While Joelinton’s £40m arrival may have given us a much needed boost after a dreadful summer so far, it’s fair to say we still have a LOT of work to do in the next 2 weeks.
The deadline is on Thursday 8th August at 5pm and although we’ve endured a hugely frustrating summer up until this point, I expect us to be fairly busy between now and then.
I don’t see us bringing in the four or five we need, but feel the signing of a winger (to replace Perez), a back up striker (to replace Joselu) and another full-back will happen.
Firstly, it’s looking more and more like Allan Saint-Maximin could sign. Bruce has confirmed our interest, the player is allegedly keen to sign, the two clubs don’t appear to be far apart regarding his asking price and several outlets claim we’re ‘close’ to sealing a deal for the Nice winger. It really does sound on the cards, but I’ll never be convinced it’s done until I see him in a black and white shirt, with our infamous haggling and Charnley’s sedative approach to deals doing little to fill me with confidence over the years.
With his potential arrival in mind, it would seem he and Joelinton will be our Perez and Rondon replacements.
The likes of Hull’s Jarrod Bowen, Liverpool’s Harry Wilson and Brazilian talent Marrony have all been strongly linked, but it appears as though Saint-Maximin is the top target. That said, links to the three other wingers mentioned above makes me wonder if we’re in the market for two wingers?
Considering Kenedy has left, Perez has been sold and the likes of Murphy and Aarons may or may not be deemed good enough, it would makes sense – although I would be surprised if we got more than one.
Currently we have Yedlin, Manquillo and Sterry as options at right-back and Dummett, Ritchie and Lazaar as left-back / left wing-back options.
For me we need a new first-team right-back and someone in at left-back to compete with Ritchie and Dummett, with the likes of Manquillo and Lazaar being poor Premier League players for my liking and Yedlin also lacking in quality at both ends.
In the end, I see us signing one full-back – and maybe one who is capable of playing down either flank. The likes of Monaco’s Djibril Sidibe, Augsburg’s Philipp Max, Amiens’ Emil Krafth, Spurs’ Danny Rose and Rangers’ James Tavernier have been linked, but it would not surprise me if we end up using one of our loan deals, signing someone until the end of the season with an option to buy.
Long-term target Stanely N’Soki is said to be available for just £6m, so it would not surprise me if we took a look at him – especially when his age, potential and transfer fee would no doubt suit Mike Ashley down to the ground!
As things stand, I don’t think we’ll sign another midfielder – although the reason why is a positive one.
Shelvey has committed himself to the club, Bruce has insisted that Longstaff is going nowhere and it’s emerged that Isaac Hayden also looks set to stay.
We then have Ki Sung-yeung – who was 1 year left on his current deal – as a capable squad player, while the likes of Jack Colback and Henri Saivet are also back in the squad with a ‘clean slate’ says Bruce.
You’d like to think Colback and Saivet aren’t going to be given that ‘like a new signing’ tag, but we do have a fair few options in this area provided we do keep both Longstaff and Hayden.
It’s also worth mentioning that Matty Longstaff has caught Bruce’s eye during his “excellent” cameo vs West Ham last weekend, while ex-Chelsea midfielder Kyle Scott looks all set to sign on a free.
I can see Saivet leaving late in the window and wouldn’t be surprised if Colback is moved on, meaning another midfielder would be needed to replace Mo Diame in particular, but I think this area will be low down on Bruce’s priority list as things stand.
I think we’ll get one more in to act as a back-up option to Joelinton – something we badly need given Rondon’s gone, Joselu’s been sold and Gayle can’t stay fit.
The likes of Charlie Austin has been linked, with Sky Sports claiming Bruce was weighing up a move for the Southampton outcast yesterday, however I can see us bringing in a young player from abroad. Vasco da Gama forward Marrony has been strong linked.
Sorensen hasn’t looked out of place over pre-season so far, but a good loan move away feels like the best thing that could happen to him right now, with him unlikely to gain much game time at senior level next season.
It wouldn’t actually surprise me if Gayle was sold in the final week of the window – especially if we are considering a deal to sign Andy Carroll on a free next month on a ‘pay as you play’ deal.
He can’t seem to stay fit and will no doubt attract a bid of around £15m from a top Championship side – something which could go towards signing a more capable option to compete with Joelinton.
At centre-back we’re well stocked, likewise in the goalkeeping department, however it would not surprise me if the likes of Clark and Elliot left for regular game time elsewhere.
With this in mind, our squad could look something like this heading into the new season:
Goalkeepers: Dubravka, Darlow, Woodman.
Centre-backs: Lascelles, Lejeune, Schar, Fernandez, Clark.
Full-backs: Ritchie, Yedlin, Dummett, Manquillo, Lazaar.
Central midfielders: Shelvey, S.Longstaff, Ki, Hayden, Colback, Scott.
Wingers: Almiron, Saint-Maximin, Atsu, Murphy, Aarons.
Strikers: Joelinton, new striker?, Muto, Gayle / Andy Carroll?
What do you see happening in the final two weeks of the transfer window?