Written by Henry Clark
The one thing that has stood out from Hull City’s first three Premier League performances is the togetherness between the players; it was a necessity to add bodies to a squad of 13 fit senior players but also to not change the culture of a revived team under the stewardship of Mike Phelan that has kept fans that are so often disillusioned under the current Allam regime close to the players. Here we review how well the Tigers made use of their money:
Ins: Ryan Mason (CM, Spurs, around £12 million), Will Keane (ST, Manchester United, £1 million), David Marshall (GK, Cardiff City, £3.5 million), James Weir (MID, Manchester United, Undisc), Dieurmerci Mbokani (ST, Dinamo Kiev, loan), Markus Henriksen (CAM, AZ Alkmaar, loan to be automatically be made permanent in January)
Mason should fit nicely into a combative midfield with the impressive Sam Clucas and old Spurs teammate Tom Huddlestone, adding the mobility in the centre that the latter lacks. Mauricio Pochettino rated Mason highly in his time at Spurs, giving him the captain’s armband numerous times but competition for places meant first-team appearances would’ve been limited in north London.
credit Jon Candy
Marshall made a number of impressive performances for Cardiff in the Premier League and should provide good competition for Allan McGregor, who has suffered two serious injuries in three years), and the mistake-prone yet so far impressive Eldin Jakupovic.
Mbokani scored 7 goals for a struggling Norwich side last season and Phelan has moved to bring in the DR Congo man to assist Abel Hernandez in contributing to the teams goals; up front was the area that City were the lightest staffed on and although it may not be a huge name Mbokani’s aerial presence should suit the counter-attacking style of City. As former manager/hero Steve Bruce always said, “You’re only as good as your strikers”.
The signing I’m most excited about is highly rated Norwegian international Henriksen. The box-to-box midfielder was one of the most impressive performers in the Eredivise last campaign and should add a goal-scoring threat from midfield. Dutch journalist for De Telegraaf Marcel van de Graaf says that Henriksen is a tenacious character that is eager to impress people in the Premier League and reckons he has the capability to do so. The general feeling is that Henriksen is young and a bit raw but Phelan’s experience of dealing with the younger players should help mould Henriksen into a fine footballer.
The consensus of the two Manchester United youngsters is mixed; has Phelan just used his United links to get some fairly expensive, unproven youngsters to fill the bench on a Saturday or are they truly prospects for the future. Keane has starred at Under 21 level for United with a constant supply of goals whilst Weir, who captained the United under 21’s last season, brings the x-factor excitement that perhaps the City team miss. Both are versatile, highly rated prospects that will need to be nurtured into playing first-team football – not thrown in at the deep end.
Rating: Overall Mike Phelan has done a good job in a tough situation. A change of ownership and limited funds meant there was a restriction of what he could do, but a good balance of youth and Premier League experience should benefit City greatly. Greater squad depth should stop fans wincing every time they see their players go in for a 50-50 challenge.
credit dom fellowes
Outs: Mohamed Diame (CAM, Newcastle, Undisc)
In a strange way losing a player of Diame’s quality has actually benefited City in my opinion. Perhaps City’s classiest player last season Diame made the headline’s for his goal that secured the club promotion to the Premier League. But I always found there was a cloud of arrogance that surrounded Diame; he’d be the first to throw his hands up in the air in frustration if a pass was misplaced and for two thirds of the season he acted as if he was too good to play in the Championship. But fair play to him – if he wants to turn down a chance of Premier League football and drop down to the Championship and undoubtedly receive a bigger paycheck each month he can. I speak for fans when saying that is not the sort of player we want at our football club.
Mike Phelan should be delighted at what business he was able to get done. The club are riding the crest of the wave at the moment and long may the attitude of going into games as the underdogs continue. But you have been warned – don’t expect the wounded Tigers not to bite back.
Overal summer tranfer rating – 8/10
Hull fans – are you happy with your sides business? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image by dom fellowes