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Baggies

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Summer transfer window 2020 review
« on: October 17, 2020, 09:35:59 AM »
So with the window finally closed (albeit with us awaiting the Grosicki transfer decision), how does everyone rate our business this year?

It's definitely been a different window this year, with CoVID uncertainty and lots of clubs feeling out the changed market.

On our part, it seemed to come down to a "phase 1, phase 2" strategy. A lot of time (and money) was dedicated to rebuilding the team that hobbled over the line last season. Robinson didn't set the world alight during his loan move and yet we were really focussed on signing him back up. The deal we eventually struck was a decent one for a player who Sheff Utd bought for £7m last season, but the jury remains out whether he adds much to the team. Diangana returned, maybe unexpectedly. While i love him and love the signing in isolation, there are question marks over whether we should have spent such a large chunk of our transfer budget on him knowing we had gaps in so many other parts of the squad. Krovinovic eventually returned on loan, which considering Benfica's asking price is probably the right deal. He is another who didn't really do enough to justify a second season, but Bilic really wanted him which puts the club in a difficult position and with a second season here he might yet adapt well (Benfica fans rate him highly from his ore injury form there).

On to the new signings. We have failed to bring in a left back or a defensive/holding midfielder. Part of that will be down to Bilic wanting to prioritse other areas, but holding midfield continues to be a huge weak point thay nobody at the club seems to want to do anything with while we will probably have to field Townsend for large parts of the season at left back which really is a weak point.

We failed to land 3 key targets in Duffy, Grbic or Eze. I don't really blame the club on any of those but it is still a blow. Eze was replaced by Diangana which is the next best thing anyway. Grbic was eventually replaced by a 31 year old David Button, who you would imagine will be a place holder while we assess Palmer and Griffiths (i'd argue that's understandable). Duffy was probably the most disappointing of the lot. His replacement seems to have been bungled a bit really. Kipre was signed because he became available at a low price, rather than being somebody I think Dowling really believed was the answer. Bilic clearly didn't want him and was slightly unprofessional in saying as much to the media. To appease him, the club sanctioned Bilic bringing in a 36 year old Branislav Ivanovic, somebody Chelsea decided 2 or 3 years ago had become too slow for English football. Bilic is right, from what i've seen on twitter Zenit fans have loved "their captain", but it's going to be a huge ask for him to be at the required standard for us. It isn't often an old centre half does well in the premier league. We desperately needed a top centre back to partner Ajayi/Hegazi/OShea, but instead we have 2 real gambles.

Of the rest, Connor Gallagher has been a long term target. He had a great season last year and will I believe be a good signing, but unsure if he does enough to address our unbalanced midfield. Finally, we spent £14-£15m on Karlan Grant. Grant can score goals and was probably the best domestic option available to us, but when Habib Diallo goes for £9-£10m having scored double figures in the French top flight, you do see the flaws of Dowling's obsession with the near domestic market only policy.

Do these signings improve our first team? I think Grant does, although there will be potential balance issues signing 3 left sided attackers who like to occupy the same areas (Grant, Robinson and Diangana). I also believe Gallagher is an upgrade on Sawyers and Krov so he might help us on the counter attack and give us more bite. After that? I'm unconvinced we have improved an already flawed team enough to stay up in this difficult division.

At the risk of this post becoming an essay, I do think in addition to Dowling's lack of a foreign recruitment network, there is also a short termism that is evident in his approach. He has spoken before about not being scared to sell players as we can go out an replace them and I worry he takes every season one at a time, rather than thinking long term. Lots of clubs, reacting to increasingly inflated transfer fees, now try to sign players up young as investments. It has helped Watford this summer, while Brighton, Wolves, Villa, Leeds and even Burnley have all done the same this window. Once again, Dowling's Albion show no such intent. If we go down this season, i'm not too sure where the improvements are on last seasons team. Krov and Gallagher will be back at their parent clubs, Ivanovic will be 37, half our team will be in their 30's and the only obvious upgrade will be a notoriously twitchy Karlan Grant. Dowling said last season that we should only be focussing on players who can get us out of the championship and not thinking long term,  but that policy then meant we spent all summer trying to rebuild our loan army while we have been furiously trying to sell 3 players in Zohore, Austin and Grosicki who only arrived last season for around £12-£13m. At what point does Dowling start thinking in the long term?

