Bristol City’s January transfer window: Four players who could be on the move next month

Manager Nigel Pearson will want the chance to strengthen in the new year to boost his side’s faltering Championship prospects
Nigel Pearson may have to manoeuvre his way through the January transfer window (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)Nigel Pearson may have to manoeuvre his way through the January transfer window (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)
Nigel Pearson may have to manoeuvre his way through the January transfer window (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Given the effects of COVID-19 and a full 2019/20 season without crowds, there is little money to spend at the moment at Ashton Gate, or indeed elsewhere across the EFL, for sides without parachute payments.

But that won't stop Bristol City looking at what options are available for strengthening the squad, as the South West outfit try to pull away from the wrong end of the league table.

The Robins did spend on fees for young defenders Rob Atkinson and George Tanner last summer though, and chief executive officer Richard Gould has already hinted at a continuation of this strategy: recruiting young players, with a high talent ceiling, at value.

Manager Nigel Pearson craves an improvement in attack, and the club have already confirmed that they will look to improve the squad for the second half of a disappointing, transitional grind of a season so far.

Slow progress was always likely to be the case as Pearson builds his own team and enforces his way upon the squad after arriving last February, inheriting an injury-hit roster with 13 players out of contract at the end of the season and little to spend. A three-year build has been cited by the club hierarchy.

But the right market moves next month, if the opportunities arise, could yet spark an unlikely attack on the top half of England's second tier. Only four points separate 8th and 18th places in the Championship, where the Robins currently sit. A congested mid table could yet be clambered over if the team can improve.

Michael Smith is a name that won’t go away but Rotherham United hope to keep him. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)Michael Smith is a name that won’t go away but Rotherham United hope to keep him. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)
Michael Smith is a name that won’t go away but Rotherham United hope to keep him. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

Incomings

City eventually turned down the opportunity to sign Rotherham striker Michael Smith last summer after an initial interest, with the 30-year-old deemed no better than the current City forwards. But the Millers frontman has been in brilliant form in League One and has arguably been the standout player in that division since. Could he yet fit the bill, or will a younger alternative be sought?

The Robins do not create enough chances for their forwards however, ranking 17th in the league for Expected Goals so far, and Pearson recently called on his side to be more creative, before they beat Derby County 1-0 at home. A wide forward with the ability to beat their marker and find the net too - akin to previous Pearson wide-men Anthony Knockaert, Riyad Mahrez and Ismaila Sarr - could make the difference too.

There is an argument too that Bristol City could do with another defender or defensive midfielder to help limit opposition attacks. The Robins rank as the worst side in the league for Expected Goals Against, stats that show that the quality of chances afforded to opponents is worryingly high.

According to sources, the Robins have been perusing the loan market of late and have looked at which players may be available from the Premier League this coming window. Certainly another Tammy Abraham would go down well in BS3.

Jon Lansdown has previously suggested that a 'focal point' striker will be targeted in the future, but understood not to be until the summer however. And Pearson too has played down the chances of any arrivals during this campaign.

But opportunities may arise and strategies can change, and any dalliance with the bottom six in the league could hasten business.

January sales

The chance of any incomings would be helped if the Robins can sell players to raise funds and 'trade', as happened when Josh Brownhill joined Burnley and Nahki Wells arrived two years ago.

Bristol City are understood to have identified several players who they believe can contribute elsewhere, if not at Ashton Gate, and fetch a fee. In reality, every player has their price and any decent offer must be considered by a Championship side without parachute payments. The chances of fellow EFL sides spending are not high but many clubs may look to the market to aid their season and give their hopes a push.

Though the transfer market is not expected to rebound to pre-pandemic levels and fees will certainly be less, even outgoing loans would enable some significant savings on the wages not having to be paid.

"Certain individuals aren't on side, let's put it like that, and I will do everything I can to get rid of them," Pearson said recently on possible exits.

Here are several players who could raise funds in the coming weeks before the Monday January 31, 11pm, transfer deadline.

Defender Taylor Moore is out on loan at Scottish Premiership side Hearts right now. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)Defender Taylor Moore is out on loan at Scottish Premiership side Hearts right now. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
Defender Taylor Moore is out on loan at Scottish Premiership side Hearts right now. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

Taylor Moore

The defender has joined Hearts on a season-long loan and has played 620 minutes of SPFL action to date, as the Edinburgh side have surged up to third in the league. Though Moore, 24, faces stiff competition for starts in defence, manager Robbie Neilson may have seen enough to make the spell permanent. Nigel Pearson has already confirmed that he is open to a sale that could bring in funds to use himself elsewhere.

"Whether it turns into a permanent one, we'll see," said Pearson to BBC Radio Bristol of the Tynecastle loan back in August.

Kasey Palmer isn’t even making match day squads and is in dire need of a January move. (Photo by Jacques Feeney/Getty Images)Kasey Palmer isn’t even making match day squads and is in dire need of a January move. (Photo by Jacques Feeney/Getty Images)
Kasey Palmer isn’t even making match day squads and is in dire need of a January move. (Photo by Jacques Feeney/Getty Images)

Kasey Palmer

Attacking midfielder Palmer has not featured for Bristol City since 19 October, coming off the bench in the late defeat to Nottingham Forest. And just one league start all season, with young talents Ayman Benarous, Antoine Semenyo and Alex Scott preferred in attacking midfield, shows that the former Chelsea playmaker is not favoured currently. A recent back injury curtailed involvement with City's U23s side and a parting of the ways looks likely down the line.

Ipswich Town hold an interest but a move to League One is a non-starter and another Championship loan - after five already - is unlikely too.

Palmer has a year to go on his deal in BS3, and the summer may see a resolution, but with City needing creativity and Nigel Pearson fair-handed in his squad selection, could the 25-year-old yet force his way into the reckoning if he impresses enough in training?

Out in the cold: Nahki Wells has had to play second fiddle to Chris Martin this season. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)Out in the cold: Nahki Wells has had to play second fiddle to Chris Martin this season. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
Out in the cold: Nahki Wells has had to play second fiddle to Chris Martin this season. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

Nahki Wells

The Bermuda international has been tipped by some industry insiders as being a player who could potentially be on the move in January.

The 31-year-old has started just five of the 22 league games of this campaign, despite a good Championship goal-scoring pedigree.

Bristol City received several loan offers for the former QPR man on transfer deadline day last summer, after some late speculation over the striker's future may have alerted other Championship sides to his potential availability.

Wells has always maintained that he is keen to keep his head down and work hard for Bristol City, but with Andi Weimann ahead of him in the pecking order and Pearson looking to pivot to a three-man attack at times, might the club choose to cash in if an offer arrives, and divert the accompanying wages elsewhere?

Jay Dasilva has been out of favour recently after being displaced by Callum O’Dowda. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)Jay Dasilva has been out of favour recently after being displaced by Callum O’Dowda. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
Jay Dasilva has been out of favour recently after being displaced by Callum O’Dowda. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Jay Dasilva

Former Chelsea defender Dasilva has lost his place in the Robins side of late, with Callum O'Dowda preferred at left wing-back, and 23-year-old Cameron Pring enjoying a breakthrough season.

The former England U21 player is certainly one player who could raise a decent fee given his age (23) and England youth side record. The technically-excellent wide player could yet pique the interest of managers elsewhere, and given the squad options, City could decide to cash in.

Will the left-back, who is contracted until 2023, be happy to bide his time on the bench if other clubs come calling?

Related topics: