Bristol City struggled the season before last, a season many would see as something of a disappointment – especially to diehard Robins fans.
The club relied that season on the firepower brought by Chelsea youngster Tammy Abraham – his 23 goals in 41 games essentially prime in keeping them in the division. This season though, this season he wasn’t at the club – Chelsea preferring him to get experience in the Premier League with Swansea.
Taking up the goal-scoring mantel of Abraham was Bristol-born Bobby Reid. The 25-year-old displayed an excellent touch in front of goal, scoring 19 goals and providing seven assists. Last season Bristol City finished in a mid-table 11th position – an improvement over before but a position that fans will want the club to kick-on from.
The advancement of the transfer window, and its subsequent early closing, means that plans for transfers need to be brought forward – something that Lee Johnson has been open about.
In words carried by the Bristol Post, boss Johnson has said the following about the club’s plans and strategies. Answering a question about the potential for the ‘window’ and whether the Robins are able to splash the cash, Johnson said:
“Absolutely. I think we’ve got ourselves in a position – and that’s the beauty of it – where what we’ve done over the last few years is create real value in the squad. We created value in terms of raising the profile of the individuals, we’ve created value in the squad via our improved league position and we’ve created value in the players from coaching them to be better than they were originally.”
That “value in the players“, especially higher profile players such as Aden Flint and Bobby Reid, will no doubt bring the transfer vultures to the club with their flapping cheque books. Johnson goes on to say that players at the club ‘might’ be being watched, but that any departures that do occur will be on the club’s terms.
Johnson says that the club are in talks with those players out of contract at the end of next season, adding it wouldn’t be inconceivable that the Robins could step out in early August with the same squad that finished the 2017/18 season only a week ago.
Johnson also spoke of the direction the club might take in relation to transfers being sought by the club. Speaking of this, the Bristol City boss said: “I think you look at every situation on its merits – what you’ve got in the squad. What’s below the squad. You’re very conscious at this club to not block up a pathway. The situation will be determined by the big picture and we’ll make as many right decisions as we can within our resources with the way the owner sets the tone for the way he wants to move forward and I’ll do that to the best of my ability with the recruitment staff.”
With the opening of the summer transfer window just a few days away, it would appear that Bristol City, like all other clubs, have gotten their ‘thinking caps’ dusted down and firmly on.