When it gets to this stage of a transfer window, you kind of know intrinsically, that the most likely business that the club will do, will be on a loan basis or perhaps a free. Whilst many fans are left bemused by loaning players from another side, only to improve them and then let them return to their parent club, if it makes the side better, then why not use it to your advantage? Permanent signings are great, but they don’t always work out either. Whilst the transfer model seems to be bringing in players and developing them, before selling them on, there is always that chance that the club get it horribly wrong and a player has no resale value. Marvin Compper anyone?
It would seem fairly obvious to most of us, that when a club drops out of the shitshow that is the EPL, their players will be looked at by a number of teams. For the season just finished, Swansea City, Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion, despite the parachute payments, will all have to cut their cloth accordingly. Swansea have seen 16 players leave the Liberty Stadium this summer, including ex Celt, Ki Sung-Yueng. Stoke have lost 15 and WBA have lost 13. Sure, all three clubs have brought players in but there will be quality players at all of those clubs that might not see much game time this season. It’s definitely an avenue worth exploring, right?
Would you take a punt on a guy who played in the EPL last season, who has been capped internationally and has experience of playing in the top league in Switzerland and Russia?
Step forward Moritz Bauer. He’s a right back who has been heavily linked with a loan move to Glasgow over the last 24 hours. He’s a right back but Stoke in all of their wisdom, also deployed him at left midfield at various points last season. Go figure.
He started his career with Austrian minnows, FC Winterthur, before securing a move to Grasshopper Zürich in 2010. He’d go on to play nearly 50 games for their U21 side before graduating to the first team and would play over 100 games for them, chipping in with four goals in the process. His performances for the Swiss side caught the eye of more than one club and current Watford head coach, Javi Gracia, then at Rubin Kazan, paid £3.6m for the then 24 year old as his first signing. He settled well in Russia and quickly established himself as the first choice right back. Managing four assists in his first ten appearances for them, and according to a Russian football reporter, the Rubin fans took to him because of his style of play, described as “consistent and hardworking.”
His performances for Rubin saw him earn international recognition for Austria and he was voted Rubin’s player of the year for 2017, despite the team finishing 9th that season. It’s all the more impressive when you you consider that he had team-mates of the likes of Alex Song, Yann M’Vila, Sergio Sánchez and Rubén Rochina.
Described as a player with a combination of strong technical ability, an excellent turn of pace and someone who is always keen to attack, he could be a useful outlet for the side. His final ball is consistently good and he loves a long throw in. Another weapon for the arsenal? Previous coaches have articulated that he’s the type of player who is always to learn and improve himself. Given that he’s a qualified pilot and speaks five languages; English, French, German, Russian and Spanish, he might have made Stuart Armstrong jealous if he’d stuck around! Sounds ideal for the gaffer, right? The learning and improving part, not so much the flying bit.
With Rubin encountering financial difficulties, a lot of their more valuable players had to be moved on, Bauer included. When it became clear that he was going to be allowed to leave the club, thousands of supporters took to the social network, VK, a Russian Facebook, if you will, bemoaning the fact that he was leaving and thanking him for his efforts on the field and wishing him luck.
Stoke made a bid and he was quick to seek out advice from some old friends. Marko Arnautovic, Xherdan Shaqiri and Kevin Wimmer all convinced him to make the move to England. Rather bizarrely, he signed for Stoke when Eddie Niedzwiecki was caretaker manager for £5.8m, although the deal had been sanctioned by Mark Hughes who had been sacked three days previously. Ex Celt Paul Lambert would agree a deal a week later though so maybe he filled the right back in on what it’s like to play at Celtic Park. You’d listen to someone who has a Champions League winners medal, wouldn’t you?
When interviewed by the Stoke official club matchday programme last season, he said all the things that you’d expect a player to say. He wanted to stay if they got relegated, he was keen to help them win promotion again if that happened. That said, given that we got the result that we all wanted last night, doesn’t the prospect of at least six games against European opposition appeal more, than the thought of away trips to Brentford, Ipswich, Millwall or Rotherham? Chuck in the fact that Stoke have just signed Everton defender, Cuco Martina, on a season long loan, then maybe this will happen.
As fans, are we at the stage of the window now, where we just want someone to sign? It’s not ideal but if a player of the apparent calibre of Bauer becomes available, you try to make it happen, don’t you?
Don’t forget about Benkovic and someone that perhaps played for Kilmarnock recently too. Happy Friday.