Summer Transfer Review

I’m feeling pretty underwhelmed.

And to be honest, I’m sure Alex Neil is too.

When last season came to a conclusion, the immediate afterthought was that we needed an injection of quality.

A 14th place finish was disappointing, yet I struggle to envision anything other than more mediocrity this campaign.

When Callum Robinson departed to the tune of £8 million, we expected a certain level of investment.

Unfortunately, other than one cash signing, the necessary investment did not materialise.

Tom Bayliss, a deep-lying playmaker with huge potential, was a stellar signing for £2 million, but unfortunately other areas of the squad required strengthening too.

Alex Neil does not trust either of our shot-stoppers, meaning another season of chopping and changing lies ahead.

At left-back, we hastily sent Josh Earl out on loan, only to be left red-faced when our primary target, Max Lowe, slipped through our fingers.

This morning, Neil stated that Rafferty and Fisher, two orthodox right-backs, will be adequate cover for our only left-back in Andrew Hughes.

While Fisher did feature for us at left-back in the final four games of last season, it is not a credible solution, especially with the knowledge that Alex Neil really does not rate Joe Rafferty.

If Hughes does pick up an injury, we could be in serious trouble with a defence lacking balance.

But for me, the most crucial weakness was and continues to be goals.

Where is our significant goal threat? Who will fill the creative void left by Callum Robinson?

While Andre Green is positionally very similar to Robinson, he cannot be expected to have the same level of output.

By all accounts, Green is quite raw, lacking in end product and needs to gain in confidence.

Our striking options are lacking too.

Stockley may well step up this campaign, but I remain doubtful until he is given a run of games.

The former Exeter hitman is clinical, but does he fit into our system with his lack of mobility?

Then you’ve got Seani Maguire. A player with the potential to bang them in for fun, but the injury history of an 85-year-old.

Seani offers pace, skill and a neat finish, but can often look isolated and lightweight.

A player like Scott Sinclair would’ve signed with the guarantee of at least ten goals this season, while Fraizer Campbell registered 18 goal contributions last season.

Both of these forwards were linked, but once again Preston fell foul of a hyper-inflated market.

We still refuse to scour foreign markets, despite increasing competition in the domestic sphere.

Yes, we should be grateful for Trevor Hemming’s investment and people are too quick to spend someone else’s money, but I think it’s quite reasonable to expect a sizeable portion of reinvestment.

This summer was one of opportunity with the grip of FFP beginning to tighten, but rather than grasping the chance, we have put ourselves in danger of being left behind.

Take Brentford, a club who have sold prize assets Konsa, Sawyers and Maupay, but also reinvested in Mbeumo, Jensen and Jansson.

Only one of these signings was from the domestic market. Jensen arrived from Celta Vigo while Mbeumo came from Troyes.

Arguably, Preston only lost one key asset in Robinson, but we are yet to replace Jordan Hugill, who left in January of 2018.

Signing third/fourth choice targets is a false economy, creating a bloated squad and disillusioned players.

Ripley was signed to sit on the bench, Rafferty can’t get a game at right-back ahead of a centre half, Graham Burke has been a complete flop while Ginnelly is another project player.

All that said, we still have a very good squad, I just wish we’d show a little bit more ambition. Signing more first choice targets and adding players like Ginnelly who are prospects, but also bringing in ready made footballers like Scott Sinclair.

This transfer window has been underwhelming, but I will still support the club wholeheartedly and hope that I will be proved wrong.

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