One ray of light has been the approach to loaning out academy players. We have finally understood the importance of getting our brightest players out on loan to ready them for life with our first team. It has worked for Edwards and O'Shea so there can be optimism that next season, somebody like Palmer, Griffiths, Morton, Windsor, Tulloch, Soule, Azaz, Shotton or Clayton-Phillips might be like a new signing for us (fingers crossed Morton, Clayton-Phillips and Tulloch return from their injuries quickly, I did read yesterday that the latter's hamstring injury is worse than first thought which is another huge blow). My only disappointment with the loan policy is that arguably the crown jewel of our under 23 players - Rakeem Harper - didn't get the loan move he desperately needed.  He now sits as our 7th choice central midfielder and the only way he gets game time from this point forward is if we have a CoVID outbreak.  We should really have been brave and given him a full season at a Barnsley, Luton or Coventry. He is the most likely of any of our under 23's to have been a first teamer next season.

So, overall I can't really say I see this as a successful window. It was a tough one for the club but I don't think we have done enough in the short term to keep us up this year, or the long term in seeing us return to the championship with a better team than the one that came up. We don't make our lives easier and won't until we plan longer term and build atleast a basic foreign scouting network.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2020, 09:41:52 AM by Baggies »
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johnny Cash

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Re: Summer transfer window 2020 review
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2020, 09:54:24 AM »
I agree with a lot of it that.

Viewed independently most of the signing look ok, good in fact. If asked to put a positive spin on any signing in isolation I could do so.

However in context, or as part of a bigger picture or plan and against what is missing or lacking things begin to fall apart.

Baggies

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Re: Summer transfer window 2020 review
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2020, 10:06:34 AM »
I agree with a lot of it that.

Viewed independently most of the signing look ok, good in fact. If asked to put a positive spin on any signing in isolation I could do so.

However in context, or as part of a bigger picture or plan and against what is missing or lacking things begin to fall apart.

That's where the long term thinking bit comes in for me. So much of our business in Dowling's 2 years here have been signings for the next 6 months.

Bakary Sako, Mason Holgate, Stefan Johanson, Jefferson Montero, Jacob Murphy, Kenneth Zohore, Charlie Austin, Ali Al Habsi, Kamil Grosicki, Lee Peltier, Chris Willock all signed in a 2 year period, all short term fixes. Add to that Krov, Diangana last year, Gallagher, Ivanovic this year.

A few of them make sense in isolation as you say (Diangana for example), but that's 15 signings in a 2 year spell that at the time have no long term plan attached to them.

We need to be better than that. Dowling is a bit of a Del Boy really. Constantly trading, wheeling and dealing for short term value.
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Oldbury24

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Re: Summer transfer window 2020 review
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2020, 10:20:24 AM »
I agree with much regarding overall squad strength but do feel we are in a much better position than we were a year ago.  We have a front four on long term contracts who are 20-25 years of age with their best years ahead of them.   Ideally they will be scoring goals in the stripes together for the next few years regardless of division, but if do get rekegated or a bigger club comes in we can expect top dollar due to length of contract and reinvest. 

Yes, there are weaknesses right across the team but it was always going to be difficult to plug all the gaps .
We are still high net spenders because this time round we just had no saleable assets to offset.   

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Re: Summer transfer window 2020 review
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2020, 10:42:26 AM »
Comprehensive opening post there Baggies.

I agree with the sentiment around UK based v Overseas markets. I am puzzled as to why the club has chosen this path. Whether resources, personal preferences of Dowling or indeed Bilic or whatever.  Last year Dowling did some press post window. I will try to get Masi or Madeley to ask the question as to why.

Getting the band back together would have been fine as a strategy if it was a kick ass tight unit that wasn't skipping a beat or dropping a note. Unfortunately during the second half of the season and particularly after the break the band was playing many a discordant note.

We should have taken the summer to rethink and refocus the starting XI around one very clear system. In that context we don't resign Diangana nor Krovinovic. While I stress I like both players they are mistakes at a tactical level. I think we needed to do more with the Diangana money as that was too big a slice of money to replicate a lot of what Pereira brings to the table. 

