‘Priority’ - Bristol City boss Nigel Pearson talks January transfer market and hints at trade deals

The experienced manager spoke on potential transfers next month

Pearson sat in the Ashton Gate dugout
Pearson sat in the Ashton Gate dugout
Pearson sat in the Ashton Gate dugout

Nigel Pearson has again expressed his desire to recruit in defensive areas in the January transfer market and suggested that trading could be Bristol City’s best option.

The Robins are in need of reinforcements at the back, after what has so far been another season of conceding too many goals to be competitive in the EFL Championship.

Tomas Kalas has been injured for large parts of the campaign, while Timm Klose and Rob Atkinson do not have the trust of the 59-year-old.

Veteran midfielder Andy King has filled in at centre-back of late but has not looked assured and limped off injured in City’s 2-0 defeat to West Bromwich Albion on Monday.

When asked after the loss what business Pearson would like to do in the mid-season window, he gave a short and frank response: “We need to strengthen at the back, it’s the priority.”

Summer signing Kal Naismith in action for the Robins
Summer signing Kal Naismith in action for the Robins
Summer signing Kal Naismith in action for the Robins

The ex-Leicester City manager has spoken in the past about the lack of funds that will be available to spend on transfers and discussed alternative ways that the Robins could bring in some fresh faces.

“It’s not about having money to spend it’s whether we can release money,” he said. “We might have to trade, so it means can players go out to free up money to offset the wages, it’s more about that. If there is money to spend it’s a different situation.

“What we mustn’t do is get into a situation where there’s an air of panic of oh dear things aren’t going well we need to splash out and then we fall foul of the financial fair play, so my job is very much to try and keep a steady hand on it.”

Speaking at his pre-West Brom press conference, Pearson revealed that three City players have been told they will not be offered new contracts when theirs expire in the summer of 2023.

On the same day, Nahki Wells signed a new two-year deal which included him taking a pay cut to remain at the West Country side.

City’s high wage bill has been a problem for a long time, but it could prove beneficial when trying to trade. Pearson explained: “If players move who are on big money in terms of wages, then that potentially could free it up to bring a couple in for one.

“But again, the availability is a big thing. We are exploring what we can do in the loan market but again there are all those types of questions.

“There are more variables because there are more people involved, so whether you can do a loan deal, whether it's affordable, whether there's a deal to be done in terms of the wages, all those types of things are quite complex. We will try and do some business but we’ll see what happens.”