Hull City are just about everybody’s top tip for Premier League relegation this season after off-field chaos hamstrung their summer survival preparations.
The Tigers kick off the campaign as 65/100 favourites for the drop, which still rates as excellent value given their failure to strengthen their first-team squad so far.
In fact, with Mo Diame leaving for Newcastle United after Ryan Taylor and Sone Aluko were released, Hull are actually in a worse state than they were at the end of the previous season.
This worsening situation prompted manager Steve Bruce to quit the east Yorkshire outfit in the middle of pre-season and their prolonged search for a successor outlines how difficult it’ll be to keep the club afloat in the current conditions.
Hull’s Allam family owners are desperate to sell and, as a result, won’t reinvest the windfall that accompanied promotion to the Premier League, hence the dearth of arrivals at the KCOM Stadium.
But no money to spend doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t make signings, with several unattached players still available to nab for nothing.
Here are three freebies who would aid the Tigers’ hopes of finished 17th or better:
Adama Diomande is currently Hull’s only senior alternative to first-choice frontman Abel Hernandez.
Their threadbare striker situation is one that desperately needs addressing and, while Chamakh hardly promises a wealth of goals, he’s a reliable grafter and knows what’s required to prevail in a Premier League survival skirmish having helped Crystal Palace stay up against the odds in 2013/14.
Hull’s fiscal situation means getting as much bang for their buck as possible is vital.
Richardson’s versatility enables him to cover at full-back, on the wing and in central midfield and his extensive Premier League experience would be useful in a team a bit short in this department.
He may not be a prolific scorer by the standards of more successful positional peers, but as far as goal-getting midfielders go, Osman is the best Hull can get.
Released from Everton after 16 seasons, the two-cap England international can be expected to find the net three of four times (upwards of five on a good year) and he’ll supplement this with some much-needed creative smarts.