Nigel Pearson reveals how Bristol City will use money from Antoine Semenyo’s Bournemouth transfer
Bristol City are selling one of their best players - so what will happen with the Antoine Semenyo money?
and live on Freeview channel 276
Nigel Pearson has confirmed that Antoine Semenyo is undergoing a medical and agreeing personal terms with AFC Bournemouth after a fee was agreed with Bristol City.
The Cherries have a come with a third offer with two bids rejected last week, and an agreement has been met with the Robins board on the valuation of the player, who will now decide whether if he wants to move to the Vitality Stadium. Various reports say that the deal is worth £9m, which is lower than the £10m offered last week, but has more add-ons.
Bournemouth are not in action on the weekend and do not need to rush a deal for a match deadline, but Crystal Palace and Southampton are both said to be interested, but it is the Dorset club that look like they have won the race for one of the most in-demand players of this January transfer window.
Bristol City are in action against West Brom in an fourth-round FA Cup clash against Championship rivals West Brom at Ashton Gate, and Semenyo is unlikely to feature now given the transfer process has begun for him to leave. His potential last act as a City player was scoring the equalising goal against Blackburn Rovers last week.
"As we stand at the moment Antoine is in discussions with Bournemouth," revealed Pearson. "I can confirm that. The driver of those situations are two clubs agreeing a fee so that has happened now.
"He’s been given permission to speak to the club and obviously there will be an opportunity for a medical. It’s where we are with that. No real further comments on that at the moment because I don’t know a further great deal at the minute, it’s in the process. The most important factor to recognise is at the moment is the fee has been agreed and so now there are other factors to wait to see how they go, one being a medical and one being agreeing personal terms."
Pearson along with technical director Brian Tinnion and club CEO Richard Gould, will now be tasked with finding a replacement for one of their best players. Semenyo has been City's best performing player since the turn of the New Year, and has been involved in five of their nine goals in 2023, with four goals and an assist.
In the summer transfer window, City did not exchange a transfer fee for a player and their newest arrival Nikita Haikin, a replacement for Dan Bentley joined after his contract with Bodo/Glimt was not renewed. A sizeable fee was needed for City to do any transfers of note, but there should not be an expectation for the club to reinvest most of that money into finding a replacement for Semenyo.
Andi Weimann is only returning now from a hamstring injury, meanwhile Tommy Conway is out for potentially the next ten weeks and Chris Martin is out-of-favour with a move likely from the West Country. It leaves just Nahki Wells and Sam Bell as options for the time being and Pearson does not want to be left short.
He said: "We have plans and we are trying to move on a player at the moment but of course until there is some factual evidence to give you, I don’t really believe in doing that publicly. We are trying to bring somebody in and I suppose the next couple of days will be very important to get some sort of agreement done.
"The days of us spending millions on players are not going to be any time soon even though as it stands Bournemouth have met the valuation that the club put on him. I know there’s a possibility of reinvesting some of it but most of that will be in the summer, but we’ll still be looking to invest which keeps us on the same pathway as we are now.
"Andi’s been out and Tommy is out. We need cover, of course we do. We need someone to come in and fill a place in a forward position for us. We are looking at other options too and we’ll see how they develop over the next couple of days.”
A permanent replacement is being sought, and transfer shortlists were drawn up in preparation for a club meeting the valuation of Semenyo. Semenyo’s move will have to be near enough done however before City can properly act on sourcing a replacement, but there is an increased demand for a striker.
"We’ve had the sort of threat of Financial Fair Play over us as many clubs have and even without Antoine’s sale, the judgement would meet that," Pearson added. We’re still operating in a bit of a difficult situation just because of how the last two-three years have been. We’re trying to make the football operation a bit more sustainable and that is the bottom line. To potentially lose one of your better players even though we will get the valuation which we think is fair doesn’t mean all that money will go in to buying more players.
"We will invest time in everything, we will invest in the academy and recruitment, of course we will. We’ll have to be sensible with how we do it. We’re trying to create a structure within the football department which has realism attached to it. It limits your options and that is the bottom line, it’s a harsh reality that football is having to deal with and we are involved in that, we have to cut our cloth accordingly and we want value for money when we do invest. We want to get the investment right and hopefully we can get somebody in this window, maybe two but who knows, but we won’t bring players in for the sake of it."