2016-17 Season Preview: Las Palmas

Coach: Quique Setien

Key signings: Mauricio Lemos, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Marko Livaja

Key departures: Juan Carlos Valeron, Willian Jose

Last season: 11th

This season (predicted finish): 17th

When Las Palmas won promotion through the Segunda playoffs in June 2015 few expected them to stay in the top flight. By October not many doubters changed their minds when Coach Paco Herrera was sacked.

His replacement, Quique Setien, faced a daunting prospect, as they had just five points, languishing second from bottom in La Liga. But under Setien Las Palmas battled and scraped to stay in the top flight.

Their enterprising football paid dividends during the spring. From March to April the Canary Islanders would lose just three of their 10 League games, finishing in 11th as a result, a monumental achievement especially after their wretched early season form. Now the main challenge for Las Palmas is to make sure their efforts last season wasn't a fluke, to show they belong in the top flight and that Setien is the man to do that.

The club have taken to the challenge with real gusto by completing several notable transfers. Without a doubt, the signing of Kevin-Prince Boateng on a free transfer is an outstanding coup, with the 29-year-old midfielder looking to prove himself in La Liga. Such was the excitement at his signing that between 5,000 and 6,000 fans flocked to Estadio Gran Canaria for his unveiling.

In addition, Las Palmas have looked to snap up exciting youth players from South America. They made the signing of Mauricio Lemos permanent in May after the centre-back arrived on loan in January, and reportedly fended off interest from Barcelona this summer. Moreover, the young winger Mateo Garcia is a player to watch, brought in from Instituto in Argentina, the same club that Paulo Dybala played for prior to his move to Europe. Las Palmas will hope the new signings combine well with the current squad.

A club's second season in the top flight is notoriously difficult and if they are to stay up then much relies on Jonathan Viera. He was vital for the team last season with his 10 goals and eight assists and his role at the club is ever more important now that Willian Jose, who scored nine goals last season while on loan, has returned to Real Sociedad. It will be up to strikers Sergio Araujo and new signing Marko Livaja to support Viera and relieve some of the pressure.

Las Palmas' opening fixture is away to Valencia – a game where they can take advantage of Los Che' woes off the pitch this summer. A positive result can allow them to kick on for their next game at home to Granada. Setien will hope the islanders do not start badly as they did last season, lest he repeat the fate of Herrera.

Replicating their top of the bottom half finish will be difficult but there is no reason why Las Palmas cannot maintain their status as a La Liga club. No doubt, it is an exciting time at Gran Canaria.