Championship outfit Bristol City will be extremely disappointed with their recent league form, losing five of their last six matches.
Despite managing to end their nine-month winless run at Ashton Gate at the end of October, they have plunged themselves into a potential relegation battle with their recent results and will need to get back on track after the international break to ensure they aren’t in any danger of facing the drop.
To make things worse, manager Nigel Pearson is currently spending time away from the club with an unidentified illness, with the club’s CEO unable to provide a date for his potential return at this stage during what could be a crucial training period to make a real difference.
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It could be argued the interval has come at the right time for them after winning just three points from a possible 18 recently, but the club may also have one eye on the January transfer window with a few additions potentially needed to overturn their fortunes.
Bearing this in mind then, we have selected three transfer-related talking points for officials at Ashton Gate to consider in the coming weeks.
20-year-old Han-Noah Massengo is currently contracted to the club until 2023, making him less of a priority than those whose deals are expiring next summer in normal circumstances.
But after spending around £8m on him back in 2019, the club have a decision to make if they want to be financially sensible and potentially give manager Pearson a decent amount of money to spend in the future.
They either need to tie the Frenchman down to a longer-term deal at Ashton Gate, or look at cashing in on him with 18 months left on his deal at the start of 2022 and the winter window potentially being the last chance to generate a respectable amount of money for his services.
CEO Richard Gould revealed to Bristol Live earlier this week that the club were engaging in talks with certain players over extensions, although he wouldn’t be drawn into whether the midfielder was one of those currently in negotiations.
Gould did joke he wanted to keep him for the next 10 years though, so it would be hard to see them not sitting down with the 20-year-old ahead of January.
Flanagan well-suited to City?
Bristol City are one of three sides in the race for Sunderland centre-back Tom Flanagan according to Football Insider, with the Northern Ireland international’s contract at the Stadium of Light running out next summer.
With the Black Cats falling out of the automatic promotion spots recently and a return to the Championship not guaranteed, even at the fourth time of asking, the 30-year-old may be unwilling to wait any longer to make the jump up to the second tier.
Flanagan has spent the majority of his career below Championship level, although two seasons with Burton Albion in the second tier between 2016 and 2018 could make him an attractive option for the Robins.
But with little room for improvement at 30 for this potential signing, Taylor Moore to come back in the summer and Zak Vyner as another option for Nigel Pearson, it remains to be seen whether they would be willing to make a formal approach for his services, either for a cut-price deal in January or on a free transfer in the summer.
He has been a crucial part of the Wearside outfit’s defence this season though, so he could be an experienced option the second-tier outfit can rely on.
The 30-year-old is also being monitored by Middlesbrough and Preston North End.
The state of play on Palmer and Vyner
Speaking of defender Vyner, he has only made seven appearances in the league this term, even being left out of eight matchday squads completely and looking as though his time at Ashton Gate was coming to an end.
Recent starts in his side’s last two games against Birmingham City and Coventry City will have been a huge individual boost for the 24-year-old, who was previously told to ‘train well’ by manager Pearson to force his way back into contention, but the concession of six goals in these matches may change the 58-year-old’s mind on his inclusion.
City’s manager is currently away from the action with an unidentified illness as previously stated, something that could affect the centre-back’s game time. But that remains to be seen.
The same ‘train well’ message was sent to Kasey Palmer who hasn’t played a single minute in City’s last four league games, playing in just six Championship matches so far this season and with that, potentially on his way out if he fails to receive more minutes on the pitch.
Both men will be considering their futures going into the winter window, though a change in manager could completely change their situation in Bristol.