To attempt to gauge the success or otherwise of a January transfer window on February 1st is a pointless exercise, so I won’t.
Only when Messrs Dijk and Wildschut have been given a fair crack at filing the Olsson and Brady shaped voids will it be possible to properly compare the merits of the respective outs and ins.
What we can say say with some confidence however is that from the perspective of the club’s coffers it’s been a fruitful January. Jez Moxey and Steve Stone will I suspect consider it a job well done.
In terms of transfer fees, some back of the fag packet maths show the club’s spend to be in the in the region of £8 million (a reported £7 million for Yanic Wildschut plus, say, a £1 million loan fee for Mitchell Dikjs), while the sales of Brady, Olsson and Canós have recouped something akin to £17 million, possibly rising to £20m.
Of course transfer fees are only part of the equation. In order to cost out the impact of any deal wages too have to be built into the sum and on that score it’s fair to assume that the club have again come out the right side.
Even allowing for the contractual impact of relegation on the pay-packets of Brady and Olsson, both will have been at the top end in Championship terms and the fag packet tells me the Dutchmen will be less of a burden on the wage bill.
So if success is breathing new life into an ailing bank account then it’s certainly a big fat tick for those involved. If on the other hand it’s refreshing a squad that has for much of the season looked jaded and in need of an adrenaline shot then only time will tell.
On the face it Alex Neil and Team (Ricky) Martin appear to have done little but plug gaps vacated by Waitrose standard players with two from Morrisons but only on the face of it.
While no longer a starter for Ajax, Dijks arrives armed with a more than decent CV, and Wildschut, while with a less impressive portfolio behind him, has proven himself to be an accomplished Championship performer.
That both are ‘big units’ and quick has to be an advantage in the hurly-burly world of the Championship, and no doubt formed part of Ricky Martin’s brief as Neil looked to add a more physical edge to a group who for large chunks of the season have been far too fragile.
The big ‘if’ comes when said units have played enough games to no longer be considered newbies. Then it’s crunch time and then we can decide if the squad on February 1 was weaker than it was on January 1.
What we can probably agree on is that it’s unlikely to be considered stronger.
Even if the left sided like-for-like trades have been successful, still there are defensive frailties that have been left unaddressed.
Still we are only an injury to Timm Klose away from turning again to a central defensive pairing, whichever pair Alex chooses, that has proven itself unfit for purpose.
One can only assume that deals for centre-backs were again hindered through lack of funds, which given the transfer surplus appears unlikely, or Ricky and his boys were again unable to identify a suitable, realistic target and get the deal over the line.
For a shiny, new centre-back not to have been on the wish list would appear, at the very least, a bit odd.
The departure of Sergi Canós just six short months after his arrival was another that came in the ‘odd’ category but perhaps needs to be regarded as one of those that simply didn’t come off.
It appears once Alex had had a really good, close-up look at the lad, his attitude, his ability and his demeanour, he simply saw Jacob Murphy as a better option.
The player himself was naturally frustrated, was offered the chance to go somewhere he considered ‘home’ and City chose to cut their losses.
Some are smelling a rat – I prefer on this occasion to see it as one the club simply got wrong. Only time will tell if letting him depart so soon was an error of judgement.
And so ends the January transfer window of 2017, one that promised a major clear-out of much dead wood and a squad overhaul but which in fact delivered nothing of the sort.
Olsson and Brady will be missed a little bit – both on their day were fine performers – but the latter in particular offered us more glimpses of his bottom lip than his talent.
Much now depends on how quickly the new Fernando Derveld and Raymond de Waard can adapt to their new surroundings.
Good luck fellas. Here’s hoping.
PS. Did I mention that you heard the Wildschut news here first? 🙂