Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Premiership transfer business so far

Number of players brought in: 3 (plus one loan made permanent)

Number of players departed: 5 (including one loanee)

Number of over-21 players in squad: 17

Stronger or weaker? A bit stronger

The story so far: Derek McInnes hasn't lost any of his first-choice players, but has strengthened defensively by bringing in seasoned English keeper Scott Brown as competition for Jamie Langfield, and central defender Ash Taylor.  Fringe players Scott Vernon and Josh Magennis are amongst those to depart, while most Dons fans will have been delighted that the club managed to punt Calvin Zola, even though the burly forward had a year left on his deal.  However, a long courtship of Kris Boyd ended up with the striker signing for Rangers, while reported interest in ICT's Graeme Shinnie has turned out to be pie in the sky.  The move for David Goodwillie will look like genius if he can recapture his form of a few years ago, but that's a big 'if'.

More business to come? Aberdeen's heir main objective is surely to sign a good left-back, so they don't have to play Andrew Considine out of position again this season.  Other than that, they've probably done all their shopping for this summer

Number of players brought in: 1

Number of players departed: 3

Number of over-21 players in squad: 23

Stronger or weaker? Weaker...but only marginally.  And still a gazillion times stronger than everyone else.

The story so far: 2014 Eurovision Song Contest winner Georgios Samaras is the only first team regular to leave so far, after not being offered a new contract.  The club showed no interest in keeping injury-prone defenders Steven Mouyokolo and Lewis Toshney.  But the only arrival of the Deila era so far is Craig Gordon, making his comeback after long term injury.

More business to come? Big bids for Fraser Forster and Virgil Van Dijk are surely inevitable before the end of the transfer window.  It would be a surprise if new boss Ronny Deila didn't make a few new signings as well.

Number of players brought in: 9

Number of players departed: 16 (including one loanee)

Number of over-21 players in squad: 17

Stronger or weaker? A bit stronger

The story so far: Paul Hartley clearly wasn't impressed with the squad that John Brown left him when arrived at Dens Park in February and has well and truly gutted it.  Quite right too; there was more dead wood than you'd find at a shipwreck, and the only player to leave who might have done a job this season is defender Declan Gallagher, who left the club on the same week that he was alleged to have attacked a man with a baseball bat.  Coincidence?  Hmm.  Whether many of the new faces are up to the task is debatable.  Hartley clearly didn't watch St. Mirren try and fail to play Paul McGowan and Gary Harkins in the same team, or see Phil Roberts' infamous meltdown after being sent off at Alloa for Falkirk last season.  Meanwhile, defender James McPake better have had a stringent medical, whilst fellow ex-Hibbee Kevin Thomson hasn't actually been any good for about three years.  The only signing who looks like a sure thing is midfielder Simon Ferry.

More business to come? Hartley wants another two or three new faces, and could certainly do with a striker.  In order to make space, he will try to offload Kyle Benedictus and Nicky Riley, who have been deemed surplus to requirements.  Exciting youngster Craig Wighton is likely to be loaned out.

Number of players brought in: 4

Number of players departed: 6 (including two loanees)

Number of over-21 players in squad: 16

Stronger or weaker? Probably about the same

The story so far: Three million simoleons for Ryan Gauld.  Woof.  Meanwhile, Gavin Gunning's exit leaves a hole to fill in the centre of defence, but Jackie McNamara will hope that Jaroslaw Fojut might fill it.  Morgaro Gomis left for Hearts after being a perennial sub last season, and it was no surprise to see Mark Millar let out of his contract early after six months on loan at Falkirk.  Youngsters Blair Spittal and Charlie Telfer were signed with a view to the future.  Callum Morris was good at League One level, but is the former Dunfermline player really capable of doing a job at this level?

More business to come? McNamara would love to get Curtis Good back on loan from Newcastle again to provide another option at the back.  United were one of Kris Boyd's many suitors and so are likely to look for another striker.  Expect Chris Erskine and Michael Gardyne to be encouraged to find pastures new by the end of August.  And might someone yet make an offer for Andrew Robertson that they can't refuse?

Number of players brought in: 5

Number of players departed: 4

Number of over-21 players in squad: 14

Stronger or weaker? About the same

The story so far: Accies are determined to resist the temptation to bring in too many veterans at the expense of their own young players, but they have brought in some experience in the form of busy but limited journeyman Dougie Imrie (who is always good for a goal against his former club ICT each season) and Falkirk keeper Michael McGovern, who is an upgrade on Kevin Cuthbert; neither, however, are Premiership quality.  Winger Daniel Redmond is an exciting signing from Wigan, however.  Aside from Cuthbert, the only mainstay of the promotion-winning side to leave is forward James Keatings, who joined Hearts.

More business to come? As it stands, this squad does not have enough to compete in the top flight.  Alex Neil could certainly do with another defender or two, and a forward with more mobility than the evergreen Jason Scotland or lumbering targetman Mickael Antoine-Curier.

Number of players brought in: 0

Number of players departed: 5

Number of over-21 players in squad: 17

Stronger or weaker? About the same

The story so far: Not a lot to report from the Highlands, with John Hughes having signed up last year's squad well in advance of the summer.  It wasn't a surprise to see Ben Greenhalgh released, while youngsters Connor Pepper and Matthew Cooper departed too after failing to establish themselves.

More business to come? It would be a surprise if a forward wasn't snapped up, as ICT could really do with giving Billy Mckay a rest now and then.  Otherwise, they seem quite well set.

