Note: This is the latest breakdown of transfer moves leading up to the 2018-19 Premier League season. This post will be updated throughout the transfer window as appropriate.
Good news Terriers fans! I think that Huddersfield Town (HTAFC) has a good shot of staying up this year, their two big problems from last year (kind of major ones… ) goals scored and goals allowed. But the management seems to be ready to do business to get these fixed, they’ve been free-spending on some key cogs from last year, and have brought into some great youth prospects.
While they haven’t added any out and out strikers, Right after I finished this article, they did add a striker in 22-year old Adama Diakhaby from AS Monaco (formerly also from Stade Rennais). I think that the moves they’ve made will improve the service to their current forwards, which should be able to bag more goals between them than the team did last year. The Terriers have got to figure out how to get the ball in the goal, 28 goals scored (tied for 2nd lowest) is not going to cut it. The goals allowed is much more respectable and would put them about middle of the field, but allowing this many goals while scoring so few means that you have a horrendous goal difference and that will kill anyone’s chances.
I’m interested to see if there are any changes in the tactical formation of this team for the new year, they’ve brought in good right and left backs to complement the defense. I expect this team to play with a little more freedom (at least in the attacking-third) based on their addition of multiple attacking (central) midfielders. While they could stretch the field by adding some width, I wouldn’t be surprised if this team fluctuates between a very narrow attack (almost exclusively through the middle) and a very wide attack with most of the action coming from the left/right backs whipping crosses in. I think either one could be successful (depending on the opponent), but I definitely still think there will be games that the Terriers need to pack it in and play for a draw. I’m anticipating a low-middle table finish, but I think they have enough to stave off relegation again and then the real fun will begin with another season of Premier League money and some more transfer magic.
- Terence Kongolo ($22M from AS Monaco) – Kongolo’s last season really was a tale of two halves, half the season he rode the bench with Monaco and half the season he was on loan with the Terriers played almost every available minute. Kongolo seemed to fit well within this squad and it seems like both player and coaching staff thought so also. While expensive, I think this is a good move for the Terriers because Kongolo adds some much needed defensive depth and he is also very versatile. I think Kongolo remains the stalwart he was last year, and probably grows to be an even more important part of the Terriers defense. The management at Huddersfield discussed that signing him on a permanent transfer was a good way to show “they mean business”, and Kongolo should deliver.
- Adama Diakhaby (undisclosed from AS Monaco) – Diakhaby joins for an undisclosed fee, but has managed to garner 59 appearances in the French first division, including Champions League. I think that Diakaby allows for some additional versatility due to being comfortable in an attacking midfield role (on the left or right) or playing as a striker. While he only has 8 goals and 3 assists to his stat sheet so far, I think that this belies his potential. He also struggled with some injury concerns last year which may have limited his ability to get onto the pitch (though he made the bench for almost every game). Without knowing more details of the transfer, I can’t evaluate the transfer fully — however, I think Diakhaby will be a rotation option at the beginning of the year, likely changing into a first team stalwart towards the end of the season. I also think that his production will increase dramatically (especially if he can get on well with Aaron Mooy). The combination of a young, pacey, technical striker and Aaron Mooy could spell disaster for some Premier League defenses this year.
- Ramadan Sobhi ($7M from Stoke City) – Sobhi’s move might be all about Premier League soccer, he’s merely 21 and made 28 appearances (16 starts) for Stoke. He also signed a 5-year contract with Stoke last season, so this reeks of either a relegation release clause, an agent forcing an out for his client, or Stoke needing to recoup money (either transfer or wages). His stats were far from prolific from either left- or right-midfield, but I chalk that up more to youthful inconsistencies as well as playing on a relegated team. He contributed 4 goals and 2 assists for the stoke squad, but doesn’t seem to have really found his stride playing with Xherdan Shaqiri or Stoke. Much of the coverage discusses the inconsistencies I mentioned previously — but all seem to discuss the massive amount of potential. I think gettinga 21 year old, current (Egypt) international for $7M is akin to robbing the cradle. I think given a proper chance in the first team and having good players (that aren’t named Shaqiri) supporting him, this could be a midnight robbery.
