Motherwell became the first Scottish Premiership victims of the January transfer window when they announced…
Motherwell will undoubtedly approach this coming new year and January transfer window with a sense of trepidation. The club’s form has taken something of a nosedive since their League Cup final and in the coming weeks star striker Louis Moult will leave for Preston.
However, there is still a solid squad for Stephen Robinson to work with at Fir Park. And with a notable transfer fee of £500,000 for Moult, plus smart sales in the summer Motherwell may have a bit of wiggle room and something resembling a budget to bring in new faces.
So where should they start?
Here’s the good news Motherwell fans: You’re pretty well covered across the pitch. Not only do Robinson’s side have a far better defensive record this season than they did last, but they also have one of the most creative midfields in the division.
Cedric Kipre, Charles Dunne and Peter Hartley have proved more than adequate in defence so far this season, however Robinson may look to bring in another central defender for the simple purpose of providing cover for potential injuries.
Similarly, Motherwell enjoy a shortlist of midfielders that include players such as Gael Bigirimana, Carl McHugh and young Allan Campbell. As well as exquisite wing-backs in Chris Cadden and Richard Tait that bomb up and down each flank.
Indeed, such abundance of talent elsewhere on the pitch gives Robinson a rather narrow and simple scope: find a new striker. We’ve already touched upon the ways in which he could do that with the players he already has at his disposal, but in truth the young coach is likely to go hunting for additional firepower.
It’ll come as no great surprise to Motherwell fans that Moult is clearly the club’s main source of goals and although Ryan Bowman and in particular, Craig Tanner, both bring their own talents to the table, it may be a little optimistic to hope either can simply fill in for the departing front man.
We understand that Motherwell will have a modest budget available for acquisitions in the January window, with a new striker being the main priority. If Robinson and his staff can identify a good alternative to Moult then money will be made available.
Motherwell would perhaps do well to court the attention of a player like Partick Thistle’s Blair Spittal, who offers goals and can play in a number of forward positions. However, a striking transfer fee would be needed to take him from a league rival to Fir Park.
Alternatively, the Steelmen could find quality in the Championship. St Mirren’s Gavin Reilly has looked impressive for the Paisley side this season, as has his teammate and former Aberdeen youth product, Cammy Smith. Dunfermline Athletic’s Duncan McManus would also be another, young striker worth considering if Motherwell were to drop some cash on a new forward.
However, Robinson’s background and ideal hunting ground seems to be the lower leagues of English football. It’s there that we’ll most likely see the Premiership club go looking for a new forward. And they’ll almost certainly favour experience and a degree of certainty over a more local, younger alternative.
Robinson has remained pretty open about efforts made to find new strikers in the January window. Speaking just a few weeks ago about the coming transfer window, the ‘Well boss was confident that they could bring someone in.
“We’ve spoken to numerous people,” noted the Fir Park boss. “Motherwell isn’t everyone’s first choice, Scottish football unfortunately isn’t everyone’s first choice, out of ignorance more than what’s actually happening here.
“But we’ve got targets, we are actively speaking to people. We are well down the line with a couple of things that hopefully we can get done.”