Despite the current situation we find ourselves in regarding the football season and whether or not it should be continued, voided or prematurely ended (or a combination of any of those options), one thing is definite. Players’ contracts expire at the end of June. This no doubt adds to the complication of the decisions to be made, but when I was looking through the lists of players to be released by their clubs, I noticed five players that used to play for City, and could realistically be linked with a return to East Yorkshire.
5. Oumar Niasse (Currently at Everton, aged 30)
Niasse was an interesting one. Signed initially for Everton by Roberto Martinez in February 2016, he was soon frozen out of the first team by incoming manager Ronald Koeman (he wasn’t given a squad number to start with, but was then demoted to Everton’s U23 squad and stripped of his first team locker). Marco Silva brought him in on loan for City, where he scored a modest 4 goals in 17 appearances. Some may say his performances dipped when it mattered most – City were ultimately relegated that season after giving themselves a fighting chance – but in the Championship, Niasse could prove himself to be a useful asset. Whether or not his wages would be a stumbling block though remains to be seen.
4. Robbie Brady (Currently at Burnley, aged 28)
Brady is a player that Hull fans will have good memories of, spending two loan stints (one season long and then the first part of the next season) before permanently signing from Manchester United in January 2013. Brilliant on his day but sometimes inconsistent (his corner deliveries were often frustrating), he moved to Norwich before switching to Burnley in 2017. Remarkably, the Irishman isn’t even 30 yet – which could suggest that he still would have a lot to give in a City shirt if he decided to drop back down to the Championship.
3. Shane Long (Currently at Southampton, aged 33)
The Irishman’s time at the KCOM Stadium was limited – only 8 months after signing in January 2014 from West Bromwich Albion. He often played in a two up front with Jelavic, and proved an important player in City’s survival season under Steve Bruce. After playing in the Europa League Qualifiers in pre-season, he departed for Southampton for around £12 million – a figure that City fans at the time said was an excellent amount to get, if that money was invested well in the team. Hindsight will tell you that was not the case, and with Long’s career coming to it’s latter stages, perhaps he would still have a lot to give dropping down a division.
2. Eldin Jakupovic (Currently at Leicester City, aged 35)
A firm fan’s favourite after a calamitous beginning to his City career (the home game against Sheffield Wednesday was no doubt a low point), his passion and desire in his celebrations made him very popular at the KCOM. His reaction to seeing his own save against Arsenal in the FA cup on the big screen will no doubt live long in fan’s memories from happier times at the club. Undoubtedly in the twilight of his career, he is due to be a free agent after barely playing for Leicester. Perhaps this is the most likely of all of this list to return to the club and add a bit of well needed experience into the current side, but who knows?
1. Tom Huddlestone (Currently at Derby County, aged 33)
Despite being back at his boyhood club, the ex Tottenham and England midfielder is out of contract next month, and is the sort of midfielder that the Tigers currently lack massively. His passing range is superb, and on his day, Huddlestone can be influential. Many City fans may argue that we never really saw the best of Huddlestone in a Hull shirt, save for occasional flashes of brilliance, but could he be a shrewd re-signing to help build back the confidence that The Tigers have been bereft of since Grosicki and Bowen departed?
Just as an aside, I did notice Will Keane is due to be a free agent this summer – but I doubt many Hull City fans would be desperate for the forward to return to East Yorkshire.
Who would you like to see back at the KCOM? Or is re-signing a player never a good idea?