These two realistic signings from League One and the Championship would help Bristol City progress
Huddersfield Town stand on the brink of promotion, although it could easily be Nottingham Forest who make the jump to the English top tier, grabbing the last 2021/22 promotion spot.
Both sides had dreadful seasons before this - finishing 17th and 20th respectively - and show just what is possible if you get the recruitment and squad right.
Bristol City finished 17th this year and now can dream of doing the same. Manager Nigel Pearson must get this transfer window right, if the club is to achieve their aims: Pearson explained in his final pre-match club interview that next year the aim is for a top half finish at least.
To that end, here are our suggestions for two new signings that would help the Robins get to where they want to go.
We’ve assumed there is little to spend, and are looking at the free transfer market, but also one player for a fee of around £1m.
With reports linking Bristol City to a defensive midfielder, we’ve picked our own target, as well as an alternative free transfer right-back should the Robins be unable to recruit Kane Wilson from Forest Green Rovers.
Defensive midfielder: Jeando Fuchs - Peterborough United
Manager Nigel Pearson has explained before that he wants a team that plays on the front-foot and that new signings must exhibit physical attributes to be able to compete against the best players.
To that end, how about the player to have made the most pressures in the Championship this season?
Only one player pressed the opposition more per 90 minutes than Antoine Semenyo according to StatsBomb statistics, a company at the forefront of in-match data who work with football clubs the world over including City, in 2020/21: Jeando Fuchs of Peterborough United.
That stamina must surely appeal to Pearson, and after Posh’s relegation, perhaps there is a chance that the Cambridgeshire club could be persuaded to sell, with club owner Darragh MacAnthony confirming in his podcast that there is interest swilling in the player already.
And that’s despite Peterborough only buying Fuchs from Dundee United last January for a fee believed to be well under a £1m.
The 24-year-old has two years left on his contract and his price may not have changed too much from last January, albeit no doubt will have risen given that the ex-Alaves midfielder has now proven himself at Championship level.
The two-cap Cameroon international may be worth a good look if City can afford to pay a fee for a player this summer, which might be possible if the Robins can sell a player in the next months themselves.
Fuchs played 18 times last season and rated as the London Road side’s second best player this season on WhoScored.com, a website ranking players by their in-match data supplied by Opta.
“We bought [Jeando] Fuchs in January, after trying to buy him last summer,” said the Posh chairman on his The Hard Truth podcast recently, mentioning a £150,000 fee to recruit the former France U20 player.
“We brought him in because he was going out of contract in the summer and he has been a good signing — a very good addition.
“There are people who already want him because he is one of the best holding midfielders in the Championship, based on the statistics,” he added.
Alternative: Hiram Boateng - unattached
All clubs need to contingency plan and Bristol City will be no different this summer. Should the Robins be unable to recruit the coveted Kane Wilson from Forest Green Rovers, with several Championship sides interested in the wing-back, other targets may come into focus.
And we suggest free agent midfielder Hiram Boateng, who has just been released by MK Dons, could be worth considering.
On the face of it, the former Crystal Palace youth player may not seem an obvious choice, as he has been let go by the League One outfit. But 26-year-old Boateng has several top attributes that could see him slot right in to Nigel Pearson’s midfield - or even wide on the right.
First, he’s 6ft tall and stands out for his passing and dribbling (as per WhoScored.com match data), with three goals and four assists grabbed last season showing that he can contribute in the right areas of the pitch.
As a regular sub for MK Dons, former Exeter City man Boateng didn’t always get the best chance to shine last year, but he could offer an - admittedly leftfield - attacking outlet on the right-side of the pitch to match that of Cam Pring and Jay Dasilva at Bristol City, and would be unlikely to cost very much in wages, to balance out a move for Fuchs above.
Boateng is also versatile, a good presser, a strong ball carrier and able to cover several positions. He was rated as MK Don’s man of the match in their final game of the season against Wycombe in the play-offs, possibly indicating a taste for the big games too.
Generally played more centrally, a consistent position on the right with more space around him could be the making of the former Northampton Town man. If not just using him as a defensive midfielder.
If a former loan spell on the other side of the city can be overlooked, he could be a bargain pick-up.