It’s good to hear that Garry Monk is already planning for the long-term at the club, although he is insistent on ensuring that our Championship status is secured before making any final decisions.
When he was appointed in early March, he was given a three and a half year contract, but there was some uncertainty that he would be here beyond the end of the campaign if the club had ended up in League One.
Now five points clear of the bottom three, the Birmingham Mail asked whether he was already looking ahead to the summer. He replied:
“We are giving everything to this [relegation battle]. Yes there are little focuses on other things trying to put more structural stuff in place – that’s a big part of the club of what we need to do. When I first joined of course that’s part of the discussions but in terms of clarification – not yet.”
“Of course, you have to have an understanding of where that’s going to be but in terms of real detail and going forward with that we haven’t been able to until we make sure we are safe in this league.”
He is keeping his cards firmly to his chest, as he should do. The type of transfer targets we can expect to go after would be vastly different depending on the division we are playing in, and so holding fire on making concrete plans for next season is certainly the right move.
I have no doubt both he and his backroom staff have some recruits in mind already, but again, as the manager says, even then it will depend on the type of transfer budget that he will be given.
A balance will have to be struck between Financial Fair Play, and ensuring that this squad is dramatically improved upon after two seasons of serious underachievement.
Obviously, it’s not wise to look too far ahead with safety still to be ensured mathematically, but we can assume that work is already underway, looking at a number of free transfer Bosman signings, as well as other potential bargain buys.
Although Wes Hoolahan’s name has been mentioned, Monk was pretty dismissive of the link when asked yesterday about it, but I’m sure there are many agents of players available this summer trying to get on the phone to the manager.
What we can anticipate is that there will be fewer loan signings than this year. Young players like Wes Harding and Bez Lubala have moved ahead of the likes of Carl Jenkinson and Jeremie Boga in the pecking order since the manager’s arrival.
Of course, that may be down to the quality of the loan signings at our disposal but there seems to be a drive towards putting faith in youth, and it will be interesting to see what happens on this front in the future.
In any case, the fact I’m even discussing these issues, rather than being worried by the relegation battle ahead, is a testament to the job that Monk has done so far. Hopefully he can now finish the job and get started on planning for next season as soon as possible.