Huddersfield Town social media was a quiet place come 11pm on Monday evening. As rivals up and down the country wrapped up late deals, the only noise coming out of the John Smith’s after the deadline was a departure in the form of Adama Diakhaby: an expensive flop given quite the send-off.
Fans were craving signings but this was one piece of business that was still welcome, even if it was not followed by an out-of-the-blue signing of a striker.
Diakhaby was signed at the beginning of Huddersfield’s second season in the Premier League, but a top-flight player he is not. On the evidence of his spell in West Yorkshire, fans will argue he’s not even at the level of the Championship.
Carlos Corberan has managed to offload him and his task of overseeing the next chapter in Huddersfield’s history continues. However, there’s work still to be done to truly clear the deadwood from the Premier League-era and that brings us to Alex Pritchard.
More Diakhaby than Mbenza
Three players stand out when you think of what Corberan has inherited from the Premier League build: Diakhaby, Pritchard and Isaac Mbenza.
Mbenza is buying into what Corberan wants and has scored three goals and registered seven assists this season; he is, very much, part of the plans moving forwards. Diakhaby has gone, whilst Pritchard remains, albeit in limbo.
He’s played 561 minutes of Championship football this season but is only loosely involved. Unlike Mbenza, he hasn’t truly bought into what the new head coach wants and there were murmurings that he could have been moved out in January.
Football League World reported how the signing of Rolando Aarons had increased the likelihood of Pritchard leaving in January. He is out of contract in the summer and sources have confirmed that at some point in 2021 he will be on the move.
The loss of Carel Eiting to a season-ending injury could well bring him back into the picture now a January move hasn’t materialised, but others will always be preferred.
Duane Holmes has been signed from Derby County and will slowly bed himself into Eiting’s boots.
Interestingly, sources have told Football League World that Derby wanted to recruit Pritchard as part of any Holmes deal, but the player wasn’t keen on making that switch at this stage.
As it is, he remains with Huddersfield but his long-term future looks away from West Yorkshire.
What does the future hold?
There’s now a matter of months on Pritchard’s deal with Huddersfield. The club have the option to extend that by a further 12 months, which would give them a chance to recoup a fee for the 27-year-old.
However, as reported last month, Pritchard’s exit will come at some point in 2021 regardless. It could have been January, but we now expect it to be in the summer as Huddersfield evolve under Corberan.
When the time comes for that exit, Pritchard’s send off might not quite mirror Diakhaby’s, but lingering in the air will be a similar scent of Huddersfield taking a big step away from what they tried to build in the Premier League.