some sort of playing crisis, though this year's does seem early even by their standards. Last August, hopes were high with Jurgen Klinsmann arriving. Chris Armstrong, at double the price for a half-finished article, does not seem quite the same, as his partner Teddy Sheringham has noticed; and the priority remains a centre-half. In addition, the pair are struggling for fitness, as is Darren Anderton, through whom much flows; the more so since Nick Barmby's departure.

Squad 1 Ian Walker 2 Dean Austin 3 Justin Edinburgh 4 David Howells 5 Colin Calderwood 6 Gary Mabbutt 8 Ilie Dumitrescu 9 Darren Anderton 10 Teddy Sheringham 11 Chris Armstrong 12 Jason Dozzell 13 Erik Thorstvedt 14 Stuart Nethercott 15 Clive Wilson 16 Ronnie Rosenthal 17 Andy Turner 18 Gerard McMahon 19 Kevin Scott 20 Darren Caskey 21 Danny Hill 22 David Kerslake 23 Sol Campbell 24 Paul Mahorn 26 Jason Cundy 27 Steve Carr 30 Chris Day. Manager Gerry Francis.

Transfers: In Chris Armstrong (Crystal Palace) pounds 4.5m; Clive Wilson (QPR) free. Out Nick Barmby (Middlesbrough) pounds 5.25m; Gheorghe Popescu (Barcelona) pounds 3m; Jurgen Klinsmann (Bayern Munich) pounds 1.25m

Forecast: 12th.

West Ham United

THEY seem to be everybody's favourites for relegation, but last year's spirited survival suggests that the team possess some backbone. They are capable of beating anybody, as they showed against Blackburn, but consistency will continue to be the problem. In Steve Potts they have a defender of quality and John Moncur, whom they signed from Swindon, is a midfield player of genuine class. Money remains tight, which means they have little chance of prospering, but they have spent pounds 1.2m on the Dutchman Marco Boogers, whose partnership up front with the old favourite Tony Cottee will be central to their chances of avoiding the drop to the First Division.

Squad Ludek Miklosko, Tim Breacker, Steve Potts, Alvin Martin, Martin Allen, Ian Bishop, Trevor Morley, Matty Holmes, John Moncur, Steve Jones, Keith Rowland, Don Hutchison, Tony Cottee, Matthew Rush, Julain Dicks, Ken Brown, Michael Hughes, Jeroen Boere, Marc Rieper, Simon Webster, Marco Boogers. Manager Harry Redknapp.

Transfers: In Marco Boogers (SP Rotterdam) pounds 1m; Marc Rieper (Brondby) pounds 1m.

Forecast: 17th.


SOONER or later Wimbledon will have to go down, but having lost only Warren Barton so far, they again look equipped to be their perverse selves, thumbing their noses at the toffs. Should Robbie Earle and Dean Holdsworth, as they need to, get their heads inside Selhurst Park rather than around the prospect of moves elsewhere - and should Wimbledon be able to keep them - survival should be assured. Peter Fear, Marcus Gayle and Stewart Castledine are players of potential and there are signs of the Dons shedding some of their ugliness.

Squad 1 Hans Segers 2 Kenny Cunningham 3 Alan Kimble 4 Vinnie Jones 5 Dean Blackwell 6 Scott Fitzgerald 7 Andy Clarke 8 Robbie Earle 9 Efan Ekoku 10 Dean Holdsworth 11 Marcus Gayle 12 Oyvind Leonhardsen 13 Paul Heald 14 Jon Goodman 15 Alan Reeves 16 Andy Thorn 17 Brian McAllister 18 Neal Ardley 19 Stewart Castledine 20 Mick Harford 21 Chris Perry 22 Peter Fear 23 Neil Sullivan 24 Gary Elkins 25 Gary Blissett 26 Aidan Newhouse 27 Grant Payne 28 Steve Talboys 29 Gerald Dobbs 30 Roger Joseph 31 Mark Thomas 33 Brendan Murphy. Manager Joe Kinnear.

Transfers: In Paul Heald (Leyton Orient) pounds 125,000. Out Warren Barton (Newcastle).

Forecast: 16th.