Dijks is close, City going toe to toe with Rams for Wildschut, but will anything concrete transpire today?Tue 31 Jan 17 by Martin Penney
Saturday wasn’t too bad was it?
Three on the bounce at home now, three more points and a superb individual goal from Cameron Jerome. All his own work, as you might say, and one that Mr Huckerby wouldn’t have been too ashamed of scoring himself.
There’s no point in me going through all the nitty-gritty of the match (Gary and Will have already ably done that) but I will say the Barclay and The Pit seemed well onside and the atmosphere was pretty good throughout.
At one point in the second half we thought the boys and girls ‘downstairs’ were singing “Carra Road and it’s Yella ‘n’ Green Army” rather than the expected Alex Neil version, but it might have been a trick of the acoustics.
Good results at Cardiff and Wigan, and we could be seriously back in business. Here’s hoping.
The timing of the publication of this article surely gives away what’s coming next: that black dog on our shoulders that is the transfer window. It also might give Gary some editing headaches!
As I write, it’s noon on Monday. Currently we have sold Martin Olsson and appear to have acquired what seems to be a direct replacement in Mitchell Dijks from Ajax Amsterdam on loan for the rest of the season.
According to his agent, he didn’t want to come on a permanent because he didn’t want to risk playing second-tier football next season. However, Alex Neil has apparently persuaded Dijks to come and give it a go in a concerted play-off push and if all goes well, look towards signing him them.
I’ve seen a few comments on various media that more or less say “if he doesn’t want to come we don’t want him”. I don’t see it that way – in this case, at least. How can anybody be a loser in this?
The lad wants football, he won’t get much at Ajax and it looks like he will here. We don’t have to buy the player at the end of the season, and if we remain in the Championship he wouldn’t want to sign anyway. To me this is sound business.
I know some might call it cheap-skating (because it is by its very nature a loan, not a purchase), but you do not play for Ajax if you are a bad player. And whatever the outcome with Dijks, we can then sort that position in the summer, taking into account our status and budget.
Interestingly, season’s end will be equally important for our only current left back, young Harry Toffolo. I don’t know how much he has improved as, unsurprisingly, I don’t get to see much of Scunthorpe. He is out of contract at the end of the season, and this summer will surely be make or break time for him.
It also seems inevitable that Robbie Brady is off, which on paper should give us the funds for a left-sided wide player (a true replacement for Brady, and not an auxiliary left-back) and, whisper it quietly, a better centre back than – Timm Klose apart – we possess already.
Brady was always something of an enigma for me. I cannot understand why he was often preferred at left-back to a fit Martin Olsson. He never quite turned it on for us like he could for Ireland, and towards the end I doubt his heart was really in it.
I will remember him most for two things: his fantastic strike against Wolves and that disastrous, misdirected clearing header against Liverpool.
Apparently we have also put in a bid of around £4million for Yanic Wildschut. Makes sense. The Brady sale would give us enough to buy someone at that price and pay their wages for the duration of a lengthy contract. Ironically, Wildschut would appear to be a like-for-like replacement for Brady.
However it ends up, there will have been a revolution on our left flank, considered by many of us to have been much the stronger of the two sides for some time.
Now the centre back. The only rumour I have seen in the media has been Angus MacDonald from Barnsley, and I have heard no rumblings elsewhere (very unusual at this time of year).
Some £2.5 million has been quoted, which is interesting in that my rough arithmetic suggests we would have enough left from the Olsson sale to buy someone at this price, allowing for the Dijks signing fee and wages. However, I fear the only central defender we will see in this time round is likely to be either The Invisible Man or The Ghost.
Strikers? I doubt it. Reading an interview with Cameron Jerome in the EDP today, he only spoke of himself and Nelson. We only play one striker anyway (for good or ill) so I’d be surprised to see anything happening there.
As for the players many supporters would like to see traded out, my instinct is that it is simply not going to happen. As has oft been said in realistic quarters, they have to want to leave, and whoever buys them has to be able to cover their wages.
Plus, and most importantly of all, somebody has to actually want to buy them. The good news is that a few of these are out of contract at the end of the season, and I reckon they won’t be going anywhere until then.
Anyway the window will gently close at 11pm tonight. Frankly I will be grateful. Gone are the days when I would have TV, radio or computer on awaiting developments that often do not transpire.
We can then all start to speculate again in the summer.