Bristol City have been proactive since the end of the 2021/22 Championship season as Nigel Pearson looks to strengthen his squad amid hopes of better fortunes next term but offloading players is going to be key to a transformative summer window.
It’s something that the Robins have struggled to do in recent years but getting rid of players that are excess to requirements or high earners that aren’t proving good value for money will be necessary if significant progress is to be made in the coming months.
Tomas Kalas doesn’t exactly fall into those two categories but now could be the right time for City to cash in on the centre-back, who has been a regular fixture in the side over the past four years.
The Czech Republic international has made 146 appearances since he arrived from Chelsea in 2018 but with his contract up next term and his influence on the side waning, the reported interest of Stoke City may give the South West club an opportunity they should certainly consider.
According to the Mail on Sunday (06/06: p150), the Potters are monitoring the former Robins captain ahead of the summer window.
City paid a club-record transfer fee to sign him permanently from Chelsea in 2019 so if they aren’t looking to extend his contract then letting him leave for nothing next summer would be bad business.
Quiz: Are these 18 Bristol City transfer facts true or false?
Kalas was emblematic of a struggling defence that shipped the third-most goals in the Championship last season while with Rob Atkinson finding his feet, Timm Klose signing a new deal, and Kal Naismith joining from Luton there is an argument to be made that he is no longer a guaranteed starter.
The 29-year-old has been a fantastic servant for the Robins but given his contract situation, wage (the second-highest in the squad at £25,000-per-week as per Capology) and his waning influence in 2021/22, City should consider offers made by Stoke or any other interested parties.
It would be a big call, yes, but money is tight at Ashton Gate and it could free up some funds for Pearson to make further improvements to the squad.
He still has a lot to offer but he’s no longer an obvious first choice and this may be the right time for a fresh start – for both the player and the club.
Pearson has painted himself as a manager that is no afraid to make the hard decisions and this would be making that sort of talk into action.