First and foremost, an undeniably happy and settled squad. That won't stop a torrent of type speculating on new arrivals and players being off-loaded in the coming weeks. In the dog days of summer I know only too well the mood of editors across the media, desperate for any football story with legs. When was the last time you opened the paper to a blank page?
From the last 72 hours the most absurd rumour has full-back John Paintsil 'considering' a move to WBA of all clubs. John is one of the most grounded and personable of the current players you could wish to meet. Like all African footballers who have come up the hard way - and I mean hard - I've seen street football in Accra up close, John fully appreciates the wonderful life professional football has given him.
As a make-weight in the Zamora deal two summers ago, Roy spotted qualities in John overlooked by West Ham. He has since become a model of consistency at right-back and utterly embodies the current team ethic at the club in a side with no obvious big star.
A devout Christian and family man, he is very settled within the African community in London. His post-match routine is now famous. At the whistle John stands transfixed in silent prayer. Once he has shaken hands with the opponents he embarks on a one man lap of honour around Craven Cottage. The crowd love this man!
With a year left on his contract of course his agent might be floating stories to ensure Fulham move smartly on a new deal, and to make sure his client is not undervalued.
The one lasting legacy from Roy's time with the club is that he improved every single player. It took a season perhaps regarding Bobby Zee and Zoltan (once we stopped pretending he was a winger). How many people noticed the quiet authority and calm displayed by Aaron Hughes last season? He never turned in a poor game.
And who is saying Clint Dempsey is 'unsettled?' I see no evidence of it. If Roy wants to make a bid for any of our boys, go ahead and test the board's resolve.
Paul Konchesky for example. Liverpool need a left-back and desperation might see that push Paul's price up around £3 million. For Fulham that would be good business. Konchesky too improved last term - he arrived from West Ham in 2007. But if Hughes is serious about getting Fulham to another level, our left-back is expendable. At times too casual across the back four and prone to some awful gaffes, nor is he aggressive enough in the final third coming forward. Has a powerful shot and should be supplying 4-6 goals per season.
Brede Hangeland. If he would only show the commitment of a Bocanegra in the opponent's box...But that's nitpicking. Roy's best signing and going nowhere - despite what Spurs and Arsenal fans keep telling me. Surely a future captain.
What was obvious from last season, especially midwinter when injuries to Pants, Zamo, Murphy and Clint weakened the squad, was a need for backup from the bench. The lesson from pre-season is that our starting XI pretty much picks itself (until Mark rings the changes). I would therefore question bringing any big names into this settled side, but someone like Eidur Gudjohnson and a fit-again Andy Johnson coming on in the 2nd half to give us fresh impetus up front would be imaginative. Recall how Spurs totally turned the tide of our Cup replay at WHL with a tactical shake-up at half time.
Hey, does anyone think we'll really get by with David Elm and Eddie Johnson as back-up strikers? Mark, it's over to you. Please don't burn all your dough on 'Bad boy Bellamy.'