This summer we focused our transfers on nine first-team players to replace the nine first-teamers that departed the club this summer. Of the initial £2million budget handed to us by Clem Morfuni this summer, we spent only £1.4million of that as we also utilised our ongoing affiliation with Chelsea to bring in three players on loan.
On the outgoing list, we let go of a few fan favourites from previous years as the likes of Jonny Williams, Rob Hunt and Ben Gladwin all departed after helping to guide the team from League Two all the way into the Championship.
No doubt the biggest departure on paper was the £8million fee brought in from the sale of youngster Carl East who registered only one first-team appearance for us following his 2022 arrival from Bamber Bridge on a free transfer. East has had two very successful loan spells with Chester and Barrow in the lower leagues since, and Burnley have clearly seen a budding talent enough to splash out on the attacking midfielder. We placed a clause handing us 50% of any income from a future transfer of the player from Burnley.
With our improvements to the first-team and East’s deal being completed late in the window, we will keep the money brought in for both the January window if necessary and investments in the club later down the line.
With the £100k departure of Sean McLoughlin to Coventry City this summer, Swansea City’s Jake Bidwell has come in to replace him at left-back. We have Scott Tanser who will battle for his starting position, along with Jordan Thorniley and Luke Badley-Morgan who can also play in the position as well as centre-back.
Bidwell spent part of last season on loan at Wigan in League One despite the first part of the season playing a big part in Swansea’s start to the season with 19 league appearances before January. With that Championship experience, we hope he can use it to push us on this time around.
I was delighted to interest Luke Badley-Morgan in our project as he is someone we tried to bring in last season but he did not want to join us until we had consolidated our place in the league.
Instead, last season Badley-Morgan had a great season in the Eredivisie with Vitesse Arnhem as he helped them on their way to reaching UEFA Europa Conference League qualification in 4th place along with AZ Alkmaar. He has experience beyond the rest of our squad which could prove to be incredibly useful and it is great to have him here.
We are really happy to have brought Aaron Ramsey back on loan from Aston Villa for the third consecutive season now after two hugely influential years with the club previously, earning him a new contract at Villa Park in the process.
Last season, Ramsey was outstanding, improving on his League One performance with 12 goals and 4 assists from 38 starts in the Championship, joining Jake Scrimshaw and Jude Soonsup-Bell as our top scorers last time.
We hope to bring Ramsey in permanently one day, but with his new contract at Aston Villa, it shows an interest to keep him in the long-term.
In central midfield, Daniel Adshead comes in to fill the void left behind by this season’s retirements and departures for Jamie Allen, Adam Clayton and Ben Gladwin.
The 22-year-old failed to make too much of an impression at Carrow Road, with his best spells coming at Gillingham and Telstar in the Netherlands during loan spells from a couple of years ago. We hope that we can mutually benefit each other with some good performances throughout this year as that central midfield spot becomes a tough one to break into.
We were shocked to hear of Oli Burke’s transfer listing in Croatia with Dinamo Zagreb, but we certainly feel like we have got a great deal as the winger only cost us £650,000.
Once rated as one of the hottest prospects in Europe, triggering big transfer fees of £12million and £15million from RB Leipzig and West Brom respectively, Burke has struggled to show the promise demonstrated early in his career. We hope to give him a great chance as one of the club’s star players to really provide us with some great performances in the Championship and spearhead us to glory.
Prior to Burke’s transfer listing at Dinamo Zagreb, we planned for Lewis Morgan to form a key part of our squad via his wing play but I believe that he can still be a useful rotation option throughout the season, as used by Coventry City last season where he made 22 starts and appeared 7 times from the bench.
Juninho intrigued me with his ability to play both in the centre and out on the right wing during his time with Gremio where he impressed in Brazil’s top tier, playing a key part in some impressive campaigns in Brazil where Gremio even finished runners up to champions Flamengo.
We have the option to sign Juninho for £1million at any point during his loan spell here, but I wanted to test him in the English league system before making any kind of solid investment in a player that looks good, but is still young enough to find himself stuck in a league that he can’t perform in.
Another benefit of our link with Chelsea has been the ability to finally interest Harvey Vale in our project at Swindon Town and he joined us this season following an initial attempt last year, like the situation with Luke Badley-Morgan.
Instead, Vale had an impressive season with Sunderland on loan in the Championship last season, scoring 6 goals and assisting 2 times in 25 games. His ability to play almost anywhere on the pitch is also something that could become very useful this season.
We are also extremely delighted to welcome back Jude Soonsup-Bell after an incredible debut season with us last season on loan.
Soonsup-Bell finished as our club top scorer and the division’s 2nd top scorer with a phenomenal 20 goals from 39 appearances as he fought for his position well with Jake Scrimshaw and we expect the same from both once again this season.
Our investment in the youth has meant that we can begin to supplement the first-team squad with our own products, namely Lawal Omoregie who is looking very impressive in recent weeks and months.
We will also look to use Ethan Flowers as our back-up to the outstandingly consistent Joe Wollacott this year, rather than bringing in a back-up from another club as has happened previously.
We have established an U23 side for the upcoming season with the intention of creating a direct pathway through the club to reach the first-team and a lot of our foreign summer signings of younger players will experience that for the first time with names such as Tomás Cunha and Mamadou Konaté looking to make the step up at some stage.
I'm afraid Neil is too loyal for your liking
A lot of great stuff is happening around the club, it's building a great foundation for the future.