It is a strongly held belief that the three clubs newly-promoted to the Premier League are invariably the three favourites to go down the following year.
Often it has little to do with the teams themselves, simply the case that history and footballing fact state that more often than not the newest guests at English football’s top table are also those who leave the earliest.
Of course that isn’t always true, and at times the momentum of the previous campaign’s promotion push leads them not just to that much-heralded 17th position but considerably higher. It is at that point that the whispers of second-season syndrome begin, and sides that for one year saw dreams come true are faced with a second year awash with nightmares.
Swansea City navigated both stages with aplomb. In fact they didn’t just navigate them, they excelled.
An 11th-place finish in 2012 was impressive; a ninth-place finish and League Cup triumph a year later cemented them as one of the Premier League’s most exciting and upwardly mobile clubs.
And now they have been joined by Cardiff City, who seem intent on matching their Welsh rival's success by signing early and, most importantly, by signing well.
The purchase of FC Copenhagen striker Andreas Cornelius for a club record £7.5million is an excellent start. His 18 goals in 32 league matches last season speak of a player who could bring the Michu-effect to the Cardiff City Stadium – a much-needed goal-getter in a league where a single strike could ultimately be the difference between a fleeting fairy-tale and a long-term dream.
Wanyama has long been linked with a move to the Premier League. And with Southampton now seemingly out of the race for his signature, Malky Mackay appears to have a clear run at the Kenyan should Celtic accept his latest offer – believed to be £12million.
While goals are vital, steel is equally so. And the 22-year-old Kenyan would be an outstanding signing for a side clearly looking to not just survive but to stay for the long haul.
Tom Ince is exactly the kind of player who could grow as Cardiff do, becoming the Premier League star he has the potential to be. But with reports suggesting he remains unsure of a move to Wales and may be waiting to see if other interest is forthcoming, Mackay must do all he can to persuade Ince he can achieve his ambitions with Cardiff.
Should Wanyama and Ince join Cornelius, and should Mackay sign defensive reinforcements – one of whom may ultimately usurp Mark Hudson to form a new partnership alongside the impressive Ben Turner – Cardiff may not be thinking of survival so much as what comes after that.
What can Cardiff achieve next season? And can they become a long-term force in the top flight?
image: © joncandy