Harry Maguire’s £17 million move to Leicester City has finally been completed, and the search for Hull City and Leonid Slutsky beings to find a replacement.
Whoever has the job of taking on the centre-back roll at Hull City in 2017/18 has huge shoes to fill, quite literally. Maguire became somewhat of a cult hero in the past two season at the KCOM Stadium, and the fans favourite will be sorely missed.
But who could actually come in and bolster Hull’s defence next season?
1. The Likely Choice: Tomas Kalas
At this moment in time, Kalas in the name in the frame to join the Tigers. The Chelsea man, who at the age of 24 and having been the Blues for seven years, has only made two appearances for the Premier League champions. He’s had loan spells across Europe, but most recently at Middlesborough, and at Fulham last season.
Slutksy has reportedly made Kalas his priority signing and he’s be a fine addition to a Championship squad. His agent has made it clear that there is genuine interest from the Tigers in the player, and he is most likely to be the man who steps in to fill the defensive void.
2. The Free Transfer: Martin Caceres
Martin Caceres would bring experience to the back-line at Hull City, and was a name raised by some supporters back in January. The Uruguayan international, who has made over 70 appearances for his country, signed for Southampton in February, but his spell was unsuccessful and he only made one appearance for the Saints.
Caceres is available on a free transfer, and having made 77 appearances for Juventus and won five Serie A titles, he’s a high-profile name that could excite the Tigers supporters if given the opportunity. Uruguay teammate Abel Hernandez could be influential if City went for this one.
3. The Out of Favour Youngster: Nathan Ake
Another Chelsea who Hull City could target, thanks to Leonid Slutsky’s links to Roman Abramovich, could be youngster Nathan Ake. The 22-year old is said to be undecided on his future at Chelsea due to his lack of game time at the club. He was sent on loan to Bournmouth last season where he made 10 appearances. He was recalled to the Blues in January but spent most of his time sat on the bench.
Ake is highly thought of at Chelsea, but with speculation that Antonio Conte is in the market for a centre-back to replace John Terry, his chances of being a regular starter for Chelsea next season look limited. Would he be willing to make the drop down to the Championship? He’s an exciting prospect but the only way he’ll develop is with regular game time. Whether on loan, or a permanent deal, he’d be a top signing for Hull.
4. Slutsky’s ex-Prodigy: Mário Fernandes
When Slutsky signed Brazilian Mario Fernandes from Gremio back in 2012, he fought off interest from Bayern Munich, Juventus, Manchester United, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Ajax, Roma and FC Porto. no, seriously! Dubbed ‘The New Lucio’, he joined the Russian club was expected to be one of Europe’s new stars. It hasn’t really gone that way for him, but he’s found a solid place in the CSKA squad, and Slutsky may be tempted to reunite with his former player.
With a solitary Brazilian cap under his belt in 2014, he has now change allegiances to play for Russia. He was chosen in their Confederations Cup squad but will ultimately miss out through injury. With almost 100 appearances under his belt under Slutsky, a bid of £8-£10 million could see the pair reunited.
5. One of the Championship’s Best: Liam Moore
Moore was one of the standout players for Reading last season, and was a member of a squad that fell agonisingly close to reaching the Premier League. The 24-year old was ever-present in 2016/17, and eyes have begun to turn. Burnely and Swansea have reportedly been keen on Moore in recent weeks, although now interest seems to be lightening.
In his younger days, Moore was scouted by Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham, and Everton, and those who watch him regularly at the Madjeski will tell you how much of a quality player he is. After loan spells at Bradford, Brenton and Bristol City while on the books of Leicester City, he is a player beginning to find his feet. Reading are desperate to keep hold of Moore, and are reportedly holding out for a fee of around £8 million, but he could be worth it.