Huddersfield Town are facing a big summer in 2021 and there’s got to be a significant focus on giving Carlos Corberan’s squad a freshen up as they aim to write a new chapter in the club’s recent history.
Corberan, of course, has to focus on keeping Huddersfield in the Championship this season. They’ve won only once in 2021 – an impressive 4-1 win over Swansea City on Saturday – and are not out of the woods yet with regard to the fight for survival. That’s the worst case scenario and would heap even more pressure on Phil Hodgkinson and Leigh Bromby with regard to summer recruitment, which is already a priority.
There are 11 players out of contract at the John Smith’s Stadium in the summer. The club have the option to extend the deals of eight of those, including the likes of Alex Pritchard, Juninho Bacuna and Isaac Mbenza. Amongst the other three is Richard Stearman, who is set to be out of contract in the summer without the club holding an option to extend that by a further 12 months.
Right now, Stearman’s focus is getting back playing for Huddersfield. He suffered a hamstring injury at the end of November in the win over Middlesbrough but has only just returned, making a brief cameo in Saturday’s win over Swansea. Richard Keogh has been signed to cover him and Christopher Schindler (also injured), with the former Derby County skipper partnering Naby Sarr at centre-back.
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Youngster, Rarmani Edmonds-Green did well initially after Stearman’s injury, with Corberan also recently getting the 22-year-old back from his own injury problem. All of a sudden, Huddersfield look to have a depth of options at centre-back and Stearman’s pathway back into the starting XI isn’t as clear as it once was.
The ever-developing nature of Huddersfield’s injury problems this season suggest that Stearman will eventually get his chance under Corberan, but then he’s got to convince with his performance if he’s to earn a new contract in West Yorkshire. At 33, Stearman isn’t getting any younger now and his signing in January 2020 felt like a little bit of a stopgap under Danny Cowley as he looked to pack his squad with enough experience to avoid back-to-back relegations.
Pritchard, Bacuna and Mbenza may well cut ties with Huddersfield in the summer without their 12-month options being triggered. Hodgkinson has already made it public how the wage bill at the John Smith’s is a concern and high-earners feel destined to leave as Huddersfield start afresh in the Championship after two years in the Premier League.
Then you’ve got players like Stearman that felt like a stopgap and a short-term solution to stop Huddersfield slipping into League One. The centre-back has had his days and impressed under both Cowley and Corberan, but there are no guarantees or no security that this final stage of his career will be spent at the John Smith’s Stadium.
A new chapter will, naturally, call for new faces.