With the transfer window in full swing, ESPNFC's Hull City blogger Philip Buckingham discusses how Steve Bruce's side are shaping up ahead of the new season.
IN -- Jake Livermore (Tottenham, 8 million pounds), Robert Snodgrass (Norwich, 7 millions pounds), Tom Ince (Blackpool, tribunal pending)
OUT -- Robert Koren (released), Abdoulaye Faye (released), Matty Fryatt (Nottingham Forest, free)
SUMMER TRANSFER WINDOW ASSESSMENTS
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Bruce was promised somewhere in the region of 25 million pounds to spend by the club's owners this summer. Without pressure to sell any of his first-team squad, all of that revenue is sourced from the TV money that comes from a second season in the Premier League. A run to last season's FA Cup final wasn't without its financial benefits either. It was estimated that historic adventure raked in around six million pounds.
Rate your business so far
I'd say 7/10. The challenge is always to make yourself stronger for the passing of a summer and City have managed that so far. Jake Livermore was first through the door and in truth the club have splashed out eight million just to stand still. The midfielder was almost an ever present during his season-long loan from Spurs and to ensure he was not missed they've had to dig deep to make him their record signing this summer. Robert Snodgrass and Tom Ince, though, should make City a different attacking force. Too often they were only ever a minimal threat after the turn of the year and lacking that little bit of magic from out wide. Snodgrass, especially, is one to watch.
He was Norwich's player of the season last year and offers assists and goals from the right of midfield. Ince is more of an unknown quantity in the Premier League but there's clearly a very tidy player in there if his head is right. The only question mark over Bruce's recruitment is the money spent but buying British brings a premium. At least he knows exactly what he's getting from the three new arrivals.
Who should be sold?
There is only one player City are actively trying to push out of the door. Nick Proschwitz, the big money signing from SC Paderborn two summers ago, has been an unmitigated disaster during his time in English football and still has another 12 months to run on his contract. The striker's now available on a free transfer and City are even willing to subsidise part of his wages to engineer a move. A return to his native Germany would appear to be the only escape route.
Beyond Proschwitz there's not an awful lot left. The exit of Robert Koren, Matty Fryatt and Abdoulaye Faye means it remains a skinny squad working below Bruce and the emphasis has to be on strengthening, rather than off-loading any more. Given the demands that come with the Europa League as well, it's vital that a few more can be brought in or we could be looking at a tired group of players come Christmas.
Who should be signed?
Talks are ongoing to sign Sheffield United's Harry Maguire. The young central defender has been earmarked as one for the future and providing City can stump up a little bit more cash he'll make the move from Bramall Lane. That fits in with Bruce's plans to buy young and British, inflating a squad with individuals of promise. He's also be talking to Spurs for most of the summer in a bid to sign Michael Dawson. The longer that one goes on, the less likely it becomes and he will be looking around for other experienced options. A fondness for playing three centre-backs means Bruce could do with another one in that area. That just leaves him scouring for a central midfielder who can do a little bit of everything. Bruce's words, not mine. Who that is remains to be seen but given the money is becoming stretched, I'd wager it will either be a loan signing from the Premier League or another up and coming youngster.
Problem solving: What do you need?
Bruce worries about the left-back slot in his side. Maynor Figueroa's form imploded through 2014 and although Liam Rosenior proved himself to be an able deputy, you suspect Bruce sees him more as a right-back. That leaves him searching for fresh blood and he's after Andy Robertson of Dundee United. The 20-year-old had a remarkable season in the SPL. Within a year after being part-time with Queens Park he was winning the first of many Scotland caps. The rookie left-back is earning himself a huge reputation and it would seem to be a matter of time before he chances his arm with a move to the Premier League.
A lack of experience counts against him so Danny Rose of Tottenham could be another target in mind. Is he prepared for another bit-part role at White Hart Lane? He only need ask his old pals Tom Huddlestone and Livermore for advice on making the move to City.