Welcome to the first of many totalrobins blogs about our beloved Bristol City. In this blog we will dive deep into the January market as the Robins look to strengthen their side ahead of the second half of the season.
Firstly, lets get the obvious choice out of the way, it was revealed yesterday by Bristol City reporter Gregor MacGregor that Arsenal will be recalling Nketiah from Leeds United in the next 48 hours. City are said to be the front runners to sign the forward, with a host of championship clubs waiting in the wings for his signature. Eddie has played just 464 minutes in the Championship this season, less minutes than Benik Afobe this season. In that time Nketiah has scored 3 goals, averaging a goal every 155 minutes, however considering he has played 14 games from the bench, that is a very decent record. The Arsenal forward would be arriving on loan for the second half of the season, if City are to land him.
There were reports back as far as October from many sources that Bristol City held an interest in Yoanne Wissa. The French forward has operated at both winger and striker for FC Lorient, where he has contributed 11 goals and 1 assist in just 19 matches. Averaging a goal every 125 minutes. Wissa’s 62% shot accuracy and 64% dribble success rates are also attractive. However, Wissa will not come cheap, with the expected fee for the Frenchman to be around 3-5M. There will always be a risk element to signing players from abroad into the Championship, however risks must be taken if Lee Johnson wishes to push up the table.
The last of the strikers we believe are more likely than others to join Bristol City is Connor Wickham. The Crystal Palace striker has attracted a whole lot of Championship clubs interest in January, after Palace have been linked with an abundance of strikers this January. Wickham enjoyed his best season in 2015/16, scoring 5 goals in 15 Premier League starts as well as assisting 3 goals. Signing Wickham would be a big risk for the Robins, as he has never scored more than 5 goals in a professional season. In the Premier League this season, Wickham has played just 33 minutes, taking 1 shot. For me, I think Bristol City should steer clear, although the step down to the Championship could save Wickhams’ career.
Finally, Bristol City have been linked with Burnley defender Ben Gibson. The former Middlesbrough captain has started just 1 match for Burnley, in January 2019. It has been a disaster move for Gibson, who is linked with a departure this January. The defender played alongside Kalas as Middlesbrough kept the best defensive record in the Championship this decade. Gibson is not a goal scoring defender, having never scored more than once in his professional career. However his defensive numbers are good for a Championship centre half. His 80% pass accuracy, 71% dribble success, 60% tackles success rate, 270 clearances and 46 interceptions show how solid he was in 2017/18 for Boro. However similarly to other on this list, Gibson comes at a high price. Bristol City are linked with a loan move for the remainder of the season, but will possibly have the option to permanently buy Gibson for a fee in the region of 8M.
In summary, for me Bristol City should look to secure the services of Eddie Nketiah on loan for the remainder of the season, and wait on another forward until the summer. City have conceded the 4th most goals in the Championship thus far, and although a striker is a priority, I think Lee Johnson should look to bring in a defender as well. For this to be possible, I think a defender will have to leave, in either club captain Bailey Wright or Nathan Baker. I am still undecided if Gibson is the right man, however if it is a loan deal for Gibson then I think it would be a low risk move. I also believe that we are in need of a physical CDM, as our midfield is often overrun and out muscled with the nimble Nagy and energetic Massengo.