Watching the Europa League final this week was irritating. Partially because it turns out Baku isn’t the best place to stage a big football match, but primarily because, given the first eight months of the season, we should be gearing up for an assault on the competition and dreaming of a final in the slightly-more-convenient Gdańsk next season.

In the grand scheme of things it was a great year. We had something to play for in the league until the penultimate game of the season and reached the blooming FA Cup final, where we gave the greatest side in the history of football a bit of a scare for 25 minutes. In the end, the way the campaign finished was a bit disappointing, but it was a hell of a ride.

Watford’s favourite rising media star Emma Saunders said after the semi that it felt like the win marked the beginning of the next chapter of Watford’s story. One that began with Quique walking in the door and saw the club establish themselves as a Premier League also-ran is over. It’s time to step up.

And summer brings a time for rejuvenation and optimism. Man City beat us at Wembley, but now we’re back level on points with them in the table. And the best thing is that there doesn’t need to be an overhaul. We fell short, but by inches. It wasn’t systematic failure, but unfortunate mistakes by some of our most consistent performers (Foster’s brainfart, Cathcart’s slow start and Deeney’s having a big forearm) that saw us slip away from the Europa League. It’s annoying as fans because we want someone to blame and something tangible to put right, but it also means we are building from a high base.

And before thinking about what needs to come in, we can get excited about what’s already out for delivery. Cucho Hernandez had a tough season fighting relegation with Huesca, but will hopefully be all the better for a season with the big boys in La Liga. Dodi Lukebakio probably won’t see the fair shores of Britain again before sealing a big money move, but he’ll bring us money for essentially nothing.

And then in January, when we’re desperate for reinforcements we’ll get our kicks for free in Joao Pedro - gazumping by Big Football Club permitting. The Fluminense wonderling is in danger of being built up beyond all reasonable expectation, and will presumably be going through a mental whirlwind that eclipses most 17-year-old’s worries of whether they’ll remember the Hydrogen cycle for their Geography A-Levels. But he’s scoring a lot of goals.

Whatever happens with those three, it shows that while we are looking ahead to summer with excitement, the powers that be at the club saw it long ago, like Bran Stark but less dull. And hopefully without the accompanying genocide.

So what do we need? An experienced, no-nonsense centre back to marshal the back line and provide a bit more leadership. A striker in the Deeney mould to challenge the talisman and to ensure we don’t have to completely change the way we play when he is... unavailable. Another winger would be good, to relieve some of the pressure on Roberto Pereyra - who despite the armchair critics is off at the Copa America with Argentina, so might not be that bad really.

And... that’s it? The only players we really need to step up to the next level are the ones that everyone is after. There’s no gaping chasm to fill, it’s us against four or five very similar clubs for Europe next year. And if the one that comes out on top is the one that finds value in the market when shopping for the above pieces then I fancy our chances.