Bristol City dipped back into the transfer market on Deadline Day, signing right-back George Tanner from Carlisle United, but the summer window is now closed.
Tanner joins Matty James, Andy King, and Rob Atkinson as the Robins’ 2021 summer arrivals, while there were plenty of outgoings as Nigel Pearson looked to change things up at Ashton Gate.
The City boss now knows the tools he has to work with for at least the next few months, so we’ve outlined what we believe his strongest XI right now…
There was talk earlier in the summer that Dan Bentley could move to the Premier League but he remains a City player and has now been given the captain’s armband by Pearson.
He’s made some stunning saves for the Robins already this season and reminded them just how good a goalkeeper he is at this level. Max O’Leary is a promising shot-stopper but there’s no doubt that Bentley remains first choice between the sticks.
There have been good signs from summer signing Rob Atkinson in the early weeks of the campaign, both defensively and with the ball at his feet, and he should only improve as he continues to settle.
Nathan Baker began the season as Atkinson’s partner but Tomas Kalas has regained his role at centre-back and though he may not be the captain anymore, he still has a place in City’s best XI.
Jay Dasilva’s return to fitness is a massive boost for Pearson and he’s top of the pecking order at left-back but things are a little more unclear on the right.
Neither Danny Simpson nor Zak Vyner have looked at all convincing through the first month of the season, while Tanner has been hugely impressive for Carlisle in 2020/21 and that may mean he’s the best option right now.
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In the centre of the park, Andy King and Matty James have proven their worth already, bringing calm, composure, and confidence to the Robins midfield while in possession and a good work rate without the ball.
This season could be the one where we see Han-Noah Massengo really emerge but for the time being, King and James are City’s best holding midfield two.
In recent weeks, Cam Pring has established himself as the best option on the left flank. A left-back by trade, Pring’s pace and power have made him a real asset and a regular starter moving forward.
The emergence of young Alex Scott has been really exciting but Andy Weimann is Pearson’s best option in the number 10 role. It’s no coincidence that his return to the side after missing much of last term due to injury has seen City begin to rediscover their mojo.
Antoine Semenyo was one of the bright spots of a disappointing 2020/21 campaign for the Robins and back from injury himself, he’s already shown glimpses of what he can offer on the right flank.
The South West club are not blessed with a huge amount of talent on the wings but Semenyo is certainly an exciting weapon to have.
Up top, Chris Martin might not be a 20-goal striker but he’s worth his place in the side for the way in which he brings his teammates into play.
That’s enough to keep Nahki Wells out of City’s best XI at the moment, while the relationship Martin and Weimann are beginning to form should really excite fans.