Every preview of Albion's Premier League prospects has revolved around one question. Can they stay up?

Here's the answer. Yes, narrowly.

Because they have a manager in Chris Hughton who knows what is required.

An ethos of togetherness to fall back on in the moments when the going inevitably gets tough.

And a recruitment set-up gradually delivering the tools Hughton needs.

That is the problem with gazing into a crystal ball before September 1. It could have a very different look to it by then, particularly for the group of clubs, like Albion, who have to be patient in the transfer market.

A lot of significant business is still to be done in the remaining 20 days of the window, which could transform perceptions about how certain teams will do.

The here and now? Albion's modus operandi this summer has become transparent.

They have been quietly going about their business, cherry-picking throughout Europe players with strong pedigrees but unknown quantities in England, rather than paying hugely inflated rates at home.

The Argus: The process began with Pascal Gross (above) from Ingolstadt, continued with Mathew Ryan from Valencia and Gross's German club team-mate Markus Suttner.

This week, with Manchester City's opening visit looming into the view, it has stepped up a gear.

On Monday, Albion paid a club record £10 million to PSV for Dutchman Davy Propper. That is now being shattered again by the capture of Colombian Jose Izquierdo from FC Brugge for £13.5 million.

Owner-chairman Tony Bloom has already sanctioned £35 million worth of strengthening to the squad with more to come, a striker, right-back and back-up goalkeeper.

Foreign signings come with extra risks attached. Will they adjust to English football and the English lifestyle? Will their families settle?

Then again, success cannot be guaranteed with any signing, domestic or otherwise. There are too many uncontrollable variables, injuries and upheavals in personal circumstances affecting form to name just two.

Much of the concentration now will revolve around the striker Albion land - FC Zurich's prolific Ghana prospect Raphael Dwamena is on their radar for around £8 million.

That will be significant, but we should not be too obsessed by it. There are many examples of clubs surviving without a prolific goalscorer.

Albion cannot rely on one or two individuals. Everybody will need to chip in. This is an area which has already been addressed in the recruitment so far.

In the Championship last season, only three of the 74 goals scored came from midfield. Signing German No.10 Gross, record buy Propper and Izzy Brown (below right) on loan from Chelsea will boost that tally.

The Argus: Izquiredo averaged a goal every two games from wide areas for Brugge in the Belgian Pro League last season.

We all know what Anthony Knockaert did to the Championship last season, both in goals and assists. Solly March has more goals in him too.

The defence, which had a solid feel to it as a starting base, has been enhanced by the captures of Australian keeper Ryan and Austrian left-back Suttner.

The step-up in standard is sizeable but Albion can slowly acclimatise and accumulate the points to steer clear of the bottom three.

That magic figure is not as severe as the widely assumed 40. Thirty-seven points has generally been sufficient over the last 20 years, 35 would have been enough last year.

Split the difference, 36 is a reasonable target. Although that does not sound too bad over 38 games, looks can be deceiving in the rarefied environment of the Premier League.

Results against the top six, home and away, will be hard to come by. More established clubs often lose most, if not all, of those 12 matches. Nine wins and nine draws - or a similar equation - from 26 games is a much bigger ask.

Albion's introduction to life in the Premier League does not come much tougher than Manchester City. The other fixtures in the opening six are against the sort of sides they will have to take points from if they are going to survive - West Brom and Newcastle at home, Leicester, Watford and Bournemouth away.

The pattern is maintained throughout the season, sequences of matches where picking up points will be paramount either side of facing the big-hitters.

Hughton will want to be over the line by April, with a visit from Manchester United and visit to Anfield to finish.

If Albion are not going to finish in the bottom three, who will? The logical starting point for the discussion is the teams that came up with them.

Huddersfield made a rush of early signings. They needed to, because they relied heavily on loans to get up. David Wagner is a breath of fresh air, but they lack the quality to survive.

The Argus: Newcastle always have the feel of an accident waiting to happen, a poisonous atmosphere never too far way. Rafa Benitez (above left) is not happy with the business they have done. If he walks they could implode.

There are many more variables in the Premier League this season than last, when Hull and Sunderland looked nailed on to go down before a ball had been kicked.

Burnley, in spite of some solid signings, cannot expect to lean so heavily again on their formidable form at Turf Moor. Watford's constant chopping and changing of managers will catch up with them eventually, maybe not this time.

Swansea, rescued by Paul Clement last season, are strong candidates for the drop with the influential Gylfi Sigurdsson Everton-bound.

Then come a cluster of clubs that could finish anywhere between eighth and relegation - Crystal Palace (there would have been more certainty about them if Sam Allardyce had stayed), Stoke, Bournemouth, even Southampton.

West Brom will be safe under Tony Pulis. West Ham should improve and Leicester will be fine.

The title race will be between the first and last visitors to the Amex. It will not get any tougher for Albion than tomorrow against Pep Guardiola's City.

My top three: Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea.

Fourth to tenth: Arsenal, Liverpool, Spurs, Everton, West Ham, Leicester, Bournemouth.

Eleventh to 17th: West Brom, Crystal Palace, Southampton, Watford, Stoke, Albion, Burnley.

Bottom three: Newcastle, Swansea, Huddersfield.