Before I get going, make sure you have read part one of Summer Transfer Expectations.
As I have already stated, this summer’s transfer window needs to be a massive improvement to the ones we have seen in previous seasons. We can’t just base whether a window has been a success or not based on a number of players we’ve bought in. This window the focus needs to be on quality. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the player is a good player, obviously, that’s what you want, but they have to have the quality that we need to have on our side. We can’t just buy based on stats, they need to be able to play in our system… cough *Scott Hogan*…cough.
Another thing we need to improve on is buying players to then barely even give them a kick of a ball. When we’re already on a sell-to-buy structure for the summer the last thing we need to do is waste money. Tshibola last season was a fine example of this. Struggled for game time in the first half of the season and then being sent to Forrest on loan for the second half. This year we need to utilise every penny.
This brings me to the question of where do we actually need to strengthen during this summer’s transfer window. For me there are 4 key areas that business needs to be done in, they’re Goal Keeper, Centre Back, Central Midfielder and Left Winger.
Goal Keeper – Sam Johnstone seems to be the favourite choice but it seems that we may have some competition after Manchester United stated he may be available on a permanent transfer. After his shaky start for Villa last season he kept 8 clean sheets, more than any other Championship player (excl. Play-Offs), which for someone that was only bought in January is pretty good going.
Centre Back – Whilst I don’t think we need a new centre-back as a replacement for either Chester or Baker, as that partnership seems to become more and more solid, we do need a new backup. If either of them gets a knock we look very shaky at the back with our current backups playing in their place. Also, a good quality centre-half would be great for a bit of friendly competition and hopefully see the starting defenders step up their game in order to keep their place in the starting XI.
Central Midfielder – With it looking like Gary Gardner may not cut the mustard for us and Bruce not seeming to be a big fan of Tshibola after sending him out on loan last season we’re definitely going to need to add some depth to the central midfield. Whilst Hourihane, Lansbury and Jedinak are all very capable of doing a job for us, the three of them aren’t enough to last us the course of the season. As soon as players start picking up injuries and suspensions we’re going to become very stretched in midfield, very quick. A transfer here is a must.
Left Wing – It’s become pretty clear to see that Jack Grealish is not a left winger and is much better-suited playing in a more central role. Last season we also saw Kodjia pushed out wide too often for mine, and many other supporters, liking. Everyone wants to see this man in one place and that’s in front of the goal. This pretty much left us with one out and out left winger last season in the shape of Andre Green who picked up a knock towards the end of the term which left us very weak out on the left-hand side. Another winger to add some depth to that position would be a great addition.
During the course of this transfer window and pre-season we can’t afford to make the same mistakes we did last year. It’s critical if we’re to push for promotion this season that we make a good start by doing everything off the pitch and all of our preparation for the season effectively.
Here’s to what will, hopefully, be a successful promotion charge this season!