Now the transfer window is finally closed, we can see what we have.
Elliot Embleton (loan)
Mason Burstow (loan)
Perhaps it was better than many feared twenty four hours before the deadline, but we’ve still got no central midfield cover for Pierre Ekwah and Dan Neil.
Four proven Championship players have left, to be replaced by four with no experience at this level. At least Tony Mowbray has the international break to integrate them a bit.
On the plus side, we now have four strikers on the books, three of which are owned by us and three of whom appear to be fit. Their potential excites me but I’m a little nervous about the short term impact.
However, it’s probably better than relying on Bradley Dack or Jobe Bellingham as a number nine while Hemir was getting up to speed.
A major worry however is the lack of cover for Neil and Ekwah for that midfield role, and I would’ve been tempted to keep Batth and use Luke O’Nien in a midfield holding role.
Still, we have to assume that central defence is covered with Aji Alese, Jenson Seelt and Nectar Triantis (although the latter appears to be taking some time to acclimatise and trying too hard whilst the other two are never fit). We also have Zak Johnson, who’s highly regarded at centre half.
Keeping Patrick Roberts and Jack Clarke is huge but only if they're still happy.
Hopefully, the new strikers will give them more support and they’ll begin to flourish again and enjoy playing for the club like they clearly did last season. We have minimal cover for these positions unless Aouchiche is the real deal or Jewison Bennette begins to offer more, as Abdoullah Ba doesn’t seem like a winger to me.
Perhaps the balance of the squad isn’t quite right with so many number tens:
Perhaps it’s better to play with two number tens if one of Clarke or Roberts is unavailable? I’m not 100% sure how that would work, but that’s the challenge we have with the composition of the squad.
The squad certainly looks deep enough to be looking up the table rather than over our shoulder, but I think a top half finish would be a success.
Most of the new signings are on four or five-year deals so it feels this is part of a four or five year plan. We overachieved last season, with an irreplaceable talent in Amad. We were also an unknown quantity as a newly promoted side and the league was far weaker, as finishing sixth with sixty nine points is unusual.
Before last season started, we would’ve been relatively happy with a lower mid-table finish. If that was the benchmark of the five year plan, the transfer business kind of makes sense as we look to become a top half side this season.
Maybe the 2024/2025 season will see the squad develop into genuine playoff contenders, and if the club can be sustainable and grow this way, I would be relatively happy with that.
Haway the lads.