- Florent Hadergjonaj ($5.5M from FC Ingolstadt) – Hadergjonaj is another of the Premier League “try it before you buy it” acquisitions. They tried it and he was a good addition to the back line, and so they opted to purchase the player outright. Hadergjonaj and Kongolo seem to be part of the clubs desire to tighten up the back (with permanent options instead of taking the same on loan again) and provide a youthful injection. Both Hadergjonaj (23) and Kongolo (24) should be able to form a great partnership that lasts for years. While Hadergjonaj didn’t have the same marquee price, I think he’s a good solid addition on the cheap that should develop with Kongolo and help shore up the backline if not immediately, very soon.
- Jonas Lössl ($2.75M from 1. Mainz 05) – Lössl was on loan last year with the Terriers and became one of the talks of the Premier League. He started every game for the Terriers, and has done well enough to garner a transfer offer (which was subsequently accepted). He gave up 1.5 goals/90 last season, but I also think that this is a reflection on the 16th position that the Terriers ended up achieving. Management seems to have acknowledge this shortfall and brought in Kongolo, Hadergjonaj, and Durm to add some strength to the squad. I think that Lössl is a magnificent capture for this club and I expect him to build on the 10 clean sheets he kept last year. Lössl must believe there’s more to come from this squad also or I don’t believe he would have left a Bundesliga team. Finally, despite not showing up as caps, he was the backup keeper for a Denmark team that didn’t give up a whole lot of goals at the World Cup.
- Juninho Bacuna ($2.75M from FC Groningen) – Bacuna is another young prospect (20) brought into this Terriers team. He had a good run in the Eredivise last season making 30 starts (out of 35 appearances), although I’m certain the player wishes his production goal-side had been more productive, he scored 1 goal an assisted on 5 others. Although the production numbers seem low for an attacking midfielder, there was a monopoly on goals and assists by two specific players which tells me that the statistics are very misleading in his importance to Groningen and now, his importance to Huddersfield.
- Ben Hamer (Free Transfer from Leicester City) – Hamer is a nice pick up for the Terriers, but I anticipate that he will do little more than provide competition and back up for Lössl. Lössl was on loan here as the starting keeper, and I don’t see this changing — however, I think Hamer can provide some depth on the chance Lössl struggles or gets injured. Hamer made the bench most games last season for Leicester, but rarely got brought into the game.
- Erik Durm (Free Transfer from Borussia Dortmund) – Durm seems like he’s mostly been frozen out at Dortmund not by anything of his doing, but more by the formation they are playing. Under (Thomas Tuchel and) Lucien Favre, they have tended to play 3 in the back. Since the 2012-2013 season he made 57 appearances as a left back, 30 right back to the 2015-2016 campaign, and since, he’s appeared everywhere but striker and goalkeeper. So, unlike Dortmund, Huddersfield actually do play with four in the back so I expect him to be at minimum a rotation option, if not a regular starter. A Free Transfer for a German international (even if he only has 7 caps)? Yes please, sign me up!
- Tom Ince ($12.3M to Stoke City) – While Ince played in a lot games last year for the Terriers, he played all over the field. They’ve since signed additional replacements in left attacking midfield, and central midfield where he spent most of his time. While a right attacking fielder by trade only 9 of his 33 games were spent in that position — this seems like a normal offload of a player who was somewhat of a “utility” player to a Championship squad.
- Michael Hefele ($0.5M to Nottm Forest) – Hefele was a near-permanent fixture in the back for Huddesrfield in the 2016-2017, he made 31 starts for the club and another 11 off the bench. After helping the club secure promotion, he made only a handful of starts in the Premier League, as he was clearly not going to be a stalwart going forward, it seems like it’s the best option for both player (who excelled in the Championship) and club. They’ve brought a number of players in for that position, to the point where he was deemed excess even for squad depth reasons.
- Dean Whitehead (Retirement) – Whitehead was a 36-year old central midfielder, so this move makes sense.
- Robert Green (Free Transfer) – Green is likely past his prime, and at 38 may need to settle in with a smaller club. I think ultimately the club has made the right decision letting him go.
- Sean Scannell (Undisclosed) – Scannell made a transfer to a much smaller club in Bradford City (Tier 3), meaning the club and player probably decided that a continued relationship wasn’t in their best interest.
Last update: August 15, 2018