In defense of those responsible for recruitment the circumstances were tough and while maybe the outcome is far from perfect it was never going to be perfect. I would agree with johnny Cash that all the transactions are at least okay (maybe the Ivanovic deal aside) but viewed as a whole maybe less so.


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Re: Summer transfer window 2020 review
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2020, 11:05:46 AM »
Having looked around at other transfer goings on in the Prem, where do you think we've over spent? 

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Re: Summer transfer window 2020 review
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2020, 11:53:24 AM »
Brentford invested in a French scout and it has paid dividends with £50m recouped on 2 transfers.

Baffles me for a long time now how we insist on UK based players - it’s been going on for at least 10 years with 8/9 on the starting 11 consistently being UK based.

It is a tactic that we really need to change.

I like the investment in younger talent but we are still woefully lacking in a few areas and the Grosicki transfer has left a sour taste in my mouth.

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Re: Summer transfer window 2020 review
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2020, 12:18:42 PM »
I agree with Baggies regarding our UK-insular scouting approach, which doesn't provide value for money, and also that we're weak in the positions of goalkeeper, left-back and defensive midfield. We're also too reliant on loans and inexplicably give lengthy contracts to players who aren't good enough and/or are too old to warrant them.

We simply don't have a tigerish midfield player who wants to put a strong foot in and break up play, and I feel that this failing will cost us a lot of goals this season.

I have concerns about the right-back position too, as I'm not entirely convinced that either Furlong or O'Shea are up to the task, and I don't know why Peltier is still here.

We look weak on the right-wing too, if Robinson's not playing. Phillips has demonstrated for a couple of seasons that he's lost whatever he had and Edwards can't be relied upon to put in a 90 minute performance. I also believe that Pereira is much less effective when played out wide. All of this just reinforces the idiocy of the decision to move Grosicki out.

We do at least now have some players who will hopefully generate large profits down the line and I'm excited to see what Grant and Gallagher can add to the team.

As for Luke Dowling, I think he should go and be replaced by someone who has better vision, contacts and ability.

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Re: Summer transfer window 2020 review
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2020, 12:41:01 PM »
Perhaps brexit may have something to do with things in our transfer policy?
As I've said before, its the NOW that matters not the future.
I think they are trying to reduce the average age and skill levels to gradually build a strong younger skillfully team/ squad to be able to compete in the premier league.
Stay up no matter what position then build again and so on.
Obviously there is a great team spirit that's building but that will only get us so far.
But with a fair wind ,I think we'll stay up then move for a better player or two,I think that's the stratagy.
Obviously not all transfers work out but that applies to all clubs.
Of course the longer we stay up,the better players we can buy because well have more money.
I'm optimistic for our club.

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Re: Summer transfer window 2020 review
« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2020, 01:42:38 PM »
Jack Butland gone to Palace for £1m. Missed out there big time.

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Re: Summer transfer window 2020 review
« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2020, 01:57:42 PM »
Having looked around at other transfer goings on in the Prem, where do you think we've over spent?

For a start, i'd argue £18m is a very big fee for Grady. As far as i'm aware, no player who was playing Ligue 2, Serie B, Bundesliga 2 or Segunda division has gone for such a high amount. Is that because the Championship is the best second tier in Europe? Maybe, but I doubt it's THAT much better than the other leagues in question so the fees commanded for players from the championship are extortionate. That's not saying Grady might not prove value for money, it's just saying that the outlay is a lot larger than you would pay elsewhere in Europe. By comparison, another £8m could have got you Spanish international Rodrigo (i know it isn't that simple, but the point is the price difference).

Grant for £15m (if that's the fee) is also a lot higher than proven French top tier strikers have gone for this year. I would argue that ligue 1 is a higher level than the championship, so it makes little sense to me that Championship goals are worth more than Ligue 1 goals.

Looking in the prem, most sides do over pay and I concede that i think foreign sides do attach an "English premium" once they realise there is interest, but then there are teams who have found value in our domestic leagues.

All of Brighton's business has been low cost, big upside, including a Dutch international for less than £1m and Adam Lallana on a free. Brentford who are pro's at this replaced Watkins with Toney for an intial £5m outlay (currently second top scorer in the league).

