Despite releasing 11 senior players, Bristol City are yet to sign anyone new this summer but the dominoes may be about to fall.
The reports suggesting that Southampton goalkeeper Angus Gunn is close to rejoining Norwich City in a deal worth in the region of £10 million may not seem that important to the majority of the Ashton Gate faithful – particularly with the start of the European Championships now just a day away.
However, if that deal goes through – as it is expected to soon – it could be the start of a chain of events that kickstarts the Robins’ summer spending.
The Bristol Post reported back in March that the Saints had been monitoring City shot-stopper and 2020/21 Player of the Season Dan Bentley.
It is understood that the Premier League club’s interest in Bentley was part of their assessment of their own goalkeeping situation ahead of next term.
With Gunn on his way out of St Mary’s and this summer representing Southampton’s last chance to cash in on Fraser Forster due to his contract situation, Ralph Hasenhüttl may be on the lookout for some cover and competition for Alex McCarthy next season.
Assuming they liked what they saw, that could mean the South Coast club come calling soon.
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He may have deservedly won the 2020/21 Player of the Season award and be under contract until 2023 but should a significant offer come in, you feel as though the South West club would be open to cashing in.
The Robins have made it no secret that selling players to Premier League clubs is part of their business plan – money that would be more useful than ever in the current climate – while in Max O’Leary they have an up-and-coming keeper ready to replace Bentley.
The 24-year-old is not at the City number one’s level just yet but with Nigel Pearson feeling it could take a few seasons for the club to be ready to challenge for promotion, this could be the perfect time for him to step up and learn by experience.
It is understood that Pearson is currently operating with a limited transfer budget but Gunn’s move to Norwich may be the first domino to fall in a string of events that leaves him with more money to play with as he looks to rebuild his squad.
In that sense, the keeper’s return to Carrow Road could be the thing that kickstarts the Robins’ summer business.