REVIEWING THE WANDERERS' WINDOW
Now, this is a review of the transfer window but as you may know it hasn’t finished yet. EFL clubs can still loan players (and then insert purchase options/obligations) up until the 31st of August
. That should also be in mind when deciding whether to criticise the Anderson’s late business.
Before looking at the actual incomings, wanted to have my quick say on KA and his son. The frustrating thing is the claim at the beginning of the week that he wanted “several players” in for this week. It is, however, difficult to become to irate about a man who has lied fairly often and has a fair few recent unfulfilled promises to do it once again. That being said, the constant club statements (which are brilliant for a communication with the club/fans) hinder the relationship whereby fans are now more expectant. In his defence, if if is true that Wigan have spent over a million on Joe Garner then I fully back his decision to not spend that, it would be silly and reckless. This badgering of Anderson as being ‘tight’ is becoming tiresome – he isn’t tight, he is a businessman looking to do best for his business.
The two key weaknesses/complaints about the ‘permanent’ window would be the lack of a goalkeeper and left-back. It leaves us with the academy coach who had planned on retiring this summer being our number 2 for the opening matches of the season as well as Andrew Taylor, solid and a pro but not quite 46-game 2nd tier standard, as our only left-back option. Having said that, there continue to be many links with Birmingham goalkeeper David Stockdale heavily rumoured. Stockdale has good pedigree and won promotion only the season before last with Brighton. Three left full backs that have been consistently mentioned are Demetri Mitchell (haven’t seen enough to comment), Hrvoje Milic (decent pedigree once again) and Jonathan Grounds who, for me, would just be a taller Andrew Taylor. If we get those 2 positions filled by the time we play Reading next Saturday then we will have a full squad ready to compete.
Looking to add to a “full squad ready to compete” could mean looking at a defensive midfielder, creative midfielder/winger and a striker. The defensive midfielder could end up being one of recently linked Abdoulaye Sissako or Olivier Kemen, both coming from spells in France. The creative midfielder/wide player would be the luxury deadline signing as it is more unnecessary than a defensive midfielder and a striker. However, that could be filled with free agent Stephen Ireland or a loan for Chuks Aneke with a view to buy. The striker berth would’ve been for Joe Garner but that is obviously now dead. Anderson claimed to have a bid in for another striker anyway so watch this space. That would mean 2 more have to come in, an extra 2 on top are likely and then possibly 1 more after that.
Bolton have managed to get in Ben Williams who will become a solid 3rd choice once a new goalkeeper arrives. The centre-back options have been bolstered with Marc Wilson and Jack Hobbs. Wilson arrives after relegation with Sunderland but does have huge Premier League experience whilst Forest fans believe Hobbs has the potential to be one of the best in the division – but he’s never fit. The signing of Pawel Olkowski from Koln offers an alternative to the attack-minded Little and, judging from his debut at West Brom, he seems like a very solid signing. In midfield, Wanderers have added Luke Murphy, Gary O’Neil and Jason Lowe. Lowe performed superbly at West Brom and has the experience of being a captain of a Championship club. Murphy was once a 7-figure player and Leeds fans explained his departure as not suiting Bielsa’s system – understandable as it is very specific and athletic. O’Neil was a good Premier League player and now offers what Henry did. A really calm, experienced head that maintains good fitness levels. Oztumer was the creative midfield signing. Coveted by many Championship, the “Turkish Messi” May have first-team chances limited due to the style of Parkinson. Wide-man Yanic Wildschut being the “key” signing for me as he offers a different dimension to Ameobi on the flanks because Wildschut can get in behind. Josh Magennis became Wanderers’ first cash signing for 3 and a half years. An international footballer with a sublime header on debut, astute. Clayton Donaldson offers back-up to Magennis as well as being experienced at this level, an upgrade on Wilbraham.
A summer that saw Wanderers’ first purchase in 3 and a half years has to be viewed as a successful one. It is extremely steady progress and although it may be too slow for some, it is the right thing. There has been the odd lull in business but with the potential for 2-5 to still come in, this could be one of the best transfer windows in a decade for Wanderers. Having said that, it isn’t over yet so it could worsen.