Number of players brought in: 6

Number of players departed: 16 (including 4 loanees)

Number of over-21 players in squad: 7

Stronger or weaker? Weaker

The story so far: Rumour has it that a revolving door has been installed at Rugby Park, just to make things more efficient.  Allan Johnston has not retained a single player that he signed during 2013-14 (Craig Samson was signed by Kenny Shiels, so he doesn't count), so Killie fans had better hope that he does a damn sight better in the transfer market this time round.  Most of the departures are justified; however Kris Boyd will be impossible to replace.  Johnston wanted David Goodwillie but the former Blackburn forward chose Pittodrie instead.  So Lee Miller, now 31, has returned to Scotland to lead the line.  He's a good target man but hardly the goalscorer the team needs.  The other new faces haven't caused many ripples of excitement in Ayrshire; Neither Josh Magennis, Jamie Hamill nor Paul Cairney have done enough in the last year or two to prove they are of Premiership quality, while centre back Mark Connolly, formerly of Crawley Town, is a bit of an unknown.  New winger Tope Obadeyi couldn't get a game for Bury in English League Two last year.

More business to come? Unquestionably.  They are short in defence in particular.  Midfielder Graham Carey was training with Killie last week, and would be a decent addition.

Number of players brought in: 1 (plus 1 loan made permanent)

Number of players departed: 7

Number of over-21 players in squad: 13

Stronger or weaker? Slightly weaker

The story so far: 'Well were right to let James McFadden go, given that he looks past his best and was one of the club's highest earners.  Shaun Hutchinson was expected to leave, but he will be hard to replace.  In contrast, Henri Anier blew hot and cold, and getting a fee for him was a good piece of business.  On hte plus side, exciting winger Lionel Ainsworth signed a permanent deal and maybe Dan Twardzik will be an upgrade in goal.  Hey, at least Stuart McCall doesn't have to completely rebuild the team like he did a year ago.

More business to come? Well, it's traditional that they sign an unknown Estonian striker, isn't it?  I'd be surprised if McCall wasn't on the lookout for another defender and another striker, though he has high hopes for youngsters Craig Moore and Lee Erwin.

Number of players brought in: 1

Number of players departed: 8 (including 4 loanees)

Number of over-21 players in squad: 17

Stronger or weaker? About the same

The story so far: The loss of Aaron Taylor-Sinclair is the biggest blow, but had been expected for some time.  The Jags would have liked to sign Lyle Taylor permanently but the big forward signed for Scunthorpe United instead.  Isaac Osbourne would have been an asset if fit...which is never.  The only new face is ex-Hearts player Ryan Stevenson, who should do a job in midfield or as an emergency striker.

More business to come? Another striker or two are a necessity.  Three defenders - Darren Barr (released by Kilmarnock), Carl Magnay and Jordan Mustoe have been on trial; Barr would be a good signing if he has overcome his injury woes.

Number of players brought in: 4

Number of players departed: 13 (including 5 loanees)

Number of over-21 players in squad: 12

Stronger or weaker? Weaker

The story so far: County have made some decent signings - Antonio Reguero is a Premiership-quality keeper who was wasted on Kilmarnock's bench, while ex-Raith winger Joe Cardle will do a job, and it seems a reasonable bet that either Liam Boyce or Jake Jervis will prove to be a decent goalscorer.  The main headache for Derek Adams is that he still has huge gaps in the squad, especially in defence - Erik Cikos, Ben Gordon, Brian MacLean and Evangelos Oikonomou all chose to move on.  The midfield will miss Graham Carey's guile, and it was a shame (but not a surprise) that Filip Kiss chose not to remain in Dingwall.

More business to come? Unquestionably - currently there are only two defenders under contract!  Expect several more signings before the end of August, but there isn't much time to integrate them into the squad before the proper action starts.

Number of players brought in: 0

Number of players departed: 6 (including 1 loanee)

Number of over-21 players in squad: 17

Stronger or weaker? Probably about the same

The story so far: St. Johnstone have so far held onto everyone that matters - or, more specifically, Stevie May.  Tommy Wright has had a wee moan in the press about not being able to afford to bring in anybody, but in truth his starting eleven doesn't need strengthening unless more players leave.  It'll be interesting to see if Murray Davidson signs on for another year once he is fully fit - he's only under contract till August.

More business to come? It's hard to know.  It'd be a surprise if they went the entire summer without a single signing.  A poor start to the season might loosen the chairman's purse strings, I suppose.  

Number of players brought in: 4 (including 1 loanee)

Number of players departed: 11 (including 4 loanees)

Number of over-21 players in squad: 9

Stronger or weaker? Weaker

The story so far: Lots of exits, as there was plenty of dead wood to shift.  Paul McGowan's departure seemed a surprise initially, but he wasn't great last season and may benefit from pastures new.  At least they found a new employer for Gary Harkins, who still had a year on his contract.  The best pieces of business were the signing up of Kenny MacLean and Marian Kello on new contracts.  Whilst it was a shame that impressive young keeper Chris Dilo left, the retention of Kello and the arrival of former Hearts backup Mark Ridgers should be sufficient between the sticks.  The backline looks thin, though.  Can young loanee Ellis Plummer fill the gap left in the centre of defence by Rangers-bound Darren McGregor?  Meanwhile, the best you can say about young forwards James Marwood and Ross Caldwell is that they are low-risk signings.

More business to come? There had better be, since right now the Buddies have only seven outfield players over the age of 21.  They have lots of holes to fill.  One of the features of Danny Lennon's tenure was his poor record in the transfer market, so it's not a surprise that his successor, former assistant Tommy Craig, hasn't set the heather alight so far.  Plenty of depth is needed, particularly in defence, and further wide players would be useful as alternatives to the inconsistent Gregg Wylde and the geriatric Gary Teale.  And is it really wise to assume that St. Mirren can get yet another decent season out of 36 year old striker Steven Thompson?  Then again, I said that last year...


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