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The Three Transfers Road to Improvement: Hull City

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The Three Transfers Road to Improvement: Hull City
(Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

In the 17th part of my "Three Transfers" series, I take a look at Hull City, a team that started the season so well that a wretched run towards the end of the season still managed to keep them up.

Of course, Newcastle and Middlesbrough playing like they wanted to go down helped Hull's cause, but what is important now is that Hull City have another season in the top flight to look forward to.

However, I think it has to be said that the current team, if left unstrengthened, will be around or inside the relegation spots again for most of next season. As such, I think it is crucial that the Tigers strengthen for next season, and my suggestions for Phil Brown to mull over are as follows:


STRIKER

Hull City were one of the lowest scorers last season, managing only 39 goals for the entire campaign.

That Marlon King, who only spent half a season there, is the second-highest scorer with five goals, and Michael Turner, a defender, is the third-highest scorer with four goals, shows that the quality of the strikers probably leave much to be desired. Even with Fraizer Campbell's impending arrival at the club, at least one more striker is still needed.

As such, Phil Brown's interest in Michael Owen is completely understandable. However, with Owen expressing his reluctance to join Hull, perhaps other targets should be the focus for Brown.

I would suggest that Brown should try to sign Benjani Mwaruwari. With Roque Santa Cruz recently becoming the 176th striker on Manchester City's books, Benjani will surely find playing time really limited.

That he will not get much time on the pitch isn't an indication of his lack of quality though, it just so happens that there is talent like Robinho, Bellamy, Jo, Santa Cruz and Caicedo ahead of him in the pecking order.

As such, Hull would do well to sign Benjani, who is a decent goalscorer, but perhaps more importantly, he is a hardworking striker who never gives up a lost cause. This is a valuable mindset to have for any player playing for a relegation-threatened club, as the last thing you want is a team that gives up easily.

His strength and pace would also bring much more to the team than the likes of Daniel Cousin and Caleb Folan, who were clearly not good enough for the Premiership.

As mentioned above, considering that Benjani is probably surplus to requirements at the City of Manchester Stadium, Hull should be able to pick him up for a reasonable price, and Phil Brown should try to ensure it happens.

Alternatively, Phil Brown could go for Marlon Harewood.

Just like Benjani, Harewood is also not likely to see much first-team action next season, with John Carew, Gabriel Agbonlahor, Emile Heskey and sometimes even youngster Nathan Delfouneso preferred to him.

Harewood would be a good signing and definitely a first-teamer for Hull City though, as he has proven himself in the Premiership before, and even in his limited appearances for Villa, he has shown that he still has quality in him.

Strong and athletic, he will be a handful for most defences, and would definitely be a good signing for Hull City.

Just as in Benjani's case, a reasonable offer should do it for Martin O'Neill, as he is clearly deemed surplus to requirements.


CENTRAL MIDFIELDER

Hull's struggles last season were also in part down to the lack of ability to retain possession, especially in the central midfield area.

Sure, Jimmy Bullard will be back from injury, and I think he will be an integral part of Hull's team next season, but they definitely need at least one more midfielder in there, especially as George Boateng and Ian Ashbee are not getting any younger. In fact, Bullard himself isn't exactly Mr Indestructible.

Central midfielders in the Premier League (who would realistically want to play for a relegation-threatened team) do not come much better than Kevin Nolan.

A good goalscoring midfielder who never shies away from a challenge, Nolan is a seasoned campaigner in the English top flight, and would be a valuable addition to most Premier League teams.

His form might have suffered a little after his move to Newcastle, but to be fair, almost the entire team underperformed, which ultimately resulted in their relegation.

And it is their relegation which should open the door for a move to sign him, as Newcastle need to sell to keep afloat, and if Hull are serious about retaining their Premier League status, they should have no problem affording the transfer fee.

Phil Brown and Kevin Nolan have also worked together before at Bolton, so that might make the move a little easier to complete.

If Nolan rejects Hull, then Phil Brown should perhaps set his sights on Tom Huddlestone.

The former England U21 international has a superb passing range, and would be a great addition to Hull City.

The current Hull City team looks short of ideas when going forward, and if they had Huddlestone, they would certainly have a little more inspiration in their play.

He also has a good long shot on him, which could be important if Hull cannot find a way past packed defences.

With Harry Redknapp clearing out half the Tottenham squad, Hull might have a chance of getting their claws on a cultured, classy midfielder, and I think Phil Brown should try to get him if the price is right.


LEFT-BACK

While Andy Dawson might be a fan's favourite, having been voted Hull's player of the year in 2007, I feel that he is not good enough to play at the Premiership level.

Dawson is also not someone you would place money on in a sprint challenge, and with him being on the wrong side of 30, this problem will be heavily exploited by pacy wingers next season.

He is also the only specialist left-back at the club, which is obviously not ideal. As such, it would be wise for Phil Brown to try and sign someone to replace or provide back-up for Dawson.

I think Phil Brown should pull out all the stops to try and bring in Emanuel Pogatetz from Middlesbrough.

A player who "never gives less than 300%", as described by his former manager Steve McClaren, Pogatetz is one of the hardest of the "hard men" when it comes to the left-back position.

The Austrian captain might not be the best going forward, but he is very solid at the back, and will not let right-wingers pass him easily.

With Middlesbrough recently being relegated, Hull could take advantage of their situation and sign one of Boro's top players at a reasonable price.

If Hull cannot muster enough funds to finance the move for Pogatetz, Brown could look at bringing in Kieran Gibbs on loan from Arsenal.

While obviously not even half as solid as Pogatetz, Gibbs possesses excellent pace, which gets him out of trouble and makes up for his relative lack of defensive awareness.

Also, the above-mentioned pace will be very useful for Hull on the counter-attack, and should he be signed, I can see him being as exciting as Bernard Mendy on the opposite flank.

I think Arsenal would not mind letting Gibbs go on loan for a season, as Armand Traore is back from his spell at Portsmouth, and will take over as cover for Gael Clichy.

 

So that's it, those are my suggested signings for Hull City next season. If Brown manages to get these players, I'm sure Hull will not struggle as much next season.

 

This article and more can also be found at thetipsters, a website set up by my friend Roland and I.

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