Bristol City manager Nigel Pearson has said further signings will only be made between now and the end of the window if some of his players leave, in an interview with BBC Radio Bristol.
The Robins have secured four arrivals during the summer, re-signing Nathan Baker after initially being released in May, bringing in Rob Atkinson from Oxford United to bolster their defence and recruiting former Leicester City midfield duo Andy King and Matty James.
However, many Bristol City fans believe they still need to address one more area before the transfer window shuts on the 31st August – and that’s the forward department after Famara Diedhiou’s departure on the expiration of his contract at Ashton Gate.
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Despite having six potential options up top, with Chris Martin, the returning Andreas Weimann, Nakhi Wells, Antoine Semenyo and teenagers Sam Bell and Tommy Conway all in contention for a first-team spot this season, Nigel Pearson’s side are arguably lacking a main goalscorer and would ideally want to add a further option to their ranks.
However, the Championship side are currently operating within a tight budget despite releasing several first-teamers over the past few months, including Diedhiou, Jamie Paterson, Jack Hunt and Adrian Mariappa, reducing the pressure on their wage bill.
In a latest update from City boss Pearson on the current state of play, he said to BBC Radio Bristol: “The only way that we’ll get anybody else in now, is if we sell. That’s the reality of the situation.
“I have to make decisions as the manager to see what the priorities are. If we end up not getting a striker in, that’s my responsibility to prioritise where we need players.
“With Andi Weimann, with Chris Martin, Nahki Wells, when Antoine (Semenyo) is fully fit, the Tommy Conways coming through, Bell-y making good progress.
“I know we are short of a guaranteed 20 goals a season person but we can’t afford one of those at the moment.
“This is the reality of where football is at the moment. It’s alright having a wish list but we’ve made a very conscious effort as a club to decide to move in a direction where we’re trying to cut the wage bill but still be competitive and still have a campaign that gives people hope for the future.”
If not signing a striker during this window means they get to keep some of their key players and avoid transfer embargoes in future, then resisting the temptation to go back into the market is worth it when you consider how much Derby County, Reading and others have been hampered by these restrictions.
Nigel Pearson is a good enough manager to squeeze the very best out of his side at Ashton Gate next season though – and you can rely on the likes of Weimann, Martin and Wells to contribute in the attacking area – even if they only end up scoring 20 goals combined.
Weimann’s return to the first team after recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament injury will be like a new signing in itself and the Austrian will be desperate to make up for lost time, so he’s definitely one to keep an eye on going into the next campaign.
Whether he returns as the same player after sustaining such a severe injury remains to be seen – but with the options they currently have – they will just about be able to get away with not bringing in a striker in the short term.
This is an area they need to address in January or next summer though if none of their current forwards manage to establish themselves as the Robins’ main goalscorer.