The first half of the season in the Premier League never was going to be easy, that part is a given.
So, arriving into January, in 16th place, having just been beaten by Arsenal, I’d have taken.
However, it was obvious that some strengthening needed to take place, even more so given that the announcement on Brexit had come through.
I felt we were in need of better goalkeeping. Rossbach had been doing good work, but, had made mistakes in some games which had cost us dearly.
The solution was found at Blackburn, who had been relegated back to the Championship after 1 season in the Premier League.
David Raya, although being Spanish, counted as ‘Home Grown’, and was awaiting paperwork for British citizenship, and would cost slightly more than a continental player, however, this premium would be worth it for the 25 year old.
We also needed a bit of backup in the defensive areas, and again, with Brexit in mind, picked up Jack Whatmough from Portsmouth for £2.3m. The step up from League One would be big for him, but, he wouldn’t be thrown into action straight away, and, with over 150 appearances for the South Coast club, hes very experienced for his young age.
Also coming in, this time from Malmo FF in Sweden, 17 year old right back, Lucas Svanberg. Normally, I’d not pursue this, with the Brexit options coming in, but, hes broken into the Swedish U21 setup, and is rated better than my current right back, Costinha. Also beating off several other Premier League and La Liga clubs for him shows how good he will be.
Moving further forward, 18 year old Brazilian Paulo Roberto was found playing in Gremio U20s, and, again, with several other clubs showing interest, I had to move quickly, based on a basic recommendation from my scouts. For a couple of million, the risk was worth it, and the dual national (he holds an Italian passport) joins to hopefully add a bit of bite to the midfield.
The last signing coming in at the start of January, would be a big one.
I said at the start of the save, that if a player came up who was far better than the current incumbent, then I’d make an effort to get him.
This is where Thomas Buitink comes in. I’d been watching a few games with him in for a bit, and, his name had cropped up in a few analyst reports. As well as that, he was top scorer in the Eredivise, something which had brought the 20 year old to the attention of some of Europes elite.
He put in a transfer request at the start of December, and, although he would command an ‘uncomfortable’ price, at £12.5m, a bid was made, personal terms were agreed, and he moves to NG2. Something which provides a massive upgrade to the attacking options, and allows a couple of the players currently in the squad to leave on loan. He also, as long as he performs, offers a massive resale potential.
So, this is where we stand at the start of January, and, with the exception of a couple of youngsters, I expect this to be all the business we do for incoming transfers, unless, something special comes up.