Nigel Pearson answers £25m Bristol City transfer question after fresh Bournemouth talk
Nigel Pearson has warned that Bristol City will not be splashing the cash, in the event of a big-money sale of Alex Scott.
The 19-year-old is a man in demand, with both Wolves and AFC Bournemouth strong contenders to sign him, and other Premier League teams interested, and that could result in a big money move. Bristol City have slapped a starting fee of £25m on Scott, and Pearson admitted that fee was made, because they are reluctant to part with their star player.
This summer, Bristol City have spent money on three of their four signings; Rob Dickie, Ross McCrorie and Jason Knight, whilst Anis Mehmeti and Harry Cornick joined for fees in January following the sale of Antoine Semenyo. More signings have not been ruled out, and is likely that one more will arrive before the end of the month, but if Scott does leave this summer, there shouldn’t be an expectation
“I’ve already been informed our wage bill will be topped out," said Pearson as he appeared on BBC Radio Bristol’s first Sound of the City of the season.
“As far as I am concerned, we’ve made a statement as a club and we’ve got ourselves into a decent position financially in terms of where we are. We’ve built a squad based on what our physical but our financial restraints are.
“All those things together mean we’re in a pretty good place, and we’ll be stronger if we keep Alex in. If he does go, as I say, if people think there’s lots of money to spend then that’s not the case."
If the Cherries, Wolves or any other team meet their valuation, then it would be a club record fee received for a player, beating the £20m that they pocketed from the sale of Adam Webster in 2019. Webster’s move to Brighton, saw them reinvest into the playing squad, bringing in the likes of Han-Noah Massengo, Adam Nagy, Pedro Pereira, and Benik Afobe, in addition to the money they had already spent.
A different approach is to be taken this time around though in the event of a sale of one of their prized assets. Bristol City held serious Premier League ambitions after finishing eigth in the previous season when Webster was sold, whilst for the past few years City have had to settle for below mid-table finishes.
The result of their failed promotion push under Lee Johnson, and the COVID-19 pandemic, have seen the club continue to cut their wage bill year-by-year whilst trying to remain competitive under Nigel Pearson. The 59-year-old has done that and has now shaped a youthful and energetic team by his own description, that is capable of pushing for promotion.
Even though the sale of Scott would represent a big day for Bristol City, the structure of their wage bill, means that they would not break the bank on any new arrivals, and they would have to fall in line with their current model. Several current first-team players have accepted reduced wages on their contracts, and so City’s strategty is not going to change now.
Pearson added: “We’re in a position where we’ve set a ceiling for our wage bill and we’ll be around that already now. We’re not going to go out there spending fortunes.”
“Even if we get £25m+ for Alex Scott, we won’t be able to go out on a spending spree. It’s in our interest to keep him in. It’s what we will try to do, there have been bids in for him but we’ll try and keep him.”