What do we know?
· Antonio sold to West Ham
· Jamie Paterson loaned to Huddersfield Town
· Stephen McLaughlin sold to Southend
· Chris O’ Grady in
· Ryan Mendes – maybe in
· Jonny Williams – maybe in
· Ezequiel Schelotto – possibly in
· Nelson Olivieira - possibly in
· Michael Mancienne still with us
· Jack Hobbs still with us
· Previous deals:
· Kyle Ebicilio
· Matt Mills
· Jamie Ward
· Daniel Pinillos
First of all, for a club under a transfer embargo and undergoing the mother of all injury jinxes, the club hasn’t done too bad. At the very least, it’s not sat there like a pudding, twiddling its thumbs and just kind of hoped everything would be alright. Even if nothing else comes to fruition, there are certainly enough bodies in there for the manager to work with - although it would be nice to confirm the capture of Jonny Williams.
Were this to happen, the midfield looks strong. Kyle Ebicilio seems to have fallen under the radar in some people’s thinking – probably as a result of his poor first half showing on Saturday - but his performance at Bolton on his debut was strong. Given the options available in the middle of the park, one does still wonder who will be the sitting/defensive midfielder though. Freedman may well persist with Mancienne but if all of the options are available to him, there seems no reason to do so. He could pair up any two from Vaughan, Ebicilio and Williams(?). A more logical deployment would be to give Hobbs some much needed rest and stick Mancienne back in alongside Mills. Kelvin Wilson (bless him and Hobbs as defensive cover isn’t wet yourself exciting but as good as a club under embargo will get in this league. And one fine day, Chris Cohen and Britt Assombalonga will kick a ball around again - perhaps Andy Reid too.
But let’s not forget about the talent on our doorstep, nay, in our own front room actually. The concern with a bucketload of acquisitions is that the kids might get squeezed out. It would be particularly painful to watch O’Grady and Blackstock lumber around while Tyler Walker ran himself into the ground by the touchline like a giddy kid desperate to catch Freedman’s eye in an effort to get the nod to take off his hi-vis bib and join the fray. It is to be hoped that Oliver Burke and Jorge Grant are part of the plan too. On the other hand, it would be tragic to see them all chucked in and simply fail. Were such event come to pass, surely (!) fans wouldn’t turn against the kids and would instead vent their spleen towards Freedman but from his point of view, he needs to be sure of stuffing some results in the bag. As stated previously, how he handles their development may turn out to be the decisive factor in how he is judged.
It should be remembered also that surely a manager’s job is to coax he best out of what he’s got and not be utterly reliant on going out and putting deals together in order to ‘solve’ problems by bringing in new faces every six months – it’s that short-term thinking that kind of got us into this pickle.
There is the basis of a very good squad there already and were all of the incomings to be confirmed (lest we forget Jamie Ward, Matt Mills and Daniel Pinillos) then Freedman will (a) have done very well in gathering together a solid squad under difficult circumstances and (b) need to actually get them playing.
The danger with all of these deals is that we have to do the same thing all over again each window when current loan deals expire.
It is worth remembering too that seasoned professionals like Chris Burke and David Vaughan are still very much on the books. Indeed, Stuart Pearce’s acquisitions were in retrospect, generally excellent. Whatever the actual specifics of the deal regarding the sale of Antonio, the club has made a profit; let’s take this as much-needed steps towards throwing off the shackles of the embargo. Sure he’s going to be a loss to the team given the rate of involvement he had in either scoring or creating goals but adaptation is now required and it should be well within any manager’s capacity to reshuffle a team to do so. Antonio was great – a thrill to watch – but he isn’t irreplaceable – he isn’t Messi. Besides, ultimately he wanted to go and best of luck to him.
Will anyone be left at the club to report for training tomorrow morning? Will the club surprise everyone by brining in some new faces and a much sought after striker? Will Leon Best finally rock up at the City Ground after 34 years of being linked with us?
We don't know the answers to these questions but over the course of the day, perhaps we'll find out.
You can watch Sky Sports News if you like with their yellow ties, hyperbolic exclamations and breaking news ticker tape displays. But if you want to filter out all the other stuff and just find out about the ins and outs (stop sniggering - you're bigger, more mature and better than that) then check in with us from time to time as we strive to keep you up to date with who leaves the City ground for pastures new.
But let's start with what we DO know. As we all know by now, it is widely reported that the club have accepted a £7m from West Ham United for Michail Antonio. It is understood that Antonio has been in London today chitchatting away about contracts, taking the team forward and the importance of avoiding relegation in this season of all seasons.
There has been a distinct lack of talk of swap players or makeweights in any such deal. Stand down, Matt Jarvis - you are free to develop your website at your leisure without having to re-locate to oop norf: http://www.mattjarvisofficial.com
In the last hour or so, a flurry of excitement has been caused by this:
So after some furious googling and people contacting other people, this:
@danielstorey85 At first he was full of drive and determination. Got fans on their feet. Injuries have killed that. Functional winger.— Andrew Gibney (@Gibney_A) August 31, 2015
There are some goals too and I'm sure we can all agree that he has good hair.
Otherwise, it's been quiet from Fulham regarding their interest in Michael Mancienne - maybe they're just saving it all for 5.50pm tomorrow.
Also, Britt Assombalonga has had a nice day in the gym larking around with Henri Lansbury while Jamie Ward sulked in the background:
Working hard with this one in the morning https://t.co/pyGTnSHHFL— Britt Assombalonga (@BrittOfficials) August 31, 2015
Anyway, let's all reconvene some time tomorrow and see what the fickle hand of transfer window day has dealt us.
Feel free to get involved and use the comments section below. That's where the updates will, as if by magic, appear.
You're my eyes and ears on this thing - now get to work, people.