Now the season has drawn to a close, we need to focus on recruitment. It may take a few weeks for the market to start moving, but we need to be proactive this season and try to get our business done early.
I have already looked at free agents, loans and relegated players to target, so his week I will be identifying five domestic players to we could look at over the coming months.
Please note, Joe Willock has been excluded, as it is obvious we should be looking to sign him!
The centre-back has been linked during the last two summers. It is clear that he is on our radar and Steve Bruce has previously shown an ability to pick up talented players for low prices. Harry Maguire and Andrew Robertson are the best examples during his time with Hull City.
There are some similarities between Maguire and Dickie. The QPR centre back is very comfortable on the ball and able to launch attacks from deep, both in terms of his ball carrying and passing. He would be a very good fit for our current formation and we are lacking dynamic centre-back options.
Dickie quickly adapted to Championship football and he emerged as one of the most important players for QPR. He will play Premier League football in the future and this could be a good deal for us to look at.
The central midfield positions will be looked at this summer, whether we sign Joe Willock or not. Ovie Ejaria would be worth targeting, as he is an excellent ball carrier and would provide plenty of energy to our midfield.
He’s played in 38 matches for Reading, showing impressive fitness, flare and durability throughout. Ejaria has previous experience playing for Liverpool, while he has quickly emerged as a very effective player in the second tier.
This season, he has contributed three goals and five assists. He averages 1.2 shots, 1.7 key passes and 2.7 completed dribbles per game, showing the many parts to his game. Reading may need to sell a couple of key players this summer after missing out on the play-offs.
Bournemouth will need to sell players once again, as their business model is tied closely to the financial reward of being a Premier League club. As they have fallen in the play-offs, it is likely that two or three of their best players will be available for transfer.
Brooks is a very talented attacking midfielder, who has been hampered by injuries since his move to the South Coast. However, he has done well this season and looked to be one of the most effective players during their play-off matches against Brentford.
A return of five goals and seven assists in the second tier may not grab the attention, but he has the attributes to improve on those numbers. Brooks is a skillful and quick dribbler of the ball, which makes him exciting to watch. During his first top-flight season in 2018/19, he contributed seven goals and five assists.
If we did fail to sign Joe Willock, Brooks could be a very good alternative target to fill our attacking midfield berth.
This would be a popular signing, as Adam Armstrong has been one of the standout players in the Championship this season. Many supporters were disappointed that we let him leave permanently and he now looks ready to play regularly in the top flight. It will sting to see him fulfil his potential elsewhere in the Premier League.
His record in the Championship has been excellent, as he has scored 28 goals and grabbed five assists for a team that finished lower mid table.Only Ivan Toney scored more, while no player scored more goals than Armstrong once penalties are excluded from the count.
Armstrong started 40 matches, showing his durability, while he stepped up to become the talisman for Blackburn. He is best suited to playing as a striker, but he could play as a number ten or wide forward. The split striker system we use would suit him. It is reported that we have a 40% sell on clause, which means we could get a significant discount on one of the best players in the second tier. It seems a non-brainer for me.
The Belgian international has been a player that I’ve wanted us to sign for years. His career in England has been very disappointing to date, but he has shown flashes of quality during his time with Chelsea and Crystal Palace.
Despite his limited minutes, he has averaged a goal every 153.3 minutes in the Premier League. This is an excellent record, while he has continued to perform for Belgium with 22 goals in 33 matches.
Batshuayi will be entering the final year of his contract and Chelsea will want to sell some of their fringe players this summer. We need another quality striking option to compete and play alongside Callum Wilson. Batshuayi could be an exciting target for us.