With the season now over, the focus will now switch to the summer as we look to strengthen the squad and ensure a less stressful 2021/22.
This one will be focused on permanent signings from relegated trio Fulham, West Brom and Sheffield United – three sides who have several players in their ranks capable of improving our squad.
1. Tosin Adarabioyo
The Fulham centre-back was a shrewd pick-up in the summer from Manchester City for a bargain price of £2 million. Although the Cottagers have been relegated, their problems have been in attack, rather than at the back. They have conceded 53 goals. Only Brighton have conceded fewer in the bottom seven of the Premier League.
This highlights that there could be some value in pursuing some of their defenders. Adarabioyo could be perfect for us, as he has the physical attributes lacking in our defence. He is quick, good on the ball and capable of challenging in the air.
At the age of 23, there is a lot of potential there and if we can get him for a reasonable price, this should be a deal we look to pursue.
2. Sander Berge
It was a coup when Sheffield United signed him last January. Many expected the midfielder to move to a Champions League club, but he showed his quality in Yorkshire.
The Norweigan has missed the majority of this season with injury, but he remains young at 23 and there is a rumoured relegation release clause in his contract that could allow him to leave for just £12m. Standing 6ft 3′ tall, he is not only powerful, but full of energy – being capable of covering ground from box to box.
He is a versatile midfielder who looks perfect for English football. Berge likes to carry the ball and he has an impressive passing range. It would be an ambitious move to target him, but he could be the perfect long term replacement for Jonjo Shelvey.
3. Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa
Steve Bruce has regularly spoken about his wish to have more physicality and power in central midfield. Anguissa will be a popular target for Premier League clubs this summer, as he has looked very assured for Fulham this season.
Anguissa has averaged 2.2 tackles and 1.6 interceptions per match this season. There has been a feeling that our midfield has lacked aggression without Isaac Hayden. If we are looking for a player to compete with him, it could be argued Anguissa is a more complete player and capable of adding some dynamism to what is a one-paced midfield without Willock.
He is good on the ball, as shown by his pass success rate of 84% and also an explosive dribbler for a player of his size and stature. We need to be better at retaining possession and Anguissa would be a real statement of intent if we could compete for his signature. It is likely he will have a lot of options this summer.
4. Matheus Pereira
This one would take a lot of ambition from the club, as Pereira will be the most sought after player from a relegated team. He has been excellent, especially in recent weeks and there won’t be a shortage of potential suitors for his services.
The West Brom midfielder has contributed 11 goals and six assists, which is a remarkable return for a player in a relegated side. He averages two shots, 1.8 key passes and 1.2 completed dribbles per game.
Pereira has been the talisman in a poor West Brom side and proven that he belongs at the highest level. It seems unlikely that we will be in the race for him, with the bulk of our budget likely to be set aside for Willock. However, it would be very exciting if we decided to target both.
5. Rhian Brewster
Okay, hear me out on this one. Last summer, Brewster would have been a popular signing after an exciting loan spell with Swansea City. Sheffield United paid a lot of money for him – a £23m club record deal – but his first season playing regularly in the top flight has been a disappointment. In fact, he has yet to find the back of the net.
However, he hasn’t been given a prominent role, with just 1114 minutes to his name. This is less than a third of the available minutes. Further to his limited role, he has been playing in one of the worst teams in Premier League history. It is likely his confidence has taken quite the hit.
Brewster is only 21 and he was once seen as one of the biggest talents in this country. Last season, he scored 11 goals for Swansea the second half of the campaign and helped them into the play-offs.
Willock has been a great signing and Brewster is a similar case. We need more competition in attack and if he was available for a cut price, it would be a gamble worth taking.