Bristol City to tweak recruitment department ahead of vital summer transfer market and West Brom chief truth
Bristol City are considering making changes to their recruitment department to help ahead of what is expected to be an important transfer window in BS3.
Manager Nigel Pearson was asked on Thursday about recent reports that West Bromwich Albion head of recruitment Ian Pearce is of interest to the Robins, with chairman Jon Lansdown leading a revamp behind the scenes. BristolWorld understands those stories to be untrue.
Pearce’s position at West Brom is understood to be unstable after former Sporting Director Luke Dowling departed last year.
Pearson confirmed the intention is to “tweak” things when asked by BristolWorld at the Thursday pre-Birmingham City press conference, rather than make wholesale change.
“We’re looking to tweak how things work, but that’s not on the agenda [a head of recruitment] at the moment, no,” said Pearson on whether a head of recruitment could arrive in the summer.
No senior figure is expected to arrive this summer.
The manager also explained that there was a threshold for players to reach on whether they would sign fresh terms or depart for the best price.
Recruitment will be of paramount importance next summer and the club will be looking to secure the best deals but also the best prices for any outgoing players.
City are having trouble tying down young stars Han-Noah Massengo and Antoine Semenyo to new deals and may have to reluctantly consider sales in the summer if neither renew, while Alex Scott has plenty of Premier League admirers who could bid in the next transfer window, although the attacking midfielder is contracted until 2025.
BristolWorld understands that CEO Richard Gould recently held exploratory talks at Ashton Gate with one transfers expert from another club ahead of a recent Robins home game, with City examining how they can improve their work in the transfer market.
The CEO has also been conducting zoom calls with several scouts to help improve the club’s work in that area too, in particular regarding picking up local talent.
Head of technical recruitment Sean Gilhespy and his team of analysts still play a pivotal role at the club but Bristol City are determined to improve how closely the coaching/playing side of the club works alongside the recruitment department.
A Bristol City spokesperson confirmed to BristolWorld that: “The club is leaving no stone unturned to improve recruitment.”
Meanwhile Carlisle United manager Paul Simpson has told BristolWorld how the club’s system in place behind the scenes - although referencing many different roles and not just in recruitment - did not help how Bristol City operated last season.
Simpson, speaking on Thursday, added that it was a factor in Dean Holden not being able to get the best from the Robins.
The former assistant head coach who departed BS3 last September explained that he personally had found it hard within the Bristol City set-up, although Pearson has since made his own changes to help improve this.
“The figures have just come out lately about the losses that Bristol City have made and the financial backing that Steve has had to put in which is incredible,” said Simpson.
“But Dean was working in difficult circumstances, not only on that but it was really tough for him with the whole structure that was set up inside the club at the time.
“It was a really difficult place to work, I found it a difficult place to work because of the structure that was in place. Nigel recognised it and made changes straightaway and got it a bit more how he wanted it to be.”
Mark Ashton departed as CEO last June to take over at Ipswich Town, and has been joined by former head of performance Andy Rolls, ex-club secretary Luke Werhun and former head of sports science Andy Costin, with head of the academy Gary Probert leaving for Portman Road last October too.
Nigel Pearson has since added experienced head of medical performance Dave Rennie and assistant manager Curtis Fleming to his staff, while Brian Tinnion has been promoted to academy director with Gary Davenport now academy manager. Sophie Dyer has taken over as club secretary.