Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Look Hughes on our radar

Where there's a Will, there's a way? Perhaps, though if we really want to get our hands on Will Hughes it looks as though we'll have to fight off stiff competition and stump up a significant transfer fee of £10m+. The 18-year-old Derby midfielder has been earning rave reviews at Pride Park, but it's doubtful he'd be able to step straight into our first team and as such that sort of outlay might be considered too much.

Another player we're reportedly looking at is Reading defender Alex Pearce, available on a free but also wanted by his former manager Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool. The rationale seems to be less about bringing in a solid defender (after all, the Royals' defence was hardly watertight last season and, like his fellow centre-backs, Pearce never really cemented a place for himself in the side) and more about adding to our aerial threat in the opposing penalty area. It comes as little surprise to learn that we failed to score a single goal from a corner last campaign, though is no less depressing for that fact.

In today's Journal Mark Douglas claims that we might only be seeking to add a couple of new faces rather than radically reshape the squad - something that Paul half-suspected. Not a problem if our existing players manage to remain injury-free and rediscover their form - but that's a big if, as last season demonstrated. It would probably be better to be (comfortably) safe rather than (nearly) sorry.

A new striker seems to be the priority - perhaps a belated acknowledgement that Goofy, despite making a positive contribution to our run-in, isn't the direct replacement for Demba Ba that Llambiarse implied he was back in February. The identities of our primary targets on this front are unclear - interest in St Etienne's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang appears to have cooled and he's now talking about Bayer Leverkusen, Swansea and Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund as possible destinations, while Braga's Eder has a long-term cruciate ligament injury. Given events of the last year, we hardly want to be buying players who are already crocked before they come to us - it'll happen soon enough anyway...

One possible departure is Mr T, who is reportedly the subject of interest from Lokomotiv Moscow. As I suggested in my end-of-season review, not so long ago the prospect of losing the Ivorian, even for a fee in excess of £20m, would have been painful, but after a torrid campaign moving him on for a tidy profit might be the best option.

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