Leeds have signed 2 of England's best youth strikers for peanuts, Fulham haven't spent more than about £7m on a player yet have upgraded in a number of positions as well as having a side that has been "relegation proofed" with a lot of young players who can help them bounce straight back, Sheff Utd took Derby's 2 first choice full backs for a very small outlay, Saints have spent money but it's been targetted and all in the £11m region for very high quality foreign based signings and even Wolves, who i am loathe to point out due to their Mendes link skewing things bought a full back from Lyon for a very small outlay.
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Re: Summer transfer window 2020 review
« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2020, 01:58:58 PM »
Jack Butland gone to Palace for £1m. Missed out there big time.

Might have been worth a shot but his wages probably make up for the low fee and he has been very poor for Stoke for 2 or 3 seasons now. Buying goalkeepers who have started to flap is always a risk. Joe Hart a good example.
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Baggies

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Re: Summer transfer window 2020 review
« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2020, 02:04:28 PM »
Perhaps brexit may have something to do with things in our transfer policy?
As I've said before, its the NOW that matters not the future.
I think they are trying to reduce the average age and skill levels to gradually build a strong younger skillfully team/ squad to be able to compete in the premier league.
Stay up no matter what position then build again and so on.
Obviously there is a great team spirit that's building but that will only get us so far.
But with a fair wind ,I think we'll stay up then move for a better player or two,I think that's the stratagy.
Obviously not all transfers work out but that applies to all clubs.
Of course the longer we stay up,the better players we can buy because well have more money.
I'm optimistic for our club.

Brexit isn't a bad shout, but I don't think it is a huge factor in Dowling's thinking as nobody knows what the restrictions will look like post brexit. It could go the other way and there might be even more access to players from abroad, depending on which way the tories go. Dowling was described as a "domestic scouting specialist" when he joined Watford after all, I think that's just the market he is comfortable in.

I do have to disagree that everything is about the here and now though. I don't think we are good enough for the here and now anyway and it has the feel of an "all your eggs in one basket" policy if you don't have one eye on next season. Lots of other clubs are looking forward, we could fall behind them in the event of relegation.
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Re: Summer transfer window 2020 review
« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2020, 05:20:19 PM »
My view is that both the main transfers were slightly over priced although exactly what we paid is a matter of conjecture.

I just would not have bought Diangana with the money when we needed a truly dominant midfield presence for the guaranteed element (£12m) There were at least four very good centre midfield  options that moved for less than £10m and at least another 4 based on those deals we might have picked up for similar fees.

The obvious comparison with Grant is Diallo who went for £9m. A lot depends on the exactly what we paid for Grant at £12m the balance doesn't get a a whole lot (maybe a loan deal or a bit of squad depth as cover for Pereira) but at £15m the difference is an Ivan Toney.
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Re: Summer transfer window 2020 review
« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2020, 05:27:11 PM »
We needed another striker, a LB, a DM, and another quality CB. Austin and HRK are going to be useless to us this year, as will Kipre, Townsend. While we are lacking upfront, our back 4 is way off the standard we require

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Re: Summer transfer window 2020 review
« Reply #15 on: October 17, 2020, 05:55:04 PM »
Jack Butland gone to Palace for £1m. Missed out there big time.
How. the bloke isn’t even in the starting line up for a Championship side
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Re: Summer transfer window 2020 review
« Reply #16 on: October 17, 2020, 06:22:32 PM »
We are a defensive midfielder, another striker and LB short. I don't get this massive love in for Dowling. His job is to identify new players within the budget he has to work with all he has done is bring back players who just about crawled over the finish line last season those same players haven't won a league game since Derby at home. Then if we look at the new players what have we done?

Kipre - Clearly not going to break into the squad as Billic doesnt seem to be a fan based on his lack of involvement in the match day squad and what has been said on the clubs website.

Button - Billic didn't want him he wanted Grbic as widely reported. Now I like what little I've seen of Button but it doesn't look like he is about to dislodge Johnstone in the coaches eyes.

Ivanovic - Outstanding career and was apparently great with zenit playing at CB for them the last couple of years but we are putting alot of faith into him to just come in and sort the back line out. Remains to be seen how well he does the premier league is the most demanding league in the world and he isnt getting any younger to put it politely.

Connor Gallagher - Supposed to be a tidy player but has never played at premier league level after having 2 separate stints with championship clubs last season. Jury's out.

