PLANS FOR JANUARY
The window is upon us and with 26 days until the market closes, I've decided to look at what could, should, might happen at the Macron.
Firstly, the loans. Adam Armstrong, Josh Cullen, Reece Burke and Antonee Robinson are all half-season loans so some decisions have to be made. At the time of writing this, Robinson's deal from Everton has just been extended until the end of the season whilst Josh Cullen is also expected to stay. Newcastle United look set to recall Armstrong in order to loan him out to League One Blackburn Rovers. Sunderland and Nottingham Forest have been linked with Reece Burke, although, Wanderers are believed to be keen on keeping him. Personally no issues with Armstrong leaving as he's been far too ineffective to justify using up a loan. Cullen is a useful player, especially in a thin squad and his ability to play deeper and further forward in midfield whilst Burke is an odd one. Rash positioning but a clear understanding of the game is his oxymoronic style. However, with Mr K Anderson already suggesting Dorian Dervite and Derik are available, this would mean Burke is set to stay.
That takes me onto the possible 'outs' of winter 2018. The afore mentioned Dervite and Derik have been made publically available by Mr K Anderson as has Chris Taylor. Derik has the best potential sale value as he is young with Real Madrid on his career path. Dervite has been the subject of interest from League One clubs, Barnsley and Bulgarian outfit Levski Sofia so a cheap sale could also be possible there. If we get anything for Taylor, we've done well. Other departures culd include key men Gary Madine and Josh Vela. Madine has been linked with Sunderland and Cardiff whilst Vela is of interest to Derby, Leeds and also Sunderland. It is difficult to see Wanderers being offered enough to sell Madine however I'd be well braced for the imminent sale of Vela this month. Alan Nixon has suggested Bolton are willing to sell for £3.5 million and come the final days of the window, I can see Derby or Leeds panicking. If properly replaced like Clough was last season, I believe we should have enough to avoid relegation without Vela; if we sell Madine, I'd begin to seriously worry. Personally, Id find it bizarre if both Derik and Deervite were to leave. Especially with Burke's loan extension in doubt, it would seem like self-sabotage to have left ourselves with 2 possible centre backs when we currently have 5. It seems to be one or the other. I wouldn't be opposed to the sales or loans of Karacan, Le Fondre and Earing.
This is the one that provokes the most speculation, of course, the possible 'ins'. Toumani Diagouraga is a reported target. Earlier this week, KA suggested we were chasing a centre-back, defensive midfielder or a striker that can run with the ball. Diagouraga, formerly of Brentford, Ipswich and Leeds would be a very capable defensive midfield acquisition. The centre-back cover issue could surely be solved by retaining the services of Derik or Dervite so I do find that very strange. The striker that can run with the ball is also a very over-simplistic target in my opinion. Armstro
ng and Clough gave proven that is an unnecessary luxury for Parkinson's fairly successful tactics. In my opinion, I feel a squad of:
Alnwick, Howard, Turner
Taylor, Robinson, Little, Darby
Beevers, Wheater, Burke*, Derik/Dervite
Henry, Pratley, Cullen, Karacan, Vela
Ameobi, Noone, Buckley, Taylor, Morais
Madine, Le Fondre, Wilbraham, Armstrong
can be improved, definitely; by another striker of actual quality, another 'number 10' and cover for the defensive midfield role.