It looks like we’re set for one of those classic ‘bidding war’ scenarios this summer, as the future of Harry Wilson remains unsolved and unknown.
A season-long loan at Bournemouth looked like being the perfect platform for the Welshman to prove his worth in the Premier League, scoring six goals in his first 13 appearances in a struggling Cherries side. His form, along with everything else tied to the club, however, got worse.
A poor second half of the season would, in normal cases, see clubs ease off the case. Wilson’s talent is a such though, that interested parties remain very much on the case. Could be quite exciting this, don’t you think? He appears to have no future at Anfield anymore, with a departure looking very likely.
From promotion-winning sides to top flight stalwarts, there are some clubs on the lookout for the Liverpool forward. Let us assess those options, be it a loan or permanent move.
First up on the block are Leeds, simply because they’re the side most heavily linked with Wilson thus far. Talk of a £15m bid being readied is doing the rounds, with their interest, at present, looking the most concrete.
Marcelo Bielsa knows his side inside out. He knows what he needs.
But for all his tactical nuances and extreme fitness regimes, there is one aspect of his side that needs seeing to for the coming campaign, one very clear one: free kicks. Leeds don’t score those.
So much so that Kalvin Phillips’ strike against Blackburn in July was the club’s first direct goal from a free kick since December 2017. What is Wilson very good at? Scoring free kicks. Precisely.
From Kylian Mbappe to Harry Wilson. No disrespect to the lad, but expectations have dropped like a ton of bricks over at St James’ Park. Their highly controversial takeover collapsed unceremoniously and now Steve Bruce’s wishlist resembles that of a realistic 40-year-old as opposed to a feverish minor. No trips to the moon or dreams of being president anymore.
Even given the now factual circumstances, Wilson could prove to be a valuable addition to the Magpies side. His delivery is impressive, coming at a time where Matt Ritchie’s dead-ball ability isn’t quite what it once was.
There is some hope that Bruce will deviate from his more regular back five setup, something we saw glimpses of at the latter end of the campaign. Wilson doesn’t suit a wing-back role; his trickery in the final third is best demonstrated without the added strain of defensive duties.
Newcastle simply need more goals. Wilson’s seven was a commendable return in an otherwise woeful side, while first-team minutes wouldn’t be hard to come by with the likes of Joelinton to compete with in forward areas.
The club signed no fewer than 14 players in the most recent summer window for a rather stupendous nine-figure total. Some barely featured, some weren’t great, but nevertheless Aston Villa stayed up. Good on them.
Three of those incoming were wingers, working together to net a whopping ten goals combined in the top flight. Not great, let’s be real. Jota started only four games. Anwar El Ghazi 26 and Trezeguet 20.
Trezeguet proved his value win some important goals at the latter end of the campaign, but the other two failed to excite and another forward needs to be brought in to lessen the goalscoring burden currently crushing Jack Grealish’s shoulders.
Is Wilson that man? Dean Smith enjoys playing with classic wingers who hug the touchline, while Wilson is more akin to the inside forward role we’re seeing more of in the Premier League these days. A change of tack could be on the cards, but generally speaking they need more goals: Wilson’s seven last term were just one shy of the Villans’ top scorer. Could work.
Another one of the newbies could suit Wilson this summer, as it’s painfully clear that Fulham need an upgrade on their wide forwards. Scott Parker got his side up with a…specific brand of football, but their wide man contributed to precious little in terms of goal contributions. More often than not they relied on moments of magic to see them through games, or Aleksander Mitrovic to score…again.
Hopefully the Cottagers have learned from their mistakes of two seasons ago, where they did as Villa did last term…except with a much, much worse side. And they bought much, much worse players.
A loan would suit the club greatly. It’s something Liverpool might be content with, as should he suddenly turn into a world beater and light up west London they’d happily have him back. Likewise, if he does well then they can probably command a higher fee for a permanent move since his contract runs until 2023.
Like this whole ‘needs goals in the team’ feels a bit ‘broken record’, but here it is again…because Crystal Palace really need goals. Only Norwich scored fewer than their measly return of 31.
Even more pressing is the fact that Wilfried Zaha looks set to finally depart Selhurst Park (again). Manager, club and player have all made it very clear he is set for pastures new, thus leaving a rather gaping hole in the attack that someone, anyone must fill.
While Leeds are rumoured to be on the verge of stumping up £15m for Wilson, talk is that a fee as low as £12.5m could seal the deal. How much Zaha will garner is up in the air at the moment, but Palace will surely not be able to command the £70m they wanted last summer given the current financial climate clubs find themselves in. That said, they should get a decent amount, and if they can recruit an exciting young forward in and still have change left over, it makes sense.
Wilson whipping in an absolute beauty for Christian Benteke to poke well wide? The stuff of dreams.
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