Karlan Grant- The biggest and most important signing of the new faces. Karlan grant scored 19 goals last season cutting in from the left for a **** poor championship side. He had a brief spell in the premier league when he joined Huddersfield from Charlton in the January window a couple of years ago and he managed to score a handful of goals in that brief time to. I'm confident with this one.

But all in all we are short we are going into a premier league season with our strikers as

Callum Robinson
Karlan Grant
Hal Robson kanu
Charlie Austin

Two of those aren't good enough for this level and Robinson is more of a winger.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2020, 07:56:21 AM by Hull Baggie »

johnny Cash

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Re: Summer transfer window 2020 review
« Reply #17 on: October 17, 2020, 06:31:18 PM »
Not one post in this thread has praised Dowling, Baggie38, or seems to think he’s done a good job (unless I’ve missed it!) Now no doubt some will feel he has, but I don’t think there’s a massive love in for him at all. I think most would be happy to see him move on.

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Re: Summer transfer window 2020 review
« Reply #18 on: October 17, 2020, 06:52:36 PM »
He's an extremely self-limiting TD in my view. Happy to see him leave.

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Re: Summer transfer window 2020 review
« Reply #19 on: October 17, 2020, 07:09:35 PM »
Not one post in this thread has praised Dowling, Baggie38, or seems to think he’s done a good job (unless I’ve missed it!) Now no doubt some will feel he has, but I don’t think there’s a massive love in for him at all. I think most would be happy to see him move on.

And nowhere did I specify the admiration came from those on this forum. Social media on the other hand.

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Re: Summer transfer window 2020 review
« Reply #20 on: October 17, 2020, 07:12:46 PM »
And nowhere did I specify the admiration came from those on this forum. Social media on the other hand.

Fair enough. I still don’t think there is generally a massive love in though

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Re: Summer transfer window 2020 review
« Reply #21 on: October 17, 2020, 07:17:13 PM »
Thought we would of got rid of Austin, Phillips and Kanu three players that won't set the prem on fire. Happy that we signed Diangana hope Grant is a success but needed another striker. Don't rate Dowling if I'm perfectly honest and this window hasn't changed my mind.

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Re: Summer transfer window 2020 review
« Reply #22 on: October 17, 2020, 07:21:21 PM »
Far from a disaster and far from an outstanding success.
Diangana I think will prove to be a good signing. If we go down he and periera either tear it up in championship again or go for silly money. Robinson has already done more than I expected of him and if we go down is good enough to lead the line. Grant did business in poor huddersfield team so let's see.

As initial post said we are restricted by not using the overseas market. Not convinced by Gallagher loan signing we needed an enforcer. Krovonovic I think might do it at this level based on the 2 cup games last year.

The worst business we have done has been in defence we have signed another 2 CBS both of which are gambles one billic obviously doesnt fancy in kipre and Ivanovic is getting on so it will be a hell of an ask for him to cut it. We now have too many cbs at club. We failed to sign a credible right back. Furlong I like but he isnt a defensive option. Oshea is still a young kid and is playing out of his position and skin that's a risk. Peltier was a waste of a signing.

The other failure was in goal. We still have a pretty poor keeper who doesnt stop long distance shots or command his box we have gone and signed a keeper billic doesnt want who probably isnt going to unseat johnstone.

The only way I get past this was just the club was so badly run that it was going to take years to sort out. Austin HRK gibbs Townsend bartley Ivanovic grosicki (if he hasnt left) bond and peltier all on a free next summer. And whose to say we wont and shouldn't release all 9..
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Re: Summer transfer window 2020 review
« Reply #23 on: October 17, 2020, 07:49:01 PM »
Fair enough. I still don’t think there is generally a massive love in though

On twitter more than most are very complimentary towards him. I've seen images of his face of the head of thanos from avengers accompanied by the quote from the film "I am invincible" bizzare and a joke. I honestly believe those who write stuff about LD don't know just how amazing Dan Ashworth was for us. DA would of blew their socks off if they think LD is impressive

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Re: Summer transfer window 2020 review
« Reply #24 on: October 18, 2020, 11:25:33 AM »
chris lepkowski reckons we are still in a recovery process from 2014. i think we keep splurging our budget on players not in priority positions and making short term sticking plaster signings.  i would rather we had strengthened defence and  midfield than signed Diangana. same points as above basically.