Another pre-season is almost upon us and inevitably we have transfers, and plenty of speculation as to who we will sign for the new season. Last summer, we were consistently linked with Matt Smith of Leeds. Now a Fulham player, Ian Holloway made 3 speculated bids for the target man. Each rejected with Leeds chairman Cellino stating they wouldn’t sale Smith for even “5 Million” pounds. The same window he went to west London for just under £500,000. It later emerged we had a bid higher than this rejected earlier in the summer. What went wrong? Was it the manner we conducted ourselves as a club? I think in this case it’s clear to see how much of a joke the Elland Road chairman is, and it was never therefore never on the cards to get the front man.
The point of me stating the above is here we are, a year later looking for a similar player in James Hanson. Harris has made it clear that getting a big front man is a priority, and something we need in the formation he will be playing. Harris himself benefited from playing with a target man on numerous occasions; Moody, Sadlier and Alexander. So surely a similar outcome could be possible with Gregory? Who struggled playing in a lone striker role last season, albeit in a higher division. With this said we’ve now had 2 bids rejected for Hanson from Bradford, a reminder of last season with Smith anyone? The speculation in the press is that Bradford have set an asking price of £500,000, a fee we can meet but is he worth that much? Using a source as shown below- transfermrkt.co.uk – Hanson’s value is £220,000. Of course every player has a price we can calculate due to goals scored, age, appearance etc. However this price doesn’t take into account how much he is valued by Bradford and how difficult it would be to replace him at their club.
So what would Hanson bring to our side? As you can imagine his main strengths are his target man play; Aerial ability and hold up play. He also brings a presence in both boxes of the pitch in attack and defence. A massive problem in the previous seasons has been the lack of threat from set pieces, bringing in Hanson will definitely help this. Against us last year in our FA Cup 3rd round humiliation he stood out as a focal point of his side, always willing to put in the ground work and throw himself around the pitch. Looking at the statistics, his appearances show injuries are not a problem and he does chip in with goals, he won’t be a 20 goal player but what he brings to the side equals out. If Hanson was to join and finish with 10-15 goals and Gregory with 20+ he would prove a great addition. Obviously with strengths being considered the only trait missing from Hanson which would benefit us is speed up top. He works hard as already mentioned but in games where you would be expected to do running, perhaps Marquis and O’Brien could come into the equation if this was the case. Of course this is only a small negative as if we were to surround Hanson with Martin, Cowan-Hall, Fred etc we wouldn’t notice his lack of pace.
In conclusion, I personally would make Hanson our top priority and pay the asking price if we had to. £500,000 is a steep price and I think we could get him for less but what he brings to the side and considering his age he is an investment worth having. He has already proved with Bradford’s cup runs he can do well against better opponents, and it’s something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. It would be great to hear your verdict, would you take Hanson for up to £500,000?
As always, thanks for reading.