Nigel Pearson knows his next Bristol City transfer priority as Alex Scott message sent
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Nigel Pearson has revealed Bristol City’s next step in this transfer window is to sign a midfielder to address an ‘ageing’ midfield but is not replacing Alex Scott.
The Robins have addressed their issues in defence, with the additions of Rob Dickie, Ross McCrorie, and Haydon Roberts, who have all been tipped to play across the back line. McCrorie, is a midfielder, but Pearson views him as a right-back, who will challenge George Tanner for a starting berth, and that tactical hint backs up where City are going to next recruit.
The 59-year-old was keen to stress that whilst they’re looking for a new midfielder, any new arrival would be to complement Alex Scott, rather than be his replacement. Scott has been linked with Inter Milan, AFC Bournemouth, Wolves, Spurs, whilst West Ham United are willing to match any bid made by any of the interested parties. His manager believes Scott will be at the club come the start of the season, and is working on that basis.
As for who could be joining Scott in the midfield, there is firm interest in Derby County and Ireland star Jason Knight, with two bids of up to £1.5m rejected by the League One club. Jack Taylor was said to have been a target, but he ended up joining Ipswich Town for an undisclosed fee, with the Peterborough United chairman Darragh MacAnthony suggesting that Championship clubs have missed a trick.
"In that area, we’ve got quite an ageing midfield and everybody seems keen to write Alex Scott off as being gone," said Pearson on Monday. If we sign somebody in that area, we’re not replacing Alex Scott.
"Let me absolutely crystal clear on that from my own perspective, anybody that we are either interested in or trying to sign or looking at in midfield is not to make room for then Alex Scott going, that’s not what we’re doing.
"We’ve got Matty James in his 30s, Andy King, and Kal Naismith, they’re all players who are very important for us. Matty James proved his worth last year and our fan base recognised why he’s held in such high regard by the players and staff. It’s something that is important. When you’ve got players who are also aware of some of the availability issues in midfield.
"It’s an area we are looking to strengthen, not replace and that is the key to it. I think that is a point I really want to stress very strongly. When you play 4-3-3 as we do, we need a real balance and options in midfield and legs, that’s the big thing."
Despite the search for a new midfielder, Pearson is keen to have one of his trusted lutenants from Leicester City, Andy King remain at Ashton Gate. The 50-cap Wales international turns 35 this October, and is a valuable member of the coaching staff, and last season played more than 30 games, and even filled in at centre-back, which was a new position to him in his 17-year playing career. He is out of contract this summer along with Tomas Kalas, and his future has yet to be decided, though Pearson is not involved in negotiations.
"Hopefully Andy King gets sorted out soon," said Pearson. I’ve not had a chance really to catch up with him too much," said Pearson.
"He appeared 33 times for us last year and did very well. Hopefully the club and him can come to some sort of agreement soon so we can get that put to bed.”