Before the season begins, we all get excited. The sun is shining, the smell of fresh grass fills the air and most importantly, your team is working hard behind the scenes to get the squad ready for a promotion push.
But with big fees being at a premium, teams are having to be shrewd in their business for the 2021-22 season. Here, Justin Peach from the Second Tier Podcast picks out seven transfers that have caught his eye.
Emiliano Marcondes (free transfer, Bournemouth)
This is a great pick up for any team in the Championship. Marcondes was something of a squad player for Brentford but his qualities were there for everyone to see.
He was a pivotal cog in Brentford’s play-off campaign, particularly in the second leg against Bournemouth and the final against Swansea. He picked up a goal and an assist and was really effective in keeping Brentford ticking in the final third.
He can play as a number ten in a 4-2-3-1 or a creative number eight in a 4-3-3 and that flexibility will be massive for Scott Parker’s side this season.
Paulo Gazzaniga (free transfer, Fulham)
For a second-choice keeper, Gazzaniga was incredibly reliable for Spurs. He made 17 appearances in the 2019-20 season before Joe Hart was brought in.
During that run of games in 2019-20, the ex-Southampton keeper showed a good shot-stopping ability, averaging 3.2 saves a game and 1.8 within the penalty area. This experience will be vital for Fulham in the Championship this season as they adapt to being without the impressive Alphonse Areola, now at West Ham on loan from PSG. Gazzaniga ended last season as number one for Elche, keeping two clean sheets in eight games.
Ryan Woods (free transfer, Birmingham City)
This signing has gone under the radar. It was done early in the window as Lee Bowyer looked to add experience and composure to his midfield. While not being a goalscorer or creative midfielder, Woods will collect the balls from deep and start to open up the game.
With a knack for playing a crisp diagonal, Birmingham City’s wide players are sure to benefit as Bowyer looks to play an expansive style of play with plenty of crosses into the box.
Carlos Mendes Gomes (undisclosed, Luton Town)
This is a transfer that should excite neutrals. Carlos Mendes Gomes hit 16 goals for Morecambe in League Two and at just 22 years old is nowhere near his peak.
It was a breakout year last season for the young Spaniard, who had made 37 appearances for the Shrimps before his goal glut. He will be looking to make his mark in an energetic team put together by Nathan Jones.
He’s scored the majority of his goals from the left and is not afraid to help his team out defensively as Luton look to progress from mid-table for the coming season.
Uche Ikpeazu (£1m, Middlesbrough)
Ikpeazu has been a bit of a journeyman so far with Boro being his sixth permanent home at just 26. But last season he showed just what he’s about.
Not only does he have the typical ‘big man up top’ attributes, he’s also a great dribbler and wins fouls in dangerous areas. While his goalscoring numbers may not impress, he will get his teammates into dangerous positions throughout the season as Warnock looks to put together a promotion-challenging side.
Stefan Johansen (undisclosed, QPR)
We could have picked out several signings for QPR in this transfer window, but Stefan Johansen seems to be the final piece in the play-off push jigsaw for The Hoops.
The midfield general was another loan signing added permanently and his ability to dictate play from deep and create openings with through balls is sure to spice things up for the QPR attack. He barely put a foot wrong in his 23 games in the 2021-22 season and his experience will surely help Mark Warburton’s push for the top six.
Alex Mowatt (free transfer, West Brom)
This is an easy one. Mowatt was arguably the best central midfielder in the Championship last season with eight goals and seven assists for Barnsley and he’s sure to improve.
He’s got a range of attackers at his disposal in Grady Diangana, Karlan Grant and Callum Robinson as the Baggies look to bounce back after relegation last season. He knows Valerien Ismael’s style of play having prospered under him at Barnsley and will be a huge asset for West Brom as they aim to bulldoze their way back to the Premier League.
Justin Peach – @secondtierpod